Best Golf GPS Watches For 2020 – Which One Is Right For You?
There’s no excuses these days not knowing your distances. There’s a number of excellent tools at our disposal nowadays to choose from. For example laser rangefinders, GPS watches, GPS handheld devices, mobile apps. Ok so what are the best golf GPS watches available? Scroll on to find out.
There’s a number of benefits from knowing your distances. Knowing your distances can increase your confidence, improve your club selection and lower your scores. Read on to find my handpicked best golf GPS watches currently available.
Golf GPS watches are great innovative tools. You cannot ignore the benefits from owning a Golf GPS watch, while a laser rangefinders give you the distance from you to the flag, or a hazard. Golf GPS watches offer you more vital information that could make or break your round.
The best golf GPS watches on the market offer you hazard information, overhead maps, shot trackers and post round analysis. Hazard information is extremely useful on courses you have never played, especially a course with lots of dog legs, hazards and difficult holes.
Top 6 Best Golf GPS Watches
- Garmin Approach S60 (Buy Here)
- TomTom Golfer 2 (Buy Here)
- Garmin Approach S20 (Buy Here)
- Bushnell Neo Ion (Buy Here)
- Garmin Approach X40 (Buy Here)
- Garmin Approach S6 (Buy Here)
I briefly outlined the great thing about the golf GPS watches, but what are the best golf GPS watches currently available? With so much choice on the market, it can be more difficult to decide which is the best golf GPS watch for you. If you’ve made the decision to buy a golf watch, as opposed to a large laser rangefinder, your reasoning most likely includes simplicity, more course information, record your golf data etc.
My aim here at The Golfing lad HQ is to help readers find the best golf GPS watches suited to their golfing needs. We all want to lower scores and handicaps. Although most golf GPS watches have similar standard features, such as yardage and course information; not all golf GPS watches are the same. Many offer more features such as shot counters, data analysis, and can be worn as day to day smartwatches.
Don’t worry, I’m here to give you all the info you need, I have reviewed what I feel are best golf GPS watches available right now.
Best Golf GPS Watches
Garmin Approach S60 – Best Performing Golf Watch
Garmin is establishing itself as the industry standard in their goal to becoming the best golf GPS watch brand on the market. The Garmin Approach S60 is without a doubt the best golf watch to buy.
Skyview Course Maps
It comes with an extremely detailed Sky view of the course map and the yardages. This is presented in full color which I found much better and more modern than other models I tested. It comes fitted with a sunlight readable touchscreen display.
Extremely Accurate Yardages
The Garmin Approach S60 is very accurate and precise with it’s distances to the green front, center and back, it also. It clearly provides quick and precise yardages to greens, hazards and doglegs.
The Garmin Approach S60 comes loaded with 40,000 courses from around the world that updates for you for free, so need to worry about course changes or dated information.
There are some nice features available on the Garmin S60. A nice handy feature I love is the point to point yardages. You are on a long par 5 and want to leave the right yardage for a comfortable wedge shot, there’s a bunker in the middle of the fairway and you want to make sure you clear it.
Simply tap the bunker on the map of your GPS golf watch and boom you have your yardage. This is a nice feature that can be quiet useful especially if you are playing on a new course for the first time or a course loaded with bunkers.
The S60 Watch is so customizable; It’s probably one of it’s standout features. You can can download different apps, watch face styles and change the watch straps. You can really transform this watch into your own and suit your very own style.
Post Round Analysis & Swing Analysis
The shot tracker abilities of this watch are truly amazing. It automatically records the location and distance of each detected shot and uploads it to the user’s Garmin Connect account for post-round analysis.
It’s swing tracking is very sensitive and precise, knowing what are practice swings and golf shots. This allows you to review your game post golf and analyse you golf and pin point where you need to improve on.
Connect your S60 to your Garmin Truswing (Review Here) to analyse your swing in more detail. Using the TruSwing you can fine tune your swing to check swing path, angle of attach, club face, tempo and more.
The Garmin Approach S60 is far more than golf a golf GPS watch. It is also a fantastic smartwatch. You can use this daily as a regular smartwatch and pair it with your phone via Bluetooth. You can receive all your calls, texts and emails and even check the weather for golf through your Garmin Approach S60. Hence why it’s one of Garmin’s best golf GPS watches.
- Stylish watch
- Customisable (digital watch faces, mobile apps, quick fit straps, etc)
- Various features such as AutoShot, Quick Touch Yardages, Swing tempo, and post round analysis of each hole.
