GolfBuddy Aim W12 Golf Watch Review

Joel Tadman tests the latest golf GPS watch from GolfBuddy, the Aim W12, to see what golfers can expect

GolfBuddy Aim W12 Golf Watch Review
(Image credit: Tom Miles)
Golf Monthly Verdict

A user-friendly, feature-packed golf watch that will help you plot your way around the course, choosing the right club along the way. The slope feature will be ideal for those that play a lot on hilly courses.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Slope function enhances accuracy

  • +

    Plenty of strategy-enhancing features

  • +

    Easy to navigate

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Hole maps could be improved

  • -

    Shorter battery life than Aim W11

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GolfBuddy Aim W12 Golf Watch Review

The variety of features available on today’s golf watches surpasses what I ever expected and the Aim W12 is another example of a cutting-edge, feature-packed offering designed to give golfers an awful lot more than just your basic front, middle and back yardages.

Visually the Aim W12 is a decent improvement over the Aim W11 from 2021. It looks slicker, a little more streamlined thanks to the flatter button in the corner and comes with a premium leather strap as standard (as well as an extra silicon one in the box). Navigation is controlled mostly via the color touch screen, which is clear (360x360 pixels), bright and reassuringly responsive - you’ll only need to press the button on rare occasions to go back to the previous screen. This helped us stay focused on our game and earned the Aim W12 a place in our 2023 Editor's Choice.

GolfBuddy Aim W12 golf watch hole screen

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

It took over a minute to locate the course, which was a little frustrating, and it will only start displaying distances when you arrive at the first tee, vibrating to let you know when it has done so. Firstly, it will show a 2D flyover of the hole, which gives you a good initial idea of what lies ahead and the hazards to be wary of. From the main screen that shows the front, middle and back distances you can swipe left to view a color hole map. The maps graphics are perfectly useable, they’re not the most detailed or visually arresting, but they help you see everything you need to. On the hole maps, orange arced graphics will show you where a 150, 200 or 250 yard drive will finish while dashed blue graphics depict how far these will leave you to the green. Touch the screen and these disappear, replaced by a touch target scope that you can move up and down the hole. Press the + icon and your view will zoom in for a closer look.

GolfBuddy Aim W12 golf watch hazards

(Image credit: Future)

Swipe left again and you’re greeted with a graphical representation of the green on which you’re able to move the pin position for a more accurate distance. In the US, users will have access to a green undulation heat map that shows the putting surfaces’ slope angles and their severity, which is a nifty feature to have available to you when lining up your birdie try. You can measure shot distances and also swipe to gain access to a hazard list, although it would have been nice to know to distances to carry them as well as reach them.

One feature that makes the Aim W12 more accurate than its predecessor is the slope functionality, which takes into account the changes in elevation when providing the distances. This is particularly useful when playing hilly courses and a small icon will be displayed on the left of the main distance screen when it is turned on. There aren’t many watches that offer this - only the Bushnell Ion Elite, Garmin Approach S62 and Voice Caddie T9 spring to mind - so the Aim W12 is in elite company among the best golf watches. For competition use, you’ll need to disable it, which is easily done via the settings.

GolfBuddy Aim W12 golf watch testing

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

The user experience with the Aim W12 was near faultless. Besides taking longer than expected to locate the course, it was quick and easy to grasp how to access the different screens and there wasn’t much repeat swiping required. The battery life in golf mode has come down from 13 hours on the Aim W11 to 10 hours here, so you might only get two full rounds from a full charge rather than three. But it is now IPX7 waterproof, which provides that peace of mind if caught out in a deluge. You certainly can wear it off the course - there are fitness features including a step counter - and a traditional watch face, but the styling probably lends itself more to being a golf specific watch. For me, the user experience goes a long way to justifying the £279.99 price tag.

Joel Tadman
Deputy Editor

Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 14 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all equipment and video content at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader or viewer find exactly what they are looking for. 

One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 86 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 2.8.

Joel's current What's In The Bag? 

Driver: Titleist TSR3, 9°, Fujikura Ventus Black 6 S shaft.

Fairway wood: Titleist TSR3, 15° 

Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18° 

Irons: Titleist T150, 4-PW

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM10, 50°, 54° and 58°

Putter: LAB Golf DF3 

Ball: 2023 Titleist Pro V1x