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best GPS watches
No matter where you go, technology seems to be taking over the world, and it’s no different on the golf course. Gone are the days of searching for a fairway yardage marker to gauge your distance to what ,might be the “center of the green.” Today, golf rangefinders come up with precise yardage to the flagstick in an instant.
Golf GPS watches follow the trend of wearable technology to make course management a simple flick of your wrist. Distance to clear a creek? Yardage to the back of the green? Do I have enough club? What was once unthinkable and not permissible for play is now the norm for the everyday player. We’ve put together a list of the best golf GPS watches of 2023 to make your decision just as easy as reading your yardage before your next shot.
All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy a linked product, GOLF.COM may earn a fee. Pricing may vary.
Garmin is the industry leader in golf GPS watches, and this list reinforces its reign. With five models recognized among the best, some of the accolades acknowledged here were quite interchangeable. Considering its capabilities, price, and reliability, the Garmin Approach S42 earned our nod as the best overall golf GPS watch for 2023.
With a longer battery life than its predecessor, a large color touchscreen, and an array of innovative features, the Garmin Approach S42 is suitable for golfers of all skill levels.
With Green View technology that displays actual green shapes, golfers can drag and place the flagstick to its appropriate location for that round. AutoShot game-tracking technology provides data on strokes gained per category and tournament leaderboards through the Garmin Golf app.
At $299.99, it approaches a premium price point level, but enhancements were made to its previous model to justify the cost. With 15 hours of battery life, you’re guaranteed three rounds of golf between charges.
The Golfbuddy Aim W11 proved to be a great choice for golfers on a budget as they shop for the golf GPS watch to take their game to the next level. The fully waterproof color touchscreen will never fail to display the task ahead of you on the course.
It has a green-reading feature that color codes undulations in the green — a fantastic feature for this price point. Making it a bit more fun and stylish is a selection of two interchangeable bands — one black and one red, white, and blue — depending on your mood (or your ensemble) that day.
The $199.99 price tag works for this model, as it has some excellent features, but some aren’t available at every golf course. Also, the touchscreen sometimes lags, and the battery life is a bit more limited than more expensive golf GPS watches.
The Tag Heuer Connected Golf GPS watch is the granddaddy of the list. Living up to its name, it’s super-stylish (best style on our list) and carries a ton of cache based on the Tag Heuer name. Beyond the novelty, it does have some golf GPS features that warrant a place on this list. The ability to track shots, record statistics, and keep score during a round are a few of the more popular amenities.
At $2,650, the vast majority of golf GPS watch-seeking consumers won’t even take a second look, but the plethora of preloaded golf courses and extensive battery life are nothing to sneeze at. It’s a premium item for a limited number of people. You know your budget — if nothing else, try one on in the store, just to say you did.
The SkyCaddie LX5 golf GPS watch has the largest color touchscreen available and is the best display on a golf GPS watch for 2023. The technology behind the SkyCaddie name is all over this device, as game analysis is made easier with app integration. Golfers can also get the distance to any spot on the hole by simply dragging on the touchscreen.
The LX5 has a beautiful high-resolution display that is top-of-the-line in appearance and performance, and it looks good even when you wear it off the course. It’s fast and responsive and provides exact green shapes that appear as your approach direction dictates. Additional fitness features are included.
Of course, the $299.99 cost isn’t cheap, and the limited battery life is also a downer. It’s been noted that the LX5’s otherwise large face is quite cumbersome on smaller wrists. It’s a suitable golf GPS watch for most any caliber of player, but the pickier consumer might shy away from the drawbacks cited here.
Basic is no hyperbole when it comes to the TecTecTec ULT-G golf GPS watch. But don’t let the word “basic” fool you: It’s the best basic golf GPS watch we’ve seen. It provides a very accurate distance to the front, middle, and back of the green, as well as to points of interest on the course, such as penalty areas and bunkers.
You’ll want to note, however, that there are no course images on this device. It’s all data. It also doesn’t scope to the flagstick specifically, and instead to the three regions of the green already mentioned.
It’s basic yet reliable, and for $100, you can’t go wrong.
In researching and testing golf GPS watches, you can’t avoid the Garmin name, and there’s simply no getting around the Garmin Approach S62 model. It’s unbelievably accurate and truly among the best of the best in golf GPS watches.
