Best Golf GPS Watch – The Top 5 (2024)

# Equipment Reviews

Best Golf GPS Watch – The Top 5 (2024)


If you already use a GPS watch (and perhaps are looking for a new one) on the golf course you’ll know the benefits of having accurate distance readings at the end of your wrist. I’ve been using a GPS watch for a number of years now, and can honestly say it has improved my game. 

 

However, you still might not be sure whether to go for a watch and maybe you’re here because you still need convincing of the benefits of using a GPS watch on the course. 

 

Well, today we will not only share why a GPS watch can improve your game with accurate distance readings, support with course management, and help to refine your practice sessions. We will also share with you our top 5 choices for the best GPS Golf watch. 

 

So, keep reading and we’ll provide you with a full rundown of the features and benefits of the best GPS watches available. 

Let’s get into it!

Best Golf GPS Watch (The List:)

Garmin S70 (Best Overall)

Shot Scope X5 (Best Value)

Shope Scope G5 (Best Price) 

Golf Buddy Aim W12 (Best Features)

Bushnell ION Elite (Most Stylish)

Essential Features of A GPS Golf Watch

If you’re looking to get a GPS golf watch for the first time, there are some essential features and requirements you need to make sure they have to ensure you get the most from these devices. 

 

Accuracy

The most important feature you need in a GPS watch is accuracy, that’s what a GPS watch is all about right? 

 

GPS devices are all highly accurate, the fact they use old military satellites orbiting the Earth to triangulate your precise location should give you some confidence that you can rely on their readings. 

 

However, the watches on our list might slightly vary in accuracy for a few reasons. For example, Garmin collects its data from aerial and satellite imagery using a variety of sources, whereas Shot Scope owns its library of mapped courses, therefore even this could account for some slight differences. 

 

But don’t worry, not only have we tested these out on the course, but the devices on our list all come highly rated by customer reviews as being highly accurate. 

You’ll have no worries when you get onto the course. 

 

Course Coverage.

One of the next features you need to pay close attention to is the course coverage, and more specifically how many courses are preloaded onto the device. 

 

The benefit of having as many pre-installed courses on your watch means that you won’t have to worry about downloading any information before your round. You can simply turn up at the first tee and start playing. 

 

This means when the GPS watch provides you with a flyover view of the hole, or distances to the hazards, you can always rely on the accuracy of the measurements. 

 

Garmin tends to lead the way with this and some of their top-end devices have over 43,000 courses pre-loaded, whereas some cheaper models have fewer courses included on the device. 

 

Tracking Tags.

Another feature that is important if you want to use your GPS watch to improve your game is to take notice of what post-game analysis it supports. 

 

Some GPS watches sync to tracking tags that attach to your clubs. If they do, this allows you to upload the data from your game after your round and analyze your performance based on the shots you’ve hit on the course. 

 

This is a game changer if you’re serious about your golf, it can help you to pinpoint weaknesses in your game and also allows you to identify areas to practice further in between rounds. 

 

As an example the strokes gained function allows you to compare elements of your game to golfers of a similar ability. When I recently played I was able to compare my approach play stats in the Shot Scope app to golfers of a similar handicap. This allowed me to dial in specific distances to work on and that I should practice more on 150-200-yard approach accuracy.

 

Tracking tags in some Shot Scope devices are included with the GPS watch at no extra charge, whereas the Garmin Approach CT10 tracking sensors are available as an additional purchase for around $200. 

 

Battery Life.

With all of these additional features and high-end tech included in the device battery life can be an issue for some GPS watches. 

 

Given that the average 18-hole round is around 4 hours you should pay close attention to how long the battery will last before requiring a re-charge. This is especially important if you’re lucky enough to play 36 holes or more in one day. 

 

All of the watches on our list come highly rated for battery life, and even some offer up to 20  hours, so unless you’re the slowest golfer in the World, you won’t have to worry about guessing your yardages at the end of your round! 

 

Comfort and Style.

Finally, another really important consideration when choosing a GPS watch is how comfortable it is to wear during a round of golf. 

 

Some watches can be overpowering and quite off-putting if they are too big and bulky. (This is the main reason some golfers choose not to wear one). They also need to be comfortable enough to wear for the duration of your round. 

 

Therefore our advice is that you should look for a model which isn’t too heavy, or bulky, considering the material and design of the watch. 

 

All of the GPS watches in our top 5 are highly rated for comfort, some even come with interchangeable straps, like the Golf Buddy Aim W12, which allows you to choose a more comfortable option. 

 

I hope these tips were useful and now let’s get into the details of our best golf GPS watches so you can find out which one is the top choice for your game. 

 

Best 5 GPS Golf Watches 2023

 

Garmin S70 (Best Overall)

1
Garmin S70
Best Overall

Garmin S70

  • 43,000 Pre-installed golf courses
  • PlaysLike Distance - Adjusting for uphill and downhill shots
  • Virtual caddie

The Garmin S70 is widely recognized as one of the finest golf GPS watches globally, rightfully earning its place as the best overall golf GPS watch on our list. 

