Best Value Golf Watches 2022

Are you in the market for a golf watch but don't want to spend hundreds ands hundreds of dollars? We've collated some of our favorites that won't break the bank.

Best Value Golf Watches
(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

Best Value Golf Watches

Golf watches have become all the rage of late because of the combination of GPS capability, versatility, usability, and not to mention most of them are just very cool pieces of gear. Importantly, not only do brands like Garmin make top of the range models like the MARQ (opens in new tab) which costs thousands, but these brands also make watches at the complete opposite end of the price spectrum, meaning we can all invest in a model if we want. 

But why would you want a golf watch (opens in new tab) in the first place? Well as we mentioned above watches usually come with GPS functionality meaning you can turn up to a golf course and know how far you are from the flag or certain hazards. Watches these days are also very comfortable and are highly convenient because you can just glance at your wrist to get a yardage rather than have to get a laser (opens in new tab) from your bag. Watches also tend to be easy to use, offer a degree of style and versatility, and many also come with other features like fitness tracking and so on. 

From our testing we have found there are lots of golf watches that offer all of these performance factors, but also a lot of value too because they don't break the bank. This guide is therefore a list of those watches (as well as a couple of GPS handhelds thrown in). Additionally if you are more of a laser kind of golfer, then take a look at our guide on the best budget rangefinders (opens in new tab) as well. 

Best Value Golf Watches

Shot Scope V3 GPS Watch and Tracker

(Image credit: Golf monthly)
Provides GPS distances and seamless shot tracking for performance analysis

Specifications

Courses preloaded: 36,000
Battery life: Two plus rounds
Screen size: 3.4cm
Weight: 41g
Straps: Four colors

Reasons to buy

+
Combines GPS distances with performance tracking
+
Compact, streamlined design is very comfortable

Reasons to avoid

-
A small number of shots can go undetected

The V3 is 60 per cent smaller than the old V2 and also has a new daylight-readable color screen to show front, middle and back distances as well as hazard information. In GPS + Performance Tracking mode, the V3 will automatically detect shot locations using tags placed in the tops of your grips.

The PinCollect feature means golfers can input the pin position with the touch of a button to provide enhanced approach and short game statistics, displayed within the free Shot Scope app. In our experience, it took a while to remember to do this but it soon became second nature.

This streamlined, everyday design makes it instantly appealing and the tacky rubber strap is comfortable to wear and stays in position when walking and swinging a club so once it’s on, you really don’t notice you’re wearing it. If you're into your stats and want to see where you need to improve, this is the watch for you.

Garmin Approach S12 GPS watch

(Image credit: Tom Miles)
Easy to use for golfers that want a faff-free experience

Specifications

Courses preloaded: 42,000
Battery life: 30 hours
Screen size: 2.3cm
Weight: 34g
Straps: Three

Reasons to buy

+
Very easy to use right from the get-go
+
Big-Numbers mode a great feature

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited off course functionality

While not as stylish as the more feature-packed S42, the S12 comes in at a slightly lower price point that represents excellent value. With more than 40,000 preloaded courses, finding your desired venue is extremely quick and easy. From there, we found the usability of this watch to be brilliant. Off the tee it provides loads of information on things like distances to bunkers, water hazards and ideal lay-up yardages, while you can also move the flag around to get a more exact number.

Another performance aspect we really liked was the measure-shot feature that does as you’d expect – it tracks how far you’ve struck a given shot. It’s also really easy to input scores and a few stats at the end of each hole, giving golfers an idea of what they’ve done well and perhaps not so well after the round. Finally, Big-Numbers mode, coupled with the sunlight-readable dial, is great for those whose eyesight maybe isn’t what it once was. All in all, this is an impressive and affordable product from Garmin. (opens in new tab)

Bushnell iON Edge GPS Watch, man wearing Bushnell iON Edge watch, yardages displayed on golf watchEditors Choice 2022

Basic graphics but offers a wide array of features, including a moveable pin and hazards

Specifications

Courses preloaded: 38,000
Battery life: 16+ hours
Screen size: 2.7cm
Weight: 32.5g
Straps: Two

Reasons to buy

+
Neutral styling and comfortable to wear
+
Has ability to keep your score

Reasons to avoid

-
Touchscreen could be more responsive

The iON Edge from Bushnell (opens in new tab) might not blow you away in terms of how it looks, but it does offer simple functionality along with accurate distances. It ticks every box a golfer looks for, like offering hazard information and automatic hole advance - you can even cycle through pin positions on the green for greater accuracy.

