12 Best Golf GPS Watches & Handhelds for 2022

Golfers are always trying to shave a few strokes off their games. Whether you’re trying to break 100 or 80, it’s always a big challenge to shatter that barrier. Maybe you bought new clubs and saw some improvement, but you still can’t make that final push.

One major thing could be holding you back. And that’s not knowing the exact distance for each shot out on the golf course. Whether it’s an approach shot to the green or a tee shot on a tight par-4 dogleg, getting the exact distance from the best golf GPS watches and handhelds is a gamechanger.

Let’s think about it this way. You know you hit your 7-iron 150 yards, and out on the golf course, you estimate that you’re about 150 yards from the green. But that estimate might be out by 10 yards or more, and the actual distance is 162 yards to the green.

You step up and nail your 7-iron cleanly and watch it arrow towards the green. It travels 150 yards but lands in the front greenside bunker. You’ve just put yourself in a terrible position because you didn’t have an accurate distance.

However, the best golf GPS watches and handhelds remove the guesswork. If you had a GPS watch or handheld device, you would’ve immediately got the 162-yard distance. You take a 6-iron instead of a 7-iron and knock the ball onto the green, potentially saving a stroke or more.

Those saved strokes could be the difference for reaching your goals or not. It’s great knowing the distance you hit each club, but that’s worthless if you’re not getting accurate distance readings out on the golf course. That’s why today, we’re giving you our list of the 12 best golf GPS watches and handhelds for 2022.

Best Golf GPS Watches and Handhelds: Our Top Picks:

Best Golf GPS Watches

  1. Garmin Approach S62 (Best Overall)
  2. Garmin Approach S12 (Runner-Up)
  3. Garmin Approach S10 (Best Value)
  4. Golf Buddy Aim W11 (Value Runner-Up)
  5. Garmin Approach S42 (Excellent Premium)
  6. Garmin Approach S40 (Alternative Premium)
  7. Shot Scope V3 (Best Shot Tracking)

Best Golf GPS Handhelds

  1. SkyCaddie SX550 (Best Overall Handheld)
  2. SkyCaddie SX400 (Runner-Up Handheld)
  3. Garmin Approach G80 (Amazing Premium)
  4. Izzo Swami 6000 (Best Budget)
  5. Bushnell Phantom (Good Value)

Best Golf GPS Watches in 2022

1. Garmin Approach S62 (Best Overall)

Best Overall
Garmin Approach S62
$489.65

This golf watch tracks your score and your activity. With a full-color touchscreen, it gives you a map of each hole. And that’s for over 41,000 golf courses worldwide.

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09/25/2022 05:19 pm GMT

The Garmin Approach S62 is the best overall golf GPS watch. If you want to spend the money on a premium GPS watch, this is the one to spend it on. It has everything you need to manage the course well and shaves strokes off your game.

This GPS golf watch has over 41,000 full-color CourseView maps preloaded worldwide. That’s a lot of golf courses right on your wrist. If you tend to play courses other than your home one, it’s awesome having all that data at the touch of a screen.

And you’ll get yardages to the front, middle, and back of every one of those courses. Also, this watch gives you a Hazard View to pinpoint hazards. It even tells you where to aim if you’re laying up, too.

Additionally, a 20-hour battery life makes it one of the longest-lasting golf GPS watches on the market. You can be confident it won’t run out of juice when you’re on the course.

Notable Features

  • 20-hour battery life
  • Score tracking
  • Activity tracking
  • Hole mapping
  • Full-color touchscreen
  • Virtual caddie

Pros

  • Accurate readings
  • Pinpoints hazards
  • Club recommendation accounts for slope and wind speed
  • Easy to read
  • Sleek design looks awesome on and off the course
  • Custom faces to match your style

Cons

  • Can’t enter a score after the game – annoying if you forget the watch

2. Garmin Approach S12 (Runner-Up)

Runner-Up
Garmin Approach S12
$199.99

You can easily track your score with this golf watch. Its high-resolution sunlight-readable display is easy to read. This watch comes preloaded with over 42,000 golf courses.

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09/25/2022 06:24 pm GMT

The Garmin Approach S12 is a worthy runner-up. It’s over $200 cheaper than the S62 but still offers fantastic features. You can be sure this golf GPS watch gives you the tools to improve your game.

