Looking to bring down your scores in 2020? Fed up overshooting greens, or leaving yourself short? Then, you need a way to accurately measure your distance from the flag for each shot. In this guide we’ve picked out the 6 best Golf GPS watches for the 2020 season.
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This Year’s Best Golf GPS Watches
1. Garmin Approach S60
It’s not cheap. But if you have the budget, the Garmin Approach S60 is our pick for the best golf GPS watch this year.
- Features: Color touch-screen. Precise yardages to green (front/middle/back with movable pin), hazards, and doglegs. Preloaded with over 41,000 courses. Auto-shot tracking for post-round review in the Garmin golf app. Sync with your smartphone for notifications of incoming calls, texts, emails etc.
- Price: $$$
- Pros: The shot tracking is a useful feature that will help you dial in distances for your irons. Battery life is impressive, and may even get you through 2 rounds between recharges. Color screen performs well in direct sunlight.
- Cons: You’ll feel it in the wallet. But we believe the outlay is worth it.
At the higher end of the price scale we have the Garmin Approach S60. You’ll be looking at around $400 for this watch, so what do you get for the cash?
Well, first you’ll get a full colour display, on which you can view full course maps. The display works particularly well in direct sunlight, where other golf watches can be difficult to view. The maps include hazards, doglegs, layup positions etc.
You’ll also get advanced stats on your swing and your round, which you can analyse afterwards on the Garmin Connect app.
The Approach S60 has a slope mode, which means you can get a “plays like” distance, taking into account hills etc. But remember, this functionality is not legal for tournament play, so only use it for practice. Still, a very useful feature to have.
You will of course get the standard yardage stats, with distances to front, middle, and back of green.
Finally, you can sync your S60 with your smartphone to get notifications of incoming calls, texts, emails etc.
All in all, if you have the cash, it’s our pick for the best golf smartwatch on the market in 2019. Otherwise, we’d opt for the Garmin Approach S20 which is less than half the price.
2. Garmin Approach S20
With an attractive price point, and accurate yardages, the Garmin Approach S20 is our pick for the best affordable golf GPS watch in 2020.
- Features: Distances to front, middle, and back of green + hazards. Green elevation display with moveable pin. Preloaded with over 41,000 courses. Auto-shot tracking for post-round review in the Garmin golf app. Activity tracker, and smart notifications (texts, emails etc).
- Price: $$
- Pros: Automatic shot tracking is an impressive addition for the price point. High contrast display performs well in sunlight, and overall accuracy is excellent.
- Cons: Navigation can be a little tricky to get your head around at first. But once you’ve got it down, you’ll find the S20 pretty straightforward to use.
The S20 is considered to be Garmin’s entry level golf GPS watch. But that doesn’t mean to say it doesn’t pack in a ton of great features. This is the latest version of my personal golf watch, the Garmin Approach S2.
You’ll get the usual yardage information, plus layup/hazard details. The green elevation display also gives you the option to move the flag around, so you can get a more precise yardage to the hole. Of course you’ll need to know where the flag is to be able to do that. It can be a little dificult to pinpoint if you are over 200 yards out (easy 5 iron right…?).
Any other cool features? Yep, with the S20 you can actually get specific feedback on your swing. The TruSwing sensor will tell you your swing speed and your tempo, which is useful information to have – particularly if your tempo drifts a little during your round. This watch doubles as a fitbit replacement, so you can track you steps, activity etc. And you can also keep track of all your scores and stats by connecting to the free Garmin Connect app (wireless sync via bluetooth).
The navigation can be a little tricky to get your head round at first, so read the manual. But once you’ve got it down, you’ll find the S20 pretty straight forward to use.
Overall, an excellent Golf GPS watch.
3. Callaway GPSy
Callaway is one of golf’s biggest brands, so it’s no surprise they have a finger in the golf GPS pie. And the Callaway GPSy is certainly a great choice for your golf GPS watch.
- Features: Distances to front, middle, and back of green + hazards. Auto course recognition. Auto hole advance. Preloaded with over 30,000 courses. Stat tracking (putts, GIR, distances). Digital scorecard. 10-12 hour battery life.
- Price: $$
- Pros: Probably the most stylish smartwatch at the affordable end of the market. No frills in terms of functionality, but good where it counts (distances + stat tracking).
- Cons: User guide is a bit lacking, and charging can be a little fiddly.
