The best of the best! We roundup the best golf watches for 2023
In the modern golfing landscape, technology plays an integral role in enhancing performance and strategy. Among the technological marvels that have revolutionized the game, golf watches stand out, providing valuable information such as distance, hazard locations, and even swing analytics right at your wrist.
This guide will shed light on some of the best golf watches 2023 that have transformed the way golfers approach the game. We’ll be focusing on the Shot Scope X5 GPS, SkyCaddie LX5 GPS, Garmin Approach S70, Golf Buddy Aim W12 GPS and the Bushnell Ion Elite GPS.
These watches, well-known for their precision, robust feature set, and intuitive design, are designed to provide golfers with the tools they need to play their best.
Best Golf Watches 2023
Shot Scope X5 GPS watch
Aesthetically, this Shot Scope watch is a big step up from what we saw with the previous V3 offering. I think the new round shaping is much smarter but also has a sportier feel. The edging is a scratch-resistant ceramic bezel which contrasts really nicely with the black screen and wristband.
Compared to the previous Shot Scope V3 this did feel bigger on the wrist when I first put this in play but I just moved this slightly further up my arm to compensate. The bigger sizing has enabled Shot Scope to make this touchscreen which gives us lots more functionality and ease of use as you don’t have to navigate with numerous buttons.
The main screen of X5 displays yardages to the front, back and middle of the green. These are dynamic yardages so the numbers are adjusted depending on which angle you end up approaching the green. This is extremely helpful if you are taking a slightly more scenic route to the green.
For me, the most beneficial part of the X5 watch has to be the performance tracking. This GPS golf watch comes with 16 tags to be plugged in the end of your golf clubs. This allows for hands-free, and even better, phone-free stats collection out on the golf course. As you hit each shot, the watch and tag work together to plot your location on an overhead golf course map.
Aesthetically, this Shot Scope watch is definitely something you can wear on and off the golf course, especially with the new options on watch faces so you can give this an individual feel. I would say if I were to wear this off the course all the time, I would probably want some extra functionality that you tend to see in other health and fitness watches. For now I think I will just wear this on the golf course.
- Really clear GPS data
- Excellent shot tracking and statistics
- No annual fees
- Tracks your steps
- Sometimes fiddly to move between screens
- RELATED: Read our full Shot Scope X5 GPS watch review
More info: Shot Scope Website
SkyCaddie LX5 GPS watch
Out of the box, this watch looked big and bold. I liked the large and bright screen. The rubber strap didn’t have a particularly premium feel but was comfortable and easily adjustable. Although I felt the watch looked just a little large for my slender wrist, it felt ok. Considering the number of features in the package (essentially the same as in the SkyCaddie SX550 GPS handheld) I think this is a pretty impressive feat of engineering. It weighs in at a reasonably lightweight 65 gms.
The picture above shows an example of the graphic that greets you on each tee. This watch has over 35,000 courses preloaded onto it. All courses are foot-mapped out by experienced technicians, ensuring you get unrivalled accuracy from SkyCaddie kit. The GPS satellite can take a few minutes to identify where you are. This may be an issue if you’re the type to head straight from the car park to the first tee. But front, middle and back yardages are probably irrelevant as you try to find your game over the first few holes.
If you are in the market for a GPS golf watch, you won’t go far wrong with the LX5. Just read the instruction manual carefully and check out the various low-cost subscription options required to maintain full functionality.
- Accurate measurements.
- Large and clear screen.
- Useful hazard warning screen.
- Timer and fitness features.
- Tricky to get best out of hole maps.
- RELATED: Read our full SkyCaddie LX5 GPS watch review
More information: SkyCaddie website
Garmin Approach S70 GPS watch
If, like me, you want a golf GPS watch that also tracks all your lifestyle, fitness and health data, I think this could be the best product on the market.
This has top-of-class GPS information displayed in a very user-friendly way. The touchscreen display is excellent and means you can get yardages to any part of the golf course.
But this is not just a golf watch. It can track all your workouts, your sleep, and a variety of health data as well as having phone notifications and music controls all on your wrist.
