Golf Watch

No matter your skill level or the likelihood that your next shot is going to land anywhere near the green, there is something about knowing exactly how far way the green is before you take your shot. In the past you ad to pull out a rangefinder from your bag, get your reading, put the rangefinder back up and take your shot. With the golf watches on the market today, all you need to do is look down at your wrist. Today’s golf watches are more accurate, better looking, and give you more information than ever before. Here are some of the things that set some golf watches apart from the competition:

  • Accuracy in terms of yardage and maps.
  • Ease of use.
  • Comfort.
  • It has to look nice.
  • It should be versatile in that you can use it off the course as well. 

How useful is a golf watch? 

Depending on the model, a golf watch can be one of the most useful golf accessories you carry on the course. If you are a golfer, then you know that a key to lowering your score is effective course management. Effective course management involves knowing exact yardages to different parts of the greens and other locations on the course. You do not want to hit a perfect drive that ends up in a lake you thought was farther away, or hit an approach shot that lands on the front of the green because you were 15 yards farther from the hole than you thought. A golf watch can give you that exact yardage that you need, but it can do more than that as well. It can also keep your score, keep a record of shots to review later, and most importantly give you a detailed visual representation of each hole. Also, it fits on your wrist and is just a glance away.

Our Choices 

  • Garmin Approach S62

Garmin is one of the most well-known and trusted names in the world of portable GPS devices and in the world of golf watches. The S62 is both one of the most expensive and most popular items on this list, and it is our favorite golf watch for a reason.

The watch is built specifically for golf and does pretty much anything you could want a golf watch to do. It has a big color touchscreen, can display wind speed and direction, gives you accurate distances to any location on a hole, and can even adjust distances for downhill or uphill conditions. It also has a virtual caddie option that helps you select the right club for you based on a variety of factors. Again, the Garmin S62 is expensive, but it is worth it and it is our favorite golf watch on the market.

Pros
  • One of the most feature-rich devices on the market.
  • A large screen with a lot of available data.
  • Pre-loaded with over 40,000 golf courses.
  • High quality construction and very durable and stylish.
  • The virtual caddie is a great tool as you are learning club selection.
  • The ability to read green undulations, give windspeed, and give you yardage to different spots on the course is great.
Cons
  • One of the more expensive options.
  • Battery life of only about 10 hours.
  • Sky Caddie LX5

The Sky Caddie LX5 is a very close second to the Garmin S62 on our list, and it is easily the most comparable to a handheld rangefinder of any golf watch. The display screen and visual representation of the hole is on another level than any other golf watch we have seen.

It has a very fast processor running it so there are no delays when you are bringing up courses or using different aspects of the technology. The Intelligreen technology gives you the exact shape of the green with distances to different parts as well. If you are looking primarily for visual help, the Sky Caddie is the choice, it just does not have all the extra features of the Garmin S62.

Pros
  • The largest color touchscreen on the list.
  • The visual representations of the course are handheld rangefinder quality.
  • Over 35,000 preloaded courses.
  • It changes the angle that you see depending on where you are on the course.
  • You get the exact shape of the green as well as distances to different parts of it.
  • Dynamic RangeVue technology gives you different ball flight arcs at different distances so that you can see the right club for every situation.
Cons
  • It is another one of the more expensive options.
  • Most of the technology is tied up in the visual aspects of the watch so that you do not get as many features such as scorekeeping, virtual caddies, etc.
  • Shot Scope V3

Shot Scope is a well-known golf watch brand loaded with features and usually for a good price. The V3 is definitely one of those watches.

The V3 provides highly accurate distances to different points on the course while also providing analytics and statistics that will help you make club decisions. The watch is comfortable, lightweight, and stylish with a rectangular design and nice color display. The visual display is good, but the performance tracking features really set it apart. It does not have as many smart watch features as some of the more highly rated watches on the list.

Pros
  • Accurate distances in either yards or meters.
  • You can find GPS distances to the front and back of every hazard and the distances to all greens.
  • A good combination of GPS features and performance tracking.
  • Lightweight and stylish.
  • Great visuals.
  • Over 36,000 courses are preloaded.
Cons
  • Some shots go undetected.
  • Not as many smartphone features/apps.
  • Garmin Approach S42

The Garmin Approach S42 is one of the most stylish golf watches you will find. It features a nice-sized color screen that has a sunlight-readable touchscreen. It is very lightweight and comfortable as well.

While it does not have all of the higher end features that you find in the S62 mentioned above, you do get accurate yardages, a basic visual representation of each hole, more than 40,000 preloaded courses, and also a lot of smartwatch features that you can use off the course all for a really good price. In fact, in terms of how the watch operates in everyday life, the Garmin S42 is our favorite.

Pros
  • One of the best looking golf watches on the market.
  • The $150-$200 golf watch market is competitive and this is one of our favorites.
  • Operates well as a smartwatch and fitness watch.
  • It is a good golf watch with accurate yardage.
  • The color touchscreen looks great and operates well even in direct sunlight.
Cons
  • Not as many features as some of the other golf watches.
  • More of a regular smartwatch than a golf watch in a lot of ways.

Golf Watch FAQs

  • What is a golf rangefinder?

Golf rangefinders are used to help you determine the distance and the line that you need to take on your next shot. There are 2 types of rangefinders: laser or GPS. A GPS rangefinder uses signals from satellites to figure out the distance between you and your desired target. GPS is usually a little less accurate than a laser rangefinder but they are quicker and easier to use. A laser rangefinder uses a laser beam from the device in your hand to your target. The rangefinder judges the distance by how much time it takes for the laser to be reflected back.

  • Which is the best golf watch to buy?

Our favorite golf watch is the Garmin S62 for the reasons listed above. Garmin golf has produced some really good GPS machines and watches, and their apps are excellent as well. The S62 has a ton of golf specific features, and the virtual caddie really sets it apart from the competition.

  • Does Fitbit make a golf watch?

There are some golf features offered by Fitbit, but they neither advertise nor sell a golf watch. You can keep track of the steps you take on the course, but you cannot see distances, visual representations of the course, or find performance tracking features.

  • Can any smartwatch be used for golf?

No. Golf specific watches are much better and have better golf features to help you in different ways than most smartwatches can. Even if there are apps to make a smartwatch a golf watch, they are usually more difficult to use and not as accurate as the Garmin models or Sky Caddies.

  • Do golf watches work on all courses?

Most golf watches have a specific number of preloaded courses that account for the vast majority of golf courses you may play. If you find a course not preloaded on your watch, there are usually ways you can either use the GPS function or load the course manually onto your watch.

  • What is a golf GPS?

Golf GPS systems use satellites to pinpoint your location as well as the location of different points on the golf course. They use these satellite images to give you an accurate estimate on the distance to whatever green, hazard, or other points on the course you want.

Conclusion 

There are a lot of good golf watches on the market today, and the market will continue to grow as watch technology grows. The key to a good golf watch is the accuracy of its GPD distances and the visual display it presents. After that, some watches include performance tracking and analytics features as well as scorekeeping that can help your game improve over the long run. Once you figure out the golf features you are looking for, some golf watches go even beyond that. Many golf watches are comfortable, lightweight, and stylish so that you can wear them on and off the course. Some golf watches have many of the same features as fitness trackers or smart watches so that they come in handy and keep you connected no matter where you are. The bottom line is that there are some really good golf watches on the market today, it is up to you to decide what features are important to you and how much you are willing to spend to get those features.

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