It provides yardages to the front, middle, and back of the greens on over 42,000 preloaded courses worldwide. So even if you’re traveling overseas to play, you’ll get accurate distances with this watch.

Also, it gives distances to hazards and doglegs. That allows you to manage any preloaded course, giving you the best chance to lower your scores. And you can record those new low scores directly on the watch before uploading them onto the Garmin Golf app.

Notable Features

  • 30-hour battery life
  • 42k+ preloaded courses worldwide
  • Score tracking
  • High-resolution sunlight-readable display
  • Track hitting distance of each club with Approach CT10 sensors (sold separately)

Pros

  • Accurate yardages
  • Distances to hazards and doglegs
  • Great price
  • Easy to read, even in strong sunlight
  • Stylish

Cons

  • No color display on screen

3. Garmin Approach S10 (Best Value)

Best Value
Garmin Approach S10
$149.50

This touchscreen golf watch allows you to track your scores. The hole-mapping feature offers the layout of each hole. It shows hazards and doglegs so you can play smart.

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09/25/2022 03:38 am GMT

The Garmin Approach S10 is the best value golf GPS watch. This one is a real bang-for-your-buck purchase. It costs less than a third of the Garmin Approach S62 and delivers many of the same features.

With a 12-hour battery life, you’ll get three rounds of golf out of one charge. So, you don’t have to charge it before every round.

Also, it comes in three colors and is a great-looking watch. The 41,000 preloaded courses mean you won’t be stuck for distances with this watch. And it’s super easy to use, so you can battle the course instead of battling technology.

Notable Features

  • Score tracking
  • Hole mapping
  • Hazards and doglegs
  • Touchscreen

Pro

  • Accurate
  • Easy to use and read screen (even in sunlight)
  • Amazing price
  • Three colors (black, blue, gray)
  • Upload scorecard to Garmin Express

Cons

  • GPS can lapse (but rarely)
  • Watch band isn’t durable
  • Doesn’t track steps or activity

4. Golf Buddy Aim W11 (Value Runner-Up)

Value Runner-Up
Golf Buddy Aim W11
$189.99

This golf watch offers you dynamic shot distance. The touchscreen is speedy, so you won’t wait around for important data. Its low-light mode works well on overcast days and evenings.

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09/25/2022 11:29 pm GMT

The Golf Buddy Aim W11 is the runner-up for the best value golf GPS watch. This watch gives you accurate distances on 40,000 golf courses in 170 countries worldwide. And you can get an in-depth hole view of any hole on the course with the Zoom-In/Out Smart Hole View.

Also, the color touchscreen gives distances to the front, middle, and back of the green. It provides yardages to other targets and hazards, too.

Although it’s dearer than the Garmin S10, it still costs under 200 bucks. So, that makes this golf GPS watch a fantastic value.

Notable Features

  • 1.3” TFT-LCD full-color touchscreen display
  • 13-hour battery life
  • Slope-adjusted distances
  • Zoom in/out function
  • Score tracking
  • Hole mapping

Pros

  • Zoom features gives close-up details of course
  • In-depth holes views
  • Dual-arc distances for each hole
  • Distances to hazards
  • Slope readings for better club choice
  • Great value

Cons

  • Band is large and can feel loose

5. Garmin Approach S42 (Excellent Premium)

Excellent Premium
Garmin Approach S42
$299.99

This watch has a 1.2” touchscreen display. Get accurate distances on over 42,000 preloaded courses. And CourseView maps give you a visual of the layout.

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09/25/2022 05:09 am GMT

The Garmin Approach S42 golf GPS watch is an excellent premium choice. With a color display, it’s super easy to read. And the Green View feature allows for manual pin positioning.

This GPS golf watch has all the features you expect, too. You’ll get distances to the back, middle, and front of greens. Also, it maps hazards and doglegs so that you can manage each shot during your round.

Notable Features

  • 1.2” touchscreen with color display
  • 15-hour battery life
  • Score tracking
  • Green View allows manual pin positioning
  • 42k+ courses worldwide

Pros

  • Accurate distances
  • Easy to read and use
  • AutoShot analyzer measures and auto-records detected shot distances
  • Manual pin positioning
  • Live scoring
  • 15-hour battery life

Cons

  • Quite dear
  • Lacks some features of other premium watches

6. Garmin Approach S40 (Alternative Premium)

Alternative Premium
Garmin Approach S40
$299.99 $279.95

This watch allows you to track your activity on the course. The sunlight-readable screen is easy to read in bright sunlight. It comes in three colors: black, light gold, and stainless steel.

