The 10 Best Golf GPS Watches & Handheld Devices (For 2021)

Dan Gold
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The next time you play a round of golf, which brand of GPS watch or handheld GPS unit should you get? Perhaps you’re already a golfer, but you need a new one and you don’t know where to begin.

Or perhaps you’ve never engaged in the sport, but you expressed interest in it at some point. If that’s the situation, then this post is for you since it covers the 10 best golf GPS watches and handheld GPS devices (for 2021) that are worth your attention.

How much distance do you want? Is the brand important? How much do you want to pay? What’s the display like? These are just some of the things we cover to help you make the right decision.

NameCategoryProduct
Garmin Approach S20 BundleBest OverallGarmin Approach S20 Bundle
GolfBuddy Voice 2 Golf GPS/RangefinderBudget PickGolfBuddy Voice 2 Golf GPS/Rangefinder
Garmin Approach S60Upgrade PickGarmin Approach S60

1. Garmin Approach S20 Bundle

Our rating: 9 / 10

Garmin Approach S20 Bundle

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Wide array of statistical data
  • Step-tracking feature
  • All-day battery life
  • Waterproof design
  • Trending reports
  • Quick and accurate GPS fix
  • Premium build quality

Cons:

  • No shot distance measurement
  • No dedicated app for checking data
  • Stat tracking can lead to over-analyzing

If you want a GPS golf watch that will provide you with a ton of statistical information, then the Garmin Approach S20 is your best bet. This watch will not only give you the standard distance measurement, but it will also give you the number of shots you’ve hit per club, greens in regulation, driving accuracy, and more.

It’ll also track your steps if you want to use it for a more intense workout, and you can also watch your battery life. You can see above all that the Garmin S20 is really a watch for all purposes, and that’s why it stands out from the crowd.

However, the only downside to the Garmin Approach S20 is that it does not work hand-in-hand with a mobile Facebook app to allow for live stat updates. Still, this is a small issue that you can easily fix by carrying along a smartphone with a golf app. Overall, this is one of the best golf GPS watches of 2016.

2. Bushnell Phantom Golf GPS

Our rating: 8 / 10

Bushnell Phantom Golf GPS

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Pros:

  • Stable performance
  • Waterproof
  • Stylish appearance
  • Loud and clear voice
  • Adjustable display brightness
  • GPS and Glonass integration

Bushnell has long been one of golfers’ favorite brands. One of its most well-known products is the Bushnell Neo ION GPS Watch. The watch provides accurate measurements for your approach shots, measure the distance of your shots, and your walking speed.

It’s designed with a bright display that is easy to read even on a bright sunny day. It’s extremely easy to use. As a GPS watch, it uses the Global Positioning System, which is the same system the military and Navy Seals use.

It’s versatile and works for both left-handed and right-handed golfers. It also provides relevant information on your distances to different hazards, which is very helpful. It also calculates the distance to the green automatically and displays the distance to the front, center, and back of the green.

3. Garmin Approach S60

Our rating: 8 / 10

Garmin Approach S60

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Pros:

  • Touchscreen, full color display
  • Connected features
  • Water resistant to 50 meters
  • Includes free golf course updates for life
  • More than 40,000 global golf courses preloaded
  • Includes free Birdie app

Cons:

  • No barometer
  • Doesn’t float
  • Clunky watch dimensions

Coming in at a close second on our list of the best golf GPS watches in 2020 is the Garmin Approach S60. While this device isn’t as full of features as our top pick, I consider it to be the best golf GPS device on the market.

The Garmin Approach S60 is designed for golfers that just want to do the basics without paying a fortune on gadgets. It includes a simple, full-color touchscreen display for easy course searching and navigation.

The Garmin Approach also boasts that it’s the first GPS device with free lifetime updates. This means that you never have to worry about your golf course closing or moving to another location.

4. Garmin Approach G10

Our rating: 8 / 10

Garmin Approach G10

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Pros:

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Can be paired with your smartphone for more features
  • Helps keep score by integrating with popular golf apps
  • Easy to use, even for beginners

Cons:

  • Screen is a bit small for some users
  • No text message notifications

This one is Garmin’s top golf watch, and there are many reasons why. This is a top rated GPS golf watch for a reason. This watch gives you the best of both worlds: a high-quality dedicated golf GPS watch and an activity tracker for every day use. This golf GPS watch has a gray and black band with a gray face. It also comes with an automatic wrist-based heart rate monitor. This watch stores up to 9,000 golf course information, so you can navigate any course no matter where you are on the planet. It also stores data from other players, so you can easily follow the course of your friends.

One of the biggest reasons why this is one of the top golf GPS watches is the fact that it pairs easily with your smartphone. No matter if you’re at the course or relaxing at home, you can seamlessly communicate with your friends and family from the golf course. It’s compatible with the Garmin Golf app, so you can also see your stats.

