Best golf GPS watch 2019: calculate shot lengths like Tiger Woods

Discover the best GPS golf watches from Garmin, Callaway, Bushnell and Shot Scope to give your game a boost from the tee to the green

Best golf GPS watch 2019: calculate shot lengths like Tiger Woods
(Image credit: Getty)

Want to ace your game when playing golf? You need skill and accuracy, both of which the best GPS golf watches can boost by tracking your shots and dishing out real-time information about the specific course you're playing. Oh, and they'll keep score too, leaving you to focus on the shot in hand.

These watches for golfers are created to accurately monitor your swing, in real-time, and to keep an eye on your putting form. Think of them as your very own golf coach, helping you to refine every aspect of your technique and giving you tips on how to lower your handicap.

GPS golf watches store data from thousands of golf courses around the world, enabling you to get course-specific information on your wrist as you play. You’ll be provided with details on everything from course layout to hazards. Knowledge is power, and these watches will certainly keep you ahead of the competition. 

GPS location technology helps boost your golf game by showing you how far you are from the pin at any time, while some watches offer more advanced features like the ability to highlight elevation changes. This all helps to remove the guesswork from your next shot. 

It used to be that golf scores were marked down on a card that would inevitably get lost or destroyed in your golf bag. Not any more. Most GPS golf watches track and log your score as you play, leaving you to focus completely on the game itself.

BEST GOLF GPS WATCH: OUR EXPERT PICK

  • The best GPS golf watches come preloaded with at least 30,000 courses from around the world, and are able to measure course elevation as well as your distance from the pin to help improve each shot. For long days on the green, it’s important to choose a watch that’s comfortable, with ample battery life and a bright screen that’s easy to read even in direct sunlight.
  • With that in mind, our top pick for golfers is the Garmin Approach S40 golf GPS. Newly launched this year, it’s packed with features to help you master any course. It also comes with a raft of standard smartwatch functions, including notifications from your mobile device and even accurate fitness tracking (steps, calories, distance covered, and so on).  

THE BEST GOLF GPS WATCHES TO BUY NOW

Best golf GPS watch: Garmin Approach S40 watch

(Image credit: Garmin)

1. Garmin Approach S40

The best overall GPS golf watch

Specifications
Battery life: Up to 15 hours in GPS mode
Courses: Over 41,000
Waterproof: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Clear colour display makes it easy to view+Cutting-edge GPS delivers accurate distances+Offers a raft of smartwatch features
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of GPS golf watches, Garmin has got the art down to a tee. Its latest wearable, launched this year, is crammed with features to help you master your swing, which is why it’s our top pick for the best golf GPS.

A combination of cutting-edge GPS technology and a sunlight-readable 1.2-inch colour touchscreen enables you to calculate distances to the front, middle and back of the green, as well as any hazards. 

AutoShot game tracking records your every pitch and putt, so that you can learn from your mistakes post-match. And data from 41,000 global courses gives you the opportunity to compare your score with others who’ve played there. 

Add in Bluetooth, notifications from your smartphone, and accurate sleep and fitness tracking, and the Approach S40 is a true all-rounder when it comes to golf GPS watches.

(Image credit: Garmin)

2. Bushnell ION2 Golf GPS

The best GPS golf watch for keeping things simple

Specifications
Battery life: Up to 12 hours in GPS mode
Courses: Over 36,000
Waterproof: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Reversible band+Easy to understand+Automatic course and hole recognition
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

Don’t want to be distracted by fancy graphics? The second-gen edition of Bushnell’s discontinued ION golf watch is simplicity in itself, delivering the stats that matter in an easy-to-digest numerical format. 

Automatic course and hole recognition means that you can get straight into the action without faffing around with dials. Built-in Bluetooth enables you to update course info without using your data. And the ION2’s generous battery life should be enough for three rounds.  

All of this comes in a sleek, modern package that’s rounded off by a distinctive reversible wristband, meaning your style will stay on course even when your balls don’t.


(Image credit: SkyCaddie)

3. SkyCaddie Linx GT

The best golf GPS watch for people who like gadgets

Specifications
Battery life: Up to 8 hours in GPS mode
Courses: Over 35,000
Waterproof: No, but it is water-resistant
Reasons to buy
+Pairs with a brilliant app +Loads of cool features+Robust build will withstand weather and stray balls!
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

The Linx GT may be lagging behind some golf wearables in terms of battery life and waterproofing, but you’d be hard-pushed to find a watch with cooler on-course features.

As well as your usual, accurate distance calculations, this robust but lightweight wrist companion pairs with the superb SkyCaddie mobile app to give you vivid HD views of the hole you’re playing, ensuring that your approach is absolutely spot-on. 

The watch is compatible with the SkyGolf 360 cloud service, which means your friends can follow your progress no matter where they are in the world. And the Linx GT can also read SmartTags, enabling you to easily make a note of which club worked best on each hole.


