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The 11 Best Golf Watches of 2024: Are They Now Even Better than Rangefinders?

The 11 Best Golf Watches of 2024: Are They Now Even Better than Rangefinders?

These days, golf GPS watches are loaded with features beyond yardages to the front, middle, and back of the green. In this article, Marc runs you through all the best options — from affordable & fantastic to the absolute finest!

When golf watches first came out, they were fairly rudimentary. Early models really only gave you distances to the front, middle, and back of each green. That’s great information, of course, and for that reason, even primitive golf GPS watches created some buzz. But, for the most part, serious players stayed away.

Instead, golfers grinding to shoot their best scores almost always chose rangefinders to get their distances. And to be clear, there is no substituting for the pinpoint precision of a laser rangefinder.

But golf watches are now also capable of giving you accurate distance numbers to specific locations, and they can do way, way more than that. In fact, the tables have turned to the point where the new top-of-the-line rangefinders are trying to catch up with the capabilities of the best golf watches of 2024, introducing smart features like club recommendations and factoring weather into distance calculations.

The best part about this golf watch evolution is that as the technology has improved and as demand has increased, the leading manufacturers are starting to tailor their offerings to hit different price points by including a variety of feature sets. That means we’ve all got options.

Not too long ago, if you got a golf watch, it was kind of the same as the other small amount of golf watches on the market. But not now. Now you can choose everything from that old-school front/middle/back simple warhorse all the way up to a watch that can seemingly do everything short of launching a missile.

But of course with options can come option overload. Fear not. That’s what this guide is for. We’re going to help you find the best golf watch of 2024 for your specific wants and needs, giving you 11 great choices.

Let’s get to it!

Why Choose a Golf GPS Watch?

This post isn’t about knocking rangefinders. We love them too. But, for the right type of golfer, a GPS watch offers some distinct advantages.

For one thing, they, um, tell time. Has your rangefinder ever helped you realize that you’re late to pick your kid up from soccer practice?

That breaking news aside, golf watches can one-up rangefinders in several key scenarios, including:

  • Pace of play. If you’ve played with a rangefinder or watched someone who did, you know that it takes at least several seconds every time you want to get a yardage. With a golf watch, you can get the basics in as little time as it takes you to look at your wrist.
  • Style. The best golf watches of 2024 are legitimately nice-looking timepieces meant to be worn throughout the day. Many of them even come with multiple color options and changeable bands so that you can match your watch to your wardrobe if you’re so inclined. For as cool as rangefinders are, we don’t recommend wearing them to dinner.
  • Features. The best golf watches give you every piece of information you need on the course and can even help you quarterback your life off the course. Think yardages, club recommendations, green contour maps, pin location setting, shot tracking, score keeping, hole maps, distances to hazards, fitness tracking, sleep tracking, stress tracking, step counting, texts, emails, calendars, weather, music, and so much more. It’s incredible how much information these little devices can contain.

Basically, a great golf watch can make a rangefinder look like a one-trick pony. Like, Is getting yardages all that you can do?

Like with all golf tech products, there’s some amount of give and take with every golf watch option, even if it’s just price. As you’ve probably guessed, to get the most features, the most premium brand name, and the highest-quality materials, you’re going to pay the most.

But that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of value to find. And depending on how you want to use a golf watch, you may not need to pay for everything.

Let’s take a look at our picks for the 11 best golf watches of 2024.

The Best Golf Watches of 2024 

7 different golf GPS watches laid out on a table

(Golf watches in image, from left to right: Garmin Approach S42, Voice Caddie T9, Garmin Approach S70, Sky Caddie LX5, Shot Scope X5, Shot Scope G5, Bushnell iON Elite.)

Garmin Approach S70: Best Overall Golf Watch

If you want the best, you want the Garmin Approach S70.

End of story.

It is the absolute finest golf watch of 2024, and it’s not particularly close.

