A golf GPS is a global positioning device for golfers that uses satellites to provide distance information such as yardage to the hazards on the fairway, or to the front center and back of the green. They allow us to develop confidence in our shot distance we are planning so that we can hit our landing zone and stay out of trouble.
Another type, the laser rangefinder can also be used instead of a GPS,however we will focus on the more common GPS in this post.
Most commonly the GPS will display the information on a hand held device, wearable watch or clip-on device, or a phone app that turns your smart phone (or watch) into a GPS. See out article on Golf GPS Benefits here for further reading.
In this article we are going to give you our top choices for the best golf GPS devices available, whether you are looking for the best golf GPS watch or handheld golf GPS unit. We’re also going to tell you the key features and why these are our recommendations and what is our favorite. If you’re in a hurry you just want to get GPS to get your golf game going then you can check out our full review of our top pick model below, the Garmin S20 or you click here and go straight through to Amazon to check it out right away.
The button below will to go straight through where you can see the customer reviews for this golf GPS. Click for Amazon Customer Reviews on the Garmin S20 here.
This article outlines what we believe to be the best golf GPS units available for your money in 2017, and that will provide the best usability, features and battery life, so you get the most enjoyment and satisfaction for your golf game.
You will find the article is broken down into the different styles of golf GPS units including golf GPS watches, hand held GPS units. If you know what type is best for you, such as a smartwatch golf GPS, then you can just head straight to that section below.
We hope to help you avoid picking a dud when searching for your best golf GPS. Take a look at our picks of the top rated golf GPS for 2017. All of our recommendations have received consistently high ratings from the majority of consumers using them.
The Best Golf GPS Watch Reviews 2017
- 1 The Best Golf GPS Watch Reviews 2017
- 1.1 Here are the 10 Best Golf GPS Watches for 2017
- 1.2 #1 Bushnell Neo Ion Golf GPS Watch
- 1.3 #2 Garmin Approach S2
- 1.4 #3 Garmin S20 GPS Watch
- 1.5 #4 New Release: GolfBuddy Wtx Smart Golf Watch GPS
- 1.6 #5 Garmin Vivo Active – Golf GPS and Activity Tracking for an Active Lifestyle
- 1.7 Previous #5 Bushnell Neo XS
- 1.8 #6 Golf Buddy LD2 (Ladies)
- 1.9 #7 Garmin Approach X40 GPS Golf Band
- 1.10 #8 Garmin Approach S6
- 1.11 #9 Garmin Approach S4
- 1.12 #10 Callaway GPSy
Here are the 10 Best Golf GPS Watches for 2017
Our list of the top 10 best golf GPS watches to buy for 2017 covers primarily two different price range sections; For the best Golf GPS under $200 category the golf GPS watches include the most needed functions including distances to the front center and back of the green, and usually distances to hazards. Watches in this under $200 category also provide scoring features and some models will include shot tracking for yardage. This category generally will not allow for connectivity to your smartphone however there are some models just under the 200 dollar mark that will have this feature.
As we move to the under $300 GPS watch category we get into more fully featured golf GPS watches and what we gain in this category is the ability to Pin or dial in to our target on the fairway and on the green. We also get the ability to view the shape of the green to help us better target our landing zone. And we gain high resolution and touch screen capabilities and generally these GPS touchscreens will work very well with gloved hands making them easy to operate. And finally we get smartphone connectivity so that we can connect to our text and phone calls while we’re enjoying our golf game.
In a nutshell, our top picks for Best Golf GPS Under 300 are;
The links above will take you to our full review, but the short synopsis for each follows directly below.
In this article we also talk about a couple of golf GPS watch models with enhanced fitness capabilities in the $200 to $300 dollar price range. These watches provide the most popular golf watch features that we see in the under $200 category but add fitness watch capabilities. We get the ability to track our heart rate, track our steps and record the overall intensity of our workout. These can be a great watch for combining golf GPS capabilities and give us enhanced functionality for our active lifestyle. This is definitely a more versatile option for overall fitness but it does so at the cost of missing out some of the premium golf watch features.