A lightweight and slim watch packed with features, this watch almost guarantees an enjoyable golfing experience. From its bright touch display to the 43,000 pre-installed golf courses worldwide, you'll always have the information you need for the perfect shot…. Then it’s over to you to actually perform said perfect shot.

A standout feature that you don’t often find in GPS watches is the PlaysLike Distance, (much like the slope function in rangefinders), adjusting for uphill and downhill shots. It also provides distances to the front, middle, and back of the green, along with hazards and doglegs as you would expect. 

The improved Virtual Caddie is another unique feature, over time this understands your game and offers club recommendations based on your previous shots and course conditions, even providing green contour data for better shot planning.

This watch can be paired with the Garmin Approach CT10 club tracking sensors, and using the Garmin Golf app you can track your game to identify improvements with post-game analysis. 

What I especially like about this watch is that it also looks good away from the course, and can be used as a normal smartwatch, even offering contactless payments much like an Apple Watch. 

Not the cheapest watch on the list but sometimes you get what you pay for. If this is within your budget then I’m sure you’ll agree this is a well-deserved ‘Best Overall’ rating for the Garmin S70 GPS watch. 

Pros
  • Bright 1.4-inch AMOLED touch display.
  • Pre-installed with 43,000 golf courses worldwide.
  • PlaysLike Distance feature.
  • Virtual Caddie with club recommendations.
  • Green contour data.
  • Various health and fitness features using the Garmin app. 
Cons

 

  • Relatively expensive.

Shot Scope X5 (Best Value)

2
Shot Scope X5
Best Value

Shot Scope X5

  • Performance tracking with the 16 x club tags
  • Dynamic front, middle and back distances to green
  • Front and carry distances for hazards
  • Special Offer: 15% off with code “SUNDAYRED”

The Shot Scope X5 makes its way onto our list as the best value golf GPS watch as it has a huge number of features packed into this device. It has a sleek design with an easily readable color touch screen. 

Its standout feature is shot tracking, using lightweight second-generation tracking tags, which you attach to your clubs. This feature means you can easily sync your watch to the Shot Scope app after your round allowing you the ability to analyze your game and target improvements.

The GPS feature with the hole overview option gives you accurate yardages to the green, along with distances to hazards and doglegs. Navigating the touch screen took me some getting used to, and the Shot Scope X5 doesn’t have as many features as some competitors, but it still had all of the options that I needed on the course.

However, if you’re looking for a GPS watch that provides accurate distance readings, along with post-game analysis and statistics this could be the perfect choice. 

 

Special Offer: 15% Off with code “SUNDAYRED”

Click here to grab your Shotscope X5 now!

Pros
  • Sleek design and color screen.
  • Pre-installed with over 100 statistics.
  • Shot tracking capability with lightweight tags.
  • GPS feature for dynamic yardages.
  • Distances to hazards and doglegs.
Cons
  • Not as feature-rich as some competitors.
  • Touch screen responsiveness could be improved.

 

Shot Scope G5 (Best Price)

3
Shot Scope G5
Best Price

Shot Scope G5

  • Dynamic front, middle and back distances to green
  • Front and carry distances for hazards
  • Dogleg and layup feature - Play for position track yardages to your layup point
  • Preloaded with over 36,000 courses
  • Special Offer: 15% off with code “SUNDAYRED”

Next on the list is another Shot Scope watch, the G5. A recently released upgrade to the popular G3 watch, and for what it offers golfers it’s on our list as the best-priced golf GPS watch. 

This GPS watch is a perfect entry-level watch for the golfer looking to find out if a GPS watch is the right choice for their game. It’s a very lightweight watch, with a very thin strap and watch-face that’s very comfortable to wear. It combines style with simplicity making it an ideal companion for golfers who appreciate the basics of a GPS device. 

One of the complaints some golfers have about GPS watches is that they sometimes have too many features which can become confusing on the course. Well, this watch could be the perfect antidote to this. 

It doesn’t provide any tracking tags for post-game analysis, or feature a touch screen. It simply offers you distances to the green, (front, middle, and back), along with accurate readings to the hazards. It provides essential features without unnecessary complexities and this is reflected in the very competitive price tag. 

Despite its low price, the G5 is a highly accurate device, using Shot Scopes precise GPS technology. One of the stand-out features of this GPS watch is the option to personalize your device by choosing from a list of interchangeable strap colors. Among some of the choices available can opt for blue, pink, and red to name a few. 

Pros
  • User-friendly interface, perfect for beginners.
  • Lightweight and comfortable.
  • Accurate distances
  • Optional strap color designs.
  • Affordable.
Cons
  • Limited smartwatch features.
  • No shot tracking features.

If you like the Shot Scope watches then make sure you use our special discount code SUNDAYRED for 15% off all purchases! 

