Best Smartwatch For Golf Review 2020

Most Versatile

Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS, 44mm) - Space Gray Aluminum Case with Black Sport Band
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Best Value

Garmin Approach S40, Stylish GPS Golf Smartwatch, Lightweight With Touchscreen Display, White/Light Gold
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Editors Choice

Garmin Approach S60, Premium GPS Golf Watch with Touchscreen Display and Full Color CourseView Mapping, White
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Brand New Player

Garmin 010-01769-01 Vivoactive 3, GPS Smartwatch with Contactless Payments and Built-In Sports Apps, Black with Silver Hardware
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Easiest to Hit

GolfBuddy GB9 WTX+ Smartwatch Golf GPS
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*Don’t forget to check the price at all stores as they usually run different promotions such as free shipping*

How We Found the Best Smartwatch For Golf
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Online Reviews

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Sources Researched

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Products Tested

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Hours Spent Testing

When you want to work on your golf game, you want to make the most of all the gizmos and gadgets you can get your hands on.

There are loads of golf accessories you can get (as you already know if you’re a regular to the site) but if there’s any gadget, other than a golf club or training aid, that can make a real difference to your game then it has to be a GPS golf watch. It does the same job as a rangefinder, but is conveniently positioned on your wrist and doesn’t need to be carried around.

And why settle for a regular GPS golf watch, when you can get yourself a Smartwatch with GPS. That’s gotta be hands down the way to go.

Not only do you get a fantastic golf aid, but you get all the functionality that comes with it, like notifications for important texts and emails or social media notifications.It’s an especially good idea if you don’t already have a smartwatch. 

The thing is, the market is saturated with options, and it can be hard to decide which one to get. The purpose of this article is to help make that decision easier for you.

We’ve had a good look at what’s out there at the moment in terms of smartwatches for golf, and we’ve carefully handpicked our top 5 to show you.  We’ve managed to select some for every level of budget. 

Our reviews on those are coming up very shortly, and after that we’ve also got a super handy buying guide for you which walks you through everything that you might want to think about before you buy. 

Our Reviews

Editors Choice

Garmin Approach S60, Premium GPS Golf Watch with Touchscreen Display and Full Color CourseView Mapping, White
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*Don’t forget to check the price at all stores as they usually run different promotions such as free shipping*

Our take

This is a great smartwatch for golf – in fact where golfing is concerned, we would say that this is Garmin’s best watch yet!  It ticks all the boxes. 

It comes with 40,000 preloaded golf courses from all over the world, all in full color.  And to view them all, it has a high resolution screen that is 1.2 inches in diameter that you can read clearly even in direct sunlight. 

Not only do you get precise distances to each location on the course, but with PlaysLike Distance, it automatically adjusts yardages to account for uphill and downhill shots – fantastic for choosing what club to use next!   

Then there’s the Touch Targeting function, where you can touch any point on the map for precise measurement to that exact spot, including fairway, water hazards and sand traps.  

Then there’s the Green View feature which is great for getting a birds eye view of the area.  And this not only gives you the distance to the pin, but also has PinPointer to tell you the direction to the pin when you have a blind shot. 

It also has AutoShot game tracking to automatically record distances during the game, for post game analysis and study. 

There’s plenty of battery life – it can for 10 hours while golfing – that’s enough for two whole rounds, plus over an hour of practice.  (It lasts longer in watch mode.) 

You might be fooled from the Amazon page into thinking it’s not a smartwatch, since it doesn’t say as much in the product title, however we can vouch that it is in fact a smartwatch.  You just sync it to your smartphone to get notifications for incoming calls, texts, and emails etc. 

You can get it with a silicone strap, black or white, or with a black leather band. 

And if that’s not enough you can even pair your Approach S60 with the Garmin TruSwing golf swing analyzer.  It works out swing speed and club path angles – great for improving the consistency in your golf swing!

Pros

  • 40,000 preloaded golf courses with full color maps
  • Pair with the Garmin TruSwing for even more analysis & improvement
  • Great golfing game specific functions like PlaysLike Distance, Touch Targeting, PinPointer, and AutoShot recordings

Cons

  • Premium product at a premium price

Best Value

Garmin Approach S40, Stylish GPS Golf Smartwatch, Lightweight With Touchscreen Display, White/Light Gold
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*Don’t forget to check the price at all stores as they usually run different promotions such as free shipping*

Our take

Garmin have done it again with this great GPS golf watch!  

