Best Golf GPS Watches -Buying Guide 

 September 8, 2019

By  Kennie Kat

I made the decision to wear a GPS golf watch 2 years ago and I’ll never look back. Not only has it improved my scores, but the confidence of knowing distances to the front, back and middle of the green has helped with club selection and hitting more greens in regulation.

I’m going to talk about some of the best golf GPS watches on the market in 2019. I’m also going to go into a little detail about the golf GPs watch that I purchased. 

In a Hurry? Here is my top pick.

Garmin Approach S60

Garmin Approach S60, Premium GPS Golf Watch with Touchscreen Display and Full Color CourseView Mapping, Black w/ Leather Band
  • Sleek GPS golf watch that reflects your passion on and off the course
  • Large, 1.2" Sunlight-readable color touchscreen display with scratch-resistant ceramic bezel
  • Quickly gets your location using GPS to Show precise yardages to greens, Hazards and doglegs, on...

Last update on 2022-02-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

There are going to be a lot of Garmin options in this list because Garmin makes the BEST GPS golf watches. That shouldn’t come as a shocker. What makes the Garmin Approach S60 stand out is the ease of use of the touch screen functions. The touch screen is extremely receptive to your finger and very intuitive to use. If you want to know a distance, you just press on the screen. Want to understand how far trouble is, you just touch the trouble.

The color screen functionality gives you a lot of confidence when looking at a birds eye view of the course. You feel confident that you understand where the danger is and where you need to hit your ball. The Approach S60 comes with some additional features like swing tempo and it will track the distance from your previously hit shots so that it makes it easier to locate a ball if you don’t know exactly where you hit it. The green view is one of the most useful features as it allows you to move the pin to anywhere on the green so you can get accurate distances.

As it currently stands, this is the king of all golf GPS watches and any serious golfer should consider investing in this solution if you want the best golf GPS watch that money can buy.

Things We Like

  • Color touch screen
  • Distance from your last shot
  • Swing tempo trainer
  • Green view with the ability to move the flag to anywhere on the green

Generals questions about golf GPS watches

Why should I use a GPS golf watch?

That’s a great question that a lot of golfers ask me. The biggest reason I would say is that it’s important for approach shots. Having a rangefinder that gives you distance to the flag is great, but it’s important to understand where the flag is in relation to the front and back of the green. This should help aid your club selection.

Another great reason is that a range finder can only give you distances to things you can see. Even if you’re playing your favorite course, it’s still valuable to understand the distances to bunkers, water hazards, fairways and anywhere you really need to know in order to hit your shot.

The final reason is that it will speed up your pace of play. Lots of golfers play in golf carts and that means that sometimes your shots will end up on completely opposite sides of the course. With a GPS watch, you can feel confident knowing the distances you need to hit and grab a few clubs while you go find your ball and your playing partner executes their shot.

Will watches fit women and men?

Yes. Just about every golf GPS watch that I’ve seen on the market has adjustable straps so they can fit large and small wrists. Most of the watches also have aftermarket bands that you can purchase.

I already own a fitness watch. Do I really need two?

This is an area that I think golf GPS companies like Garmin need to improve their product offerings. They have the ability to provide a full solution watch. There are lots of watches that have heart rate monitors built in, will count steps, measure calories, incorporate into your smart phone’s health apps and many more. I haven’t found most golf watch offerings to be as robust as some of the best fitness watches in the market so I would say that having two is probably the most realistic option at the moment if you want a quality golf GPS watch.

Are they accurate?

Absolutely. Most courses submit their mapped data to a master database that many of the companies use to make golf GPS watches. The other companies have millions of satellite images in which they can utilize to give you the most accurate information. I’ve had several instances where the GPS in the golf cart has been inaccurate and my watch has been 100% correct.

Best Golf GPS Watches

Garmin Approach S20

Garmin 010-03723-01 Approach S20, GPS Golf Watch with Step Tracking, Preloaded Courses, Black
  • Autoshot round analyzer measures shot distances with auto recording for post round analysis on your...
  • Stylish comfort: Fully hinged, sleek watchband design with comfortable fit. Display resolution: 128...
  • Truswing compatible: When paired, Garmin TruSwing golf swing sensor provides metrics to improve your...

Last update on 2022-02-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you’re looking for a golf watch that is a great value for money, then look no further. The Garmin Approach S20 is quite possibly the best watch in the market for under $200. It has a lot of the features of distance as the more expensive models, but without the color screen. It will track shots, distances, fairways hit and all of the information that more expensive golf stat tracking options will provide. It has a view of the green with the ability to move the pin to pre-set points that most flags are located at.

With more than 40,000 courses, this is definitely a great purchase if you don’t need the visual and a battery that will last through 2 rounds. 

Things We Like

  • All the great features of expensive models without the price
  • 15 hour battery life
  • Shot tracking and data analytics

Garmin Approach S40

Garmin Approach S40, Stylish GPS Golf Smartwatch, Lightweight With Touchscreen Display, White/Light Gold
  • Stylish, lightweight GPS golf watch with a sunlight-readable 1. 2" color touchscreen display with...
  • Preloaded with more than 41, 000 courses from around the world
  • Measures and auto-records detected shot distances; putts are not tracked, and some other shots, such...

Last update on 2022-02-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is the  little brother of the Approach S60, but don’t let it’s slightly cheaper price tag fool you. It has all the bang for your buck that you would want in a golf gps watch. It features a smaller profile and 2” touch screen with all of the auto shot detection and green view functionality you want in a sophisticated golf gps  watch without the extra price tag of features that you may not be interested in like Garmin TruSwing. 

The battery life is rated up to 15 hours in golf GPS mode which might just be able to last for 3 rounds without recharging.

