The complete guide to the best golf watches available in 2023.
If you haven’t got yourself a golf watch already, it may be time to consider one. A GPS watch is now one of the best investments in your golf game, and you don’t even have to change your swing!
It may not seem like much, but knowing your distances to the hole can be vital improving your scores on the course. The recent advances in technology mean the world’s best golf GPS devices can be like having a caddie by your side.
The now dizzying array of features available in GPS devices can take the strain out of much of the game we love. Golf is hard enough as it is, so if you have a device that calculates the true distance to the hole – taking account of uphill or downhill shots – why not take advantage of technology?
You can take advantage of the technology off the course as well and take it to the range and at home with the best golf launch monitors which give you all your yardages to help match up your game on the course.
If you aren’t a fan of wearing or playing in a golf watch then it may be worth checking out our guide on the best golf rangefinders which give you the most precise measurements to the pin.
The best golf watch shortlist
Best golf watches 2023
The lightweight, premium golf watch that does it all
Best overall golf watch
This all looks great and it is, but the main use of the watch is golf and this is where the S70 excels. With more than 43,000 preloaded courses it's going to be harder to find a course the watch it doesn't work at than one it does.
The touchscreen AMOLED display is super easy to read and is up there with the best I've used, with the green and course views looking the way they do, they could be on the latest PGA TOUR game and you wouldn't question it.
The style of the watch makes a perfect partner for any outfit and is super comfortable, I didn't even know I was wearing it at one point.
For me, the yardage adjustment is a standout feature. A watch has always lacked the ability to adapt to its surroundings but now it can. It considers the environmental changes and the elevation of the green for super precise distances. With the green contour data if you're good enough it shows you the perfect place to land for the best results.
- High-quality screen
- Great hole displays
- Works well on and off the course
- Takes a while to learn how to navigate
|Number of courses:||43,000+|
|Battery life:||14 days in smartwatch mode and up to 15 hours in GPS mode|
|Straps:||1 in the box, extra available to buy|
Combining golf and health benefits
Best golf watch for screen quality
When you buy the Watch5 Pro Golf Edition you get a free lifetime subscription to the golfing app Smart Caddie, a Golf GPS app powered by GOLFBUDDY. It allows you to track over 40,000 courses worldwide, with distances to the green, hole-by-hole maps, shot tracking, a green undulation screen, and much more.
The AMOLED screen partnered with the sleek sports band, makes for a watch to be envied by your playing partners as you answer calls, texts and even reply to tweets on the course.
- AMOLED screen
- Excellent on and off the course
- Great SmartCaddie app
- Only compatible with Android
|Number of courses:||40,000|
Swing data to help improve your game
While the V3 doesn't offer the graphics of many rivals, it has a very clever system to give you a mountain of data. The makers believe its dual satellite technology reduces the error to just 30cm.
The golf watch comes with 16 sensors (that screw into each club), and this enables the watch to automatically detect every shot you hit. You won't notice the sensors at all, as they are so light and screw snugly into the grip of your club.
The amount of analytics the ShotScope V3 offers is fantastic – it gives you more than 100 statistics, including greens in regulation, driving distance, and putts per round.
Read our full Shot Scope V3 GPS watch review
- Compact and accurate
- Comes with shot trackers
- 100+ statistics
- Doesn’t pick up every shot
|Battery life:||10+ hours|
Lightweight and ideal for on and off the course
An easy-to-use 1.3" screen with a full-color display helps you see everything clearly and is readable in bright sunlight. Some great features of the S62 are the PinPointer compass and its Hazard view.
It even monitors your heart rate and can estimate blood oxygen levels. It can receive emails and texts. And it can also be used for running, cycling, and swimming, as well as golf. You can even use it to make contactless payments via Garmin Pay.
