Golf Tech: Review of the Best Golf GPS Watches and Handheld Units

Dan Gold
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Golf GPS watches can revolutionize your game. They will help you improve your accuracy and will offer you other useful features that can help you play better.

They provide accurate yardages to the green as well as high-resolution aerial images of golf courses right on your wrist. They can be used in any weather condition and have a series of functionalities that you will find useful in any golf situation.

Some of the GPS watches for golf that we have selected are waterproof and are packed with useful features. They provide accurate yardages to the green and can calculate the various distances you can hit to the flag. They also improve your overall accuracy, which, as we know, is essential for every golfer.

They also have a multifunctional watch, and you can find unique games that will make the golf experience even better.

Last, but not least, you will find one of the most advanced GPS watches on the market that will make your rounds even better. It’s almost impossible to miss the perfect shot with such a watch on your wrist.

Check out the various features to know which one suits you best!

Here are the best golf GPS watches to consider buying.

NameCategoryProduct
Apple Watch Series 4Best OverallApple Watch Series 4
Garmin Approach G30Budget PickGarmin Approach G30
Garmin Approach G8 Golf Course GPSUpgrade PickGarmin Approach G8 Golf Course GPS

1. Apple Watch Series 4

Our rating: 9 / 10

Apple Watch Series 4

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Pros:

  • A smartwatch, fitness tracker, and golf course GPS device in one
  • Receive texts, emails, and call notifications on watches display
  • Auto trigger for workout tracking
  • Keep track of your heart rate using the built-in heart monitor
  • App integration with scores, statistics, friends, and more
  • Compatible with both iPhone and Android handsets
  • Ability to purchase extra watch bands

Cons:

  • Struggling to find the right sports band colour
  • Battery life (1 hour GPS playing time for every 18 hours idle time, depending on your settings)
  • Not all golf course details are available (although they are working on it)

This is the world’s first smartwatch with a built-in GPS system that surrounds you with your entire life. The amazing array of features on this watch are great for the avid golf player. The watch and golf app support up to 40,000 courses.

With the automatic holes advance feature, you get a hole number pop-up when you arrive at a tee box. This will tell you in advance if you’re playing from the correct tee box so you don’t have to move the pin, which is ideal for faster play.

2. Garmin Approach G10 Golf GPS

Our rating: 8 / 10

Garmin Approach G10 Golf GPS

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Our choice for the best golf gps of 2019 for beginners is the Garmin Approach G10 Golf GPS. If you’re a beginner or just starting out in this game, you’re probably unsure what to get for a golf watch or a gps device. Garmin has a reputation for providing reliable and effective golf gps devices that give you accurate distances and fair information on every hole.

The Approach G10 is a pocket-sized golf gps that you can easily slip into your pocket or clip to your belt. It features preloaded courses and beautiful full-color maps that you can view in a number of different views.

I’m particularly fond of the view that shows where the bunkers are on the course. It’s this little gem that makes the Garmin Approach G10 stand out from other golf gps devices. You can also use it to review how you played on that course, including information on all the drive distances, fairways hit, and greens hit in regulation.

3. Garmin Approach S60

Our rating: 8 / 10

Garmin Approach S60

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Pros:

  • Great price
  • Live yardage in color
  • Excellent battery life
  • High-resolution, color touchscreen display
  • Handy features like AutoShot detection and Sidehill lie measurement
  • Advanced scoring options, provides accurate distances and advanced stat tracking
  • Water, dirt and dust resistant up to 3 ATM
  • Golf mode gives distances to front, middle and back of green
  • Automated scorecard to enter in your scores
  • Smart notifications, automatic course updates and easy tournament scoring capabilities

Cons:

  • Narrow window display
  • Does not track club distances
  • Does not have handicap tracking ability

The Approach S60 is a tremendous golf watch from Garmin that affords you the convenience of having the stats available on your wrist during your game. Out of the box, you'll have the ability to get access to over 35,000 courses and comes preloaded with full course view, satellite images, and aerial views.

This golf GPS watch also gives you access to more than 38,000 worldwide courses and illustrations, scoring for up to four players, and simple connectivity. The Garmin App combined with this watch gives you access to everything your are looking for when it comes to a golf GPS watch.

4. Garmin Approach X10

Our rating: 8 / 10

Garmin Approach X10

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Pros:

  • Made for the outdoors
  • Features course layouts
  • Automatically keeps score
  • Intuitive touchscreen
  • Lightweight
  • Customizable screens
  • Courses can be downloaded
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Two years of battery life

Cons:

  • Not very accurate
  • Can be hard to read in bright sunlight
  • No golf mode, manual scorekeeping required

The Garmin Approach G10 is a simple, lightweight GPS golf watch that requires routable zen cart, Microsoft excel, or google earth upload and can be upgraded to Garmin’s golf course download service. It has courses in all 50 states, but the layout is not as detailed as the Approach S4 GPS Golf Band.

