Best golf watch

Wearable Technology

While golf watches help you choose the right club and avoid hazards, they also speed up the pace of play.

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Which golf watch is best?

Golfing is an enjoyable pastime, but the game itself can be challenging. Since most golfers don’t hit the course with a caddie alongside, it can be difficult to know things like the shape of the fairways and greens, pin placement, distance to the pin and weather conditions. Navigating the sand, water, hills and trees of a golf course takes local knowledge or some help from “above”.

A golf watch can provide this important data via GPS, and it can even keep score and monitor your overall swing performance. It can take the guesswork out of your club and swing decisions, which can help improve your overall game. For overall features and ease of use, the top choice is the Garmin Approach S62 Golf Watch.

What to know before you buy a golf watch

How technologically savvy are you?

Golf watches come with a long list of features that can be helpful if you are technologically savvy and able to quickly toggle between them. But if technology overwhelms you, and you just want a simple golf watch to show you distance and where the pin is placed, you may want to look at more basic models. 

Are you playing different courses often?

Do you play different courses regularly, or do you have a home course that you often frequent and know well? Some golf watches can show you where to aim if you are playing a hilly or tree-lined course with obstructed views or even blind shots for the first time. They also can show distances to hazards and recommend flight lines. If you have a course that you play regularly, some of these features may not be as important.

How rough are you with your tech gadgets?

Is your cellphone scratched and marked up? Does your tablet or laptop have missing keys or stains from spilled coffee? If you tend to be hard on your gadgets, consider buying a screen protector for your golf watch and consider models that offer anti-scratch coatings and are even waterproof.

What to look for in a quality golf watch

Bluetooth and operating system

Most golf watches can transfer data from the watch to your cellphone. Make sure the watch is compatible with the operating system on your phone. Also, keep tabs that the phone is within the proper distance for Bluetooth technology to work correctly.

Battery

With a lithium-ion battery, most golf watches can last an entire week without needing to be recharged. However, accessing GPS data can drain the battery more quickly, which still leaves 10-15 hours of use time — plenty for several rounds of golf.

Green distance and view

Many golf watches offer the feature of distance-to-the-green, and some offer a view of the green’s undulations so that you can determine the best place to land the ball.

Hazards

Knowing where sand traps and water hazards are located is critical to avoid penalty shots. Look for golf watches that offer distance measurements to the front edge of each hazard on the course and provide recommended lay-up locations.

Scoring

Many golf watches are equipped to keep track of your swings and eliminate the need for a pencil and scorecards.

How much you can expect to spend on a golf watch

Basic golfer’s watch models with GPS are priced $100-$150, while watches with a touch screen and green view features cost $150-$225. High-end golfer’s watches with performance analysis and automatic scoring run $225-$300.

Golf watch FAQ

If a golf watch records your score, will it count as a practice swing?

A. Many golf watches use GPS to determine your swing, so if you swing multiple times in the same spot, it will only count your last swing. Some other models may count your practice swings, so be sure to double-check your manufacturer’s instructions.

Will the golf course you are playing be recognizable by your golf watch?

A. Most golf watches are preloaded with data from 30,000-40,000 golf courses around the world. There is a good chance that your course will be included. If it isn’t, look into download options that are typically free.

What’s the best golf watch to buy?

Top golf watch

Garmin Approach S62 Golf Watch

Garmin Approach S62 Golf Watch

What you need to know: This golf watch does not lack any features and offers a reliable experience from a trusted brand.

What you’ll love: A highly sensitive GPS calculates the distance to greens and hazards, including PlayLike technology that adjusts yardages for slope. AutoShot tracking keeps track of shots for post-round review. It has preloaded courses and a virtual caddie for club selection.

What you should consider: You get what you pay for with this watch as it is very expensive in the overall market.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Top golf watch for the money

Garmin Approach S40 Golf Watch

Garmin Approach S40 Golf Watch

What you need to know: This popular golf watch is stylish and lightweight with a color touch screen.

What you’ll love: It includes manual pin positioning for accurate yardages. The watchband is fully hinged for extra comfort during your swing. Garmin Connect is included and allows you to compare your round with other golfers.

What you should consider: This golf watch lacks some of the premium features found in other watches.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Worth checking out

Bushnell Neo Ion 2 Golf GPS Watch

Bushnell Neo Ion 2 Golf GPS Watch

What you need to know: This golf watch is from a trusted name with an excellent GPS system for accurate yardages.

What you’ll love: The sleek design includes a comfortable watch band that won’t interfere with your swing. The battery life is extra long, and the watch comes with a one-year warranty. It is preloaded with over 35,000 golf courses.

What you should consider: This watch band could break over time with heavy use.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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