It takes time and patience to work out exactly where all the features are - mostly through trial and error - but if you play a lot of golf, it should only be into your second or third round when you feel you're really using the iON Edge to its full potential. The graphics are basic but easy to read in different light conditions. If you prioritize simplicity over bells and whistles, it's the perfect option.

GolfBuddy AIM W10 watch, golfbuddy golf watch, golf gps watch,

The main screen on the Aim W10 shows hole info, your score and front, middle and back distances
Arguably offers the best value for money now

Specifications

Courses preloaded: 40,000
Battery life: 10 hours
Screen size: 3.3cm
Weight: 55g
Straps: Two

Reasons to buy

+
Can keep score and can compensate for slope
+
Hole maps feature useful lay-up arcs

Reasons to avoid

-
Fiddly to charge. No touch targeting on hole maps

The Aim W10 from GolfBuddy (opens in new tab) has to be one of the better value options showcased in this list because of the array of features available for the price. We liked the clear yardages during our testing and with only one button, the trial and error process of learning how to navigate the various features, like the scorecard function and access to hazard information, soon becomes second nature after swiping in different directions.

It is lightweight but a little bulky, although it still doesn't interfere with the swing. The color hole maps are basic, but provide a clear enough graphical view of what lies ahead, and the lay up arcs help you plot the best route. We liked how you can manually move the pin position for greater accuracy and it does have slope (opens in new tab) compensation capabilities, but not on any courses near us so we weren't able to test that.

The charger didn't fit very well either - it had to be positioned in a very specific way - which was frustrating, but something we learned with time and from a full charge, we easily got two rounds out of it in full golf GPS mode with life to spare.

Garmin Approach S10 GPS Watch Review

(Image credit: Golf Monthly)
A great value golf watch from one of the best brands in the game

Specifications

Courses: 41,000
Battery life: 12 hours
Screen size: 2.3cm
Weight: 35g
Straps: Three

Reasons to buy

+
Extremely easy to use and provided highly accurate yardages
+
It's very lightweight and sleek so causes no distractions while playing

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the most stylish of watches so not something you would wear on and off the course.

Another Garmin model worth mentioning is the S10, a design that precedes the S12 above. Functionality wise, it offers up front, back and middle yardages, allows you to enter your score, tracks your round time and steps and has a rechargeable battery that works up to 12 hours in GPS golf mode. It's also available in a few different colors.

We really liked how compact and lightweight it was, while it came with most of the same golf-related features as the others in this guide. It has to be navigated through using the buttons on the side, but we found that to be straightforward enough, while the battery life is excellent. Despite being an older model, it still offers tremendous value for money.

Best Golf GPS Watches Under $100

There are very few good golf watches at the moment that can be found for less than one hundred dollars. As such we have actually added some watch-like GPS devices to this section so you can still get a tool to help you get the right yardage every time. 

bushnell phantom 2 gps

(Image credit: Howard Boylan)
Simplicity at its core

Specifications

Courses: 38,000
Battery life: 18 hours
Screen size: 3.7cm
Weight: 78g

Reasons to buy

+
Simple to use
+
Fantastic value for money
+
Clear graphics

Reasons to avoid

-
Integrated app is useful, but drains phone battery quickly

Bushnell is one of the most popular distance measuring device brands and the new Phantom 2 GPS reinforces that position while also accounting for significant improvements on its predecessor. The first thing we noticed is that the Phantom 2 is 40 per cent larger than the original Phantom. Despite this, it's still a relatively small device that easily fits into the palm of your hand and your golf bag

With the larger frame comes a larger screen and this displays much clearer graphics when compared to the original Phantom, with the Phantom 2 featuring Dynamic Green Mapping, which provides you with front, middle and back distance measurements no matter which direction you are approaching the green. 