5. Bushnell Neo Ion 2 Golf GPS Watch

Our rating: 8 / 10

Bushnell Neo Ion 2 Golf GPS Watch

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Pros:

  • Very Lightweight
  • Good Battery Life
  • GPS Signals Quickly Re-Acquire
  • Easy to Use
  • Easy to Set Up

Cons:

  • Screen is a bit small
  • Pricey
  • Prone to Glare

The Bushnell Neo ION Golf GPS Watch is one of the best golf gps watches available on the market. The GPS quickly acquires signals and is able to accurately monitor your score.

It also has some cool features like Pinseeker with JOLT that alerts you when you’re close to the green. The wristband is soft and adjustable and it’s lightweight and comfortable to wear. It’s also quite rugged so it’s not likely to be damaged if you drop…even on rough terrain.

This golf watch also has a water resistance feature that protects it from any splashing while golfing. It’s also operable in low-light settings with high-intensity lighting.

6. Garmin Approach X40

Our rating: 8 / 10

Garmin Approach X40

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Pros:

  • Has all the features in a excellent golf watch
  • Easy to read during the day and night
  • Has a rechargeable battery and comes with a charging USB charging device
  • Measures distance, course maps through GPS, and has preloaded courses
  • Measures pace, calorie consumption, and even heart rate
  • The price is decent
  • Can easily use apps on your watch to measure heart rate
  • Does not have to be close to a cell tower to determine your distance
  • Great for professional and amateurs

Cons:

  • Doesn’t offer a lot of clubs
  • Doesn’t offer a lot of slots in the golf bag
  • Doesn’t come with a package of golf balls, which is kind of a let down
  • Doesn’t come with a free carrying case

/Black, Large.

The Garmin Approach X40, is a watch that is really easy to use and has all the features, which make it a great watch to use while playing golf. It is designed for men and is made up of a durable rubber arm band. It comes with a screen that allows you to play and pause your music and it even allows you to see the battery status.

7. GolfBuddy Voice 2 Golf GPS/Rangefinder

Our rating: 7 / 10

GolfBuddy Voice 2 Golf GPS/Rangefinder

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Pros:

  • Fast acquisition of GPS
  • Run-time of up to 16 hours in GPS mode
  • Bigger, better screen than previous model
  • Excellent battery life
  • Road-Operation friendly
  • Includes CourseView, Downloadable Courses, and Golf Vault
  • Enhanced Player Profiles

Cons:

  • No Contours Functionality
  • No SkyCaddie Compatible
  • No Yardage on the Rangefinder

Designed for golfers who want to have an essential set of golf tools to stay competitive out on the course. Features of the GolfBuddy Voice 2 includes a touchscreen Display, Interchangeable Batteries, and a Digital Cartographic Mapping software.

It’s perfect for golfers who wish to use its advanced GPS app for smartphone integration as well as using it for digital course management. The large touchscreen display and the battery life with extended use make it among the best golf GPS watches you should consider in 2020.

The GolfBuddy supports fitness tracking via the GolfBuddy Go app in available in both Android and IOS. You can also charge it with a standard mini USB so that you can charge it with your laptop or charger using the USB port. It’s a great GPS watch for golfers who are looking to improve their game.

8. Golf Buddy Voicex Easy-to-Use Smart Talking Golf GPS

Our rating: 7 / 10

Golf Buddy Voicex Easy-to-Use Smart Talking Golf GPS

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Pros:

  • Watch face designed for golfers
  • Smartwatch-like features
  • Voice prompt system gives cheat sheet tips during your round
  • Arrives pre-loaded with all the golf courses in the U.S.

Cons:

  • May be overkill for occasional golfers
  • Doesn’t offer yardage to hazards

The Golf Buddy Voicex Easy-to-Use Smart Talking GPS is a great gift for golfers of all levels. It features a golf watch face with smartwatch style bands. It offers many smartwatch features including Bluetooth connectivity, smartphone alerts, a digital compass, and even a heart rate monitor. The GPS unit will indicate your distance to any hazards, with distance, and scores. The Voicex also features a voice command system that lets you give commands like “distance to the green,” and it will reply with “175 yards,” saving you the effort of looking at the display. Because the unit offers golf specific features in a watch form factor, we’re including it on a list of golf accessories that are best for the golfing market.