The 1.3-inch color touchscreen is scratch-resistant and glorious to look at. It has an incredible club-selection feature that considers your average distance for each club and even accounts for wind speed and direction. It’s basically as good as a human caddy by your side. It doesn’t tote your golf bag around, but you can see our other list of the best golf push carts to handle that duty.
The PinPointer feature aids in locating the pin when it’s not physically visible based on your errant shot or an exaggerated dogleg in the fairway.
Despite its $499.99 cost, the Garmin Approach S62 takes home the best buzz category. In fact, there’s so much buzz that it could even be a distraction on the course. Use it within your means, and don’t lose sight of the game you’re playing.
Some say the Garmin Approach S10 is the best of the Garmin selection. And there’s no denying its excellence, as it provides reliable performance and delivers all the essential features you’d expect from Garmin. You can navigate your way around any golf course with this baby on your wrist.
With each visit to the course, it’s very easy to set up and use, earning our award for the best user-friendly golf GPS watch.
There are no frills in this $149.99 watch, and for a high percentage of golfers reading this, that’s just fine with them. One drawback you might want to be aware of is the noticeably weak battery life. It’ll only cover two rounds of golf, so you might as well charge it after each use to ensure it doesn’t die on you.
Quite the opposite of the no-frills model, the Garmin MARQ has all the bells and whistles you’ll need — and many you won’t. It has a pristine display and extended battery life, more than twice that of its S10 counterpart.
The $1,850 price point will deter many shoppers, and it’s also very bulky to have affixed to your wrist for on-course play — a dent in your checkbook and a rock on your wrist. It lives up to this category, but thankfully, there’s an array of better options within the Garmin family and outside that select group. With the MARQ, you’re paying for features you most likely won’t often use, if at all. Evaluate your needs, and do your homework to find out if this extravagant golf GPS watch is for you.
The Shot Scope V3 golf GPS watch is a superb device with many features. This $219.99 golf GPS watch will provide distances to the green, penalty areas, and landing areas to help you maneuver your way around the golf course.
There’s a useful shot-tracking feature, enabled through GPS chip-tracking tags, that provides excellent feedback to help golfers navigate their way to better golf. Also contributing to this progress will be the web access available after play for detailed shot analysis. You’ll know right away what needs improvement. From there, it’s up to you to seek your local PGA professional for game improvement tips and instruction.
The Shot Scope V3’s battery life is less than stellar, and there are a few thousand fewer preloaded courses than some other golf GPS watches have (yes, we’re reaching for something negative to say).
It’s quite fitting that our final honor goes to the Garmin Approach S12 for the best battery life in a golf GPS watch. At 30 hours, it’s only rivaled by a watch that’s more than eight times its price. The $199.99 price tag on this Garmin is unparalleled for what you get.
The S12 has a classy black-and-white design and a high-resolution display that you can see clearly in the sunlight. As mentioned earlier, many of these Garmin models could have rivaled multiple “best of” categories. The S12 is a winner for sure.
It doesn’t provide live interaction with your smartphone, which could deter a few consumers, but for the most part, that’s probably not a game-changer.
The primary factors to consider when choosing a golf GPS watch are price, clarity, accuracy, and features. Some golfers need a little — others want more. Some want to spend a little — others more.
Wearable golf GPS technology is changing the way we play golf, and the models cited in this list are the cream of the crop. There isn’t just one caliber of golfer who will benefit from this technology — they all will. After all, no matter your skill level, you still need to know where you are, where you’re going, and how far it is in between.
The Garmin Approach S62 is one of the most accurate golf GPS watch on the market. Keep in mind, however, that all of the devices on this list are quite precise, steady, and accurate. But when considering other features and perks, the S62 is the answer to a lot of golfers’ questions.
The Golfbuddy Aim W11 is our pick for the golf GPS watch with the best value. It’s less than $200 and can take your game to the next level. It’s fully waterproof, and the beautiful color touchscreen will display the task you have ahead of you on the course.
We’d say the best smartwatch for golf is the Garmin Approach S42. It has a longer battery life than its predecessor, a fantastic large color touchscreen, and an array of innovative features, including Green View technology that displays actual green shapes. Golfers can also drag and place the flagstick in its appropriate location for that round. It offers AutoShot game tracking Garmin technology to provide data on strokes gained per category and tournament leaderboards through the Garmin Golf app.
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