The S70 has everything! No other golf watch combines innovation, features, reliable performance, and style in a way that can rival the S70.

Among the features:

  • A super-bright AMOLED touchscreen display
  • Maps and yardages from 43,000+ preloaded golf courses
  • Club suggestions based on performance and even wind speed and direction
  • A plays-like distance feature that takes into account slope and weather
  • 24/7 health monitoring and activity tracking
  • A stylish, lightweight build and ceramic bezel
  • Much, much more

The S70 comes in Black, White, or Gray, so there’s an option for whatever your color preference. And the watch itself is absolutely gorgeous. This is something you can wear proudly to even a high-end occasion.

Black 47 mm Garmin Approach S70 golf watch on Marc's wrist

You can get the 47mm version, which features a 1.4-inch display and weighs 2 ounces. Or, there’s a 42mm version with a 1.2-inch display and a weight of just 1.5 ounces.

The S70 is so much more than a golf watch. Not only can it track all of your shots, make club recommendations, and give you incredibly accurate plays-like distances, it’s also a fully-loaded everyday smart watch with fitness features like sleep tracking, stress tracking, step counting, heart rate and blood oxygen monitoring, calendars, texts, emails, weather, music, and much more.

If you want to know that you have the top-of-the-line golf watch, buy the Garmin Approach S70.

Shot Scope X5: Best Golf Watch Value 

The Shot Scope X5 in the hands of PlayBetter golf reviewer Marc

A beautiful 1.2-inch, glare-resistant touchscreen watch with five different band color options, a ceramic bezel, shot-tracking tags included, no subscription fees, and all for just $299.99! This is an extreme value!

The Shot Scope X5 might not be quite as luxurious and high-quality as a Garmin, but for the features that it includes at this price, it’s going to be hard to pass up for a lot of golfers.

The X5 is stylish, and the band is very comfortable. But most importantly, the information it delivers is incredible. To get shot-tracking tags included and all of the resulting stats about your golf game, all with no annual subscription fees, is unbelievable!

Other X5 features include:

  • Green view with pin placement
  • Front and carry distance for water and bunker hazards
  • Layup points and doglegs on each hole
  • More than 36,000 preloaded courses
  • Automatic performance tracking
  • Multiple clock-face designs
  • Step counter
  • Digital scorecard
  • More than 100 statistics about your game, including Strokes Gained and handicap benchmarking

Bushnell iON Elite: Best of the Basics 

The white Bushnell iON Elite golf watch on golf reviewer Marc's wrist

The Bushnell iON Elite is a very classy, nice-looking, totally reliable golf watch that keeps the price in check by not trying to do too much.

First and foremost is the Bushnell name. By this point, if you don’t know that they’re renowned for making durable, super-high-quality golf tech products, you must be new here. This is a brand that you can trust. And to be able to own anything Bushnell for just $199.99 is a big plus.

Available in either Black or White, the iON Elite comes preloaded with more than 38,000 golf courses worldwide. It has a color touchscreen display, a nice overview map of each hole, and the ability to pinpoint specific locations on the hole to get exact yardages to things like hazards. You can also manually move the pin placement on the screen so that you can get precise numbers to specific pin locations. And the robust battery life should last more than two full rounds on a single charge.

It’s a Bushnell! What’s not to like?

Voice Caddie T9: Best Golf Watch for Tracking Putts

The gray Voice Caddie T9 powered up in golf reviewer Marc's hand

Voice Caddie changed the game with accurate heat map, green undulation technology. And when they added shot and putt tracking with their T9 flagship model, suddenly they became a legitimate contender for best overall golf watch.

While we don’t think the T9 can quite pry that top title away from the Garmin Approach S70, we do want to call out in particular the awesome accuracy of the T9’s shot tracking, including putt tracking. With other golf yardage watch options, you have to manually enter your score after each shot, especially your putts. But the Voice Caddie T9 handles that job for you, even on the greens.

