The best golf GPS watch or handheld GPS device undoubtedly takes your golfing game to a professional level, whether you are a golfer beginner. With a wide range of high-technology golf GPS devices in the marketplace today, it is hard to find the best choice.
Through several testings and experiments, we come to agree that the Garmin Approach S62 is the best-rated golf GPS watch. For handheld devices, the SkyCaddie SX500 stands out among its counterparts.
However, not everyone shares the same opinions and tastes. If you need more recommendations or at least gain more knowledge about golf GPS products, then read on to our article now!
What’s the Best Golf GPS Watches & Handhelds 2020?
- Garmin Approach S20, GPS Golf Watch with Step Tracking
- Garmin Approach S62, Premium Golf GPS Watch
- Callaway GPSy Golf GPS Watch
- Garmin Approach X40, GPS Golf Band and Activity Tracker with Heart Rate Monitoring
- Bushnell Neo Ion 2 Golf GPS Watch
- Bushnell Phantom Golf GPS
- Garmin Approach G10, Compact and Handheld Golf GPS with 1.3-inch Display
- GolfBuddy Voice 2 Golf GPS/Rangefinder
- SkyCaddie SX500, Handheld Golf GPS
Reviews of Best GPS Watches 2020
Garmin Approach 20 is an outstanding multi-functional golf GPS watch that fits your budget. It can identify data on the yardage to the front, middle, and back of the green, hazard distance, or dogsled, layup distance. At a highly affordable price, this GPS provides everything you need for the golf play.
This Garmin Approach model comes with dozens of technological golfing features. AutoShot Round technology allows your watch to automatically record every shot in each round by depending on your wrist movement.
Not only can you know the shot distance and location, but you can also view the auto shot map displayed in the Garmin Connect app.
What else, the AutoShot Round features a Club Tracking mode to track and calculate the shot yardage for each type of club. It is especially helpful for players to select a suitable club for a better shot performance.
This Garmin S20 watch is also compatible with the patented TruSwing sensor. By pairing the TruSwing with your smartphone, you can learn the detailed swing analysis. It will show the 3D animations of the swing speed, tempo, club-path measurements, clubface angles, and more.
The design of this S20 watch may not catch your eye from the first look. It is no-frills and basic in style, yet undeniably functional. It feels lightweight and comfortable on your wrist while giving a tight fit thanks to the adjustable silicone strap.
The Garmin S20 is not only a golf GPS watch, but it is also a useful fitness tracker with 24-hour Activity Tracking mode. It can determine a variety of health data, such as burnt calories, traveled distance, sleep monitoring, and more.
Garmin Approach S20 vs Garmin Approach S10 model
The biggest difference between the Approach S20 and Approach S10 model is the health tracking feature. It is available in the Approach S20 while the Approach S10 model displays the odometer. Moreover, the S10 is not compatible with the TruSwing sensor like the S20.
- Lightweight and affordable
- Accurate distance measurements
- Fitness tracker program
- Smart notifications
- Long battery life for up to 15 hours in GPS model
- May have some technical problems syncing with the mobile app
- No touchscreen
#2: Garmin Approach S62, Premium Golf GPS Watch, Built-in Virtual Caddie, Mapping, and Full-Color Screen
The Garmin Approach S62 is rated as one of the best golf GPS watches in the market today. It is versatile not only for golf play but also for daily activities and fitness tracker.
The outstanding point of this watch is its large touchscreen, which is 18% bigger than its S60 predecessor. Meanwhile, it is extremely readable thanks to the full-color display.
What we find surprising is that the Garmin Approach S62 watch is not cumbersome at all despite its large design. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about whether it impedes your swing.
The Virtual Caddie feature helps you to choose the best club based on the analysis of wind speed and direction.
It also recommends the direction to aim an accurate golf shot, which is useful for players who can’t see the green. This is the most excellent feature that sets the S62 model apart from its counterparts in the marketplace.
Meanwhile, the Hazard View helps users to avoid possible obstacles on the actual course by checking through the displayed hazards on the map. Besides, with the PlaysLike Distance feature, players can know how to adjust the club’s slope for hitting downhill and uphill shots.
The product also comes with the PinPointer and GreenView features that help golfers to grasp the yardage positioning on the green. The
PinPointer can guide the pin direction for hitting blind shots.