Read our full Garmin Approach S62 watch review
- Battery life
- Great on and off-course features
- Lightweight and stylish
- Can shot tracks
- Course maps look a little dated
|Number of courses:||41,000|
|Battery life:||20 hours|
Course mapping on foot for the highest accuracy
Like the brand's larger GPS devices, the LX5C lets you zoom and pan and is constantly calculating yardages to hidden hazards, so you know how far you've got to carry or lay up short of them.
The IntelliGreen tech provides exact shapes of greens for distances to the front, back, and any point in between from your angle of approach.
With SkyCaddie, you can trust the yardages as the GPS brand updates every UK golf course map on foot using survey-quality equipment across thousands of points per course.
Read our full SkyCaddie LX5 GPS watch review
- Large screen
- Feels good on the wrist
- Not as great off the course
|Battery life:||Up to two rounds|
For the golfer who wants luxury on and off the course
Best golf watch for design
If you want to stand out from the crowd with your golf watch, this is certainly the one, it does come at a premium price of just shy of £2,000, which will scare most off, but if you do have the pocket money for it, the MARQ certainly offers an array of features.
Of course, the watch does the basics showing you yardages to the pin and green and hole view, but with over 42,000 courses, Virtual Caddie, Hazard View, Green Contours, Wind Data, and PinPointer, the MARQ includes Garmin's most advanced golf features. The MARQ also comes with three Approach CT10 club sensors for automatic club tracking.
- Very versatile
- More than a golf watch
- Feels rather big on the wrist
|Battery life:||28 hours|
Takes shot tracking and off-course analysis to a new level
The X5 has a built-in step counter and accurate, real-time front, middle, and back distances to all greens, hazards, and doglegs all on over 36,000 golf courses globally.
The watch features a glare-resistant full-color 1.2" touchscreen, which, along with the clear and large display, makes for an easy-to-navigate watch.
The X5 comes with a collection of 2nd Gen RFID tracking tags that, when put in the but of your grip, automatically track over 100 performance statistics, including Club Distances, Approaches, Short Game, Putting, Strokes Gained, and Handicap Benchmarking.
Read our full Shot Scope X5 GPS watch review
- AI performance
- Feels great on the wrist
- Great shot tracking and statistics
- Smartphone app can be tricky to navigate and keep on top of
|Battery life:||Two plus rounds|
Slope technology in a golf watch
The ELITE is loaded with over 38,000 golf courses and has an easy-to-read display that shows distances to the front center and back of the green. It is also the first watch to feature Bushnell's patented Slope Technology, which I found to be very useful on the course, as the slope can make nearly a club difference on some holes you play.
An impressive feature is the dynamic distances the watch displays, as HoleView allows you to see the hole and give you the precise distance from any point, along with the green mapping which gives you a distance based on your angle to the pin.
- Slope reading
- Great value
- Clear yardages
- Slightly bulky on the wrist
|Battery life:||12+ hours|
The ultimate caddie for the golf course
Best premium golf watch
The go-to sports watch company has produced a highly effective on-course operator as well as a classic-looking TAG watch away from the course. You get 40,000 courses in stunning detail, plus an accelerometer and gyroscope functions to record each shot to the nearest meter.
The grade two titanium casing ensures considerable durability, and the unique ceramic golf bezel is just a great touch, in keeping with other special edition watches TAG have brought out.
Also includes a pedometer, heart rate monitor, and a 'Golf Edition Box' containing three TAG Heuer golf balls, 4 TAG Heuer tees, divot tools, divot tool, and a spare strap for your watch.
- Excellent quality
- Very responsive
- Super crisp display
- You can buy a GPS watch that does the same things for a lower price
|Battery life:||24 hours|
It packs a punch for golfers on a tight budget
Certainly, on the long putts, it also gives tremendous peace of mind. If you're like me, you start doubting yourself when it comes to reading greens.
The graphics are pretty good, and you get a hazard readout while you can manually alter the pin placement when it comes to getting the clubbing right on those all-important approaches.
In golf mode, you will get two rounds out of your battery, so not the longest-lasting power source, but that's not a problem.
There is also a pedometer option for those fitness-conscious golfers and an impressive course directory with free wireless updates available via Bluetooth with the smartphone app.
