Golf smartwatches are essentially hi-spec GPS watches which help any player to analyse their overall game and are particularly useful on a previously unplayed course. The biggest brands with a golf watch offering are Garmin, SkyCaddie and Bushnell.
Golfing watches offer monitoring of your swing and putting form, in real-time. They’re like an instructor that you can wear on your wrist, providing additional insight into your game to help you improve. A decent GPS golf watch will teach you what you need to know to refine pretty much every element of your technique and deliver advice on how to reduce your handicap.
The watches collect and store data spanning thousands of courses worldwide. They’ll keep track of your score, too, so you only need to focus on your shot.
The GPS location features will pinpoint how far you are from the hole. A more expensive golf smartwatch will also tell you any elevation changes. These reduce any guesswork and improve your aim.
Let’s look at five great golfing smartwatches:
1. Garmin Approach S40
$297 / £229
This is undoubtedly the best GPS golf watch and it’s not surprising to see Garmin at the top of the list as the Approach S40 has golfing at its heart. Launched in 2019, it is jam-packed with features and the best is that it helps you to master your swing.
It has the leading GPS tech inside. It has a 1.2 inch colour touchscreen screen that can easily be read in bright sunlight. It’ll show you calculations of the distance to the front, middle or rear of the course. It’ll also give you a heads-up on hazards.
The AutoShot game will monitor your pitch and putts. You can go over your mistakes and learn from them after your round. It has data accumulated from 41,000 courses over the world and you can even compare your score to other players who’ve been there before you.
It offers a Bluetooth connection which delivers your smartphone notifications and it will accurately monitor your sleep and fitness too. Overall, the Approach S40 is a wonderful everyday watch that will monitor your golf game with precision. Well, every day may be a stretch. The battery life is 15 hours when in GPS mode.
- Bright, easy to read colour display
- Accurate GPS
- Smartwatch features
- There are currently no known drawbacks
2. Bushnell ION2 Golf GPS
$149 / £109
A beautifully simple GPS gold watch offering.
Battery life: Up to 12 hours in GPS mode
Courses: Over 36,000
If you’re not motivated by high-quality graphics, this is for you. This is the second generation of the ION, which is even more minimalist than its predecessor. It shows you the important statistics that you need in an easy-to-read format.
The ION will automatically recognise both the course and holes you’re on. You can focus on your swing whilst the watch does the rest for you. It has a Bluetooth connection that allows you to update the course data without having to use your mobile data. It offers up to 12 hours of battery life while in GPS mode, which is enough for a few rounds but not necessarily as an everyday watch.
This data is wrapped up in a sleek modern case with a reversible wristband.
- Reversible wristband
- Easy to read
- Automatically recognises your course and hole
- Potentially too basic for those wanting in-depth data
3. SkyCaddie Linx GT
$280 / £229
A wonderful selection for someone who loves a gadget.
The battery life isn’t brilliant, offering eight hours in GPS mode, and it’s water-resistant rather than waterproof. But this is where the downsides end as it offers a lot of on-course features to make up for it.
It has a distance calculator and will pair with the SkyCaddie app so you can look at HD versions of the hole you’re currently on. You can use this to improve your accuracy.
You can link the watch with the SkyGolf360 service so your friends can monitor your progress from anywhere. The Linux GT will also read SmartTags, which means you can see which club performed best at which hole.
- Works great with the app
- Lots of advanced features
- Lightweight but still robust design
- Water-resistant (not proof)
- Lacking in battery life in comparison to alternatives
4. Shot Scope V2
$179 / £139
The one for impressive stat analysis.
If you love data, this is the one for you. It’s a durable wearable that relies on ClubSense tech. It uses tags to know which clubs you’ve used and will automatically monitor the distance of a specific hole compared to the club you’ve used.
The information it provides is like nothing else out there. You can relive your best shots time and time again!
However, the Shot Scape V2 has the worst battery life of our list, but that’s because it’s feature-rich. It offers 40,000 items of global course information. You can adjust the wristband to 11 sizes, so no matter where you are or how hot you get, your watch will stay with you.
- Truly impressive analytical skills
- Accurate GPS
- Poor battery life
5. Garmin Approach S60 GPS Premium
$300 / £269
A handy golf watch for those who want to monitor their fitness
Garmin is back. This doesn’t take the top spot just because it’s a little more expensive. If you need something that will offer superior stats on the course, the S60 is a great choice. We chose to list the S60 here and not the S62 because of it’s price. The S62 (below) is a good option if your wallet doesn’t mind.
In a whopping 10 hours of battery life in golf mode or 10 days in ‘normal’ mode, the S60 really should be the winner. It offers a colour view of the course so you can monitor, with accuracy, your distance on both up and downhill shots. It offers 40,000 worldwide course details, so it’ll know where you are, and you can compare your progress with others who’ve played before you.
The design sets it apart from competitors. It’s waterproof and boasts a scratch-resistant bezel and a sleek leather strap.
- Game tracking with AutoShoot
- Check your precise yardages with Touch Targeting feature
- Great battery life
- It’s a Garmin; there really aren’t any