Although it may seem as if time stands still whilst you are chipping away on the green, there are few places in life where it is handier to have a good, multifunctional and versatile watch than when playing golf. But how to decide which is the best golf watch?
Modern watches offer a wide variety of features above and beyond standard timekeeping,
and golf watches arguably offer even more, such as step tracking, swing monitoring, auto shot analyzers, and round by round stat tracking.
With the average price of a golf watch coming in at the same price (or in some cases
significantly less) than your standard watch, these handy pieces of technology are a must-have addition to any modern, tech-savvy golfer.
In this review, we have gathered together the five best golf watches on the market and
reviewed their features, pros and cons, and value for money, so that you can make the most informed purchase possible.
Keep reading and hopefully, we will not only help with your golf watch decision but also assist you in enhancing your swing, improving your game, and making you into a better all-round golfer.
Garmin Approach S10
For any golfing enthusiast looking for a golf watch bargain, look no further than the Garmin Approach S10.
Designed with less of the bells and whistles than other golf watches, what the S10 lacks in extensive multi-functionality, it more than makes up for with its simple, easy to use interfaces and a sleek, stylish look.
Incredibly light and comfortable for the wearer the S10 is capable of providing yardage to the front, back, and even middle of the green.
Able to pick up hazards and doglegs and with more than 41,000 preloaded courses from all across the world on its system, you can be confident that the S10 will always be there to steer you away from dangers and improve your game.
Additionally, the S10 has a smart scoring function, allowing you to monitor the total distance you have played, how long you have been playing, and of course the summary of your round.
With the added benefit of being able to upload your scorecards to Garmin Express, you can keep track and record all your results from previous rounds and really identify any trends or patterns to help you improve your game.
Coming with a rechargeable battery that allows for up to 12 hours of play in GPS golf mode, you can be sure that the S10 will be with you every step of every round.
- Compatible with Garmin Express
- Exceptional price
- 12-hour battery life
- Limited functionality
Garmin Approach S20 GPS Golf Watch
This Garmin GPS watch has it all. There are two colors available – black and slate. The small design (0.9×0.9in) doesn’t mean that the watch is lacking in any way. The watch not only serves as a watch and GPS but has various other add ons.
The autoshot round analyzer can measure the shot distances with auto-recording, so you can review your shot post-swing.
This watch has a built-in activity tracking device that can be useful to you on and off the course. It displays steps, calories burned, distance and time of the day, while also monitoring hours of sleep.
The GPS moves hole to hole. It tracks everything and even loads your steps, time and odometer automatically after the round, so the lack of touch screen won’t affect your game at all.
You’ll have no issues viewing the screen on a bright sunny day, as the resolution of this is super high and sunlight readable.
Battery life won’t be an issue for you either, as this device can stay on longer than other GPS’s on the market. The battery life is an impressive 15 hours for a GPS, and up to 8 weeks as a watch.
Ways of connecting to other devices from the Garmin Approach s20 include Bluetooth Smart and ANT+. This also integrates with Garmin Connect, a health/ fitness tracking system.
To learn more check out our full Garmin Approach S20 GPS Review.
- Watch design
- Pedometer and sleep tracker
- Sunlight readable
- Integrates with Garmin Connect
- Smaller screen (0.9x0.9")
Garmin Approach S60
For anyone looking for a golf watch at the more premium end of the market, let me introduce you to the Garmin Approach S60.
The S60 is a slimline, stylish, multifunctional GPS golf watch that offers the wearer everything that the modern golf watch possibly can.
With a large 1.2 inch, color, touchscreen display, that is even readable in direct sunlight, the S60 is one of the more accessible and better-looking golf watches on the market.
Able to quickly and accurately get your location via GPS, the S60 shows exact yardage to greens, doglegs, and hazards all on a full-color course map.
With innovative Quick-Fit bands explicitly designed for speedy style changes you can be confident in changing your look to suit your needs.
Deftly able to synchronize with compatible smartphones, the S60 allows you to receive notifications, texts, calls, and emails all whilst golfing.
Capable of lasting up to ten hours in golf mode and an incredible 10 days in watch mode you can be confident in the S60’s endurance and durability.
Having over 40,000 golf courses from around the world, already preloaded into its intricately designed system the S60 can assist golfers worldwide in monitoring, improving, and optimizing their golfing abilities.
- Smartphone compatibility
- Quick-Fit band adaptable
- Premium price
Golf Buddy Aim W10
The Golf Buddy Aim W10 is a genuinely standout GPS watch that with its massive list of features and competitive price is more than capable of standing toe to toe with any of the industry’s big players.
With a user-friendly 1.3 inch, full-color LCD touchscreen, and an enhanced zoom function that allows you to get a more detailed view of the green, the W10 is perfectly capable of alerting you to any hazards that may impede your game.
Preloaded with courses from 170 countries and within an inbuilt function to provide free wireless course updates, the W10 provides the user with the confidence to play on any green, anywhere in the world.
Colour course view comes as standard and with dual Arc distance reading display functions, the W10 can give you all pertinent course information such as distances to the greens, hole layout as well as any hazards or doglegs you may encounter.
Able to synchronize with the Golf Buddy smart app via Bluetooth the W10 allows the wearer to specifically and diligently monitor their game and look for any improvements that they can make.