9. Izzo Golf Swami 5000 Golf GPS Rangefinder

Our rating: 5 / 10

Izzo Golf Swami 5000 Golf GPS Rangefinder

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Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Accurate distances
  • Highly waterproof … use for swimming, snorkeling, and surfing
  • Comes with a gel band that’s easily adjustable
  • Can be worn while playing
  • Can work in conjunction with a heart rate monitor
  • Includes Bluetooth technology to work with your smartphone
  • Includes an intuitive interface for easy operation

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Doesn’t automatically keep score or track statistics about your game

The Izzo Golf Swami includes a GPS sensor that gives you up to 750 yards accuracy from the pin on every shot. It has a dual-axis golf swing sensor that monitors and tracks your swing automatically, including your tempo, speed, smash factor, and other swing stats metrics. It can also track your wrist movement, manage your game profile, and synchronize with a video feed, if you want to share your game with friends.

Stats are automatically uploaded to your account on Izzo’s website, where you can easily keep track of your progress. It also comes with a heart rate monitor attachment for heart rate zones and ancillary training information for a complete overall summary of your performance.

10. GolfBuddy WTX Smart Golf GPS Watch

Our rating: 2 / 10

GolfBuddy WTX Smart Golf GPS Watch

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Great price point
  • Accurate yardage measurement
  • Extensive courses library
  • Easy to use and intuitive interface
  • Very lightweight and comfortable to wear

The GolfBuddy WTX is very lightweight at only 2.3 oz and is comfortable to wear on the course. The watch strap is a standard 20mm and includes tool-less expandable sizing so you can replace it with any standard watch band. The GolfBuddy WTX features the Skycaddie SGX GPS chipset to deliver accurate yardages from over 30,000 US courses.

As this is an integrated GPS watch, it only works on courses that are already loaded into the device. The GolfBuddy WTX comes loaded with 15,000 courses from the United States. However, you can purchase optional courses for worldwide coverage for a small fee.

The GolfBuddy WTX features an intuitive user-interface that is easy to learn and operate. It has four buttons with a central power button in the middle to navigate the menu. You can view the courses installed on the device, and there is a favorites button so you can quickly mark a course to be added to the favorites list.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best golf GPS device?

It’s becoming increasingly popular to use golf GPS devices on the course. Golf GPS devices offer feature-packed technology that fit neatly on your golf glove, golf hat, or in your pocket. Golfers using their phone or tablet for GPS information are missing out on some of the functionality that a golf GPS watch offers.

GPS functionality is built into these watches, whereas on a smartphone or tablet, you would need to download a GPS app before you play. GPS functionality allows you to get real-time information about your precise location on the course and the distance to the hole at any given point. Many GPS golf watches also offer shot distance measuring, and other helpful and convenient features.

A golf GPS watch can help improve your game. It can be really helpful to know your exact distance to the pin and your proximity to hazards. And, they are very convenient to use.

What is better a golf GPS or rangefinder?

While golf GPS were initially designed to be inbuilt with golf watches, most top of the line rangefinders have a GPS feature, so you’re able to track your scores and distances a lot faster. A lot of golfers don’t realize that while a handheld GPS can definitely accelerate your game and give you more information about your shot, it’s not quite as accurate as a rangefinder. Handheld devices rely on satellite signals, whereas rangefinders use lasers.

Both GPS and rangefinders benefit from having courses downloaded, as they allow you to find accurate distances to different terrain features and hazards, whereas GPS devices are best with courses that have been downloaded into them.

Are PGA players allowed to use rangefinders?

Yes, they are. And they’re not the only ones. In fact, any golfer is allowed to use a rangefinder in order to improve his odds of winning the game, provided he doesn’t do it in the same area as the competition. Not many golfers will opt to use rangefinders in competition, but they’re still a nice option to have available just in case you decide you need to move from your current spot in the competition.

There is another advantage to rangefinders: they are usually much more accurate than GPS watches. Golf GPS watches utilize GPS satellites which might be blocked by trees, which is why you can’t find the flag in the middle of the hole. Rangefinders don’t have this problem, and are most often the better option.

How accurate are golf GPS devices?

You can always count on GPS devices to give you the most accurate reading at any time and under any conditions. Most people, however, are still getting used to using a GPS device when it comes to golf.

The reason GPS accuracy is dependent on whether or not the golfer is trained on how to use the device properly. For example, if the golfer doesn’t input the hole number correctly in the device ahead of time, it will give a false reading.

In addition, some measurement difficulties are still inherent, especially in hand-held golf GPS devices. They tend to show shorter distances compared to an actual GPS unit. Even so, the accuracy has improved significantly in the past few years.

Conclusion

Golf watches have come a long way in the last few years – but do they make a good value? We’re going to take a closer look at them and help you decide if it makes sense to invest in a GPS watch and if so which one is right for you?

As a golfer comes every stage of your career you’ll find yourself looking for something that will help you play better. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, technology can help you in different ways.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Garmin Approach S20 BundleBest OverallGarmin Approach S20 Bundle
GolfBuddy Voice 2 Golf GPS/RangefinderBudget PickGolfBuddy Voice 2 Golf GPS/Rangefinder
Garmin Approach S60Upgrade PickGarmin Approach S60