In the market to buy a new golf GPS watch, but not sure which is right for you?
We’ve got you covered.
In this guide we’ve picked out the 4 best golf GPS watches right now, with options for all budgets.
Let’s jump straight in.
If you want to shoot the best score you can and lower your handicap, you need to know your distances with each club, and you need to know exactly how far you are from the green. Modern golf GPS watches are super accurate, with most having a margin of error of a yard or less.
If you’re looking for a no nonsense golf GPS that’s going to give you the numbers you need, then the Garmin Approach S10 is an excellent affordable watch.
But if you’re looking for the best of the best, want a feature packed golf watch, and have the budget, then the Garmin Approach S62 is our pick for the best golf GPS watch this year.
These are the best golf GPS watches right now
- Garmin Approach S62 – best overall golf GPS watch
- Garmin Approach S10 – best affordable golf GPS watch
- Sky Caddie LX5 – best mid range golf GPS watch
- Garmin Approach S40 – best golf GPS watch under $200
How we picked
We tested many of the leading golf watches this year, and considered around 15 watches in total. For those we didn’t have physically in our hands, we spent hours researching customer reviews, reading tech specs, and comparing features.
To whittle down our list to a top 5, we picked one “winner” from each category — overall best, affordable, mid range, and under $200.
While our final list of the best golf GPS watches for the 2021 season ended up a little Garmin heavy, that’s simply because they’re making the best watches right now. There was no bias, and while we may make a small commission if you click a link and order one of the watches on our list, we didn’t allow this to influence our decision.
We’re confident in saying that the watches we picked are the best in each category.
Now let’s look at each of the individual watches in detail.
Reviews: This year’s best golf GPS watches
1. Garmin Approach S62 – best overall golf GPS watch
While some of the categories were difficult to choose a winner, when it came to the best overall GPS watch there was really one choice: the Garmin Approach S62.
Garmin know golf GPS watches inside out. And each year they up their game, packing more and more features into their watches.
But the Garmin S62 is much more than just a golf watch. Let’s start with looking at what’s new when compared to the previous Garmin S60.
What’s new in the Garmin S62?
The Garmin Approach S62 replaces the previous year’s S60 (although that’s still available), and the first notable improvement Garmin made is to increase the size of the screen by an impressive 17%. The extra screen size makes operating the touchscreen menu noticeably easier, and with everything on the screen generally “bigger”, the whole watch is easier to read when glancing at your wrist.
Another new feature we like is wind speed and direction. No more having to take the Tiger approach of tossing a tuft of grass into the air and guessing at the strength of the gusts, at least in casual rounds. As we should point out that wind speed (and some other premium features such as “plays like”) are not legal for tournament play.
Talking of the “plays like” feature, that’s what Garmin is calling the S62’s slope functionality. Rather than an “as the crow flies” yardage, when the “plays like” feature is on, you’ll get a yardage to the green that takes account of uphill and downhill slopes. Useful for those who play on hilly courses. And again, while it’s not legal for tournament play, you can use the feature in your practice rounds, and take notes at various yardages on each hole.
Finally, we also want to draw attention to the “pinpointer” feature, which will point you to the pin on blind shots. No more having to take note of the position of a particular cloud, then keep your eye on it as you set up for your shot!
Garmin S62 features
The Garmin S62 comes preloaded with 41,000 courses, all with full color “course view” maps. Course updates can also be downloaded when they become available.
In addition to the new features we noted above, you’ll get the usual distances to front, middle, and back of green, as well as distances to individual hazards on each hole. With the S62’s “hazard view” you can quickly scroll through individual hazards on a hole, get the yardage for each, and figure out the choice of club that’s going to keep you well away from them!
As has become standard on Garmin’s higher end GPS watches, there’s a green view that will let you drag and drop the pin to match the greenkeeper’s setup for that particular day. So yardages are always going to be bang on.
Auto shot tracking, and strokes gained analysis (when paired with the Garmin golf app) makes this the most feature packed Garmin golf watch to date.
The S62 is more than just a golf watch
While you’ll be buying the S62 for its golf features, it’s more than just a golf watch, and is a full-on replacement for your Fitbit or Apple Watch.
You’ll get all the functionality you’d expect from a high end smartwatch, including notifications, fitness and health tracking (including heart rate), and the S62 will even measure your blood Oxygen level. Throw in customizable watch faces, and this is truly the only smart watch a golfer will ever need.
The Garmin Approach S62 was the clear winner for the title of best golf watch for the 2021 season. It’s super accurate and has everything you need both on the course, and for post round analysis.
Strap a Garmin Approach S62 on your wrist, and you’ll be bound to lower your scores.
2. Garmin Approach S10 – best affordable golf GPS Watch
If you’re looking for a no-frills golf watch that will give you the yardages you need, and keep track of your scores, then the Garmin Approach S10 should be your choice.
While it doesn’t have the impressive roster of features that the S62 has, the S10 is accurate, comfortable, and most importantly, affordable.
And like the S62, the Garmin Approach S10 is preloaded with over 41,000 courses, with updates available from the Garmin website. As you might expect, you’ll get yardages to the front, middle, and back of each green, as well as accurate distances to hazards and doglegs.
The S10h will let you keep track of your scores on each hole, and also includes auto hole advance. And the ability to measure off the length of each shot is useful for getting to know your yardages.