Besides the highly-rated heart rate monitor, the S62 model is equipped with exercise-tracking functionality for overall health purposes. It is also perfect for daily use with more modern features, such as text response and the contactless Garmin Pay solution.
- Large touchscreen with a full-color display
- Versatile for on-the-course and off-the-course use
- Useful Virtual Caddie
- Smart notifications
- Long-lasting battery for up to 20 hours in GPS mode
- Much more expensive than the Garmin S20 model.
Other Garmin options
- Garmin Approach CT10: This is an additional club tracker to the AutoShot analyzer. This combination allows your GPS watch to automatically collect data on the stroke’s distance, location, and types of golf clubs.
- Garmin Approach S40: The S40 model has limited golfing features and sport modes compared to the S62 one. It is only available with the AutoShot technology and Green View feature. On top of that, the S40 model does not have the heart rate functionalities like the S62.
- Garmin Approach S60: The most apparent difference between the S60 and S62 models is the screen size. The S62 has a larger and higher-solution touchscreen. Furthermore, the S60 is limited in its golfing and heart rate tracking features. The S62 is an improved model with the new Virtual Caddie function which can analyze the speed and direction of the wind.
Another excellent and friendly-budget golf GPS watch that you should consider is the Callaway GPSy model. It has every basic golfing function to let you enjoy the game better, especially the highly-rated accuracy.
For most golfers, the accurate GPS location is what they expect the most from their GPS watches.
This Callaway model with high-sensitivity GPS, which can acquire satellite signals, is definitely a go-to choice. The distances can be recorded even within 1 yard, which undeniably gives a highly accurate result.
With a database of over 30000 preloaded golf courses around the world, the watch can quickly recognize your course and your location.
Besides, you can easily see an overall layout of the greens displayed on the watch, such as the front, middle, and back distance.
Aside from that, the watch displays hazard yardage along with the suggested distance to hit a layup or carried shot over the hazard. This is an advantage that gives players an edge over hazard avoidance.
This golf GPS watch features the “Shot Distance” mode that provides data on the distance of the golf shot. It helps players to measure how long they hit the ball, thus facilitating better club selection for each shot.
On top of that, you can easily track and record the scores of your shots, putt, and GIR (Greens In Regulation) strokes with the
Scorekeeper. It facilitates you to get a thorough post-round analysis for better skill improvement.
Callaway watch is lightweight and pretty comfortable to wear. As for the watch face, it is large and eligible with the white characters printed on the black background. You can rest assured that it is still readable under all sunlight levels.
- Simple and functional design
- Very affordable
- High accuracy data on GPS location
- Automatic update on courses and hole advance.
- Precise green and hazard distance
- Long battery life up to 12 hours in GPS mode
- Does not feature a touchscreen
- Cannot connect to Bluetooth or other devices
- Has fewer golf courses than the Garmin watches
- Limited golfing features compared to the Garmin watches
Garmin Approach X40 is a versatile tracking watch for both golfing activities and daily uses. It is an ideal choice if you need an affordable and stylish gadget with fine golfing functions. You can also use it as a smartwatch since it can receive notifications like texts, alerts, and even emails.
This Approach X40 model provides exact data on any distances, thanks to the high-sensitivity GPS receiver. With this function, you can get to know any necessary data for your golf play, such as greens distance, hazard/dogleg yardage, and the location of the next pin.
Especially the hazard distance, it does a great job in supporting players to perform a layup or carried shots over the pitfalls.
Like all the Garmin Golf GPS watches, this X40 model also features the Garmin AutoShot technology. All you need to do is to sync the watch with the Garmin Connect mobile app.
It will show not only the recorded yardage of the shots but also the map for better performance analysis in each round. On top of that, you can turn on the “Club Tracking” mode to let the system suggest the right club for each shot.
Besides, the Green View Display can show the layout of the green, allowing you to pinpoint the location manually. This helps you get the better yardage since you can figure out the movement of the shot.
This X40 GPS watch is equipped with the Elevate™ wrist-based heart rate technology, which facilitates the activity tracking features. Its uses are various, such as calorie counter, step counter, traveled distance measurement, sleep monitoring.
The watch can even record the data on other non-golfing activities like swimming and running.