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09/25/2022 05:29 pm GMT

The Garmin Approach S40 is an excellent alternative premium option. With the same incredible database as the S62, you’ll have 41,000 preloaded courses at your disposal. Also, it has a 1.2″ color touchscreen that’s easy to read.

This watch is a 2019 model and comes in three colors: black, light gold, and stainless steel. It’s a stylish watch, but you can change the bands quickly and easily if you ever want to change the style.

Notable Features

  • Activity tracking
  • Hole mapping
  • Battery included
  • Sunlight-readable screen
  • Phone notifications show up on the watch
  • 15-hour battery life

Pros

  • Green View for manual pin positioning
  • Hazards and doglegs
  • Measures and records shot distances
  • Can use GPS for multiple sports
  • Phone notifications sync to watch

Cons

  • Doesn’t track score
  • Sometimes phone notifications don’t sync to phone

7. Shot Scope V3 GPS Watch (Best with Shot Tracking)

Best with Shot Tracking
Shot Scope V3 GPS Watch
$219.99 $159.99

Whether you are looking for more awareness of your golf game or simply tired of pacing off yardages to the pin, this GPS watch is a perfect choice. I love the price point, the functionality, and the fact that I never need to take it off. If you want to open your eyes to the areas of your game that need extra work, the Shot Scope V3 will undoubtedly help. 

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09/25/2022 07:15 am GMT

The Shot Scope V3 GPS Watch is good value for money. At under $200, you’ll love the price point and functionality of this golf GPS watch. Therefore, it’s worth consideration for anyone on a budget.

This watch offers distances to greens and hazards. You can stay clear of any water and bunkers out on the course. Also, the color screen gives you a more in-depth view of the course.

With a battery life of up to 10 hours, you’ll get at least two rounds of golf in. And the Power-Sense strap is a standout feature. It records every shot automatically as you play.

Notable Features

  • Automatic Shot Tracking
  • Score tracking
  • Activity tracking
  • Four different color options
  • Readable in sunlight
  • Putting statistics
  • Free firmware updates

Pros

  • Automatically measures shot distance
  • Smart GPS chip recognizes what club to use
  • Can use without syncing to a phone
  • Great for everyday use
  • One-year warranty

Cons

  • Can’t map the hole on the watch

Best Golf GPS Handhelds

1. SkyCaddie SX550 (Best Overall Handheld)

Best Overall Handheld
SkyCaddie SX550

This golf GPS handheld has a 5.5” LCD color screen. It gives you full HD golf course graphics. With a 14-hour battery life, you’ll get a few rounds in before it needs recharging.

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The SkyCaddie SX550 is the best overall golf GPS handheld. When it comes to handheld GPS units, this one receives top marks. It has a 5.5″ LCD color touchscreen that gives you a full HD view of the golf course.

This GPS handheld offers an exact shape of the green from your approach angle. Also, you can place the crosshair on the pin to update distances. This is great if you want to attack a pin for a birdie chance.

With over 35,000 course maps worldwide, you won’t be caught short with the SkyCaddie SX550. In addition, you can keep score and statistics, so you know what to improve on to break those scoring barriers.

Notable Features

  • Rechargeable battery
  • High definition 5.5” touchscreen
  • Hole mapping
  • HD color screen
  • Manual shot tracking
  • Durable case

Pros

  • Easy to read
  • Shows green angle from current position
  • Measures distances to hazards, carry distance, and layup spots
  • Gives exact shape of the green
  • Don’t have to connect to computer to download updates
  • 1-year prepaid membership card included

Cons

  • Requires annual membership subscription
  • Doesn’t track activity

2. SkyCaddie SX400 (Runner-Up Handheld)

Runner-Up Handheld
SkyCaddie SX400 GPS

This handheld golf GPS has a 4” color HD touchscreen that gives you great visuals. It has over 35,000 worldwide courses and includes shot tracking.

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The SkyCaddie SX400 is our runner-up golf GPS handheld. It has heaps of great features but costs less than the SkyCaddie SX550.