Lightweight, comfortable, and waterproof, with a decent battery life, the Garmin Approach S10 is our pick for the best affordable golf watch this year.
3. Sky Caddie LX5 – best mid range golf GPS watch
Moving away from Garmin for a moment, our next pick is the Sky Caddie LX5.
The LX5’s claim to fame? It has the biggest color touchscreen of any golf watch available right now. The LX5’s touchscreen measures in at a whopping 1.39” (3.5 cm) and also claims to be the brightest on the market.
But extra large screen aside, the Sky Caddie LX5 is in itself a feature packed golf watch, which is in some ways a challenger to Garmin’s dominance.
While the number of courses featured trails Garmin (35,000 on the Sky Caddie LX5 vs 41,000 on the Garmins), the full color course maps include zooming and panning functionality and an impressive level of detail.
Like the S62, the LX5 has a touchscreen interface, which is easy to navigate due to the oversized screen. And you’ll get distances to front, middle, and back, as well as being able to select hazards for accurate yardages.
While not quite the Apple Watch killer that the S62 is, the LX5 also has a number of the features you’d look for in a high end smartwatch, including fitness and step tracking, timers, alarms, and a stopwatch.
And of course you can keep track of your scores and stats for strokes gained analysis post round.
All in all, Sky Caddie have designed an excellent golf GPS watch. It’s not quite at the level of the Garmin S62 (nothing is), but it’s definitely one of the most feature packed golf watches out there, and its display is second to none.
If you’re looking for a mid range golf watch, your two choices are really the Sky Caddie LX5 or the Garmin S40. And the S40 happens to be our next pick.
4. Garmin Approach S40 – best golf GPS watch under $200
The $150-$200 golf watch market is somewhat saturated, and this was probably the toughest category to choose a winner.
But the Garmin S40 just edged out the competition for us. It’s been around for a while now, but it still impresses us that Garmin is able to include the amount of features this watch has for what is a somewhat affordable price.
First up, the S40 has a color touchscreen. There’s no course flyover, but there is a basic visual representation that shows distances to the major hazards on each hole. And the screen itself is bright and easily readable in sunlight.
You’ll get the usual 41K courses you get with a Garmin golf watch, and accurate distances to the front, middle, and back of each green (with a drag and drop pin on the green view for precision).
You’ll also get the shot and score tracking you’d expect from a Garmin at this price point.
While the S40 lags the Sky Caddie visually (the Sky Caddie has impressive course maps) it beats it by quite some distance in terms of smartwatch capabilities. The S40 does just about enough to be an Apple Watch replacement, with emails, texts and alerts when paired up with your smartphone. No calls, but no-one actually uses the phone these days do they?
Fitness tracking is a bit more basic when compared to the Garmin Approach S60, but you’ll be able to keep track of steps, calories, and sleep.
The Garmin Approach S40 is an excellent golf watch, and a possible replacement for your smartwatch, coming in at a price that’s not going to break the bank.
Honorable mentions: golf watches that didn’t quite make the cut
While it was relatively straightforward to choose the Garmin Approach S62 as this year’s best overall golf watch, choosing a winner in the other categories was less easy.
So let’s quickly cover some alternatives that you might want to consider.
As mentioned, the Garmin Approach S62 was the comfortable winner, with the closest competition ironically coming from Garmin itself. We’re still big fans of last year’s S60, and the fact that it’s a little cheaper than the S62 did give us pause for thought. But in the end we felt that the new features of the S62 made it worth shelling out the extra dollars.
At the affordable end of the golf GPS watch market there were plenty of contenders. We’re confident in saying that the S10 is the best pick, but we also like the Bushnell Neo Ion 2, which has 36,000 courses pre-loaded and plenty of data.
And in the mid range, there’s a ton of choice. But we’re going to give a particular shout out to the Golf Buddy Aim W10, which has a 1.3” color touchscreen, course flyover, and is preloaded with over 40,000 courses. It’s a great golf GPS watch that was very close to making the cut.
Finally, if you have an Apple Watch, we recommend Golf Shot Pro as the best Apple Watch golf GPS app.
Golf GPS Watch FAQs
Are GPS watches legal in golf?
Golf GPS watches are legal for tournament play. However advanced features such as slope (or “plays like”) and wind speed can only be used in casual rounds.
How accurate are golf GPS watches?
Most modern golf GPS watches will be accurate to within a yard or two. Exact accuracy will correlate roughly with the price of the watch, with more expensive watches tending to provide a greater level of accuracy.
Are golf GPS watches as accurate as lazer rangefinders?
Cheaper lazer rangefinders will tend to be a little more accurate than cheaper golf GPS watches. However at the higher end accuracy will tend to be on a par. One advantage of lazer rangefinders however is that you can get a yardage for any object on the course, whereas with a golf GPS watch you are limited to preset hazards and distances to front, middle, and back of the green.
Can you use an Apple Watch as a golf GPS?
Yes. We recommend the GolfShot Pro app, which has most of the features you would expect in a high end golf GPS watch.
How much is a golf GPS watch?
Affordable golf GPS watches are available for under $100, while premium golf GPS watches with advanced features such as slope and wind speed will generally be priced in the $400-$500 range.