Best Golf GPS Watch For 2018
Hello and thanks for taking a look at our best golf GPS watch for 2018 list. I've been busy testing some of our favorite GPS watches and have narrowed them down to just four. Here we have the GolfBuddy WTX, Bushnell Excel, Garmin Approach S60 and the SkyCaddie Linx GT.
Each offer something a little bit different in terms of performance, features, aesthetics and price. Let’s take a look at each of these watches, starting with arguably the best on the market right now, the Garmin Approach S60.Anyway enough of that, let's find out which is the best golf watch for 2018.
Garmin Approach S60
How it looks: The biggest standout for me is the Garmin Approach S60. It’s very much a lifestyle watch in that it doesn’t have the typical sporty look usually associated with golf GPS watches. It has a circular watch face with a chunky bezel around the outside. To me it feels much more like a typical smartwatch and that's a refreshing change. This is especially noticeable when you use it in watch mode, it has ticking clock hands rather than digital numbers which look awesome. If you were to wear it away from the golf course you wouldn’t worry about it looking too “golfy”. The fact you can wear it when you’re not at the golf course is a bit of an added bonus. I myself don’t tend to use GPS watches when out and about, but I’ve made an exception for the Garmin Approach S60.
Performance: Here's where the S60 comes and takes the golf GPS crown. Firstly, it displays the distances to the front, center and back of the green, as do all the other watches on this list. Where this differs is with the help of a handy little feature called "Plays like distance". What this does is adjust the distances for inclines/declines helping you make the correct club selection each time. It's worth noting this feature is illegal for tournament use but can turned on and off with ease.
The display is a pleasure to use it's intuitive, touchscreen and easy to navigate. The full color display is great to look at and features a sunlight readable display. The course view is in full color and features a pin selector, which you can drag around to measure distances to layups or specific points on the course.
It feels as though this watch does all the work for you. With the score tracker switched on the watch will track how many shots it takes you on each hole and fill in the scorecard by itself. With a quick glance at your wrist at the end of each hole you can confirm it has tracked the correct amount of shots per hole.
It's easy to use and features three buttons on the left hand side of the watch as well as the touchscreen display. The top button is the "action" button which you press to select the activity you're doing (not limited to golf) but we'll mention that later. The middle button is how you'll switch the S60 on and if you hold this button down you'll see the controls menu. The third and bottom button is a back button tap it to return to the previous menu/screen.
You'll be able to pair the Garmin Approach S60 to your smartphone via Bluetooth and receive emails, and text messages straight to the watch. You'll be able to use the Garmin Connect app to further enhance the S60's capabilities. By uploading the data from each round you can view in greater detail each round (or activity) you do. You can also share and compete with other Garmin Connect users and post to social media. If you want even more information such as your swing tempo, swing speed, club path and shaft lean you can buy an accessory called Truswing. which will provide these extra details.
Battery life isn't too bad. You'll get around 2 weeks’ usage when used in watch mode, and around 10 hours (2 rounds) in golf mode. To charge, plug the included charging cable into the back of the watch face and insert the USB side into any USB device such as a laptop or USB adapter.
You're not limited to golf with this watch, if you're a fitness fanatic the S60 has some additional features you may find useful. There are modes for running, cycling and swimming making it a great all round fitness tracker. If you do your cardio on stationary bikes and treadmills, you'll be able to track these activities too. The S60 uses the accelerometer to track the indoor activities, it's worth noting the accuracy may be off at first as it takes a few uses to calibrate.
Summary: If you're a fan of golf GPS watches this isn't going to disappoint. There's nothing on the golf GPS watch market that comes close to this. It's packed with features that are typcially found in the handheld models. The adjustments for slopes, course view, movable pin, auto scorecard make this a joy to use. With the addition of the Garmin Connect app this thing is a game changer. The cost may be an issue for some users but for those who want the best that money can buy, this is the one for you. The only downside is the thickness of the watch-face this is an issue on most golf GPS watches though as they have to house the battery. It's the GPS watch I find myself taking with me every time I'm on the course or out on a run.
How it looks: The WTX is a great watch although it just doesn’t have the same premium feel you get with the S60 which is a bit of shame. It’s not that it looks bad, it’s actually a good looking watch it just doesn’t fill you with the same level of excitement you get with the S60. It sports a large color screen like the Bushnell Excel which is easy to read even in direct sunlight. It has an attractive design and if the watch faces weren't cut off at the bottom I would be happy to wear it off the course.
Performance: The Bushnell WTX golf GPS watch comes with a good amount of features and at a much lower price than the S60. Despite its bulky screen the WTX feels lightweight on the wrist and is otherwise a pleasure to use.
I've found the dynamic green view a pleasure to use. What makes this feature great is that it gives you distances to the front, center and back of green from the angle you're playing at. This makes a huge difference when it comes to club selection. You'll also be able to drag and drop the pin to give you accurate carry distances to hazards and get that extra little bit of accuracy.
The screen is quite good but I don't understand why they've cut the bottom of it off. The color screen looks great, as do the hole views from above. It's a little bit of a shame they didn't decide to make it a completely circular screen, I'm guessing this may be partly to do with cost cutting. Since you can grab one of these for around $150, it's not something that should put you off purchasing one.