- Useful AutoShot tracking technology
- Accurate GPS receiver
- Versatile for both fitness and golfing purposes
- Green View display with manual pinpointing
- Stylish design
- Smart notifications
- The screen may crack easily
- May not be as durable as expected
- This Approach X40 model is the improved version of Approach X10 one with more features but nearly at the same price. The X10 does not have the activity tracking features. And since it is unable to pair with the Garmin Connect app, it lacks necessary features like AutoShot analyzer and Club Tracking.
Another user-friendly golf GPS watch that we highly recommend to golfers is the Bushnell Neo Ion 2 watch. This gadget is best known for its long battery life, which makes it a cost-effective choice that you should take a look at.
Compared to the multi-functional Garmin S62 watch, this Bushnell model is limited in its golfing functions. But in other words, it keeps things simple by providing what you need the most from a GPS watch for golf.
The first feature, and probably what we like best about this product, is its auto functions. With a large database of over 36,000 golf courses in 30 countries, the watch can automatically identify the course you are on.
Like most of the golf GPS watches that we have reviewed below, the Bushnell Neo Ion 2 watch also features the auto hole advance function, which provides a great help in smooth hole navigation.
The watch also features a distance calculator, which allows players to know how far they are from the green (front, middle, and back). Its integrated Bushnell app can show the dogleg distance and measure the location of up to four-hole flyovers on the course.
Fitness step counter
The Bushnell Neo Ion 2 model features the step counter, measured by its pedometer. This function is pretty helpful for daily uses. But if you want a wider range of fitness features, then check out the Garmin GPS watches. They are more suitable for your fitness needs.
Ease of use
The watch has a straightforward design with no abundant components. Therefore, it is thin and extremely lightweight. In addition to its usability, we are amazed at its long battery life, which can last for three rounds if fully charged.
The interactive Bushnell app is also user-friendly. It is easy to wirelessly connect your Bushnell watch with the mobile app via Bluetooth. The 3D graphics look appealing with a full-color display, making it easy for users to read.
- Long battery life for 3 rounds
- Fitness step counter
- Simple design
- Lightweight and comfortable to wear
- Shot distance calculator
- Green distance and hazard distance measurement
- Unable to save the stats
- Only display the course layout on the mobile app, not the watch itself
Reviews of Best GPS Handhelds 2020
The first name to mention in our best golf GPS handheld devices is the Bushnell Phantom. It is extremely convenient to use, and probably one of the most functional handhelds we have tried out.
Ease of use
The design of this GPS handheld device is easy to use with six side buttons with their features printed on the back of the device. After just around three minutes, you can get used to it.
The user-friendly interface of the Bushnell device is another selling point. It displays the yardage to the front, back, and middle of the greens in big-size numbers after you select the course.
If you want to get the hang of the hazard distance, just press on the “Select” button. The GPS will show the data of the bunkers, such as the left green bunker and right fairway bunker.
The device can also pair with the Bushnell App, which offers many useful golfing functions, like golf tracking, full-color 3D flyover maps, hole layouts with aerial views, swing pro feature, auto course recognition, tee times, and more.
Precise GPS location
This Bushnell GPS gives user data on the distance of the back, middle, and front of the green, as well as the hazard distance. On top of that, it can measure how far your golf ball travels in a shot.
The stored database includes over 36,000 golf courses. When we tested it for the first time, we were surprised that it only took around 30 seconds to identify the nearby courses after turn-on.
BITE magnetic mount
You can clip this device to your belt, or attach it to the cart. But frankly speaking, it is flexible and can be placed anywhere, thanks to the powerful integrated magnet.
Yet you need to place it in an appropriate position to avoid the risk of dropping out. From our experience, we suggest clipping the device on the golf cap since it can stay put perfectly.
- User-friendly interface
- Long battery life
- Compact package
- Very affordable
- Convenient and easy to use
- Accurate GPS location for green or hazard distance
- Useful Bushell mobile application with cool graphics
- Magnet wears out fast for some users
- Plastic cover
- Not so durable
The Garmin Approach G10 is a highly-rated GPS handheld device that you should experience. Besides the sleek design for convenient use, it comes with multiple features that give you an edge over your golf play.
Design and battery
This model is a pocket-sized device that ensures convenience when using. It is lightweight, compact, yet undeniably durable. You can clip it anywhere, such as the golf bag or the belt, as long as you find it helpful when navigating around the green.
One more excellent feature of this G10 model is the long-lasting battery. It can last for up to 15 hours in GPS mode, which is a high number compared to the average market’s number.
