Top 3 Bushnell Golf Watch and GPS Reviews in 2020

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We recap the top Bushnell golf GPS devices from recent years. This includes their most trending GPS watches and handhelds. With their history of working in golf, they have designed clever units in small budgets.

The brief descriptions link to full reviews of these products, so do check them out for more information.

What’s the Best Bushnell Golf Watch and GPS?

  1. Bushnell NEO Ion Golf GPS Watch
  2. Bushnell Neo Ghost GPS Handheld
  3. Bushnell Neo XS GPS watch

Reviews of 3 Bushnell Golf Watch GPS

1. Bushnell NEO Ion Golf GPS Watch Reviews

Bushnell Neo Ion Golf GPS watch is the proven flagship of the Bushnell line. This unit has the most important yardages and relevant convenience features. It avoids extra heft and complications by discouraging unnecessary functionalities that golfers are unlikely to use.

Dimensions: Compared to the Bushnell NEO XS Golf GPS Watch, the Neo weighs a measly 1.8 ounces and rests effortlessly on the wrist while swinging. The circular watch face has a total circumference of 45mm. But the square dial only occupies half the space. The rest has markings in contrast color.

Screen: This golf GPS watch has a square screen with black characters against a white background. The screen in backlit for low light. In bright light, you can easily make out the characters. The screen is flanked by 5 buttons, 3 on the right and 2 on the left.

Strap: Bushnell Neo Ion has one of the most comfortable silicone bands that we’ve had the fortune to test. This dual-injected silicone strap is poked with holes that allow us to adjust the fitment for all wrist sizes. It’s also super-breathable and makes soft contact with the skin.

Accessories: This unit comes with a charging clip. This clip goes at the back of the watch dial while charging. The clip is easy to attach or remove. The other end of the cable is a USB jack which can plug into a wall adapter or your laptop.

Hole Information: The Bushnell Neo Ion Golf GPS watch displays distance in a hard-to-miss manner. The distance to the center of the greens is prominently placed in the middle of the screen. The distance to the front and back of the greens is below these figures. The hole number is displayed at the top left corner and par information is on the top right corner.

Hazard Information: This watch shows up to 4 hazards or layup distances per hole. It has an interesting way of presenting the information. The hazard is represented by acronyms which you will have to remember. The distances are displayed next to the acronym. These are fairly easy like LFB for Left Fairway Bunker. Since only the closest hazards are mapped, you might be at a loss at, particularly “hazard-ous” courses.

Tee Time function: You can set your tee time and day many days in advance. The Neo Ion turns on the GPS exactly 7 minutes before the tee time. It starts locating the nearest courses. You simply have to select the right one from the list and you can start playing. We found this feature especially since we often forget to turn on the GPS on time. Then we have to wait around while the Golf Mode kick starts.

Auto-Off: This is another great feature for forgetful golfers like us. Setting an auto-off period will automatically switch the GPS of Neo Ion off after the stipulated time. This way, the watch doesn’t run out of charge simply because you omitted this task.

Between this feature and the Tee Time feature, this is pretty much a hands-free unit.

Automatic functions: This is further aided by the auto course recognition function. Once the GPS is switched on, it automatically finds the courses closest to you as a list. You can pick from the list if there is more than one.

It also offers an automatic hole advance. This way, it moves to the next hole as soon as you are done with the current. No need to manually change the hole number.

Shot Tracking: The Neo Ion offers shot distance measurement. You can find the shot distance instantly but there’s no way to record and track the distances for future reference.

Course coverage/Updates: This Bushnell golf GPS watch comes pre-loaded with 35,000 courses worldwide, the iGolf database that all Bushnell devices use. It might not have some small local courses.

It locates your course and provides options of holes you might play in this ground: 1-9, 10-18, or 19-27. There’s no subscription fee for course updates, so the total ownership cost remains the price at which you bought it.

Battery Life: One important advantage of not stuffing features into the Neo Ion golf watch is that it increases battery life. It can easily last 4 rounds of the game. We estimated 16 hours of normal golf use with GPS on. Of course, this figure varies with individual use.

Miscellaneous: This Bushnell GPS watch packs a pedometer to counts steps. It also has an odometer to calculate the distance traveled.

Between these two activity tracking tasks, you can evaluate cycling, running, and walking. It makes for a nice uncomplicated fitness tracker. This watch is water-resistant, so it can take a few drops of rain until you find cover. Bushnell offers a 1-year warranty on this unit.