- Great value for money
- Green view feature
- Super supportive smartphone app
- Battery life could be better
|Battery life:||13 hours|
Classy golf watch that does it all
Apart from the all-important job of measuring distance like every other GPS watch, the S42 automatically records each shot so you can assess just how far each shot traveled, which is a huge help when selecting clubs.
It will also count your steps and monitor your sleep patterns, plus you can sync it with your phone so you'll get notifications for texts and missed calls.
In GPS mode, the battery will last a very healthy 15 hours and style-wise, is as classy looking as you would expect from Garmin.
- Works great as a smartwatch
- Long-lasting battery
- Automatically records each shot
- Took a while to understand some uses
|Battery life:||15 hours|
Simple look, and basic graphics but is packed with features to help your game.
It includes a shot-distance calculator, and all your stats and scores can be uploaded to the Bushnell Golf Mobile App for analysis purposes.
- Clear yardages
- Easy to use
- Basic looking
|Battery life:||16+ hours|
High-quality golf and fitness watch
It's lightweight and water-resistant, and the data is arranged in a very clean-looking way. This is very important as there are a lot of options, plus you get a free lifetime Smart Caddie app as part of the package.
Another GPS golf watch that will give you slopes graduations on the greens using an easy-to-follow color system. As previously mentioned, this is also very helpful with approach/pitch shots.
It also includes workout options and a heart monitor and will send you an alert, but perhaps set the bar quite high if you're particularly twitchy over slippery four-footers.
- Great battery life
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Excellent display
- Can be hard to navigate the menus
|Battery life:||60 hours|
Revolutionize how a golf watch can help your game
It's like having a caddy on your wrist, plus it will also let you know your swing tempo from your previous shot… helping you confirm what you almost certainly knew – that last swing was a bit too quick!!
More helpful is the contoured green view feature, which really helps focus the mind on approach shots and long putts plus, the Voice Caddie T8 also adjusts the distance you have left to take account of uphill or downhill shots. That is incredibly helpful when playing a course for the first time.
It is one of the more expensive options, but again you get adjustable pins thanks to the color touch screen, and you also get landing area suggestions off the tee.
- Great hole displays
- Tracks swing tempo
- So many different screens to understand
|Battery life:||27 hours|
Easy to use and comfortable
A very clever shot-measuring feature will give you an accurate readout, and there is also a very quick and easy way of being shown distances to sand and water hazards.
It will also count your steps and tell you how many calories you have burned (see that nett 79 wasn't all bad news), it's water resistant, and the black-on-white readout means it's straightforward to view even if it's sunny.
- Good display
- Shows hazards
- Feels good on the wrist
- Lacking quality in comparison to the other watches
|Battery life:||12 hours|
Adding a bit of color to your golf game
The G5 is lightweight and super easy to use, thanks to its simplicity the menus are a breeze to get around. Shot Scope have introduced the G5, a modernized GPS watch that has reenergized how technology and style can work together on the golf course.
The G5 has a digital scorecard feature that allows you to keep score as you go. The watch has dynamic yardages to the front, middle, and back of greens as well as distances to hazards, doglegs, and layup points. The watch is great for helping you work your way around each hole with a strategy, the hard part is you hitting the correct shots.
The G5 keeps simplicity at the heart of its design, the watch allows golfers to focus on their game whilst providing accurate distances on every hole. It is preloaded with over 36,000 courses worldwide. Plus, the added benefit of switching the watch face to a clock design once finished – for a sleek off-course offering.
Read our full Shot Scope G5 GPS watch review
- Easy to use
- A range of colorful straps
- Bold yardages make it easy to read
- The case feels bulky on the wrist
- Not touchscreen
|Battery Life:||10 hours|
High-quality golf watch that is super user-friendly
The Approach S12 has a round 1.3" high-resolution display which is sunlight readable and sports a big number display mode to make reading yardages easy when on the course. The watch has a remarkable battery life in GPS mode of up to 30 hours, making it easier than ever to play round after round without having to charge your watch.