This entry-level golf GPS can track the shot around the green and measure the yardage. It displays on the screen the basic information of the front, back, and middle distance of the green, plus the next pin’s location, hazard, layup, and dogleg yardage.
The device can also calculate the shot yardage from anywhere on the course. Plus, the Hazard Targets can help players to locate the goal or to avoid the bunkers on the way.
With the Green View mode, you can have an overview look at the shape and layout of the greens. The features are based on a large database of over 40,000 golf courses around the world. You will not have to worry about extra fees for the course updates since they are all offered free.
This function helps you to figure out the distance and location in reality. Aside from that, it facilitates better shot accuracy by allowing users to pinpoint the flagstick location.
Besides the digital scorecard, the stat-tracking system is another state-of-the-art feature of the Approach G10 model. It shows the number of GIR, putts, strokes, and fairway hits that you perform in each round.
If you want to save the result for further analysis, use the USB cable to upload it on the Garmin Connect™.
- Useful Green View feature
- Long battery life
- Lightweight and durable package
- Very affordable
- Enhance the stat-tracking system
- Ease of use
- Accurate green/hazard distance
- Compact clip-on
- Does not support Bluetooth connection
- Quality control issues
If you are looking for a “talking” GPS rangefinder, then check out on this GolfBuddy Voice 2 model, which is the latest update of the best-selling GolfBuddy Voice rangefinder.
The Voice 2 still has the fundamental audio features like its predecessor. With the GolfBuddy Manager Program, you have a wide range of choice of 11 languages and 8 preloaded ones. The program also allows you to switch the readout into a female/male voice. But in case you are not comfortable with this voice feature, you can turn it off and use it as a normal golf GPS.
The Voice 2 rangefinder comes with the automatic course and hole recognition feature, supported by a large database of over 38,000 global courses.
In this new model, all the yardages are displayed on the screen all at once, which is easier and quicker for users to read.
In addition to the crucial information on the green distance, the device can calculate how far a shot travels, thus helping players to adjust their swing better.
The Voice2 model also inherits the Dynamic Green View technology, which measures every must-know distance on the greens, such as the real front/middle/back yardage to the greens from your approach. In case you want to change the pin placement, you just need to navigate with the top/bottom button and return to the “Play” mode.
Outstanding upgraded battery life
The most outstanding update in the Voice 2 model is the prolonged battery life that can last for up to 14 hours. That means, in theory, it can be used for two full rounds. But after our experiment, we found that it can last longer for approximately 2.5 rounds. This improved battery life is undoubtedly a big advantage for a more enjoyable golf play.
- Outstanding battery life
- Available to use with/without voice options
- Accurate green yardage
- Shot distance calculator
- Dynamic Green View technology
- Can connect with the GolfBuddy mobile app via Bluetooth
- Does not show hazard distance
- Customer support is not so good
- Not long-lasting
- The Golf Buddy Voice X Golf GPS has a wider range of golfing features compared to Voice 2, such as target/hazard distance. On top of that, the Voice 2 does not have the Big Number mode like the Voice X. When it comes to battery life, the Voice 2 surpasses since it is three hours more long-lasting than the Voice X.
It will be a big mistake if we do not mention the SkyCaddie SX500 GPS rangefinder on our list. It is one of the most advanced GPS devices we have tested so far.
SkyCaddie SX500 features an intuitive 5-inch screen with high-solution graphics. All the displayed maps are in full colors, making the screen engaging to look at. It is the first thing that every user will like in this advanced GPS rangefinder.
Dynamic HoleVue™ is the latest technology that is only available in this SX500 model. Its function is to help users gain a view of the golf hole based on their approach and position. Thus, you can know not only the green distance but also the hazard yardage to avoid the bunkers. What’s more, as you move, the system will automatically update the numbers.
The feature is also packed with the IntelliPath technology, which helps you to get the hang of the target, such as its estimated distance, or the yardage of other attributes on the course.
The patented IntelliGreen® technology allows the rotation of the green based on the user’s angle of approach. This is especially helpful for golfers to score better, thanks to the provided data on the carry distance, green depth, and pin location.
There is also the IntelliGreen® Pro, which is an upgraded version of the IntelliGreen®. With this feature, you have the edge over your competitors since you can know everything ahead on the green. The device will show contours, primary tiers, mounds, and false fronts from your perspective.