#1 Bushnell Neo Ion Golf GPS Watch
The Bushnell Neo Ion is a solid offering in the GPS golf watch category and currently holds the number one best seller position for golf GPS on Amazon. As expected it comes preloaded with over 35,000 courses and is very comfortable to wear. Another advantage is the good battery life this unit provides.
You can also check out our full review of the Bushnell Ion Golf GPS Watch where you can get a detailed view of the features and reasons this is our favorite golf GPS watch.
The Neo Ion can track up to 4 hazards per hole and performs all of the standard distance yardage to the front center and back of the green along with hazard distances. It also has a feature that allows you to track the number of steps you have taken in your golf round.
Perhaps one of the most important features of the Neo Ion is that this golf watch is legal for tournament play so you don’t have to worry about breaking any rules during tournaments giving you peace of mind.
The Bushnell Neo Ion golf GPS watch comes in well under $200 while still offering auto course recognition, hazard and layup distances, and a shot distance tracker. Add the odometer feature and this is a great economical choice for your golf GPS duties.
Another golf GPS watch in this category the Garmin Approach S2 offers similar features at a great price making it our second choice. Take a quick look at it below.
Click to see the Click to see the Bushnell Neo Ion
#2 Garmin Approach S2
As we have come to expect, there are thousands of courses pre-loaded onto the S2 GPS watch with free lifetime updates. Battery life is excellent with up to 8 hours in golf GPS mode or three weeks when used as a watch only. There are also several colors available for watchbands so that you can and stylize the watch for the best look for yourself.
The Garmin S2 includes the standard measurement including lay-up yardage and distances to dog legs as well as distance to front center and back of the greens.
The S2 GPS watch is also water resistant to 10 meters so you’ll never have to worry if you get caught in the rain while using this GPS watch on the golf course.
Another nice feature is this also comes with a rechargeable lithium ion battery with a full charge lasting up to 8 hours when used in GPS mode during the round.
The Garmin approach S2 a GPS golf watch is highly rated due to a high sensitivity GPS receiver that provides the best stronger signal strength to ensure the GPS works whether you’re out in the open or tucked under some trees. The Garmin S2 provides very accurate yardage to the front middle and back of the green.
As you can expect in a good watch, it delivers shot distance tracking and calculates new yardage played anywhere on the course. The digital scorecard also tracks golf scores and can be stored electronically or can be sent to your printer for the paper printout. The display is not high resolution but it is easy to see and is fully readable even in direct bright sunlight. The Garmin approach S2 is a solid choice in the under $200 price range.Click to see the Garmin S2
#3 Garmin S20 GPS Watch
The Garmin S20 expands on the S2 model with improved features and usability. It retains the standard preinstalled courses feature with free updates and like the S2 this watch is readable in direct sunlight. AIt includes the standard yardage to the front and middle and back of the green are included and the Garmin S20 model almost doubles the battery life to 15 hours using the GPS mode and 8 weeks as a watch.
The Garmin S20 provides the most useful key features in a GPS watch including high resolution display, shot tracking features and even activity tracking.
Most users are going to choose the Approach S20 watch because while it is still a very convenient golf GPS watch it includes some more desirable features not found in the more basic units such as the popular Garmin approach S2
With the shot feature what you get is it the the analysis that measures your short distances and all records all measurements so that you can review and analyze your round after the game. Simply connect to your Garmin connect account and enjoying this enhanced analyzing feature to dissect and improve your game.
Activity tracking also is a great feature that remind you two keep active for your health benefits it will display the calories burned distance oven to distance is stepped and can even monitor in track of how much sleep your getting that the different times of the day
The biggest feature of the S20 is this data tracking for your statistics as it will keep track of your greens in regulations and putts per round. What a great feature to help analyze your game and help you determine what you need to work on and where where your strengths in your game lie. And it offers fantastic battery life.
Lastly is the ability to receive smart notifications on the watch for incoming calls, text or other alerts such as weather warnings while you’re on the golf course
The Garmin connect feature allows for downloading the round so that you can track your game track your approach shots, track your scores and share with friends or the online and golf community if you so desire
The main downside to this watch is the fact that you will need to press the buttons as this does not have a touch screen so there is a little bit of learning curve to use this watch.