The S12 comes with an outstanding 42,000 preloaded golf courses, and not only that, you can wirelessly update the courses you play most often to make sure you get the most out of your round.
- Simple and easy to use
- Looks great
- Great value
- No real features for off the course
|Battery life:||30 hours|
Perfect for a golfer who wants simplicity and user-friendly design
The important stuff – distance to the front/center/back of greens plus yardages to hazards is easily accessible.
Unfortunately, the Ult-G is not a touchscreen watch, but there are just four buttons required to fulfill its potential, and the battery life matches most of its more expensive GPS golf watch competitors.
- Super friendly
- Clear yardages
- No touchscreen
|Battery life:||2.5 rounds|
Golf watches: Buying Guide
The ultimate companion for day-to-day life on and off the golf course
For a start, you'll need to use a third-party app like Golfshot or 18Birdies. Most of the Apple Watch golf apps are paid for or involve some kind of subscription to get the full service. You'll also need your phone to be involved in the process of playing golf, usually at the start and end of the round.
Some of the apps will actually be taking the yardages from your phone and displaying them on your phone, which isn't particularly helpful unless your bag is right next to you. If you're on the tee and your bag is 10 yards away, your watch could be displaying completely the wrong yardage.
If you have an Apple Watch and don't want to buy a second watch purely for golf, then it can and will do a job for you. But if you're choosing the best golf watch from everything available, the Apple Watch would be some way down the list.
There's also the fact that the Apple Watch can do so much – calls, emails, social media, fitness tracking, etc., etc. – that it will tend to interrupt your golf unless you remember to turn everything else off before your round.
- Sleek design
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Great display
- Easy to use
- Only compatible with Apple products
- Can only use Golf GPS apps
|Battery life:||Up to 18 hours|
Best Golf Watches: Buying Guide
No matter what the price, there is a GPS watch out there for everybody. Whether you are a golfer who wants a simpler budget watch for £100 or less, or a golfer who has the money to buy an Ultra-premium model such as the TAG Heuer or Garmin MARQ at around £2000, there will be a GPS watch on the market in your price range.
Ease of use
When buying a GPS watch, you need to think about what is important to you, there are many GPS on the market that will give you the yardages to the front, back, and middle of the green as that’s about all some people want. However, there are watches out there which are much more complex that show detailed maps of the hole and locations of hazards and track your shots. So it’s important to make sure you know what you want out of your watch as nowadays they do much more than just tell a golfer the yardage.
Course collection size
For a club golfer who plays at their home course week in and week out, this may not be a worry for you, although it may be worth checking where you play is one of the preloaded courses. For golfers who like to travel around and play an array of golf courses, getting a watch getting a Garmin or a GOLFBUDDY, which has over 40,000 courses, may be better for you.
Modern golf watches are becoming increasingly accurate, most to within one or two yards. The ShotScope V3 claims an accuracy of 30cm, which will be close enough for even the most accurate golfers. And the Bushnell ION ELITE now features Bushnell’s very own slope technology making their watch even more precise as it accounts for how much higher or lower you’re to the pin.
When looking at a GPS’s battery life, you’ll need to consider your golf life and what best suits the amount you play. If you play once a week, most watches will be fine, whereas if you play three to four times a week, you may want something that will last without charging it every night, like the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 or the Garmin Approach S12.
You have to love the look of what watch you’re wearing, and it needs to feel comfortable on your wrist at the same time. Many brands now make models that golfers can wear on and off of the golf course, as they do most things a day-to-day smartwatch does, as well as tell you your yardage. There are a range of different models below, which vary in styling, so should be one that caters to your need.
The more money you spend, the better the display you’re going to get with a GPS watch. Most watches over £250 have a full-color screen, some have an even better display. Take the Samsung Galaxy Watch5 Pro Golf Edition, for example, which has an AMOLED display that stumps most televisions.