The Dynamic RangeVue® function helps you to get the hang of your club performance. You can easily know how far your club goes and which club to choose for a better shot. This feature works wonders for making fairway shots, layups shots, and even birdie putts.
This technology is an enhancement to IntelliGreen. It supports users to pinpoint the location of the flag. That means even if you cannot see the pin or the zone in the real course, you can still know its distance on the displayed map. This is an excellent bonus that common laser rangefinders do not have.
- Intuitive touchscreen with high-resolution graphics
- Rugged construction
- Pinpoint Technology for accurate pin positioning
- Auto-update on user’s angle of approach
- Excellent battery life
- Club suggestion
- Highly accurate green/hazard yardage
- Look more clunky than other handheld devices
FAQ & Tips
1. Why do I need a GPS device on the golf course?
Usability and advanced GPS systems can provide a massive amount of knowledge to golfers in just a small gadget. A helpful GPS device provides a layout of the greens and the upcoming hole. Players can even select suitable golf clubs for better shot accuracy.
With transparent screens and vivid backdrops, GPS systems provide golfers with a wide variety of insight into every shot before hitting.
2. Which golf GPS is the best?
The best golf GPS in our list is the Garmin Approach S62. This product features an AutoShot Round analyzer that tests a golfer’s shot and auto-records. It also comes with the advanced Virtual Caddie feature that can analyze the wind direction. We believe that the Garmin S62 watch is a high-value choice for what you benefit from it.
3. What is the most accurate golf GPS?
For the best accuracy, we highly recommend the Garmin Approach X40 model. Thanks to the high-sensitivity GPS receiver, the watch provides exact distance measurement, from the green yardage, hazard distance to the next pin location.
4. What is the best handheld golf GPS?
The best choice of handheld golf GPS that we highly rate is the SkyCaddie SX 500, one of the most advanced GPS devices in the market now. It comes with a large and high-resolution touchscreen, which facilitates easy reading and navigation.
The most excellent part that sets it out from other products is its wide range of patented golfing technologies, such as the Dynamic HoleVue, Dynamic RangeVue, SkyCaddie Pinpoint, IntelliGreen.
5. What should I choose? GPS Watches or Handheld Devices?
Would you like a device capable of measuring the number of steps you have taken on the course and allowing you to receive a text and phone calls?
Therefore, the better option for you is the watch.
When it comes to the price, handheld devices are usually more affordable than watches. However, they do not have as many serious golfing features as watches. Handheld rangefinders also have considerably longer battery life than the watches.
6. Does the brand’s golfing app charge an extra fee?
Generally, you will not have to spend extra money on purchasing the brand’s golf app. Upon purchase of the GPS watch, the manufacturer will give you free access to the compatible mobile app for the best outcomes.
7. Are Golf GPS Legal?
The use of electronics in most golf tournaments was illegal some years ago. Although some advanced types remain illegal, most golfing GPS devices
are now legal for use in tournaments and championships.
However, keep in mind that GPS watches with advanced features like swing metrics, slope adjustment, club suggestions are likely not to be accepted for the competitions.
8. Can I use my phone GPS in golf competitions?
In competition, you can use rangefinder apps. Devices such as laser rangefinders, GPS golf devices, GPS golf watches, and even Smartphone apps.
However, keep in mind that not every GPS device in the market is acceptable. Not all features for tournament play are 100% legal, such as club selection and wind finder.
9. What’s the best golf GPS for the money?
Bushnell Phantom Golf GPS is the best golf GPS under $100 on our list. It is an entry-level GPS handheld device that any beginner can soon master using it. The device gives accurate data on the front/middle/back distance of the greens, as well as helping users to avoid hazards on the course.
The Bushnell Golf app also provides great help for more advanced features, such as the displayed 3D hole layouts for better distance control.
After several experiments, the best golf GPS in our recommendation belongs to the Garmin Approach S62 watch. It is by far our favorite well-rounded GPS watch, which surpasses its counterparts in both quality and functionalities.
- Upgraded with the latest golfing technologies like the Virtual Caddie, PlaysLike Distance, PinPointer,
- High-grade fitness, and activity-tracking features.
- The incredibly long battery life of up to 20 hours
- Garmin Connect mobile app for in-depth performance analysis
So, what’s your best golf GPS?