- Excellent standalone smartwatch you can use daily
- The battery drains too quickly. Fully charge for only 1 game of golf (GPS mode)
You Can Buy It On Amazon HERE
Garmin Approach S20 – Best Value For Money
I was most impressed with this watch on the course, and it’s one of the reasons why the Garmin Approach S20 is one of the best golf GPS watches for the money.
The yardages were accurate. Within a yard of the course markers at all times. The yardages to front, middle and back along with the hole number and the par are displayed clearly on the screen together with an outline of the green shape. I do like the option to move the flag pin on the green to allow you to get the exact yardage.
There is also more information available on each hole for hazards, lay up distances. This sounds great however, it takes far too long to get this info and your playing partners will not be too happy waiting 5 minutes for you to find out this info and then take your shot.
To scroll between the holes is very easy using the Up and Down buttons on the left side of the S20. Using the Garmin Connect smartphone app, the Garmin Approach S20 updates all courses automatically.
Key Fitness Features
This watch can be worn as an every day fitness watch. It will count your steps around the course and calories burnt, which is nice and makes you feel better after the round.
Post Round Analysis
The Garmin Approach S20 has all the features you’d imagine would be included in a golf GPS watch. You can analyse your round after each game knowing how far you hit each shot, this is done through Garmin Connect smartphone app.
Connect To Smartphone
A nice feature with this watch is that it really can be used on and off the golf course. By syncing it with your smartphone to receive calls, texts and emails; you have an everyday smartwatch. This really is a gorgeous looking watch that allows you to change your watch bands.
Excellent Battery Life
The battery life is also impressive with up to 8 weeks in standard mode and 8 hours in the GPS mode (Golfing mode). If you tend to play in the rain, it’s important to note the Garmin Approach S20 is waterproof.
- Accurate yardage info
- Can be used as an everyday fitness watch
- Garmin Connect analysis
- Good battery
- Changeable bands
- Complicated to use at times
- Better Garmin watches available
- Hazard and layup info takes too long long to get
You Can Buy It On Amazon HERE
TomTom Golfer 2 – Best Post Analysis
The TomTom Golfer 2 is an excellent golf GPS watch and one of the few brands other than Garmin to make our ‘Best Golf GPS Watches’ list.
Nice Large Display
The menu is controlled by the square pad on the strap below the screen and this is very easy to use. The display is very clear and easy to read with large display numbers. The large numbers will appeal to some older golfers with poor vision. If you need big texts on your smartphone, this might be for you.
The TomTom Golfer 2 picks up your golf courses so easily. When you arrive at your golf course, just scroll right from the home screen and the Golfer 2 picks up the course you are on within 20 to 30 seconds.
Scrolling between holes is easily done by simply clicking up and down on the pad. The Golfer 2 will provide you with some hazard information for each hole which is nice to know.
The TomTom Golfer 2 has some nice additional features that such as a pedometer, length of the round and also the calories burnt. An excuse to reward yourself for with a beer after.
Shot Tracking & Scoring
The scoring function will track your shots and distance between shots automatically. It picks up your swings pretty well and gives a little vibration after your follow through. It will only record one swing per location. Once you have finished your round you just sync the Golfer 2 watch with the app on your iOS or Android phone via Bluetooth and you get to see basic stats on driving distance, fairways hit, greens in regulation and putting.
The TomTom 2 is a great watch and one of the best golf GPS watches to buy right now.
- Lovely design
- Automatically detects nearby courses and shots
- Accurate yardage
- Easy to use
- Replaceable straps
- Vibration swing detector can be annoying
- Syncing info can be difficult
- Very dated looking graphics
You Can Buy It On Amazon HERE
Bushnell Neo Ion
The Bushnell Neo Ion GPS watch is very easy to set up. It literally only takes a few minutes. The Bushnell picks up the yardages to the front, middle and back of the green very easily.
The Bushnell Neo can take a little while to find some courses but that not a lifetime. It’s most noteworthy for being a simple option without the bells and whistles.
Excellent Battery Life
I must mention the the battery for the Bushnell Neo Ion. Many of the best golf GPS watches out there will only last for 1-2 rounds of golf, but the Bushnell Compact Neo Ion lasts for 3 eighteen hole rounds. This is a massive plus. I find it annoying constantly charging the GPS watches, especially if you golf a lot and want to wear it daily.
Tee Time Notification
I do like the tee time function. You can enter you tee time and date and before you are due to tee off you will be notified. Just a reminder to finish up your coffee in the clubhouse or do some light stretching or practice swings before you tee off.