(Image credit: Shot Scope)

4. Shot Scope V2

The best golf GPS watch for analysing your game

Specifications
Battery life: Up to 7 hours in GPS mode
Courses: Over 40,000
Waterproof: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Exhaustive statistical analysis+Smart GPS chip delivers accurate distance measuring+Distances are available in metres or yards
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

If you’re the kind of person who loves poring over statistics, the Shot Scope V2 may be the watch for you. This sturdy wearable uses ClubSense technology, along with tags attached to the grips of your clubs, to automatically track your distance from a particular hole and the club you’re using to take your shot.

This information is then used to provide incredibly detailed analysis of your game, and enable you to relive your most memorable hits.

The Shot Scope V2 may not have the best battery life in this list, but it does boast an awesome database of worldwide golf courses, and also features a strap that can be adjusted to fit 11 different wrist sizes – so no chance of getting blisters as you swing for glory.

Best golf GPS watch: Garmin Approach S60 GPS Premium Watch

5. Garmin Approach S60 GPS Premium Watch

A nifty smartwatch for golfers who want fitness stats too

Specifications
Battery life: 10 hours in golf mode, 10 days in watch mode
Courses: 40,000
Waterproof: Yes
Reasons to buy
+AutoShot game tracking+Touch Targeting provides you with precise yardages

Okay, so Garmin still take the top spot in our best golf GPS watch list. If you’re looking for next level assistance on the course, we’re pretty sure no watch right now is going to beat the Garmin Approach S60 when it comes to tech specs and features. 

From the colour CourseView mapping that helps you to gain accurate info on yardages to PlaysLike Distance which helps you with uphill and downhill shots, there’s so much that this watch has to boast about. As an everyday watch it’s pretty cool, too, thanks to a scratch resistant bezel and stylish leather strap. 

Best golf GPS watch: TomTom Golfer 2

6. TomTom Golfer 2

A solid choice for golfers on a tighter budget

Specifications
Battery life: 8 hours
Courses: 40,000
Waterproof: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Allows you to see drive and iron play distance+Autoscore card tracks your game as you play

When it comes to the necessities, TomTom does it best. It automatically detects your shots so you can analyse and improve your game on the go. It keeps you in tune to the precise distances to the front and back of the green, and lets you know of any hazards nearby so the ball doesn’t go for a swim. 

With its post game analysis giving you hole by hole insight into your shot patterns, there’s no reason why you can’t improve your game with this golf GPS watch. 

Best golf GPS watch: Callaway GPSy Sport Watch

7. Callaway GPSy Sport Watch

This popular golf GPS watch is packed full of features

Specifications
Battery life: 10-12 hours
Courses: 30,000
Waterproof: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Built in score tracker+Notifies you of hazard distances 
Reasons to avoid
-Hazard information could be more accurate 

This big golf name offers the big features you'd expect from its dedicated golf watch. 

That means GPS tracking to offer green lay-up and carry distances plus hazards and dog-legs. This will also auto-recognise and track your game so you don't need to fill out a pesky score card.

Over 30,000 courses are available and a 12-hour battery life means you can get a full day's golfing in without needing a charge. The display is big and clear so you can get what you need at a glance, leaving you to stay focused on your game.

Best golf GPS watch: Golf Buddy WTX

8. Golf Buddy WTX

Waterproof and with over 36,000 courses covered

Specifications
Battery life: 8 hours
Courses: 38,000
Waterproof: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Large colour screen+Dynamic green view helps plan shots
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

The large colour screen of the Golf Buddy WTX, which is clear even in daylight, as a welcoming way to view data on over 38,000 courses that it has stored.

Thanks to a lift-to-view display you can save battery while still having info access one handed. That means distance and hazard tracking plus a flyover view for each hole. 

One really nice feature is dynamic green view. This allows you to plan your pitch from the angle of your approach shot. Of course GPS keeps your location accurate throughout and hole progression happens automatically as the watch realises you've moved on. 

Updates, via the smartphone app, also mean data is kept up to date for your courses.

Best golf GPS watch: Bushnell Neo iON GPS Watch

9. Bushnell Neo iON GPS Watch

A fairly basic watch, but it’ll do the job well

Specifications
Battery life: 12 hours
Courses: 35,000
Waterproof: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Great battery life+Autocourse recognition
Reasons to avoid
-Not as advanced as the others on this list

If you’re just getting into golf and fancy a helping hand, this Bushnell GPS golf watch will provide you with all the information you need to make sure your swing’s on par with the rest of the team. 

It features auto course recognition and auto hole advance with accurate and easy to read distances. It’ll also clue you in to nearby hazards and counts your steps so you can work out how many calories you’ve burned off round the course, and it won’t cost you the earth, either.