Also, it’s more compact with a 4″ HD touchscreen display. This screen displays course graphics in a stunning layout. You’ll clearly see the shape of the hole and the position of all hazards.

Just like the SX550, the dynamic HoleVue rotates the fairway. This gives you a view from your exact location. Additionally, it gives you the exact shape of the green, so you know the best place to land that approach shot.

Notable Features

  • HD touchscreen
  • USB-C port for charging
  • Halve HD course graphics
  • Comes with wall plug
  • Shot tracking
  • Activity tracking

Pros

  • Detailed display is easy to read
  • Gives clear shape of hole and green
  • View of the green from exact location
  • Measures hazards, carry distances, and layups
  • Big Number Mode makes it easy to read from cart mount
  • Wi-Fi connectivity

Cons

  • No protective case
  • Needs annual subscription

3. Garmin Approach G80 (Amazing Premium)

Amazing Premium
Garmin Approach G80 GPS & Launch Monitor

Combines GPS and launch monitor tech into one single unit. Take this on the course with you as a GPS handheld, or bring it to the range to use as a launch monitor.

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The Garmin Approach G80 is a fantastic premium golf GPS handheld. A 3.5″ touchscreen display gives you a great view of your surroundings out on the golf course. Every hole on more than 41,000 courses worldwide is laid out in color so that you can plan any shot on the course.

Furthermore, this handheld device has a slim design, making it extremely popular. Your clubs weigh enough as it is and take up a ton of space in your bag. This handheld is lightweight and compact if you don’t want to add to the bulk.

Also, the integrated launch monitor is an amazing touch. You can use this on the course or the range to track your clubhead speed and ball speed, as well as other data. That data is invaluable for making the necessary adjustments to improve your game.

Notable Features

  • Quick button access to radar
  • Practice and game modes
  • Integrated launch monitor
  • 15-hour battery life
  • Sunlight readable display
  • Hole mapping

Pros

  • Color maps are easy to read
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Integrated launch monitor
  • Score tracking
  • PlaysLike feature adjusts for slope

Cons

  • Doesn’t track activity
  • No club suggestion like other Garmin devices

4. Izzo Swami 6000 (Best Budget)

Best Budget
Izzo Swami 6000 GPS Handheld

You can view over 38,000 golf courses worldwide with this device. It also tracks your score, while a 16-hour battery life means you’ll get about four rounds between charges.

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The Izzo Swami 6000 is the best budget golf GPS handheld. This handheld has many great features and costs a fraction of the price of some others.

Unlike the SkyCaddie handhelds, there’s no subscription for the Izzo Swami 6000. Instead, you’re ready to go once you pick it up, with access to over 38,000 courses worldwide. Also, all updates for the device are free.

This handheld gives accurate measurements to the front, middle, and back of the green. Additionally, you get layup and carry distances to the front and back of hazards and doglegs. You’ll be able to manage the course well with this golf GPS handheld.

Notable Features

  • 16-hour battery life
  • Score tracking
  • Batteries included
  • Manual shot tracking
  • Blue or yellow color options

Pros

  • Accurate measurements
  • Easy to use
  • Calculates layup and carry distances to hazards and doglegs
  • Magnet attaches to your cart frame
  • No subscription
  • Free updates

Cons

  • Small 2” screen
  • No hole mapping or activity tracking
  • No sunlight glare protection

5. Bushnell Phantom (Good Value)

Good Value
Bushnell Phantom, Golf GPS Handheld
  • 36,000 courses in 30 countries
  • Bluetooth for wireless updates
  • Auto course recognition
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The Bushnell Phantom is a good value golf GPS handheld. This device has an integrated magnet. So, you can put this on your cart frame and always know the distance for every shot.

With up to 10-hours of battery life, it should last for at least two rounds of golf. And the Bluetooth connectivity means you can update courses wirelessly.

Notable Features

  • Bushnell Golf App included with purchase
  • Up to four hazard distances per hole
  • Automatic course recognition
  • Score tracking
  • Four different color options
  • Black and white display
  • Front, back, and center of green readings

Pros

  • Attach to cart with magnet
  • Attach to belt with clip holder
  • Auto hole advance
  • Wireless Bluetooth connectivity

Cons

  • Battery can die too soon
  • Included app has poor interface

What to Consider When Buying Golf GPS Watches and Handhelds

When buying golf GPS watches and handhelds, you’ll want to consider accuracy, features, ease of use, size, screen, and app integration. Let’s take a closer look at each area.