Another really cool feature with the T9 is its swing tempo practice mode, allowing you to dial in your precise and repeatable rhythm which will undoubtedly help you hit better shots more consistently.

And finally, the T9 is also a strong contender for best looking golf watch, exuding a simple classiness that’s likely to catch a lot of eyes.

Garmin Approach S62: The Next Best at a Big Discount

The black Garmin Approach S62 with CT10 sensors on a red surface and white background at PlayBetter

For a couple of years, the Garmin Approach S62 was the golf watch to own. And only when its brand-mate the S70 came along was it finally dethroned as the overall best.

But the S62 is still one of the absolute best golf watch buys on the market. And at $150 less than the S70, some would argue that it may still be the overall best buy.

Priced at $449.99, the S62 justifies its cost and then some with a virtual caddie that compiles your club data and makes recommendations based on both your past performance as well as current conditions, including wind speed and direction and slope adjustments. You’ll get detailed color maps of every hole on more than 41,000 golf courses, with pin placements, hazard locations, and ideal landing areas.

The S62 is also a stalwart off the course, featuring health monitoring tools like heart rate monitor, a pulse oximeter, and a sleep tracker.

No, it’s not as beefed up as the S70, but to call the S62 outdated would be a big mistake. This thing still packs a wallop in 2024.

SkyCaddie LX5/LX5C: Best Golf Watch Display

The black SkyCaddie LX5 golf watch on PlayBetter golf reviewer Marc's wrist

This golf GPS watch provides an absolutely gorgeous, high-resolution display. It doesn’t include advanced features like shot data, club recommendations, or wind speed and direction, but the large screen, multiple brightness options, and very crisp resolution mean that you’ll never have to strain your eyes to get your yardages.

The LX5 version is the more basic of the two, with a simpler, less-expensive plastic bezel. With the LX5C, you get a bit more luxury and a higher-quality ceramic bezel.

The SkyCaddie LX5/LX5C features a simple-to-navigate touchscreen with a nice overview of each hole. You can swipe, pinch, and drag around the screen to get distances to hazards and layup targets. And you’ll always get the standard front/middle/back yardages from wherever you are on the hole. On the fitness side, you get a step counter and heart rate monitor.

There are golf watches with more features, and there are less expensive golf watches. But for display quality, which is the most important consideration for many golfers, the SkyCaddie is a big winner.

Garmin Approach S42: Best-Looking Golf Watch

The black Garmin Approach S42 golf watch powered up in golf reviewer Marc's hands

One issue with some of the best golf watches of 2024 is that they’re a bit large, especially for smaller wrists. But the S42 gives you a sleeker design, a slightly smaller 1.2-inch watch face, and a narrower silicone band than with the more souped-up Garmin golf watch options. You also have three stylish band colors from which to choose.

The S42 doesn’t give you things like a virtual caddie, wind speed and direction, and a heart rate monitor, but you still get spot-on Garmin accuracy, a quick swipeable touchscreen, yardages to spots on the green and various hazards, and a pin locator. And if you buy the Garmin CT10 club tracking sensors (sold separately), you can pair them with the S42 to get all of your shot data.

As a lifestyle watch, the S42 delivers features like a step counter and weather updates, all in a watch that you can wear comfortably and confidently all day long.

Shot Scope G5: Shot Tracking Capabilities for Just $149.99!


The Shot Scope G5 with water hazards and sand traps on the display

The Shot Scope G5 doesn’t track shots automatically the way it’s big brother the X5 does with the included shot-tracking tags. But it does have a built-in last shot distance measurement feature.

That means you can hit your shot, input what club you hit, and then walk to your ball. Once you arrive at your ball for your next shot, the watch will automatically calculate that distance between where you last hit from and where you are now. To have that capability at this price point is very impressive.