Speed and Accuracy: We loved how fast the Neo Ion golf GPS watch works. It’s clear of the other functions that clutter the startup time. The GPS locked in on the satellites and located the closest courses within 30 seconds which are slightly faster than average.

The Tee Time feature takes this delay out of the equation as well.

Speed and Accuracy: This watch is extremely and consistently accurate. It displays readings within 1-3 yards of the actual distance. Most importantly, we got similar results every time we counter-checked the distance with our Neo XS.

Scorecards: There are NO scoring functions in this watch.

PROS

  • Display: 23mm x 23mm
  • Battery Life: 16 hours​
  • Courses: 35,000+ courses over 30 countries​
  • Weight: 1.8 ounces
  • Up to 4 Hazard/Layup Distances
  • Shot distance measurement
  • No download or subscription fee
  • Round odometer​
  • Comfortable silicone band​

CONS

2. Bushnell Neo Ghost GPS Handheld

With Bushnell Neo Ghost GPS, you have their trademark accuracy in a compact and efficient design. This is a clip-on device that sits inconspicuously on your belt or visor. It has all the important yardages, a clear advantage over the Izzo Swami Sport which provides only the basic distances to the greens.

The Bushnell Neo Ghost GPS is a pocket-sized clip-on device with a wholesome feature set. It’s capable of assisting a regular golfer to measure their way around the golf course. And it’s a budget device! It can be a great first-time golf GPS for a laser-to-GPS convert or a good option for those who want a spare golf GPS to check their laser rangefinder against.

We loved the ease of operation and the general glitch-free performance. The simple functionalities are easy to navigate and are executed with accuracy.

Bushnell Neo Ghost GPS unit has an interesting combination of relevant features and a kickass design. We delved into both for a detailed review.

Body: The Neo Ghost GPS unit is a very handy unit. It’s a square tablet of 2.2-inch size. Its only 0.6 inches in thickness. At 2.1 ounces it’s almost unnoticeable on your help.

The whole body has a glossy shockproof cover with a small rubber USB port cover. There’s a belt clip at the back that helps it attach to the belt, visor, or the rim of the golf bag. It can stretch up to 1cm to slide on to a surface.

Display: Most part of the front face is covered by a 1.4” x 1.4” LCD screen. The display is black and white. It’s very clear for any amount of daylight. The screen is backlit so you can view it in harsh sunlight. The font used makes the figures visible even when it’s clipped on to the bag.

Controls: We love how the controls are placed and marked on the Bushnell Neo Ghost GPS device. There are 6 buttons, each marked with the function name on the backside. One of the tops is a power button.

The right side has Menu and Shot measurement buttons. The left side has an up, down, and select buttons. The operation is almost intuitive with these strategically placed buttons.

Accessories: This golf GPS is packaged with a multi-function clip and a USB charging cable. You can attach it to a wall adapter or a PC/laptop.

Colors: The Neo Ghost is available in four colors to suit your tastes: black, white, grey, and lemon green. All are equally attractive.

PROS

  • Display: 35.6mm x 35.6mm
  • Battery Life: 14 hours
  • Course: 33,000 courses
  • Weight: 1.5 ounce
  • Up to 4 hazard distances
  • No download or subscription fee
  • Multifunctional clip
  • Shot distance
  • Waterproof

3. Bushnell Neo XS Golf GPS Watches

Bushnell Neo XS Golf GPS watch is a slick gizmo. It has limited features tied up into a user-friendly package. It looks vastly different from its predecessor the Neo X.

Distances to the center, front, and back of the greens take most of the space on the mains screen. The center distance is in the largest font and easy to read. Front and back distances are placed under it.

Hazard of Distances: Neo XS substantiates its distance-telling capability with hazard distances, a feature that is woefully missing in the more expensive Garmin S2.

The Neo XS tells you up to 4 hazards per hole. The Neo X could only go up to 2 hazards at a time.

The hazards have a dedicated screen in Neo XS where they are identified by acronyms like LFB for Left fairway Bunker. Each screen lists two hazards max. So you have to navigate to the second screen in Hazard View to cover all four hazards.

Accuracy: Bushnell Neo XS is one of the most accurate golf GPS watches. It tells you the distance within 2-3 yards of the actual measurement. The distance values might be a little less consistent when measured multiple times. For a good golfer, these figures are pretty spot-on. And you have the additional advantage of not having to point with a laser.