Golf Buddy Aim W12 (Best Features)

4
Golf Buddy Aim W12
Best Features

Golf Buddy Aim W12

  • Slope adjusted distances to the Front, centre, and back of the green
  • Lay up points with touch targeting
  • Green undulation view - so you know which part of the green to aim for. 
  • 2D flyover of each hole
  • Special Offer: 15% off with code “SUNDAYREDGOLF”

The Golf Buddy Aim W12 claims the title of the best features golf GPS watch, offering advanced features at a competitive price. It was actually awarded the number 1 GPS for 2023 by MyGolfSpy, so very highly rated. 

The course coverage has over 40,000 pre-installed golf courses worldwide, meaning you’ll have the right information no matter where you play.

This device has features comparable with the other top-end GPS watches but a key addition of the Golf Buddy Aim W12 is its Green Undulation technology. This was excellent, particularly when testing it out on a course I had not played before. 

The Green Undulation feature shows a birds-eye view of the green, this is color-coded to identify the direction of break on the putting surface allowing you to plan your shot to account for any slopes on the surface. Now you need to be confident you can actually hit the green, but this is an amazing feature. 

Another stand-out feature is the slope-adjusted distances it provides. Not only do you get the standard front, middle, and back readings, but these are also slope-adjusted distances meaning you can be even more accurate with your reading and club selection. 

Other features like pin placement and zoom function that lets you zoom in on any part of the hole, with specific distances to hazards. It also includes a scorecard feature that allows you to keep track of your scores and stats. I hope you can see, that this watch is packed with additional extras to help improve your game and will make you consider your course management. 

The watch was very comfortable to wear, smaller in size when compared to the Shot Scope X5, and it also comes with an additional silicone sports strap, should you want to switch out from the black leather option. 

This is an excellent GPS golf watch and was a very close choice for the best overall on this list, the only reason it didn’t claim the top spot was due to the fact it doesn’t offer any shot tracking capability. 

However, I really enjoyed testing this out and found it simple even with all of the features packed inside - let’s have a closer look at those. 

Pros
  • Pre-installed with over 40,000 golf courses worldwide.
  • Advanced features, including Green Undulation
  • Slope adjusted distances.
  • Accurate hazard distances
  • Pin placement feature.
  • Zoom function.
  • Intuitive touch screen.
  • Accurate GPS tracking.
Cons
  • Only 10 hours battery life (less than Garmin)
  • No shot tracking options

If you use our exclusive discount code SUNDAYREDGOLF when you checkout you can save an extra 15% off your purchase! 

Bushnell ION Elite (Most Stylish)

5
Bushnell ION Elite
Most Stylish

Bushnell ION Elite

  • Dynamic yardage to the Front, centre, and back of the green
  • Green view with moveable pin
  • HoleView and shot planning
  • 38,000 preloaded courses

The Bushnell ION Elite earns its title as the "Most Stylish" GPS golf watch on our list. Not only does it look amazing but As you would expect with a Bushnell distance device it’s packed with features to help improve your golf game.

It has a sleek design, a vivid display screen, and an excellent touchscreen that is really easy to use and navigate. It’s an excellent-looking GPS watch, the silicone black strap is very stylish and is complimented by the ceramic bezel around the outside of the screen.  

Loaded with a huge database of over 38,000 courses, the ION Elite delivers highly accurate GPS tracking with clear readings of front, middle, and back. It also gives you accurate distances to hazards, with a birds-eye hole overview for more detail. Similar to the other top-end watches it provides slope-adjusted readings, with the additional benefit of being able to switch this feature off during tournament rounds. 

I liked the simplicity of how easy this watch was to navigate through the various features via the home screen, in comparison to competitors this was one of the easiest to use. 

Although it doesn’t come with any shot tracking sensors, it is packed with features and comes in at a great price. This is worth a closer look if you want style and features in your golf watch. 

Pros
  • Extensive database of preloaded courses.
  • User-friendly touchscreen interface.
  • Scorecard feature.
  • Pin placement feature.
  • Zoom function.
  • Accurate GPS tracking.
  • Vibrant and easy-to-read display.
Cons
  • Hole maps could be improved.

 

So there you have it, our list of the top 5 golf GPS watches. I’m sure you’ll agree these are all excellent watches, whether it’s all about style or features, you’ll find something to suit your game on this list – and hopefully save some money with our exclusive discount codes. 

 

Not sure whether you should go for a GPS watch or a laser rangefinder, then check out our list of the best golf rangefinders to help you decide. 

 

If you’ve found this guide useful and are looking for other ways to up your game, don’t miss out on our other guides. For more excellent golfing resources, check out:

Best Putting Mats

Best Training Aids

Best Simulators

Best Golf Gifts

 

There’s a whole world of golf improvement tools waiting for you with Sunday Red, so why wait? Start leveling up your golf game today!


Chris Wright
Article by:
Chris Wright

Chief Hacker at Sunday Red Golf. I absolutely LOVE the game of golf and will chat with anyone and everyone about it.

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