The complete guide to the Best Golf GPS Watches available in 2022.
The recent advances in technology mean GPS golf watches can almost be like having a caddie on your wrist. While golf GPS devices were typically accurate to five metres, which isn’t bad, that meant the yardage given could be 16 feet higher or lower than the reality – or, the difference between finding the green or a greenside bunker.
Modern golf watches are becoming increasingly accurate, most to within one or two yards. The ShotScope V3 claims accuracy of 30cm, which will be close enough for even the most accurate golfers. And the dizzying array of features now available can take the strain out of much of the game.
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Golf is hard enough so if you have a device that calculates the true distance to the hole – taking account of uphill or downhill shots – why not take advantage of technology?
To help you decided if a golf watch is right for you we’ve pulled together a full buying guide to golf DMDs, including all of the pros and cons. Jump to it, here.
You’ll also notice the Apple Watch doesn’t make our list, but is it actually usable as a golf watch? We explain all, here.
If you’re in the market for equipment that can help make playing golf just that little bit easier, why not check out our features on the Best Golf Launch Monitors, Best Golf Rangefinders, and Best Training Aids.
RRP £479.99 | VIEW OFFER
Number of courses: 41,000 | Battery life: 20 hours
The Garmin Approach S62 won’t be the golf watch for everyone, purely due to the price. But it is undeniably the best GPS golf watch money can buy. In fact it’s almost quicker to list the things it can’t do.
For starters, it is probably the most stylish golf watch available. It looks good enough to wear all the time, not just on the golf course. And you can do that, as the Garmin Approach S62 battery life will last up to a fortnight when you’re just using it as a normal watch. In golf mode, the Garmin S62 battery life is up to a staggering 20 hours, which is a lot longer any other comparable device.
The Garmin Approach S62 has a full-colour display on a 1.3″ screen, which is 17 per cent larger than the Garmin Approach S60 and readable even in bright sunlight. The larger display comes in particularly handy when using the ‘Green View’ feature, which shows the true shape of the green and lets you zoom in and drag-and-drop the pin for greater accuracy.
If you’ve carved a shot way off into the woods and don’t even know where the green is anymore, or if you’re just playing a blind approach shot, the Garmin S62’s ‘PinPointer’ will act like a compass to point you directly towards the hole.
The ‘Hazard View’ lets you quickly scroll through each hazard and get a yardage to the front and back, helping you decide whether to lay up or take on the carry distance.
The Garmin Approach S62 also collects stats. Pair it with the Garmin Golf app to get strokes gained information and lots more. It can use this information to act as a caddie on your wrist, factoring in wind speed and direction to suggest a club based on the distance you typically hit with each of the clubs in your bag.
Even if you prefer to pick clubs for yourself, the Approach S62 makes that easier, offering adjusted distances to allow for uphill and downhill shots, and for wind speed and direction.
It might just be a GPS golf watch but it is so helpful it almost feels like cheating. And, in a way, it is, as some of those features wouldn’t be allowed in any normal golf competition. But you can turn them off and use the Garmin Approach S62 as a normal golf watch, which most amateur competitions will allow.
It is also a lot more than just a fantastic golf watch. It monitors your heart rate and can even estimate blood oxygen levels. It can receive emails and texts. And it can also be used for running, cycling and swimming, as well as golf. You can even use it to make contactless payments via Garmin Pay.
Garmin Approach S42 GPS watch
RRP £269.99 | VIEW OFFER
Number of courses: 42,000 | Battery life: 15 hours
The Garmin Approach S62’s little brother is almost £200 cheaper so, as you might expect, not quite as feature laden but it still does an impressive list of jobs.
Apart from the all-important job of measuring distance like every other GPS watch, the S42 automatically records each shot so you can assess just how far each shot travelled, which is a huge help when selecting clubs.
It will also count your steps and monitor your sleep patterns plus you can sync it with your phone so you’ll get notifications for texts and missed calls.
In GPS mode the battery will last a very healthy 15 hours and style wise, is as classy looking as you would expect from Garmin
RRP £209.99 | VIEW OFFER
Number of courses: 36,000 | Battery life: 10+ hours
Available in four different coloured straps, the ShotScope V3 does everything you would expect of a standard GPS golf watch – it comes with 35,000 courses pre-loaded and shows yardages to the front, middle and back of the green – but it is so much more than that.