The G5 is an otherwise fairly simple watch. But you might not need anymore than what it can do, which, beyond the already-mentioned shot-tracking feature, includes:

  • Front/Middle/Back yardages
  • Distances to front and carry of hazards
  • Yardages to doglegs and distances to layup points
  • More than 36,000 preloaded courses worldwide
  • Digital scorecard
  • Multiple clock faces
  • Battery life of more than 36 holes
  • No subscription fees

Voice Caddie G1: A Lot of Innovation for Not a Lot of Money

Voice Caddie G1 golf watch with green heat maps on the display

The Voice Caddie G1 is another strong contender for best value in a golf watch. For just $299.99, you get a lot of really cool innovative features including:

  • Green undulation data
  • Course layout view
  • Color touchscreen
  • Customizable pin placement
  • Bluetooth compatibility
  • Slope-adjusted yardages
  • Automatic scorecard
  • Waterproof
  • No subscription fees
  • Stats/scoring history

As something of a junior version of the Voice Caddie T9, the G1 offers those same best-in-class heat map green-reading views. The visual on this feature is outstanding and really does help with finding the best line for your putts.

Garmin Approach S12: You Can Own a Garmin Watch for Just $199.99!

The navy blue Garmin Approach S12 golf GPS watch on a golfer's wrist

If you love Garmin golf watches but get tripped up by the price points, the Approach S12 is the perfect solution. You can get all that Garmin reliability but at a discounted price.

The Garmin Approach S12 gives you accurate GPS with distances to front/center/back and hazards on each hole. It gives you the same 41,000 preloaded golf courses as the other Garmin golf watch options, and you get the same scoring system as with those more advanced models.

You won’t get a virtual caddie, slope adjustment, wind speed and direction, swing tempo, a step counter, and a heart rate monitor. But so many golfers find those things to be unnecessary. If you’re the type that doesn’t need those bells and whistles, save some money and be perfectly content with what is still one of the very best golf watches available.

SkyCaddie LX2: Just Give Me My Yardages!


The SkyCaddie LX2 golf watch

Are you here for a simple, accurate, durable, reliable — and inexpensive — golf watch? One that doesn’t include a bunch of crap that you care nothing about? Something that just works and works well?

That’s the SkyCaddie LX2 in a nutshell. You can save a whole lot of money if you just need accurate yardages. The LX2 gives you numbers you can trust for just $149.95.

You know, technology can be great. But sometimes, for some people and for some situations, it can all get to be a little too much. If you like the modern approach of getting accurate yardages by way of a golf watch but don’t want or need all the extras and can maybe live with a little less classy look, save some money and get the LX2.

There are no subscription fees with this little 1.28-inch touchscreen workhorse. And you do get a step counter, some alarms, a stopwatch, timer, and digital scorecard with stats to go along with preloaded yardages on more than 35,000 golf courses.

Not bad for $150.

No Bad Choices on This Best Golf Watches List

There you have it: 11 sure-fire winners for you to consider. Any one of these will make for an excellent golf GPS watch. It all comes down to what kinds of features and style you prefer.

If you just want basic yardages with a few added goodies, there are multiple options for you here.

And, of course, if you want every single feature that’s been dreamed up to date for a golf watch, that’s here too.

And then we’ve got options that are somewhere in the middle of those two extremes.

Hell, you might find so many things to your liking that you start wearing a watch on each wrist! 

OK, don’t do that. But a golf watch does make for a great gift, so nothing wrong with picking up more than one.

Whatever you do, don’t sleep on the benefits of today’s golf watches. Even if you’ve been a rangefinder devotee to this point, you might be surprised at how much fun and easy it can be to play golf with a GPS watch. And now you hopefully know just the one to put on for your next round.

About PlayBetter Golf Reviewer Marc Sheforgen

Marc "Shef" Sheforgen is a golf writer whose passion for the game far exceeds his ability to play it well. Marc covers all things golf, from product reviews and equipment recommendations to event coverage and tournament analysis. When he's not playing, watching, or writing about golf, he enjoys traveling (often golf-related), youth sports coaching, volunteering, and record collecting.

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