Callaway is one of golf’s biggest brands, so it’s no surprise they have a finger in the golf GPS pie. And the Callaway GPSy is certainly a great choice for your GPS watch.
The first thing you’ll notice is it looks the part. In fact, I would say it’s probably the most stylish smartwatch at the affordable end of the market.
It’s reasonably no frills in terms of functionality. It focuses on accurate stats for yardages (usual front, middle, back of green), and recording information on your round. And it does that very well.
The GPSy comes loaded with 30,000 courses, which is less than some golf GPS wathches on the market, but still likely to include any course you are likely to play.
Battery life in GPS mode is 10-12 hours, so likely to get you through 2 rounds comfortably, and 3 at a push.
Overall, it’s good, but we still prefer the Garmin.
4. Bushnell Neo Ion 2
Not the sexiest of brands, but the Bushnell Neo Ion 2 is a feature packed golf GPS watch with an attractive price point.
- Features: Preloaded with 36,000 courses. Distances to front, center and back. Shot distance calculator. Layup and hazard distances. Long battery life
- Price: $$
- Pros: Accurate yardages, intuitive interface, and a battery life of up to 16 hours. Combine that with the price and the Bushnell Neo Ion 2 is a decent choice.
- Cons: Some users report that the watch can take a while to locate courses. Charger is a little tricky to use (a common problem with Golf GPS watches).
Bushnell make some pretty decent golf accessories at the affordable end of the market. And the NEO Ion has most of the features you’ll be looking for in a golf watch.
You’ll get stats on yardages, hazard and layup distances, and it also has a built in step counter.
Most impressive is the battery life. You’ll get up to 16 hours on GPS mode, which should get you through about 4 rounds between recharges.
If you are on a budget, the Bushnell is about $50 cheaper than the other watches on our list, so is a pretty good option.
5. Garmin Approach S62
While the S60 is our pick for the best golf GPS watch this year (taking into account value for money), the Garmin Approach S62 does actually beat it in terms of features and performance. So if you want the absolute best, and are prepared to pay for it, then the S62 is the golf watch for you.
- Features: Preloaded with over 41,000 courses. Full color CourseView maps. Virtual Caddie suggests clubs based on average distances + factors in wind speed and direction. Color touch-screen. Precise yardages to green (front/middle/back with movable pin), hazards, and doglegs. Auto-shot tracking for post-round review in the Garmin golf app. Sync with your smartphone for notifications of incoming calls, texts, emails etc.
- Price: $$$
- Pros: You get everything that the Approach S60 has to offer (which is a lot) + the Virtual Caddie. The 1.3” screen is 18% larger than the Approach S60.
- Cons: Expensive. The Virtual Caddie is a great feature, but if you don’t need it then opt for the S60 and save yourself some $.
6. Garmin Approach S40
Not quite as feature packed as the S60 and S62, but the Garmin Approach S40 has a color screen, plenty of features, and is around half the price of the S62.
- Features: Preloaded with over 41,000 courses. Color touchscreen display. Distances to front, middle, and back of green + hazards. Green elevation display with moveable pin. Auto-shot tracking for post-round review in the Garmin golf app.
- Price: $$
- Pros: Most of the features of the S60 minus the aerial course maps. Affordable.
- Cons: We like the S60’s aerial course maps…
Our top choice is the Garmin Approach S60 as we feel that the (impressive) features justify the price. The S62 is the best golf watch overall, but was just a little bit too expensive for us. If you’re looking for an affordable golf GPS watch, we’d go for the Garmin Approach S20.
Golf GPS FAQs
Which golf GPS watch is best?
In terms of value for money and features, the Garmin Approach s60 is the best golf GPS available in 2020.
How accurate are golf GPS watches?
Most golf GPS watches are accurate to between 3 and 4 yards under optimal conditions.
Which golf GPS is most accurate?
We found the Garmin Approach s60 and S62 to be the most accurate golf GPS watches available in 2020.
Are golf GPS devices legal?
Golf GPS systems are legal for tournament play, however, if the GPS has a built in slope mode (which takes into account hills etc) this must be disabled.
golf gps vs rangefinder
Rangefinders are normally slightly more accurate than golf GPS systems. They also have the benefit of being able to target obstacles on the course (such as bunkers or streams) and get an accurate yardage to the hazard.