While it doesn’t have the graphics capabilities of some of its more expensive rivals, the V3 will be a popular GPS golf watch and has a very clever system to give you a mountain of data while the makers believe its dual satellite technology reduces the industry standard margin for error down from 3-5 metres to just 30cm.
The ShotScope V3 golf watch comes with 16 sensors (you screw one into the end of each of your clubs) and this enables the watch to automatically detect every shot you hit. It can then map your entire round, shot-by-shot, and collect a huge amount of helpful data about your golf game. You won’t notice the sensors at all, as they are so light and screw snugly into the grip of your club.
You don’t even need to tag where the flag is when putting out, ShotScope’s clever new system does everything for you.
The amount of analytics the ShotScope V3 offers is fantastic – it gives you more than 100 statistics including greens in regulation, driving distance and putts per round – so you can compare yourself with all the pros.
Skycaddie LX5C GPS watch
RRP £349 | VIEW OFFER
Number of courses: 35,000 | Battery life: ‘Up to 2 rounds’
Skycaddie have gone big with this offering and the screen is noticeably larger than the average GPS watch.
In fact it has the largest and brightest colour touchscreen (1.39in) with full HD graphics and comes preloaded with more than 35,000 course maps. It even allows you to choose which tee box you’re playing from, your gender, and whether you’d prefer distances in yards or metres, for additional accuracy.
Like the brand’s larger GPS devices, the LX5C lets you zoom and pan and is constantly calculating yardages to hidden hazards so you know how far you’ve got to carry or lay up short of them. The IntelliGreen tech provides exact shapes of greens for distances to front, back and any point in between from your angle of approach.
You know you can trust the yardages because SkyCaddie are the only golf GPS brand to create and update every UK golf course map on foot using survey-quality equipment across thousands of points per course.
TAG Heuer Connected Golf Edition GPS watch
RRP £2,100 | VIEW OFFER
Number of courses: 40,000 | Battery life: 20 hours
Ok, it’s big money, we know that. But for those with a passion for watches and golf, TAG Heuer’s stunning special edition GPS golf watch is a piece of kit to get the blood pumping.
The go-to sports watch company has produced a highly effective on-course operator as well as a classic-looking TAG watch away from the course. You get 40,000 courses in stunning detail plus accelerometer and gyroscope functions to record each shot to the nearest metre.
The grade two titanium casing ensures considerable durability and the special ceramic golf bezel is just a great touch, in keeping with other special edition watches TAG have brought out.
Also includes a pedometer, heart rate monitor and a ‘Golf Edition Box’ containing three TAG Heuer golf balls, 4 TAG Heuer tees, divot tools, divot tool and spare strap for your watch.
If you do splash out then you’ll be in good company. Tommy Fleetwood, Nick Dougherty and Iona Stephen all use the Connected watch.
Shot Scope G3 GPS Watch
RRP £169.99 | VIEW OFFER
Number of courses: 36,000+ | Battery life: 10 hours+
Shot Scope’s GPS devices are renowned for being the most accurate in the business and while the G3 doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the shot-tracking V3, it is a fantastic watch, especially at the £109.99 it’s currently being sold for on Amazon.
It will tell you green distances to the front, middle and back plus front and carry distances for every hazard. It will also confirm how far your last shot travelled if you want to boast about your drive or find out how the weather conditions are impacting your shots.
The G3 comes preloaded with more than 36,000 courses and the battery life will comfortably last two rounds – Shot Scope say it will last more than 10 hours in GPS mode and more than 10 days in standard watch mode.
Available with black, blue, red or silver straps, it has a 3.2cm-wide screen and is impressively light, making it a great everyday watch for wearing off the course.
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RRP £249.99 | VIEW OFFER
Number of courses: 40,000 | Battery life: 10 hours
This is a lot of gps golf watch for the money – you can get this for less than £200 now. I particularly liked the green contouring feature, especially when you are hitting your approach shots because you get a regular reminder that hitting straight at the pin is not always the best strategy.
Certainly on the long putts it also gives tremendous peace of mind – if you like you start doubting yourself when it comes to reading greens – and the colour coding system is easy to follow and master.