Old Style Look
One thing that I really did not like is the old style look. The black and white style of the watch looks very dated. Maybe I’m being picky here but when you compare the watch screens with for example the beautiful color screen that the Garmin Approach S60 provides (which I love by the way). A bit of color would’ve been nice.
No Post Round Analysis
There’s no smartphone apps or analysis software with this golf GPS watch that will suit some who want a simple yardage GPS watch. However if you want to more post round analysis, etc this most likely wont be the golf GPS watch for you. The Bushnell Neo Ion is designed to do the basics well and not distract you from newest technologies.
Does The Simple Things Well
The Bushnell Neo Ion golf GPS watch will to do the simple things well. It does not have the new swing technologies and analysis software. It’s made to do what a rangefinder should do, give you yardages to the green, and move on.
The excellent battery life is worth the opportunity cost of certain software that I feel are not necessary for this watch. As a result it’s one of the best GPS watches currently available that wont break the bank.
- Excellent Battery
- Charges very quickly
- Includes pedometer
- Does the simple things well
- Comfortable watch
- Dated black and white look
- No swing analysis software or smartphone app pairing
- Little bit chunky
You Can Buy It On Amazon HERE
Garmin Approach X40 – Best Overall Fitness Watch
All Round Fitness Watch
The Garmin Approach X40 is originally a fitness tracker Fitbit style watch that has golf GPS capabilities.
The Garmin X40 golf GPS watch is probably the best GPS watch available for both golf and other physical activities. It’s the perfect day to day fitness tracker.
The X40 is a little but thicker than a Fitbit. However, that’s fine as this watch packs a lot of technology into such a small watch.
The Golf GPS works quiet well for yardages. It also allows you to keep score for post golf analysis. You can view on the Garmin Connect App that we have discussed already in this article.
The battery life is quiet good and capable of 2- 3 rounds of golf on a single charge. This is great. Many other golf GPS watches drain the battery on GPS mode. On normal mode (day to day non golfing GPS mode), the battery will last around 5 days.
The screen is narrow and long but displays the info you need quiet well. It’s easy to use and doesn’t over complicate things.
Pair With Smartphone
The Garmin Approach can pair with your smartphone for calls and texts. Not much use to you while golfing but remember this can is also a day to day fitness tracking watch.
Auto Shot Detection
The auto shot detection works well for me although sometimes the X40 picks up practice swings. This maybe from hitting the ground on a certain practice swings. The Connect app syncs smoothly with the X40 and has lots of data view options.
What I love about the Garmin Connect is you can click on specific holes that went well and relive how you did it. For example, how far you hit your drive and where you hit to the 2nd shot pitching wedge you hit to a couple of feet.
Post Round Analysis
I do recommend that you spend some quality time with the online manual. So you will get the full potential out of the software and analysis. Your golf round data will sync via Bluetooth to the smartphone app where you can do your analysis later on the computer, tablet or smartphone. It shows you some insightful information such as greens in regulation, putts per hole etc.
The Garmin Approach X40 is perfect for anyone who is looking for a solid golf GPS watch with other fitness tracking capabilities outside of golf. The Garmin Approach X40 is a perfect for on and off the golf course. It’s nice Fitbit style is a direct competitor with FitBit and will appeal to a lot of users.
Finally, I highly recommend the Garmin Approach X40 watch, it’s definitely one of the best golf GPS watches available. Hence why it made my list.
- Great battery life
- Nice compact design, very similar to a FitBit
- Auto shot detection
- Garmin Connect Analysis
- The Garmin Approach X40 is a day to day fitness tracker
- Distances to hazards can look confusing
- The Garmin Approach X40 watch will sometimes pick up practice swings as shots. Hopefully Garmin will update this issue.
- No Color Screen
You Can Buy It On Amazon HERE
Garmin Approach S6 – Best Mid Budget
Garmin’s Approach S6 golf GPS watch is one of the best golf GPS watches.
The S6 still falls into the high end price bracket of the GPS watch market.
The Garmin S6 succeeds the Garmin S5 and like a sister model to the outstanding Garmin S60. If you want a high performance golf GPS watch but don’t intend in breaking the bank for a S60, the S6 might be the one for you.
Excellent Colour Display
The Garmin S6 is extremely accurate providing yardage to the front, middle, and back of the green. It shows this info in a 180 x 180 pixels high resolution color touchscreen. Similar to the S60, except the S60 has a 240 x 240 pixel screen.
