Golf IO

Golf GPS Watches

11 February 2019

If you do not have a golf gps watch yet, or are in the market for a new one, here is our buyer's guide for the latest models. The watches go from £100 - £450 and vary in features, so it is worth considering what you really want to the watch for, and what your budget it.

The general consensus seems to be that the scoring functionality on most watches is just too fiddly to do on a relatively small device such as a watch. A few of the watches attempt to do automatic scoring by having motion detection sensors - but this can be temperamental. These are also the most expensive watches so you need to consider if you really do want that functionality. Sometimes a pencil and scorecard is the best option!


Approach S60

Premium price golf watch.
Shot tracking most exciting feature. You need to wear it on the correct wrist for it to pick up shots - should be the lead wrist. Sensitive enough to pick up chip shots.
Works very well with phone text and email notifications.
Largest diameter of the garmin watches.
Premium leather strap available.

Approach S20

Not a touch screen watch
Distance to and over hazards
Cannot measure shots ad hoc, you need to be scoring the entire round
Some quality issues over the buttons
Some issues with watch automatically progressing to next hole
Garmin Express software can be temperamental

Approach X40

Thin strap that looks a bit fragile, £75 to get replaced
Watch is great, but software is not - can wipe watch when doing updates. May be tricky to recover
Don’t buy white as it discolours quite quickly
Fails to update holes, sometimes means wrong yardages used
Watch can buzz on your backswing because you got a new message
Charging unit it a bit fragile, easy to break
Nice size and comfortable to wear
Some find the menu system and swiping complicated


TomTom Golfer 2

It’s massive!
whilst having less functionality is actually more useful.
Picks up practice swings and adds to score sometimes
Missed shorter strokes around the green
Cover the screen to add a shot is often done by mistake
Battery is fine for only 1 round - no good for 36 hole comp
Comfortable to wear
Very clear display
It is big - may be too big for an everyday watch?


Skycaddie SW2

No annual fee’s
Charges quickly
No way to turn it off!
Priced very aggressively
Still needs to be registered online


General issues

Support from Golfbuddy not very good
Charging connection from WT5 and BB5 not very good


Course updates via bluetooth and smartphone app
Touch screen user interface
Display supposed to activate when raising your arm - doesn’t always work
Wish battery life was better


Just numbers, no hole layout
Means battery lasts longer
Has less ‘gimmicky’ features than other watches


No annual fee
Not very accurate - more complaints than usual
Cant get 2 rounds of golf out of it (lasts 6-7 hours with gps on)
Bit slow to load the course
Recharge connection a bit dicey
Support not great


Not great charging connection again
Not very intuitive, cumbersome controls
Screen difficult to read, not as good as pictures would have you believe


Another watch with seemingly poor charger design
Screen and strap quite big
Coz it is bulky, buttons can be pressed during swing



Battery life not as reported
Have to download courses - holds 10.

Neo Ion

Battery good - 3 rounds out of it
No subscription
Support respond quickly
Only 4 hazards listed per hole
Non standard charging attachment (same for all watches)