Golf watch – pros and cons
Quick and convenient – Golf watches are the quickest to use of the three options; simply glance down at your wrist, and you have all the information you need.
Stat-tracking – Most golf watches now offer some form of stat-tracking which can be hugely useful to help you work out the strengths and weaknesses in your game, as well as reliable information on how far you hit each club in your bag.
Overhead hole views – Some of the more advanced golf GPS watches can give you a bird’s-eye view of the hole, which helps you plot your shots and play smart shots to avoid hazards.
Feeling on the wrist – Some golfers don’t like the feeling of a golf watch on their wrist when they play and therefore prefer a laser rangefinder or handheld GPS. Most modern golf watches aren’t overly bulky, so this won’t be an issue for many people, but it’s a personal preference.
Not as accurate as lasers – Golf GPS watches are very accurate, but if you want the absolute most accurate yardage to the flag possible, a golf laser rangefinder is the way to go.
Battery – Most of the best golf watches will last you two 18-hole rounds of golf on one charge, but if you’re on a golf holiday and forget your charger, there’s nothing you can do. The majority of golf lasers use replaceable batteries rather than rechargeable ones and will last for months, if not years, without needing to be replaced.
Golf watches: FAQs
Is a golf watch worth it?
Golf watches are one of the best investments in golf and are certainly worth it. Whether you want something affordable or you want to splash the cash, there is something for every golfer on the market. Thanks to the advances in technology, watches can now provide a vast amount of data that will help improve your game.
Watches can show you hazards and distances to doglegs, they can also follow patterns in your game and show you what clubs you were hitting the last time you played the hole and recommend you a shot. They have come on leaps and bounds in recent years and are now more than just a gadget with yardages on.
What is the easiest golf watch to use?
If you’re looking for a watch that is simple to navigate and easy to use, it’d be good to go with a watch such as the Garmin Approach S12 or TecTecTec Ult-G GPS as they’re both simplistic, they show clear and obvious yardages, and when you get to the course they need to be turned on, select the course and the watch will do the rest. There are some more features on each watch, but if you want something that’s good to go minutes before the tee time, these are great options.
How do I choose a golf watch?
When choosing a golf watch, there are many factors to consider, and the ones that best suit you’re golf game should be a top priority. Every golfer will be slightly different as they may have a certain style or budget in mind that they want. When choosing, consider these factors price, ease of use, course collection size, accuracy, battery life, design, and screen quality.
Can smartwatches be used as golf watches?
Yes, with the GPS capabilities of smartwatches nowadays, most will be compatible with golf GPS apps on both Android and IOS. So whether you have an Apple, Samsung, HUAWEI, or any other of your favorite brands, they will all have certain apps like Golfshot or 18Birdies to help you on the course.
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About the author
Golf Equipment Writer
Will Shreeve-Peacock is a golf equipment writer for todays-golfer.com, specializing in golf shoes, GPS watches, rangefinders, and training aids.
He has a degree in journalism from Sheffield Hallam University and four years of experience working in golf retail with American Golf. Will was part of the sales and fitting team, making him the perfect man to review golf equipment.
Will started playing golf more than a decade ago at Thorney Lakes Golf Club, Cambridgeshire and is now a member at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincolnshire. His handicap index is 5.8, largely thanks to his scratch-standard short game.
Away from golf, Will enjoys going to the gym, cooking, spending time with his friends, and watching his beloved Manchester United.
Will uses a Cobra LTDx Driver, Cobra LTDx 3-Wood, TaylorMade P790 2-iron, Callaway X Forged 18 Irons (4-PW), Wilson Staff Model Wedges (52°, 58°), TaylorMade White smoke IN-12 Blade putter and the TaylorMade TP5x Golf ball.
When he’s not testing golf shoes, he chooses to wear FootJoy Hyperflex or Under Armour Charged Phantom. He uses a Shotscope Pro L2 rangefinder, and his favorite training aid is the PuttOut Pressure Putt Trainer and mat.