Importantly, the Phantom can be found on retailers like Amazon for less than $100 which adds to the allure of the device.

Garmin Approach G12 GPS

(Image credit: Future)
A pocket-sized, versatile GPS unit

Specifications

Courses: 42,000
Battery life: 30 hours
Screen size: 2.3cm
Weight: 25g

Reasons to buy

+
Simple to use
+
Accurate and reliable
+
Can be worn in different ways

Reasons to avoid

-
Buttons can be fiddly

The handy Approach G12 is a small and simple solution to getting accurate distances at your fingertips. Its compact size allows you to clip it anywhere on your golf bag, trolley or hat. It's very easy to operate and also pairs with the excellent Garmin app to give you a hole-by-hole overview. It is ideal for golfers on a budget that want simple but accurate distances to various points of interest.

There are a host of display options - we love the 'big numbers mode' where the middle distance is displayed bigger than the others and, despite the screen's modest size, it is clear and easy to read in different light conditions. 

You'll get up to 30 hours of usage on a single charge, which is impressive and you can pair it with your smartphone. Download the Garmin Golf app for free and you'll be able to keep your scores, stats and compete with other users in the virtual golf world while also gaining access to full color hole maps. Given all of this, and with the right retailer you can find it for less then $100, then the G12 offers excellent value too.

How we test golf watches and GPS devices

At Golf Monthly we have a comprehensive testing procedure around GPS watches and devices. As you would expect, this involves using different models out on the course, over a number of rounds and importantly in different conditions too because this gives us an idea on how particular models deal with sunlight, rain and wind. 

As the entire team are regular golfers, GPS devices usually get a thorough testing and often get compared to one another side by side to test for things like accuracy, waterproofing, durability and other features. That way we can give honest and insightful feedback to you, the reader. The final thing we wanted to mention in this section is no manufacturer can buy a good review. Our testing team reviews (opens in new tab) golf equipment and makes its own opinion on how good or bad the product is, and then passes on that feedback to you.

What to consider when buying a GPS device

Your routine - The best golf watches only require a quick glance, as do some of the GPS devices in this guide, so they are much quicker than taking a device out of its case, so weigh up if extra detail or less disruption is most important to you.

Your course - If your course has lots of doglegs, blind tee shots, or you play at other clubs in matches or socially, then you might want the extra information a GPS offers over a laser for example.

Type - As the list above shows, there are different types of GPS device to use and they all have positives and negatives affixed to them. If you want to invest in a cheap watch then there are several models to choose from but you can also get a handy little GPS device for less than $100 as well. 

Features - There is also a difference in device when it comes to features. Below is a list of some of the ones we consider to be useful to the GPS wearer.

We hope you enjoyed this guide on the best golf GPS devices. Also make sure you research the best golf simulatorbest golf GPS apps (opens in new tab) and the best smart phone for golfers (opens in new tab) too because they can truly add to your golfing experience.

A golfer for most of his life, Sam started playing the game to prove he was the best player out of his father and two brothers.
He quickly became a golf equipment expert and has always been the one family and friends come to for buying advice, and spends a lot of his time putting golf gear, apparel and shoes to the test.  
He is a graduate of Swansea University where he studied History and American Studies, and he has been a part of the Golf Monthly team since February 2018. He also previously worked for World Soccer and Rugby World magazines.

A jack of all trades across print and digital formats, Sam now spends most of his time testing and looking after golf gear content for the website. He also oversees all Tour player content as well. 

Unfortunately, Sam is not a member of any club at the moment but regularly gets out on the golf course to keep up the facade of having a handicap of five. 


Sam is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TS3
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade M5 (15 degrees), Nike Covert Tour 2.0 (19 degrees)
Irons (4-PW): Titleist AP2
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 54˚, 58˚
Putter: Scotty Cameron Circa 62 #6