Excellent Yardage Info & Moveable Pins
Some golf GPS watches can lack the precise yardages that laser rangefinders can provide. For example if you are playing into a very large green and the pin is at the back right. Most standard watches will give you yardage to the center, but this is not really accurate if you are playing into a 30 yard links green. This will require some guessing to get the right yardage. This is not an issue with the S6. Garmin has fixed this problem with the drag and drop pin mode.
The S6 allows you to zoom in on the pin with Green View. Simply tap the flag using the color touchscreen then drag and drop the flag to the position it is on the green. This is a nice standout feature that makes the Garmin S6 one of the best golf GPS watches available.
The hazard and lay up feature on the S6 is pretty much identical to the excellent S60 Approach. The S6 clearly displays the yardages to hazard info such as bunkers, drains, water hazards. It will also give you layup info for Par 5’s and Dog legs. Golf GPS watches tend to struggle with quick layup yardages, but the S6 does this brilliantly.
The Garmin S6 is also like an everyday smartwatch. It can be connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth and act as a smartwatch. The Garmin S6 lets you receive emails, texts and alerts directly to the S6. You can read full texts and emails on your Garmin watch without looking at your phone. Personally I think if you are paying for a high ticket golf GPS watch, then I think you should be able to use it daily.
One of the downsides to the S6 is the battery life. To be honest it’s quiet average on the Garmin S6. However I’m not really surprised considering the technology it packs into one watch.
On GPS mode (or golfing mode), the S6 last 10 hours, well according to Garmin’s website. What is impressive though is it’s battery outside of GPS mode. Garmin claims it lasts up to 12 weeks in ‘watch mode’. However I’m buying this for Golf, not for fashion, so GPS mode is more important to me personally. The average battery life is a sacrifice I’m willing to take for the high resolution color screen.
SwingTempo and SwingStrength are new features on the S6 that help you lower your scores. While practicing you can collect data for swing timings and swing strength.These additional features really make you feel like you are getting value out of your GPS watch. They are stand out features that make the S6 one of the best golf GPS watches.
SwingTempo is designed to get your timing in the golf swing correct. The timing ratio is between the back swing and downswing, and is crucial for a consistent and solid back swing. If you struggle your rhythm this can really change your game. The
SwingStrength feature is used to match your swings against your standard full swing. Are you swinging too hard or soft. The SwingStrength feature can help you.
The Garmin S6 allows you to do handicap scoring options for individual holes in both Stroke play and stableford. You record your round and fill out your card after if you need to. It’s easily done using the S6. The S6 will automatically move from hole to hole for you. each hole is set at the Par score and simply increase or decrease (hopefully haha) the score sing the +/- on the touch screen.
You can save, review, share and print scorecards from your computer or laptop. The Garmin Approach S6 can also measure shot distances, using the Measure Shot feature. S6 also allows you to track your stats such as fairways hit, GIR, putts per round. These stats are vital as you can easily spot a trend in your game where you compare these stats across a number of rounds.
The Garmin S6 is not as customisable as the Approach S60. You cannot change the straps, however it has a mutual style that can fit with any activity be it fitness or business. It’s swings more in the athletic style but an athletic looking watch. It’s light weight (1.6oz) and can be worn casually or with a business suit (depending on the color). Although it does have a sportier feel to it, I don’t mind strolling into the office with this watch on my wrist (though it will definitely attract some attention).
The Garmin S6 is without a doubt one of the best golf GPS watches to buy. It’s a great option if you don’t watch to spend the money on a Garmin Approach S60. The Garmin S6 still packs a serious punch and offers you everything you need in a golf GPS watch.
If you’re in the market for a high end golf watch and love fancy features and customization, this is a great option. It’s far cheaper than the Garmin Approach S60 and will still blow all of your golf buddies minds. From the golf range to the golf course, the Garmin S6 is solid and it offers almost every feature that you could want in a golf GPS watch. Hands down one of the best golf GPS watches
- Extremely accurate with drag & drop pin mode
- Excellent hazard & layup information
- Preloaded courses
- No membership or subscription requirement.
- High resolution Color display
- SwingMetrics Technology
- Connect to smartphone to receive texts, emails and alerts
- Scorecard uploads, shot counting and post round analysis software
- Garmin Connect Technology
- Less technology than the Garmin Approach S60
- Small touch screen
- Poor battery
You Can Buy The S6 On Amazon HERE
I compared each golf rangefinders and outlined the Pros & Cons of each type of rangefinder. Read it here.
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