The wealth of features available on the Garmin Approach S20 and its price combine to get a high recommendation in a golf watch and this well featured GPS watch is still in the under $200 dollar range; definitely a Recommended Buy.Click to see the Garmin S20
Tied for #3 is the top position for New Releases on Amazon
#4 New Release: GolfBuddy Wtx Smart Golf Watch GPS
There is a new Golf Watch GPS from Golf Buddy that is going to get a lot of attention from golfers. The newly released GolfBuddy Wtx Smart Golf Watch GPS offers the upscale features of a handheld GPS unit including full color screen and touch screen functions all wrapped into a convenient wearable golf GPS watch.
The GolfBuddy Wtx Golf GPS Watch is a very new release unit so there are very few reviews out yet, but you can expect this unit to become a top choice given it’s feature set and good price point. That is why we have awarded it a tied for position 3 as we are sure it will become a top contender.
It offers smartphone connectivity via blue tooth to your Android or Apple smartphone and several activity apps for running, walking and cycling.
This new GPS unit will show your targets from multiple positions all over the green. It will give the you a green view area including the hole layout view along with distances to front center and back.
The GolfBuddy Wtx GPS watch will show distances from different angles of approach and this new Wtx model will also provide shot distance measurement which is pretty much everything you get in a handheld unit without the bulk and with the added convenience of a wristwatch.
This GolfBuddy golf smart watch also has various views in the golf GPS mode and you have the options to change the skin.
This new release GolfBuddy Wtx Smart Golf GPS watch is definitely worth checking out. Read our full Wtx review here for more details.Click here to take a look at the a look at the new GolfBuddy Wtx Smart Golf GPS Watch at Amazon.
#5 Garmin Vivo Active – Golf GPS and Activity Tracking for an Active Lifestyle
The battery in this unit will last up to three weeks in in the watch or activity tracking categories and up to 10 hours when using the GPS such as on the golf course
The color screen is also a touchscreen, however If you are not sken on using the touch screen displayi you can control the watch using the buttons as well.
The display size is 20.6 B 20.7 MM which bring through slightly larger unit probably best suited four male golfers and sport sport activists
This is typically a mid $200 EPS watch however there’s a great deal currently at Amazon so please check the link to see if sale is still on
This watch is listed as our number three pick primarily due to the price being above $200 however at the current sale price on Amazon this could be a number one recommendation
When using this model on the golf course you will need to pair the watch with your smartphone. You can download the course maps from the database there are over 38,000 courses currently available so this matches up with pretty much all the popular golf GPS watches in terms of the number of courses available to download. There are also maps continuously being updated to keep it current. This golf GPS measures dog leg distances and lay-up distances as well as your standard yardage to the front middle and back of the green. And it also includes the scorecard feature so that you can track your stroke play.
Shot distance is also measurable by pressing a button on the Smartwatch and track the distance. The Garmin Vivo Active will track your total time of the course and will track the number of steps you’ve taken in your round.
This watch is really a sports watch and includes GPS applications for golfing, running, biking, swimming and activity tracking. These extra features make it much more useful beyond just on the golf course.
This is a very thin golf watch and the color touch screen display is a high resolution screen, and it is very easy to read even in direct sunlight.
There are better features and more golf GPS specific options in a watch such as our top rated Garmin S20, however this Vivo Active GPS Smartwatch provides the basics for your golf game and provides other health and activity benefits making it a much more versatile GPS Smartwatch. In summary this is our solid third choice in this golf GPS Smart watch categoryClick to see the Garmin Vivo Active
Previous #5 Bushnell Neo XS
The Bushnell Neo XS Golf GPS watch moves up the scale a bit in the $200 to $300 dollar range. This watch comes preloaded with thousands of courses and features an auto course recognition and automatic hole advance. As a great feature to help make operating the GPS watch a little easier and more convenient we get a display that is easy to read with distances to the front center and back of the greens as well as the distances to up to four hazards and a lay-up distances per hole.