The Garmin Approach G10 Lightweight GPS Golf Band, Black has just one button and a touchscreen that can be navigated by swiping or tapping. The GPS acquisition is quick. However, the unit sometimes took scrutiny to read out the yardage when trees or buildings interfered with its view of the sky.

The Garmin Approach G10 GPS Golf Band will automatically keep score for you, but it doesn’t automatically update the hole information. You must hit the frequency button and enter hole number and then add strokes.

5. Garmin Approach G8 Golf Course GPS

Our rating: 8 / 10

Garmin Approach G8 Golf Course GPS

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Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Large, bright display
  • Up to 3,000 yard range
  • Highly accurate
  • On calls and texts
  • Up to 12 hours of battery life
  • Works with other Garmin devices
  • Touch and drag technology
  • PinPointer
  • Over 40,000 preloaded courses

Cons:

  • 90 feet of water is the minimum distance to measure yards from
  • Large size
  • The grip can get in the way if the shafts are positioned to a shorter player

GPS watches are good options for all levels of golfers and we recommend them highly as they are easy to operate while you’re on the green. Now you can track and analyze all aspects of your game with the Garmin Approach G8. This is perfect for those who like to remain connected with their phone while on the course.

We love the precision this watch has as you can measure the distance from up to 3,000 yards away. It also provides backlinks to the hole number, green information and course layout. The pin Pointer feature is also a smart addition as it directs your attention to the flag.

6. Bushnell Phantom Golf GPS

Our rating: 8 / 10

Bushnell Phantom Golf GPS

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Pros:

  • Reads distances to the green
  • Highly accurate GPS
  • Golf course pre-loaded and edited
  • Rangefinder function
  • Measure distance to any point quickly
  • Automatic hole advance
  • Battery life is 18 hours in GPS mode and 72 hours in watch mode
  • Easy to use
  • Water resistant

Cons:

  • Phones sync incorrectly with the watch
  • Has a shallow battery life
  • Can cost more than most golf GPS handheld units

While it may not be the number one selling golf GPS watch on the market, the Bushnell Phantom is still among the best. It offers many features that you won’t find in its competitors, including an incredibly long-lasting battery life. This watch is ideal for golfers who want a high-end golf GPS packed with features, but do not need the watch that has all the bells and whistles.

The Phantom GPS watch syncs quickly with the free Bushnell Golf app—the GPS gives you live reads on the phone, allowing you to monitor your game, change your shot, and track your performance all on your phone.

7. Garmin Approach X40

Our rating: 8 / 10

Garmin Approach X40

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Pros:

  • Built-in battery lasts up to 14 days
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Provides accurate yardage to the green
  • GPS features let you measure and record your speed, distance traveled, shot distance, layup and dogleg length
  • Impact and swing tempo data for evaluating your game
  • Wireless syncing
  • Maps courses in your area before you play them

Cons:

  • Fewer features than some of the newer golf GPS watches
  • Design is a bit bulky

And Color Screen, and Battery Up to 14 Days.

If you’re a golfer who’s always on the go, then the Garmin Approach X40 watch is the one for you. It boasts GPS technology, the longest battery life in the category of smartwatch-style GPS multisport watches and activity trackers, and a wireless syncing design. With this watch, you get all the information you need right at a glance.

The Garmin Approach X40 also has an LCD touchscreen that’s accessible regardless of the weather conditions. It also has an instant-load quad helix antenna that’s designed for improved signal strength and reliability.

8. Garmin Approach G30

Our rating: 7 / 10

Garmin Approach G30

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Pros:

  • Track up to 18 golf courses
  • Choose from over 40,000 preloaded tee times
  • Downloadable course maps for over 70 countries
  • Water-resistant
  • Free software allows updates for life
  • Distance to front, center, and back
  • Plus, shot distance to front, center, and back
  • Distances to hazards
  • Distances to layups and doglegs
  • Distances to greens

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Reputed to have problems with wet fingers
  • Some models are supposed to have problems with the touch screens
  • Newer models may not have a hole layout view, which some users and buyers prefer

9. Garmin 010-03723-01 Approach S20

Our rating: 7 / 10

Garmin 010-03723-01 Approach S20

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Pros:

  • Easily readable display
  • Excellent GPS and shot-measuring capabilities
  • Advanced features
  • Affordable
  • Durable

Cons:

  • No touchscreen, only buttons
  • Less accurate than others in wet conditions

The Garmin Approach S20 is one of the best-selling GPS golf watches on the market. Weighing at just 2.4 ounces, the S20 features a bright, sunlight-readable color display with a button interface. It has advanced course-downloading capabilities, auto hole advance and auto course recognition, and many other advanced features. And of course, it comes preloaded with thousands of courses around the globe, including U.S., Canada, UK and Ireland.

