Anytime you go to a new course and step into a new hole, you wish to have some kind of help to understand the shape of the hole, the location of the hazards and your exact position and yardages to the pin.
Even in your regular course, sometimes, you would like to have an extra hand to be more accurate or more aggressive with your shots or approach.
This is the function of a caddie, which us, golf amateurs, do not have the luxury of having, or we have?
With the introduction of Golf GPS Watches, you can have in your wrist the exact position of your ball at any time, but also the distances to hazards, the shape of the hole and even recommendation of which club to use based on your own history of shots.
Similar to this you can also use a golf rangefinder. Please take a look at this article to know more about those devices.
In this review, we will give you some ideas and present the best golf GPS watches in the market for your consideration.
How does it work?
Nowadays, we are all very familiar with GPS devices as we use them in our cars and phones to determine the exact location of where we are.
For Golf GPS watches, it is not different. Our watch will get the GPS signal and will be able to get the location of where we are at any moment. The big difference is that instead of using a normal map to represent the location, the golf GPS watch will use the golf course map to position ourselves and calculate distances with several type of references, like the flag, hazards and shots.
When you start using the golf watch, you will need to select the course you are playing and sometimes the hole, if you are not starting in hole 1. Every shot will be normally self-recorded or manually recorded, but you will need to tell the club you are using.
After your first shoot from tee, and recorded the club, you will go to where the ball went, and when you reach the location of the ball and ready to do your next shot, it is when the golf watch will be able to calculate the distance of your previous shot, comparing both locations. At that point, the golf watch will tell you also the distance to the flag and green, and you will continue.
Putting normally needs to be recorded manually although some devices will allow you to play with the flag location.
What to consider before buying?
Considering the way a golf watch works, before buying one is worth checking:
It is very important for you to know that if the course you are playing is not installed in the golf watch you have, this device is totally useless, as there will be no references and no holes to play and no distances to work with. Before buying anyone, please check if your preferred golf courses are installed.
To be able to have updates of the maps and new courses, the golf watch will need to download regularly the changes in the maps. Please be sure you know the details for each model.
Screen, water proof, battery life, heart rate monitoring. As smartwatches are more and more popular, it is good to know the specs of the golf watch to compare.
The best golf GPS watch of 2023
We have sorted the list of best golf watches of 2023 by price, from more expensive to cheaper models.
Garmin is a brand of quality and performance when talking of GPS device. For golf it is not different and they have an extensive range of product for golfing. The Garmin Approach S60 is one of the best golf watches in the market for its features and accuracy.
As soon as you are in the course it will recommend the course to play and will identify the hole for you. Also it has the auto shoot feature always on, so you just need to play and tell the clubs you are using, but for the rest the watch will be doing all the hard work for you in the background. You will not lose time and be able to be focus in your game.
An interesting feature is the “Plays like distance” where the watch will adjust the distance using the variances of altitude in the terrain, so you can select your club with more precision.
It can be used also to track your daily activity and sleeps, including heart rate monitor, step and calorie counting. Therefore, you can use this golf watch to monitor other exercises or just your health as a smartwatch.
This golf watch, SkyCaddie LX5, is not very well known in the market but is getting more popular because of its features for the money.
It has a quite big color touchscreen, 1.39”, so you can check not just the green shape and pin location but also the hole shape very comfortably. You can also pan, zoom in and zoom out to get better details of the hazards,
As the previous model, it has a heart monitor and step counting feature, so it can be used to track daily activity.
One of the disadvantages we found is the need of having a subscription to update the courses. Initially it comes with a prepaid subscription of 3 years, but after that you need to keep on paying if you want to add courses or update the existing ones. It also seems to have less number of courses than the Garmin.
However, if you check that your favourites courses are preinstalled, that shouldn’t be a big deal for you.
In general it is a very good alternative to the Garmin Approach S60 at a better price.
We continue here with the family of Garmin Approach Watches. In this case we will talk about the Garmin Approach S40. It could be considered the next model after the S60 described previously.
The Garmin Approach S40 is a very complete golf watch with the accuracy of Garmin brand and most of the features of the premium golf watches, including, distance to the hazards and green (front and back), pin location, touchscreen of 1.2”, and so on.
It is quite a stylish model, with different types of faces and bands. Also it could be use as a smartwatch to receive notifications and calls if connected to a smartphone. In that case, the battery life will be reduced, as you can imagine.
One of the things you will not be able to see in this model is the course shape, so will read only the distances to green and selected hazards.
Now we are going to talk about one of the best golf watches in the market at the moment and great trade off between quality and price, the Golf Buddy Aim W10.
Based on many users, this model has most of the features of the S60 and a considerable lower price.
You will have a full color touch screen with distances to the pin, hazards and the option to check the hole layout. In that view you can check rings with distances from your perspective and from the pin perspective, so you can plan not just the strategy for your current cub, but also the distance and club of the next shot without doing any numbers, all in one sight.
A very nice feature is the green undulation. In this view you can see with colors the inclination of the green and give you a great indication of the break when planning your putting.
A disadvantage we found is that after your shot it will not tell you the distance of the previous shot, so if you want to know, and we all want to know the distance we did, especially if happy with the result, you will need to do the math…
The last model we are going to analyse is the Garmin Approach S10, a best-seller model offering all the features a golfer need from a golf watch at a very adjusted price.
This model comes with a black and white display and doesn’t use any of the fancy touchscreens, actually it has a squared shape, not like our previous models.
Because of its simplicity, it is very easy to use and it is very lightweight. Also the battery life is much better than the previous models.
It gives you all the basic information and the option to track your scoreboard and total time and distance played. Nice if you like to have that information when playing…
Garmin products come with more than 41,000 maps pre-installed and with free updates, therefore you do not have to pay for new maps or updates ever.
Conclusion on the best Golf GPS Watch of 2023
Nowadays, there are many options in the market to help your game when you are in the course. In this guide, we have analysed the golf watches we consider can give you a very good performance, are getting very popular and cover different ranges of prices, so you can get a very good idea of what you can get and make your selection properly.
If you ask us, we will recommend the Golf Buddy Aim W10, not only for the quality-price of the model, but also because the reviews of users which they prefer clearly this model over others in this list.
However if your budget is limited the Garmin Approach S10 will do the job at a quite convenient price.