An added feature is that this watch you can’t give up to 2 year battery life as a watch which is fantastic compared to most watches. The Neo XS will also provide up to three rounds of golf when used in the GPS mode.
In summary the benefits of the Bushnell Neo XS GPS watch are it’s simplicity of operation. The XS is the easiest watch to operate. It starts automatically or with the push of a button. And it automatically recognizes your golf course so a golf GPS watch doesn’t get much easier than that to operate.
It is easier to read and work, is accurate and definitely a highly rated GPS watch. If the price were below $200 instead of a bit above above $200 mark it would be a better bargain, but if the price is right for you this is definitely of great watch worthy of consideration.
We highly recommend checking out our full review of the Bushnell Neo XS Golf GPS Rangefinder Watch or you can use the link below to go directly to Amazon to pick up this GPS watch if it is still available.Click to see the Bushnell Neo XS
#6 Golf Buddy LD2 (Ladies)
Another great watch in the middle of our 2017 Golf GPS watch review is actually a ladies GPS watch. The Gulf Buddy LD2 GPS watch offers a small, comfortable and lightweight golf watch that is perfect for the female golfers.
It also stylish with some crystals in a light sapphire collar adorning the top and bottom of the bezel. The crystal lens is crafted of premium quality and a the LD2 watch is waterproof up to 10 meters. In addition to providing distances to the front center and back of the green, it alo includes distances to hazards
The Golf Buddy LD2 Ladies watch even features dual shot distance measurement and remains fully legal for tournament play.
The rechargeable battery will last up to 7 hours in GPS mode and two months in regular watch mode which is more than sufficient.
In conclusion this watch design for the ladies is stylish and still offers the standard tracking features you’d expect in a GPS Gulf watch, will give you a summary of your round at the conclusion of the golf round and the price is right at well below $200, in fact very close to $100Click here to see the Golf Buddy LD2 Ladies Golf Watch
#7 Garmin Approach X40 GPS Golf Band
If are you looking for golf GPS watch that offers more features, perhaps you’d like an activity GPS watch that you can still take to the golf course to track your yardage and monitor your scores and track your heart rate at the same time… then this might be the watch for you!
The Garmin Approach X40 is a golf GPS watch with added fitness tracking features combined in this slim and stylish model.
As a golf GPS it displays distances to the front, back and middle of the green as well as the hazards.It also features an auto shop tracking ability to measure your shot distances and get a record the shots of that it can detect.
While are on the golf course the X40 lets you stay connected to your phone and receive notifications of calls texts or other alerts if you are interested in that option.
The fitness features include monitoring heart rate, counting steps, distance and calories burned and the overall intensity of the activity that you have been performing
A cool feature of the Garmin X40 is the green review display which allows this watch to display the shape of the layout of the green no matter where you are on the course, and you can adjust the Pin location to help more accurately pinpoint the target shot conditions.
Another nice feature is the ability to track your heart rate without having to add an extra heart rate strap. This full featured watch can also detect your heartbeat and display your resting rate, your average rate and your current heartbeat condition.
Of course as a golf GPS you get the automatic preloaded worldwide golf courses and free updates. The X40 watch also has a touch screen along with the extra features likes smart notifications, shot activity tracking and the heart rate monitor.
The Approach X40 also could act as a regular watch in addition to the GPS features and activity tracking and of course a scorecard feature is also available.
This is a great choice for those looking for a golf watch GPS with additional fitness activities. This model is a little bit thicker than a Fitbit and users of the X40 reported that the heart rate function seems to work as well as it does all in the Fitbit HR.
The screen is crisp and easy to see even in sunlight and there is also a back light option. If you touch screen in the dark it will light up briefly so that you can see the display in the darkness.
In a nutshell this watch is a definite winner for golfers who want to enjoy the most popular golf GPS features and as an addition keep track of their fitness data and heart rate information.