Suitable for use in all weathers with its heavy rainproof rating of IP67, the W10s practical yet stylish design gives the user confidence that they can look great whilst getting the most out of their game.
- Color touchscreen
- Golf Buddy app compatible
- Rain resistant
- Complex interface
Bushnell Neo Ion 2
Designed to give you full golf tracking functionality whilst wearing an eye-catching fashion statement the Bushnell Neo Ion 2 encapsulates the dual worlds of style and function perfectly.
With its retro, prominent style, the Ion 2 comes with an ingenious reversible strap all in a cool black and blue color scheme.
Created with an easy to use and easy to read color display screen you are able to measure distances (front, center, and back) on every hole.
Preloaded with over 36,000 courses spread across 30 countries, the Ion 2 allows you to prepare for and track your game wherever you are.
Included with the Ion 2 is the handy Bushnell Golf App which gives you access to 3D flyovers of the course allowing you to notice any prominent course features as well as hazards and doglegs.
The Bushnell Golf App allows you to update courses wirelessly via Bluetooth so that you are never left in the dark on a particularly obscure course.
With its built-in, integrated, fitness step counter the Ion 2 lets you track your fitness goals, as well as your golfing goals.
Two-year warranty against manufacturing defects comes as standard and gives any user peace of mind that the Bushnell Neo Ion 2 is created to perform at an optimal level.
- Reversible strap
- In-built step counter
- Two-year warranty on manufacturing defects
- Somewhat dark display
How to find the best golf watch
As you can see from our above list, there are many excellent golf watches with a varied range of features for each one.
There is certainly a lot to consider when trying to choose between them all but hopefully, our guide will give you some pointers.
Even when considering the style and physical features of golf watches, (where you think they should all be relatively similar with few significant design differences), golf watches actually have tremendous variation when it comes to design and adaptability.
Firstly when looking at the style and layout of the watch, is it user friendly, and can the style be adapted to suit different needs?
Some of the watches listed above have reversible straps, and some are fitted with the innovative Quick-Fit bands which means that the change in style can be quick, easy, and as varied as the Quick Fit bands product range is capable of making them.
Another important feature to consider is the durability of the product. Is the watch waterproof?
If so, will this ability to endure wetter conditions be something that is desirable to you?
Your own location and where you usually golf will help influence this answer.
Preloaded Course Integration
One of the biggest selling points of many of the golf watches listed above is the feature of having thousands upon thousands of courses already preloaded on to your watch.
Perhaps this feature will not benefit you, as you golf locally or routinely on the same small number of courses.
If however, you travel the world looking for the best golf courses and want a watch that is as ready as you are to tee off, then maybe this is something you should consider.
With the watches that offer preloaded courses, it is important to note that there can be a significant difference in terms of the number of courses uploaded and the number of countries featured.
Again if you travel and golf extensively then this should certainly be something you should consider.
Amongst the watches featured above, there are unique differences in terms of compatibility with other tech that you may already own and or have access to.
Several of the watches use “in-house” apps that you will be required to download to get the most out of the watch.
These apps are undoubtedly helpful in recording, monitoring, and in helping you adapt your game.
However, if you are somewhat averse to downloading apps and have no desire to learn about another one, then this should be something you consider.
Many of the watches are smartphone compatible and can notify you when you receive texts, emails, calls, and push notifications.
The differences in battery life for golf watches can be considerable and for accuracy, many watch manufacturers make a point that their watches battery life increases when taking off of golf/GPS mode.
A watch specifically designed as a golf watch and with GPS capability as standard, should really only have its battery life considered on those terms.
The variation between battery life can be as significant as seven hours for one watch and over ten hours on another.
Obviously the more features that your watch does have, will inevitably decrease the battery life of your watch.
Cost and value for money
There can be a significant difference in terms of cost when considering golf watches but one important point of note is that if you do choose to purchase a more budget-friendly option you may not get as full a range of features and benefits as some of the more premium models.
Conversely, you may also need to consider (especially when looking at well known branded products) that with an increase in price what you may actually be paying for is the name and brand perception.
It could very well be the case that a smaller manufacturer may offer a similar product in terms of specific features but come with a lower price tag due to being a smaller, newer, or less well-known brand.
Out of the five watches we have reviewed above the price range varies from an amazing $97 to the more premium-priced watch with a price tag of $295.
We have covered some great golf watches as part of this review but the one we have chosen as the best, is the Garmin Approach S20 GPS Golf Watch.
The S20 is as multifunctional as it is well designed. From its sleek look and user-friendly interface to its smartphone compatibility and multiple tracking features.
Exceptionally well-priced given its enormous range of features and product attributes, especially when compared to competing models with similar design and functionality.
Its ability to pair with the Garmin Connect app is an additional boon that will really help grow your own game as well as your standing in the golfing community.
Garmin Connect allows you to play, track then share, and compare your results with Garmin’s golfing community. This allows you to pick up and rectify any flaws in your game as well as seeking help and support from golfers who may have overcome your current failings and are happy to provide you with help.
Although the S20 has no touch screen or color feature, it does boast a plethora of other useful features that are designed to more than compensate for this.
All in all, the Garmin Approach S20 GPS Golf Watch is an exceptional piece of golfing technology that will be an amazing addition to any golfers game.
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comment below and we are always appreciative of a share.
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