Tee time Start: This feature is carried forward from the Neo X. With Tee Time Start you can program this golf GPS watch for a future tee time. It will run a location search seven minutes before the decided time and be ready to tee off with you. There would be no last-minute scrambling to switch your GPS on and wait for it to recognize the course.

Short Measurement: The shot distance can be measured using the Neo XS watch. There is no way to store this data though.

Auto hole advance: Bushnell Neo XS has one of the most accurate automatic hole advanced features. It changes the hole only when you get near the next tee box. It does not reposition when you play from another fairway, a usual mistake for other golf GPS devices.

Negative display: Those of you who find black letters difficult to read on the white screen can rejoice. Bushnell Neo XS has negative display models also where the background is black and the numbers and letters are white.

Bushnell Neo XS is a highly intuitive device. You only need to charge it before you get it going. It comes with a USB –charging-clip cable. Once you dig out a wall charger from your electronic waste, you can connect it for a charge.

Auto Course Recognition: With Auto Course Recognition, it automatically picks up your golf course. It boasts of battery life of 12 hours. And Bushnell claims a whopping 2-year battery life when used in Watch Mode.

Updating the golf courses: Updating the golf courses is a relatively easy process too. You need to register yourself on the Bushnell website and download their plugin to get the courses updated.

Preloaded Course Maps: Bushnell has been notoriously slow with updating with some courses in their master database. But it does have one of the largest course databases. Neo XS comes preloaded with more than 33,000-course maps.

PROS

  • Tells up to 4 hazard distances per hole
  • Pre-program tee-off time for automatic course recognition
  • Shot distance measurement
  • Highly accurate and 12-hour battery life
  • Comes with negative display
  • Can be pre-programmed to power off between 1.5 to 9 hours
  • Odometer, Round time tracker, stopwatch, alarm

CONS

  • No scorecard
  • Can’t see distances while the shot is being measured

Who’s Bushnell Golf?

Bushnell kicked off as an optics brand which later expanded to sports optics and outdoor products. Bushnell golf remains their most viable business. The popularity of Bushnell laser rangefinders is apparent from the statistics of a Darrell Survey study. Meanwhile, the golf GPS domain has been so dominated by Garmin that Bushnell has broken in slowly but steadily.

Bushnell’s USP is providing reasonably sophisticated GPS units at a very low price. Lately, they have done away with the subscription fee as well, which brings down the total ownership cost of Bushnell golf GPS further. They shine in their ample course coverage worldwide which is a concern for golf tourists who want to sink a few in every country they visit. The fundamental functions like yardages shot distance measurement and hazard distances are calculated instantly and presented with minimal button presses. The initial setup can test your patience a bit but overall ease of operation is rated good.

How many Bushnell golf GPS Series?

The Bushnell golf GPS watch range includes the Neo series and Excel golf watches. The Phantom is a highly portable and minimalistic handheld. Bushnell is also credited with presenting the first golf laser/GPS Hybrid rangefinder. The hybrid has an integrated display with laser and GPS distances. It can update courses over Bluetooth and tell 4 hazard distances per hole. This is the first device of its kind and it eliminates the need to carry two devices just to compare and confirm distances. We are hoping, this will kick-start a new line of hybrid products.

Bushnell vs. Garmin golf GPS?

Compared to Bushnell golf GPS, Garmin offers a wider array of products. Its GPS watch line extends from S1 to S60. They also have a few Fitbit-like golf GPS wristbands- X10 and X40. They also have full-fledged handhelds with slope-adjusted distances and touchscreens. Garmin currently expanding to smartwatches with golf modules which are critical to people who enjoy different types of sports. With the brand name comes a higher price tag. Meanwhile, Bushnell golf GPS is relatively more affordable. Their latest Ion2 offers a highly coveted set of features at half the price of Garmin S60. The Bushnell Phantom handhelds are more compact than Garmin handhelds, though with a much smaller feature set and price tag.

Bushnell vs. GolfBuddy?

The Bushnell handhelds are comparable to the GolfBuddy voice devices. They have similar products in the GPS watch range while GolfBuddy also offers a smartwatch with a touchscreen.

Why Should You Select Bushnell golf GPS?

Price:

Bushnell golf GPS units are very affordable compared to the Garmin devices. They give you basic distances and hazard distances as well. Since there’s no subscription fee for course updates, the overall cost of ownership is only the price of the product.