This Garmin X40 golf GPS watch falls in the under $300 category but has gone on sale for less than $200 at Amazon.Click here to see the Garmin Approach X40
#8 Garmin Approach S6
The Garmin Approach S6 is a more upscale golf GPS watch it features the color display with touch screen control and high resolution. Of course a comes with courses preloaded and free lifetime course updates, and the skin color can be reversed to black, white or custom setup.
This has all the bells and whistles with golf information including swing strength; the temple of your swing provides training of its form to your swing temple and also has a pin pointer and handicap count.
The touch screen allows for touch targeting to help dialing your target shot. On the green you you can also manually position that Pin to the front middle or back of the green depending on your target.
The Approach S6 measures to different lay-up positions, dog legs and hazards. It also as a digital scorecard which you can save and even print after your round. The S6 watch is rated for water resistance to a full 50 meters making it an excellent choice for wet conditions. The batteries also are rechargeable lithium ion lasting 10 hours in GPS usage or 14 weeks as a watch.
Overall this Garmin Approach S6 golf watch packs a lot of features in a lightweight and slimmer golf watch format. It features mechanics include swing metrics swing tempo training and even the strength of your swing. This is not something you find in many golf watches so if you are looking for this information about your golf metrics this is definitely a golf watch to consider.
The pinpoint feature allows you to also position the camera for the green view to help in your shot making. The display is a touch screen high-resolution and can be easily operated even while wearing your golf glove.
And the watch will extend your iPhone or IPad as it will display a text e-mail or alert wire in the middle of the fairway.(if you don’t mind the interruption to your golf game)
This is a full featured golf GPS watch and is a unique model to offer golf swing training. With a price right around the $300 mark if you’re looking to spend a little bit more for a quality golf gps watch you should put this watch on your short list.Click here to see the Garmin Approach S6
#9 Garmin Approach S4
The key features of the Garmin Approach S4 include a high-resolution touch screen it is easily readable in bright sunlight and easy to operate even while wearing a golf glove.
There is a feature called Green View which allows you to see the shape and layout of the green with a simple touch you can also be manually moved into to the pin location of the day to help dial in your shot.
If you care to, this watch also connects to your smart phone so you can receive notifications of emails and texts while you’re on the golf course.
The rechargeable lithium ion batteries provides a robust 10 hours in GPS mode and six weeks in watch mode which is about average for a golf GPS watch.
Of course as worth all the other watches we have reviewed this comes preloaded with 30,000 golf courses and offers free lifetime course updates.
In summary this is a mid to upper scale model golf GPS watch. At the time of this writing, it is currently discounted to just under the $200 mark on Amazon. The Approach S4 is a watch that provides very accurate distances on the golf course, is very easy to operate, and most users believe it is super easy to use this product. The Garmin S4 is a golfGPS watch that definitely offers great bang for the buck.Click here to see the Garmin Approach S4
#10 Callaway GPSy
If you are here looking for a solid golf GPS watch in the under $200 category then another worthy consideration is the Callaway GPSy golf GPS watch. This GPSy model watch includes a standard pre-loaded 38,000 + course maps with no subscriptions and free updates.
On the golf course you’re going to get distances to the green including the usual front center back, as well as lay-up and carry distances yardage to hazards and dog legs.
In addition you get automatic course recognition, automatic hole advance and shot distance measurement. This adds up to a lot of features at a low price.
Plus there is also a scorekeeper function to record the score data including greens in regulation and number of puts taken. The Callaway GPSy watch is also available in a couple of different colors depending on your preference
This golf watch is waterproof but only for a light rain shower and unfortunately this unit can not be submerged in water so it does not provide as much waterproofing as most other middle and upscale golf GPS watchers may give you.
This is a watch that does not provide smartphone connectivity to receiving cell phone messages but that may help the battery last longer during play. What it does give is comfort and lightweight and gives the call for information you need including front middle and back yardage to the green. And you get all this at a lower price. If you don’t need smart phone features and gall you need are necessary golf distance and hazard information then this is definitely the GPS golf watch that you should consider.Click here to see the Callaway GPSy Golf Watch
Tune in to our Golf GPS Reviews Part II where we take a look at hand held and clip on Golf GPS devices and provide our top choices.