The graphics are pretty good and you get a hazards readout while you can manually alter the pin placement when it comes to getting the clubbing right on those all-important approaches.
In golf mode you will get two rounds out of your battery so not the longest lasting power source but that’s not a problem and it is also very waterproof which will come into its own when playing through the dark months.
There is also a pedometer option for those fitness-conscious golfers and an impressive course directory with free wireless updates available via Bluetooth with the smartphone app.
RRP £169 | VIEW OFFER
Number of courses: 40,000 | Battery life: 16 plus hours.
Available in grey or black, the American company are well-known in this kind of marketplace and the ION Edge again will do all the basics to a high standard, which is all you really need, especially if you are playing in competitions.
It includes a shot-distance calculator for those who want that bad news and all your stats and scores can be uploaded the Bushnell Golf Mobile App for analysis purposes.
RRP £319 | VIEW OFFER
Number of courses: 40,000 | Battery life: 60 hours
The golf version of Samsung’s popular Active2 range comes in two face sizes (40mm and 44mm) but the larger version – although it’s only an extra 4mm – does make quite a difference when you are studying what to do next.
It’s lightweight, water-resistant and the data is arranged in a very clean-looking way. This is very important as there are a lot of options plus you get a free lifetime Smart Caddie app as part of the package.
Another GPS golf watch that will give you slopes graduations on the greens suing an easy-to-follow colour system. As previously mentioned this is also very helpful with approach/pitch shots.
It also includes workout options and a heart monitor and will send you an alert but perhaps set the bar quite high if you’re particularly twitchy over slippery four footers.
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RRP £319 | VIEW OFFER
Number of courses: 40,000 | Battery life: 36 holes
Another gps golf watch with a dizzying array of features that can do virtually everything apart from actually swinging the club.
It’s like having a caddy on your wrist plus it will also let you know your swing tempo from your previous shot… helping you confirm what you almost certainly knew – that last swing was a bit too quick!!
More helpful is the contoured green view feature which really helps focus the mind on approach shots and long putts plus the Voice Caddie T8 also adjusts the distance you have left to take account of uphill or downhill shots. That is incredibly helpful when playing a course for the first time.
It is one of the more expensive options but again you get adjustable pins thanks to the colour touch screen and you also get landing area suggestions off the tee.
Bushnell NEO ION 2 GPS watch
RRP £159.99 | VIEW OFFER
Number of courses: 36,000 | Battery life: 54 holes
Compared to some of the sleeker HD GPS golf watch options, the ION 2 does seem a bit dated with its clunky-looking readouts.
However you still get a lot of information for your money, especially as it is widely available for close to £100.
Apart from the standard measurements, it will give you readouts to up to four hazards per hole, shot distance calculator plus you get an integrated fitness step counter.
Canmore TW-410G GPS watch
RRP £219 | VIEW OFFER
Number of courses: 39,000 | Battery life: 12 hours
Another that doesn’t have the colour graphics of its more well-known and well-established rivals but still a strong, easy-to-use GPS golf watch.
A very clever shot-measuring feature will give you an accurate readout and there is also a very quick and easy way of being shown distances to sand and water hazards.
It will also count your steps and tell you how many calories you have burned (see that nett 79 wasn’t all bad news) plus it’s water resistant plus the black on white readout means it’s straightforward to view even if its sunny.
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TecTecTec Ult-G GPS watch
RRP £119.99 | VIEW OFFER
Number of courses: 38,000 | Battery life: 12 hours
For those on a budget – it’s available for less than £90 at the time of writing – this French-made GPS golf watch is a great option.
The important stuff – distance to the front/centre/back of greens plus yardages to hazards is easily accessible.
There are just four buttons required to fulfil its potential and the battery life matches most of its more expensive GPS golf watch competitors.
Golf Distance Measuring Devices: Buying Guide
The Apple Watch can be used for golf, but golf obviously isn’t its main purpose, and it shows.
For a start, you’ll need to use a third-party app like Golfshot or 18Birdies. Most of the Apple Watch golf apps are paid-for or involve some kind of subscription to get the full service. You’ll also need your phone to be involved in the process of playing golf, usually at the start and end of the round.