Accuracy

You must consider accuracy when buying golf GPS watches and handhelds. The whole point of GPS devices is to give you distance readings to help improve your game. If they aren’t accurate, they’re worthless. So, always consider accuracy when buying golf GPS watches and handhelds.

Features

It’s essential to consider features when buying golf GPS watches and handhelds. Different players will have different needs. For instance, some golfers will only want accurate distances so that they can buy a more basic device. However, other golfers will want course mapping to see the hole’s shape and know precisely where hazards are located.

Also, it’s important to consider features like battery life. You don’t want the device dying halfway through your round. Whatever your needs, match them with the features on offer to get the best golf GPS watch or handheld for you.

Ease of Use

Ease of use is another factor you’ll want to consider. It’s no good having an awesome GPS watch or handheld if you can’t use it. Out on the golf course, you want to concentrate on the shot at hand, not on figuring out technology. Any distractions are likely to lead to bad shots. Therefore, the best golf GPS watch or handheld should make your golfing life easier. So, consider ease of use.

Size

It’s a good idea to consider size when buying a golf GPS watch or handheld. For a watch, you’ll be wearing it while you swing. It can be uncomfortable if it’s too bulky. You want a GPS watch that you don’t even notice during the swing.

For a handheld, you don’t want it to be too bulky, either. You likely have enough golf gear in your bag weighing you down. You don’t want to add to that with a brick of a handheld.

Screen

When buying a golf GPS watch or handheld, you’ll want to consider the screen. It’s essential to have a clear picture of the course if the device has course mapping. Also, you likely play a lot of golf in sunny weather. If so, you’ll want a sunlight-readable screen.

App Integration

Many golf GPS watches and handhelds offer app integration, so that’s something you’ll want to consider. App integration allows you to link to the app and store statistics from your round. You can see how you match up with your buddies.

There are many golf apps on the market, some free and some paid. Some are only available on the phone, while others are available on watches. Check out our articles on Best Golf Apps and Best Golf Apps for Apple Watch for detailed information and reviews.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now, you know our top picks for the best golf GPS watches and handhelds and what to consider when buying the best one for you. But before we wrap up, let’s cover a few more questions.

Should you choose a golf GPS watch or handheld?

Whether you should choose a golf GPS watch or handheld depends on personal preference and needs. Some golfers hate wearing a watch while they swing. It just annoys them. In that case, choosing a handheld with all the features you want is the best option—others like wearing a watch and having everything they need right on their wrist. Figure out your preferences, and you’ll choose the right one for you.

Does Apple Watch have a golf GPS?

Yes, Apple Watch has a golf GPS. The Apple Watch is compatible with several golf apps that give you GPS and many other features. So, check out our article Best Golf Apps for Apple Watch for the complete rundown.

Golf GPS device vs Rangefinder?

A golf GPS device and a rangefinder offer you different things. The golf GPS gives you more comprehensive data and a course map. And you can get all this from a quick look at the screen. A rangefinder allows you to target a specific point, like the pin, and get a laser reading of the distance. Using a rangefinder, you have to scan your surroundings for the hole’s layout.

A rangefinder is fantastic if you’re attacking a pin. It gives you the exact distance to the flag, whereas a GPS won’t give you that. However, golfers with shaky hands often complain about getting accurate readings with a rangefinder. It’s about figuring out what’s best for you.

Conclusion

Golf GPS watches and handhelds are there to help you on the golf course. Having accurate distances to greens and hazards helps you to improve your game. It’s hard to shatter your scoring barriers when you’re guessing distances out on the course. Therefore, you need accurate and consistent readings to get those scores down.

Every golf GPS watch and handheld on our list will help with that. And there are some other nifty features included as well. So, if you’re serious about improving your game, you need a device that gives accurate distance readings. Give it a go, and you’ll see what we mean.

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Joe Morelli

Joe Morelli is the founder of TopRankGolf, a passionate golfer with 25 years of experience playing and coaching golfers around the world. He's dedicated to helping golfers learn and enjoy the game of golf.