It comes preloaded with more than 41,000 courses from right around the globe.  And thanks to its GPS signal, it can detect your shot distances, which is great for working out which club to use next. 

We love the Green View feature – it lets you manually set the pin position and automatically works out distances to the front, middle and back of the green, and distance to any hazards as well.  It’s great for getting a birds eye view of the area. 

It has a large 1.2 inch all color touchscreen display, that you can actually see even in direct sunlight – a very important feature when you’re playing. 

With it being a Garmin watch, you get all the usual activity tracking features you get in fitness watches, but it’s also a smartwatch at the same time.  You just pair it up with your smartphone to get all your notifications for incoming calls, texts, emails. 

And we can also recommend the Garmin Golf app, where you can compete on leaderboards and view all your stats in real time during play and afterward to really examine your game.  And you may also be interested in joining the Garmin Connect™ online community. 

It’s got a great battery life – it will last a whopping 10 days or 15 hours in GPS mode, so if you give the watch a full charge before you leave home, you know the battery will last right throughout the game. 

You can even buy it with special sensors called CT10 club trackers which you screw into the grip of each club and let you know how far you hit with each club and how close you are to the fairway or green.  It gives you even more precise automatic game tracking.  Just select the “Bundle with CT10” on the Amazon page.

It’s available in a few different looks.  We’re quite partial to the stainless steel with powder gray band.

Pros

  • Preloaded with 41,000 courses
  • Detects your shot distances
  • Great battery life
  • Great fitness tracking
  • Bundle with CT10 club trackers

Cons

  • A small minority of customers have found it a bit complicated to use

Brand New Player

Garmin 010-01769-01 Vivoactive 3, GPS Smartwatch with Contactless Payments and Built-In Sports Apps, Black with Silver Hardware
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*Don’t forget to check the price at all stores as they usually run different promotions such as free shipping*

Our take

This smartwatch comes from Garmin, one of the biggest brands in both fitness tracking and GPS.   

Although it comes with a number of sport and fitness apps already preloaded, this doesn’t include the Garmin Golf app, so you will have to download it manually.  But once done, you’ll be on your way to golfing success.  The app will track your game stats and scores to help measure your improvement in your game. 

Thanks to the GPS in the watch, it can map out your golf course distances for you so you can work out what club to use next.  You will also have to load your golf courses in manually, but perhaps that’s more sensible than having courses built in from all over the world. 

And once paired with your smartphone, you’ll be able to receive and even respond to text messages and see social media updates, emails and more right on your wrist. Your finished golf game can even be set to automatically upload to the Garmin Connect online fitness community. 

It’s also worth noting at this point that the Garmin Vivoactive 3 can also be used to make payments, you just use it anywhere you can tap your card to pay.  Great for drinks in the golf club after a game. 

The battery life is really good, it will last for a whole week in smartwatch mode, or for 13 hours in GPS mode, which means you could get 3 rounds of golf in on a full charge.

Cons

  • Use with the Garmin Golf app
  • Pay via your smartwatch
  • Join Garmin Connect 
  • Great battery life

Pros

  • The Garmin Golf app isn’t preloaded and you will have to download it

 

Most Versatile

Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS, 44mm) - Space Gray Aluminum Case with Black Sport Band
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*Don’t forget to check the price at all stores as they usually run different promotions such as free shipping*

Our take

People rave about Apple products and their Series 5 smartwatches are certainly no exception.  

But you don’t need to take our word for it – if you look on the Amazon page, you will see that after well over 6,700 individual customer ratings, it gets an average Amazon customer rating of an incredibly impressive 5 stars out of 5!!

Of course apple watches are more expensive than your other brands, but if it were less so, we may have made this our number one favorite pick.  They have loads of golfing apps ready to download from their app store that you can use on the watch to help your golf game. 

Well more than we care to list to be honest. It’s beyond the scope of this article to go into them all. But you can have a quick Google on another tab if you like.

And because this Apple smartwatch also has GPS and a built in compass, you can really make the most of this on your preferred golf app to work out all your various yardages and so on.

Beyond use in golf, it’s an amazing smartwatch and fitness tracker to boot.

In addition to giving you all your notifications for texts, calls and emails, it will also let you stream music, help you crush your fitness goals, and let you pay for things. (It probably does a lot more besides but we’re not going to get into that.) 

It also has great battery life and will last all day on a full charge.

The link to the Amazon page will show you 2 different sizes of watch face.  We would recommend going for the 44mm version for a better picture, particularly for looking at golf course maps.