Some of the apps will actually be taking the yardages from your phone and displaying them on your phone, which isn’t particulary helpful unless your bag is right next to you. If you’re on the tee and your bag is 10 yards away, your watch could be displaying completely the wrong yardage.
If you have an Apple Watch and don’t want to buy a second watch purely for golf, then it can and will do a job for you. But if you’re choosing the best golf watch from everything available, the Apple Watch would be some way down the list.
There’s also the fact that the Apple Watch can do so much – calls, emails, social media, fitness tracking, etc etc – that it will tend to interrupt your golf unless you remember to turn everything else off before your round.
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Golf watch – pros and cons
Quick and convenient – Golf watches are the quickest to use of the three options; simply glance down at your wrist and you have all the information you need.
Stat-tracking – Most golf watches now offer some form of stat-tracking which can be hugely useful to help you work out the strengths and weaknesses in your game, as well as reliable information on how far you hit each club in your bag.
Overhead hole views – Some of the more advanced golf GPS watches can give you a bird’s-eye view of the hole, which helps you plot your shots and play smart shots to avoid hazards.
Feeling on wrist – Some golfers don’t like the feeling of a golf watch on their wrist when they play, and therefore prefer a laser rangefinder or handheld GPS. Most modern golf watches aren’t overly bulky, so this won’t be an issue for many people, but it’s a personal preference.
Not as accurate as lasers – Golf GPS watches are very accurate, but if you want the absolute most accurate yardage to the flag possible, a golf laser rangefinder is the way to go.
Battery – Most of the best golf watches will last you two 18-hole rounds of golf on one charge, but if you’re on a golf holiday and forget your charger, there’s nothing you can do. The majority of golf lasers use replaceable batteries rather than rechargeable ones and will last for months, if not years, without needing to be replaced.
Golf laser rangefinder – pros and cons
Accuracy – If you want to know exactly how far you’ve got to the flag, a laser rangefinder will beat a golf watch or handheld GPS every time. That said, many golfers would benefit from aiming for the middle of the green rather than the pin more often, and that’s something the laser can’t really help you with.
Simplicity – With a golf laser, you don’t need to faff about with a touchscreen or countless different menu options. Simply aim at your target, press a button (most lasers only have one or two buttons), and the yardage will flash up before your eyes.
Battery life – Most lasers use replaceable batteries and these will typically last dozens, if not hundreds of rounds. Just make sure you always carry a spare battery in your golf bag for the inevitable day the battery dies on the first hole of an important competition…
Hand shake – Some golfers find it difficult to lock on to their target as it requires a relatively steady hand. The best golf lasers do tend to have features to help with this, and to let you know that you’ve definitely locked on to the flag and not the trees behind, but if you’re inadvertently waving it around all over the show there isn’t much it can do.
Pin-only yardages – Standard golf lasers only provide a yardage to the target you aim at, which is typically the pin. It’s much more difficult to get an accurate yardage to a hazard that doesn’t stick up, like a bunker or water.
Speed – We’ve all been stuck behind a golfer who takes an age to get a yardage with his laser, and feels the need to repeat the process two or three times on every shot. Whilst the process should only take a few seconds, there’s no denying that it’s never going to be quite as quick as just looking down at a watch that’s already displaying the yardage.
Lack of stat-tracking – A laser will help you while you’re on the course, but it doesn’t offer any stat-tracking or post-round analysis, which you get with the best golf watches and handheld GPS devices.
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Handheld golf GPS – pros and cons
Combined speed and accuracy – A golf GPS will constantly display yardages and update these as you move around the course, so there’s no need to worry about pressing any buttons as you have to do with a golf laser
Cheap – You can pick up a half-decent handheld golf GPS for under £100, although top models with extensive functionality can be four times that amount.
Comprehensive – A full-screen golf GPS will give you a full picture of the hole you’re on, which makes it easy to plan your way around bunkers, dog-legs and so forth. Whether you can then hit the shots you planned is another matter…
Accuracy – As we’ve established, nothing beats a golf laser rangefinder when it comes to accuracy to the flag. Top-end golf GPS devices will let you place a pin on the green and give you a yardage, but that’s only as accurate as your interpretation of where the flag is on that day.