You'll be able to pair the WTX with your phone, and download the latest course data via Bluetooth on Android/IOS. The biggest problem is the app is terribly made and is in need of an update, they could learn a thing or two about smartphone apps from the Garmin guys.
Battery life is decent, it's going to get you through two rounds of golf without needed a recharge, which is must for those of you who regularly play 36 holes. Charge time is about 4 hours from empty to full. Make sure you charge it once you've finished your round as remembering last minute is going to leave you without a GPS!
Summary: If you're on a budget this is likely going to give you the best bang for your buck. You're going to get a GPS watch with a full color display, dynamic course view and even a pin you can move around to measure the distances to the hazards. It looks great but it's a shame the screen has a cutoff point near the bottom, this is especially noticeable when using it in watch mode. The app is disappointing but I'm sure they'll fix that soon enough with an update. Battery life is sufficient and it looks great. It's accurate and easy to use. Not sure there's a better golf GPS watch you can get for around $150 (on sale now).
Bushnell Neo ION
How it looks: The Bushnell Neo ION isn't a standout in the looks department but that doesn't stop it being the most popular choice among golfers. It has a circular sunlight readable black and white display which gives clear and easy to read information without all the "clutter". It's a golf GPS and that's clear to see from the design, this isn't one you'll be using when you're not playing golf.
Performance: Here we have one of the simplest golf GPS you can use. Bushnell are leaders in the golf GPS field and have been for many years and the Bushnell Neo ION is a testament to that.
This couldn't be easier to use out of the box. When you've charged it, take it to your local golf course. The watch will detect the course and hole you're playing and display distances to the front, center and back of the green as well as hazards. One downside is it's sometimes difficult to know which hazard the device is referring too, which is common among most golf GPS watches. As it doesn't have courseview and drag and drop pins like the previous two watches, you won't get as accurate distances.
One area which has improved over the previous Bushnell Neo is the battery life, one of the most important aspects of a golf watch. You'll be able to play more than 3 rounds of golf on a single charge, more than enough even if you play two rounds at a time.
This watch isn't new to the market but it's in this list for several reasons. Firstly, it's one of the easiest watches to use, period. If you switch the watch on the auto course recognition will detect the course you're on. When you start your round auto hole advance will detect each hole you're playing so there's no need to touch any buttons. Glance down at your wrist to see the distances to the front, center and back of the green. You'll also get distances displayed for up to 4 hazards per hole as well as carry distances so you'll be able to choose the correct club for each scenario.
Comfortability is where the Bushnell Neo ION shines. This watch is comfortable to wear; it feels very lightweight on the wrist. The silicone strap is stretchy and soft; you'll hardly notice it on your wrist.
And finally we have the cost, this is the cheapest on our list. At a price of under $150 you're going to struggle to get a GPS this easy to use that performs so well.
Summary: If you're not a big tech fan and prefer simple and easy to use devices, the Bushnell Neo ION is the watch for you. It's simple to use, even for those who tend to find technology a little difficult to get used to. Its black and white display is clear and easy to read. All the information you need is available with a quick glance at your wrist. Auto course and hole detection make this such a no fuss product to use. Highly recommended for the golfer for wants an accurate, easy to use golf GPS watch at an affordable price. Only downside for me is how it looks as it's quite an ugly looking device. Thankfully the looks aren't important here.
Garmin Approach S20
How it looks: The Garmin Approach S20 is another one which is a popular choice among golfers worldwide. Its square black & white display with rounded corners features a 4 button navigation (one button in each corner of the display). The functions of each button are clearly displayed on screen. It's a slim GPS watch with an attractive design although the information on the screen is quite small. Not good for those who struggle to read without glasses.
Performance: Here we have another simple to use GPS watch that shares similarities with the Bushnell Neo ION. The display is black and white and features a sunlight readable display that's very easy to read, even in direct sunlight. It's actually easier to read the distances on these black and white screens. There's no touchscreen here, you'll navigate the device using the 4 buttons, their functions are visible on the display (see picture).
You're going to get easy to read distances to the front, center and back of the greens which are quite accurate. Pretty much identical to the Neo ION in that it will display up to four hazard and layup distances per hole. It also features auto course and hole detection making it very easy to use.
Battery life is decent as with most black and white display golf GPS watches. You'll be able to play three full rounds of golf between charges so if you like to play a couple of rounds of golf at a time you're covered.
It's actually a good looking watch, considering it's very similar to the Neo ION when it comes to performance. This one does come in at a higher price, the strap is also the same material (silicone) meaning it's as comfortable. It's around the $200 mark which is more than $50 dollars more than the Neo ION, so it's down to you to decide whether the extra cost is worth it for you.
Summary: It's another simple no fuss GPS watch. If ease of use is the most important aspect other than the distance accuracy, you can't go wrong with this watch. It's silicone wrist strap and lightweight design feel so comfortable, you'll barely notice it on your wrist. What it lacks in advanced functions it makes up for in comfort and ease of use. It's so similar in functionality to the Neo ION you would be paying extra for the design which I would be happy to do, ultimately the choice is yours!
That concludes out best golf GPS watch list. We hope you've found it useful. Should you have any questions or suggestions for other GPS watches to include in this list, please comment below or send us a message.