Things We Like

  • Great value for money
  • Just as good as it's big brother with a few less advances features that you probably won't miss or ever use
  • 15 hour batter life
  • Color touch screen

Garmin Approach X40

Garmin Approach X40, GPS Golf Band and Activity Tracker with Heart Rate Monitoring, White
  • GPS receiver - high-sensitivity GPS acquires satellites quickly to Show distance to greens, Hazards...
  • Auto shot - round analyzer measures shot distances with auto-recording for post-round analysis on...
  • Activity Tracking - reminds you to stay active on or off the course with move bar alerts....

Last update on 2022-02-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Approach X40 is really designed for those who want a golf watch that also has heart monitor tracking. This isn’t a feature that’s built into the premier models (who knows why) but it does come in this unit. You’ll find a lot of the same features such as automatic shot tracking, ability to select the pin location, shot distance measuring, score tracking and advanced Garmin stat tracking. 

All in all, this is a healthy, budget friendly option for those of us who can’t commit to purchasing a sports watch without a heart rate monitor on it.

Things We Like

  • Heart rate monitor
  • Garmin TruSwing which helps you monitor your swing characteristics and tempo
  • Touchscreen

Bushnell Neo Ion 2 Golf GPS Watch

Last update on 2022-02-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Bushnell makes a great range finder and they also make a pretty damn good GPS golf watch as well. It doesn’t have all of the features that a Garmin watch provides, but it does the golf GPS stuff as good as anything in the market. I love how it automatically gives you distance to up to 4 hazards on the hole without even needing to program it to do so. It will let you know the end of the fairway, green-side bunkers, fairway bunkers and the distance to water hazards with the couch of a button. 

If you’re a smart phone gps player, then integrating this with the Bushnell app will basically give you everything you need from the tee to the green. If you’re a golfer that just wants raw golfing information then the Bushnell is a great value for money option

Things We Like

  • Great Value For Money
  • Distance To Hazards
  • Works well with Bushnell App

Garmin Approach S10

Garmin 010-02028-00 Approach S10, Lightweight GPS Golf Watch, Black
  • Simple, easy-to-use golf watch
  • Sleek, lightweight and comfortable with a high-resolution, Sunlight-readable display
  • Provides yardages to the front, back and middle of the Green -as well as Hazards and doglegs - on...

Last update on 2022-02-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

I couldn’t have said it better myself than this amazing review from JIN:

“This watch gives accurate distances and advances to the next hole flawlessly... One thing I noticed over the Bushnell is when I forget to start the watch until after I finish the first hole... The Bushnell forced me to advance the watch to the proper hole, but this Garmin immediately recognized what hole I was on and needed no adjustment... This leads me to believe that it's GPS system is more accurate than other watches... The only drawback is that the Garmin takes a little more time for it's GPS to come up and recognize the course I am at... However, it is not much more time, and, I just set it to start the round a little earlier than I did with my Bushnell... If you want a golf watch that is accurate, lightweight, very unobtrusive on your wrist , and, you don't need all the fancy bells and whistles, this is the watch for you…”

Things We Like

  • No nonsense golf distance functionality
  • Great price and value for money
  • 12 hour battery

Golf Buddy GB9

GolfBuddy GB9 WTX+ Smartwatch Golf GPS
  • An Everyday Lifestyle Watch
  • Simple and fast touch sensitive user interface
  • Preloaded with over 38,000 courses worldwide with free updates

Last update on 2022-02-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The screen is bright, and easy to use. The charging pod is excellent. Even leaving the watch on all during a round of golf, it only uses about 50% of the power. The color screen is clear and easy to read. The battery lasts through multiple rounds. It takes a little learning to understand how to move through screens, but nothing too hard really.The overhead view of the holes is a wonderful tool, especially on a course you have not played.

The 200/250/300yd range markers are also very helpful to decide if driver is the right club off the tee.

Things We Like

  • Range Markers of 200/250/300yd to help you with club selection on tee
  • Color Screen
  • Price

Top Brands of Golf GPS Watches


Garmin makes some of the best GPS devices in the world. Their offering of Golf GPS watches are some of the best products you can find on the market and they have been a trusted name in distance measuring devices for decades. You can’t go wrong with Garmin GPS golf watches.


Bushnell has been the industry leader in high-performance sports optics for more than 65 years. Our guiding principle is to provide the highest quality, most reliable and affordable sports optics products on the market. And, our commitment to outstanding customer service and strong retailer partnerships is unmatched.

Bushnell boasts leading market share in all of the sports optics categories, and our products have consistently won design and performance awards. Our product lines enhance the enjoyment of every outdoor pursuit from golf, spectator sports, nature study, hunting, fishing and birding to stargazing. Indoors, binoculars bring the audience closer to the action in fast-moving sports or the fine arts at theaters and concerts.

​Golf Buddy

GolfBuddy is a leading innovator in the golf rangefinder industry with a primary goal to provide the most accurate and innovative golf rangefinders in the market. 

GolfBuddy has the most accurate course database with physically verified courses across the world. GolfBuddy started in 2003 with a single product, and now we have rangefinder products in various categories: wearables, handhelds, voice and laser. 

Each of our GPS units comes preloaded with over 38,000 courses worldwide and as always, our products are 100% fee free.

Wrap Up

Call me biased because I own a Garmin GPS watch, but I believe the Garmin makes some of the best GPS golf watches in the market. My top pick for any avid golfer would be the Approach S60. It’s packed full of features and I think the watch will last for many years to come. 

However, if the price is a serious concern or the features really that big a deal for you then the Garmin Approach S20 is going to be your best option for a golf GPS watch.

Kennie Kat

Kennie 'Kat' Elerby is the creator of KennieKatGolf.com, a website created to share his journey, hold himself accountable and inspire other amateur golfers to improve. You can find my content on Youtube - KennieKatGolf

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