The Garmin Approach S20 can measure your shot distances up to 1,000 yards and has a vibration/alert feature for up to 150 yards. It also provides an odometer, a dual-orientation display, auto shot tracking, and even a digital scorecard. And with the addition of the Garmin AutoShot feature, which allows the watch to record the distance to up to 20 shots per round, this watch truly makes your golf session more efficient.

There are filters which can help us sort through these products effectively, which means in a quicker fashion.

10. Garmin TruSwing

Our rating: 5 / 10

Garmin TruSwing

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Pros:

  • Comes with data preloaded for over 30,000 worldwide golf courses
  • Measures swing and club speed, tempo, face angle and other important metrics
  • Color touch screen, accurate GPS, and clear instructions and grips
  • Water resistant, has a control-lock and connects to the app on your phone or tablet,
  • It’s the new, improved version of the Garmin TruSwing, with improved features
  • The latest development and a major improvement, over the previous version of the same golf club swing sensor

Cons:

  • The biggest drawback in my opinion is that the data is not compiled for you in any way
  • You have to input your own stats by hand. Sometimes that is ok, but for me that is just more work.
  • Unfortunately there is no way to integrate your swing data into an app, like the GolfLogix Mobile App or one of the many others out there.

The Garmin TruSwing golf club swing sensor lets you track your golf swing, clubs, and score without the need for another person. It can be used on any golf course, and has one of the most accurate GPS systems available. It also comes preloaded with data for over 30,000 golf courses, has swing and club speed, tempo face angle and other advanced metrics.

11. Izzo Golf Swami 5000 Golf GPS Rangefinder

Our rating: 5 / 10

Izzo Golf Swami 5000 Golf GPS Rangefinder

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This is an easy to use GPS device for golfers yet powerful. This watch is a great investment for golf enthusiasts who want to take their game to a higher level.

The features of this golf GPS device are:

This watch uses GPS to help you measure your distance. You can also manually input information to optimize your game.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best GPS golf watch on the market?

There are a few companies that have put out GPS watches they claim to be the best. One of the best known is Bushnell’s Neo ion golf watch. This watch comes with a number of fun features and is very easy to use. Some people even refer to it as a GPS for dummies (this is actually a compliment!). The Neo ion has quiet driving, distance to the user, and layup distance. It’s one of the best for individual performance and novices who are looking to train to improve.

If you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive GPS watch that is easy to use, then the Garmin Approach X40 is another good option. You can use it to track your round and your shots. It’s compatible with green view and has a feature that will whisper to you the yards to your front, middle, and back of the green.

What is the best golf watch 2022?

Golf watches are very popular with amateur golfers and professional golfers alike. They will tell you how far you hit the ball, how far it rolled, club speed, impact angle, and so much more info that is important in determining and improving your game.

The USGA does not recommend or require players to use a golf watch, but it also doesn’t prohibit use of them. Since a golfer owns his clubs and a smart watch, there is no rule against using them in a game.

If you want to stay away from any controversy, then make sure it is obvious that your watch is not attached to the golf club in any way. If there is a blue tooth capability on it, then you should make sure to turn it off before you tee off.

What is the best golf yardage device?

Yardage devices are similar to ringside boxing scorers. They keep track of your score, usually distance between you and the hole. In golf, there are a few different yardage devices, such as handheld GPS units and wearable GPS devices like wristwatches. The GPS watches offer convenience, being both a golf yardage calculator and heart monitor.

Most GPS golf watches include more advanced features such as the ability to calculate the distance to a pin from varying angles. Additionally, most GPS golf watches display a course map and a number of green distances.

What is better a golf GPS or rangefinder?

A golf GPS is essential for those of you who would like to know everyone’s distance from the hole before they swing. It is very common for golfers to be misled on how far they expect to hit the ball based on the first tee where they only have one chance to hit the ball.

So having a golf GPS that tells you the distance to the green gives you a better playing experience. Some golfers opt for the golf GPS to help them with shot making and to avoid hazards when playing golf.

The golf GPS is a great tool and it is essential for all golfers so you will not miss a lot of greens. Other than that, the golf GPS has many other features. It helps you in showing you distances and elevations and it can display distances to all of the hazards around the green. It shows your current scores and your personal best scores for every hole that you can also compare your scores to your friends and family.

Conclusion

What is Golf GPS?

As golf has become far more popular over the last decade or so, the gear available to allow golfers to improve their game has ballooned. One of the latest innovations to hit the market is GPS technology for golf, and it has quickly become the number one tool for golfers.

For beginners the appeal of GPS tracking is obvious, it can help you learn your distances while out on the course and learn how far you hit each club as you develop your game.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Apple Watch Series 4Best OverallApple Watch Series 4
Garmin Approach G30Budget PickGarmin Approach G30
Garmin Approach G8 Golf Course GPSUpgrade PickGarmin Approach G8 Golf Course GPS