Ease of operation:

The Bushnell devices have intelligent designs with easy access to yardages. The software is rarely buggy. They put out properly tested versions of their products.

Customer Service:

Being a big firm, the customer service is quite responsive. Of course, the experience with the reps varies from person to person.

Durability:

Most of the Bushnell golf GPS is waterproof. They are also built for long-lasting use. We could tell from the quality of bands and material used around the watch dials and cases of the handheld that they can take some rough handling.​

What’s Bushnell’s warranty period?

Bushnell golf offers a warranty as per follows:

  • GPS rangefinders: 1-year limited warranty​
  • Laser Rangefinder: 2-year limited warranty​

NOTE: Repairs attempted by unauthorized service centers are not covered under warranty.

What’s the Bushnell Trade-in program?

The Bushnell trade-in program is basically an exchange offer. You need to buy a new Bushnell laser or GPS rangefinder. This qualifies you for the trade-in program of any amount. You can send back any number of your older rangefinders and earn buyback money through cheque or Paypal.

  • Select your brand from over 60 brands
  • Get the trade-in value
  • Select shipping options
  • Get paid for the products​

They will take fully-functional or non-functional products of other brands off your hands.

FAQs:

How do you use the Bushnell Neo Ghost?

Distances

The distances to the greens are displayed on the main screen.
The distance to the center of the greens is displayed in a large font on the top.
The distance to the front and back is displayed in a slightly smaller font below.
The distances update quickly as you move from shot to shot.

Other information

In the Golf mode, the screen also shows the hole number and par information. This is quite useful when you want to track your progress through the golf course. These two pieces of information are displayed on the hazard and shot measurement screen as well.

Hazard distances

The Bushnell Neo Ghost GPS displays up to four nearest hazards at a time. These are displayed against abbreviations like LFB for Left Fairway Bunker. We simply had to click on the Select button on a hole to pull up the hazard distances.

It displays only the layup distances, unlike GolfBuddy PT4 which also shows the carry distance against each hazard.

Shot measurement

The Shot button on this golf GPS pulls up the Shot measurement mode. It will calculate the shot distance as you move and display it on the screen along with hole and par information.

It doesn’t save the distances though. We use the shot distances to measure the average drive distance of each club and use this data for club selection in the future.

Battery

The Neo Ghost claims a battery life of 14 hours per charge. This will easily get you through at least 3 rounds of 18-hole games. We found that this claim is almost correct and averaged around 14 hours in our gameplay.

Accuracy

Since it’s such a simple golf GPS unit, Bushnell tried to provide accurate information in the most presentable manner. The distances were accurate within 1-2 yards of the actual yardage as measured with a Bushnell rangefinder.

Most importantly, it showed distances with the same uncertainty so we were able to estimate our shots correctly at every turn.

Interface

We were able to switch through the various modes quickly. The buttons are very tactile and provide immediate feedback once pressed.

How do I update my Bushnell Neo ghost?

The Neo Ghost golf GPS has automatic course recognition. Once it enters the Golf mode, it automatically acquires the satellite signal and finds the courses near you.

The process takes about 45 seconds which is average for an entry-level GPS unit.

It also features automatic hole advance, a feature that’s strangely missing from the Izzo Swami Sport golf GPS. In case you need to edit the hole, you can change it manually through up/down buttons as well.

This Bushnell golf GPS boasts of a course map database of 35,000 courses worldwide. This is their trademark iGolf database.

These are available free of any subscription charges, so the total cost of ownership is the price of Neo Ghost. Bushnell doesn’t charge for course updates and syncing either.

How To Use Bushnell Neo XS Golf GPS Watch

Bushnell Neo XS is a highly intuitive device. You only need to charge it before you get it going. It comes with a USB –charging-clip cable. Once you dig out a wall charger from your electronic waste, you can connect it for a charge.

Auto Course Recognition

With Auto Course Recognition, it automatically picks up your golf course. It boasts of battery life of 12 hours. And Bushnell claims a whopping 2-year battery life when used in Watch Mode.

Updating the golf courses

Updating the golf courses is a relatively easy process too. You need to register yourself on the Bushnell website and download their plugin to get the courses updated.

Preloaded Course Maps

Bushnell has been notoriously slow with updating with some courses in their master database. But it does have one of the largest course databases. Neo XS comes preloaded with more than 33,000-course maps.