- Heaps Of GPS Data
- Really Easy To Use
- Tracks All Your Fitness And Health Data
- Long Battery Life
- RELATED: Read our full Garmin Approach S70 GPS watch review
More info: Garmin website
GolfBuddy Aim W12 GPS watch
Out of the box, this round faced watch looked pretty appealing. I liked the all black appearance. The size of the face (45mm) looks large enough but not too large. There is a premium leather strap which was very comfortable to wear. It also felt pretty lightweight – it’s 51 grams, to be precise. I was pleased to see just one button to press on the right side.
The picture above shows an example of the graphic that greets you on each tee. This watch has over 40,000 courses preloaded onto it which sounds plenty. It certainly had no difficulty recognising the four courses we played up in the glorious Scottish Highlands. The GPS satellite can take a few minutes to identify where you are. This may be an issue if you’re the type to screech into the car park and rush onto the first tee. But front, middle and back yardages are probably irrelevant as you try to find your game over the first few holes.
Out on the course, the aim W12 recognises when you have reached the green. It would often ask if you had finished the hole when near the green. If you ignore the question it will automatically progress onto the next hole when you’re on the next tee. This is a really useful feature if you’re using the watch purely for distance. You can set things up on the first tee and just let it run through the round.
The aim W12 was comfortable to wear and not too bulky. I could see myself wearing it on, for example, a golfing holiday and leaving my standard watch at home. And I do think I’ll still be packing my trusty laser – it’s part of my pre-shot routine after all!
- Accurate measurements.
- Slope function.
- Easy to use.
- Green undulation feature (not all courses).
- Hazard distances not helpful.
- Quite pricey.
- RELATED: Read our full GolfBuddy aim W12 GPS watch review
More information: GolfBuddy website
Bushnell Ion Elite GPS golf watch
As golf watches come this one looks pretty good. I tested the white version which looked great with a large round screen that has metal detailing around the edge. The Ion Elite is also offered in black which is a little tamer than the dazzling white.
In terms of fit, the 1.28″ screen didn’t feel overly big on my wrist which was good. The strap is a silicone feel which was fairly wide but was plenty long enough and secure. As it’s a touchscreen device there was only a singular button on the top left of the screen that turns the watch on and off.
Arriving at the golf club the Ion Elite was straight forward to set up. Pressing the golf option sets the watch off searching for courses, which in some cases was instant, and in others, it took a couple of minutes but I think this was dependent on the GPS signal. I like that you don’t need to pay extra for a subscription and that this is a stand-alone device, pre-loaded with 38,000 courses.
For a golf watch, there were a lot of functions. I have only ever used watches that exclusively provide front, middle, and back numbers and so it was amazing that Bushnell squeezed in a whole, hole layout that you could move and select specific areas to get a distance to. At times navigating this function wasn’t the easiest on longer holes as it required zooming in a lot which can be done using the + symbol.
Overall, this watch is pretty straight forward in terms of set up and loads courses in a reasonable time. If you’re after a golf only watch that gives a little more than front, middle and back this a great option.
- Great whole hole view
- Looks great
- Loads courses quick
- No subscription needed
- Fiddly pressing specific area on hole
- RELATED: Read our full Bushnell Ion Elite GPS golf watch review
More info: Bushnell Golf
Best Golf Watches 2023
Selecting the right golf watch can significantly enhance a golfer’s strategic approach to the game, offering accurate and accessible information at the touch of a button. We’ve explored some of the top golf watches available today: the Shot Scope X5 GPS, SkyCaddie LX5 GPS, Garmin Approach S70, Golf Buddy Aim W12 GPS and the Bushnell Ion Elite GPS.
Each of these watches offers a unique blend of technology and design, providing invaluable insights into distances, hazard locations, swing analytics, and more. However, the best golf watch for you will be one that aligns with your specific needs and playing style. Take the time to assess the features and functionalities that are most important to you.
With the right golf watch on your wrist, you’ll be equipped with the data you need to optimize your game and navigate the course with confidence.
Listen to our incredible chat with Billy Foster!