Pros

  • Amazing customer feedback!
  • Huge selection of golf apps to choose from
  • Amazing smartwatch & fitness tracker

Cons

  • Only compatible with Apple products e.g. Apple smartphones
  • Apple smartwatches like this one do cost a lot more than other brands, as do their apps, but with feedback like that shown on the Amazon page, customers seem to feel it’s well worth the money.

Easiest to Hit

GolfBuddy GB9 WTX+ Smartwatch Golf GPS
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Our take

And now for something a little more affordable!  (Actually, a lot more affordable) And with “GolfBuddy” in the title, you know it’s definitely going to be a golf orientated smartwatch!

Not only does it do everything a smartwatch is meant to do, like give you notifications for your texts, calls and emails, but it comes preloaded with 38,000 golf courses the world over, (and you get free updates!) and thanks to it’s GPS capabilities, there’s automatic course and hole recognition.

It can then “see” your position and calculate the various distances to the front, center, and back of the green, and give you your shot distances, and give your distance to any hazards.

It’s compatible with both Android and iOS smartphones.  And the battery life is really good too – it will last a full 8 hours in GPS more – that’s enough for 2 rounds of golf. 

It’s also worth noting at this point that the watch is USGA/R&A compliant, and legal for both handicap and tournament play.  Good news, hey?

Pros

  • Excellent value for money
  • Designed with golf in mind
  • Get all your yardages
  • USGA/R&A compliant

Cons

  • Make sure you download the “GolfBuddy” app and not the “GolfBuddy Cast”

Buyers Guide

Smartwatch Functionality 

The first thing you should bear in mind when shopping for a smartwatch for golf, is that many watches that are great for using in golf aren’t always smartwatches.

You can get a lot of great GPS golf and fitness watches that don’t have any smartwatch functionality and won’t give you any of your texts, emails or smartphone notifications. Make sure you get exactly what you’re looking for. 

Some golf watches that have smartwatch functionality need to be paired up with your smartphone in order to receive call, text and social media notifications.

We included some of these in our top 5 picks because they’re great for golf and technically when set up this way they do have smartwatch functionality. 

Smartphone Compatibility 

Smartphone compatibility is something that you will have to watch for (pun intended!) when buying your watch if you want it to be paired up with a smartphone that you already own. Unfortunately this can be something of a tricky one.

For example some Garmin watches will be compatible with some Android smartphones but not others, and that same Garmin watch may be compatible with some iPhones but not others. 

The best advice we can give you in this regard is for you to go onto the manufacturer’s website to check whether your particular smartphone is compatible with the smartwatch that you’re interested in. 

At least though if you buy an Apple watch like the one we showed you earlier, you know it will pair up perfectly with your iPhone. 

GPS Signalling 

At this point though, it’s important to level with you and let you know that smartwatches for golf don’t always have as much detail for your golf game than a regular GPS golf watch.  I guess you can’t have everything.  But to be fair, the smartwatches for we’ve shown you do have some great features. 

And more importantly they all feature GPS signalling.  This is how a watch for golf can pick up your signal, “know” what particular golf course you’re on, and then calculate the distance to the pin (yardages).

Or any other distances on the golf course, such as hazards and what not.  This cannot be done without some sort of global satellite navigation, unless you decide to buy a laser rangefinder instead. 

Battery Life 

The last thing you want is for your smartwatch for golf to die on you right in the middle of a game.  Luckily though most smartwatches these days, and even those with GPS signalling all have a decent battery life.

However when you’ve got a game coming up, we recommend that you always ensure that you charge the watch up the night before, so when the time for the game comes round you can avoid panicking about the battery dying. 

Brand

A smartwatch with GPS is quite a high tech piece of kit, and because of this, on the whole we recommend that go with a good and well established brand that has earned its place in the market. 

You may have noticed that the majority of the watches in our top 5 picks all come from such brands.  We’ve got Garmin watches making up 3 of the 5, and an Apple smartwatch too.

Budget 

Despite the high tech that goes into making a smartwatch with bluetooth plus GPS, plus any other extras you may be interested in like a compass, these watches can be more affordable than you might think. 

Of course they can vary quite considerably in price, and if you’ve been checking the prices as you’ve been going through this article then you will have seen that for yourself already. 

For those of you who like to get a good deal, or even a bargain, then we can recommend that you check out the Amazon website, since it’s generally a good place to catch a good deal.