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Should You Buy the Bushnell iON Elite?

On September 1, 2022, Bushnell Golf released their new iON Elite golf GPS watch. Naturally, you'll want to know all the details about it so you can answer that one ultimate question: Is it this golf watch for me?

Or if you're looking for the perfect golf gift: Is this what the golfer in my life would want?

Bushnell is known for making reliable, easy-to-use golf tech. They're also one of the most trusted brands, as their products are often seen in the hands of pros—more than any other brand.

But when it comes to buying a golf watch, there's a lot of options out there. And several factors come into play when shopping for a golf gadget. How much is it? How accurate is it? What features does it offer? Is it easy to use? Do I like the style?

In this article, we introduce you to the ins and outs of the 2022 Bushnell iON Elite, and then we're comparing it to other GPS wearables we trust. First to the Bushnell iON Edge, then to other similarly priced golf watches on the market, and finally to some high-end options from Garmin and Voice Caddie.  



An Honest Bushnell iON Elite Review from Gabe at Let's Play Thru!


2022 Bushnell Golf Watch Features

Busnell iON Elite Price: $299.99

Advanced Golf Features:

  • Bushnell Golf’s Patented Slope Compensated Distances
  • Dynamic Green Mapping (front/center/back distances based on golfer’s line of play)
  • Color Touchscreen Display
  • GreenView with Moveable Pin Placement
  • Hole Maps with Shot Planning
  • 38,000+ Preloaded Courses
  • Scorekeeping with Statistics
  • Auto Course Recognition
  • Auto Hole Advance
  • Shot Distance Calculator
  • 12+ Hour Battery Life
  • Bushnell Golf Mobile App Included

Perhaps the most impressive feature on this GPS watch is Bushnell's patented built-in slope with Elements.

A blue outer ring around the watch face indicates that slope distances are being calirated and shown on the screen.

A purple ring means that Bushnell's patented Elements technology is being calibrated and shown, which accounts for temperature and barometric pressure (altitude) as well as slope compensated disance.

You can easily disable Slope Technology to make it legal for tournament play, which is indicated by an orange ring as seen in the image.


Bushnell iON Edge vs 2022 iON Elite

Bushnell iON Edge Price: $149.99

iON Edge Advanced Golf Features:

  • GreenView with movable pin placement
  • Dynamic green mapping for distances based on the golfer's line of play
  • 38,000+ preloaded courses worldwide

Similarities

Both of these watches offer Bushnell's large easy-to-read distances, easy-to-use interface, and precise yardages. GreenView is standard and shows you the shape of the green and lets you move the pin for increased accuracy. Plus, green mapping provides front and back yardages based on your line of play. And all of this is avaiable on over 38,000 course around the planet. Each also offers scorekeeping with statistics, auto course recognition, auto hole advance, shot distance calculator, and free Bushnell Golf mobile app benefits.

Differences

While both of these Bushnells have touchscreens, the new, more stylish iON Elite features a highly responsive color touchsreen with icons for easy access to features. But the most notable difference is the slope function with Elements on this new GPS watch along with the HoleView function with shot planning for precise distance to any piont on the green.

One thing the iON Edge has on the Elite is battery life. It gets 15+ hours while the Elite will get you 12+ hours.


Garmin Approach S12 vs iON Elite Golf Watch

Garmin Approach S12 Price: $199.99

Approach S12 Advanced Golf Features:

  • Preloaded with 42,000 courses worldwide
  • Yardage to layups/doglegs as well as F/M/B of green
  • Green view with manual pin position
  • Manual shot tracking
  • Auto club tracking with accessory

Similarities

The name of the game with both of these watches is simple design that is easy to use. The Approach S12 price is $100 less. But then again, it's Garmin's reliable, yet basic golf watch—more comparable to the iON Edge. No slope distances or fancy 411 about the green here. Although the S12 is certainly no slouch, offering green view with moveable pin and manual shot tracking.

Differences

In a nutshell, what you get with the iON Elite for $100 more is Dynamic Green Mapping, a color touchscreen display, HoleView with Shot Planning, and, of course, slope with Bushnell's Elements technology.

There is one area where this affordable Garmin golf watch kills the Bushnell flagship watch: The S12 gets 10 weeks of battery life in watch mode and 30 hours in GPS.


iON Elite vs Voice Caddie A2 Hybrid Golf GPS Watch

Voice Caddie A2 Hybrid Price: $229.99

Advanced Golf Features:

  • Automatic slope distances
  • Green undualtion to know significant changes in slope on the green
  • Customizable pin placement

Similarities

Both do slope—in their own way. We'll save that for differences. Also, you can customize the pin placement on each of these golf GPS watches. Both have color touchscreens and will bring some damn fine style to your wrist!

Differences

Beyond traditional slope distances, the Bushnell does its Elements calculation of slope distance and the Voice Caddie A2 clues you in on changes in slope on the green. Even though it's $70 less, as a bonus, the A2 does give you some activity monitoring with steps, distance, and calories burned. The A2 will give you 10 days of battery life in watch mode and 10 hours in GPS, while Bushnell reports 12+ hours for the iON Elite before charging.


Shot Scope V3 vs Bushnell iON Elite with Slope

Shot Scope Price: $219.99

Advanced Golf Features:

  • Shot tracking with tracking tags
  • Review tracking information on Shot Scope online portal for free
  • Distances to hazards as well as F/M/B of the green
  • 36,000 preloaded courses

Similarities

Both of these golf watches do standard distances really well, have free golf apps, and are pushing 40,000 preloaded courses on watch. But this is where the similarities end.

Differences

Beyond straight golf yardages, the Shot Scope V3's focus is shot tracking and comes with 16 sensors for only $200. You won't get slope, but you will learn how you hit with your clubs and get the data-history to analyze.

The Bushnell iON Elite brings analysis to the golf course, giving you tons of information about the green and your relation to it. Oh, and the shape and style of these watches are pretty different. Both will give you 2+ rounds of battery life.


Garmin Approach S42 Golf Smartwatches vs iON Elite

Garmin Approach S42 Price: $299.99

Advanced Golf Features:

  • 42,000 preloaded worldwide golf courses
  • Yardage to layups/doglegs as well as F/M/B of green
  • Green view with manual pin position
  • AutoShot measures shot distance (except chip shots and putts) and auto loads to Garmin Golf app
  • Shot tracking
  • Custom targets
  • Handicap scoring

Similarities

Both of these golf GPS wearables win in the style category for wear beyond the course and have highly responsive color tourchscreens. For the same price, they both also offer custom pin placement and custom targets.

Differences

As Garmin's mid-range golf watch, the Approach S42 does not offer slope at this price point, but it does have Garmin AutoShot, which detects your shot distance through swing speed and impact and loads it to the Garmin Golf app automatically (putts and chip shots not included).

And while the Bushnell iON Elite likely wins at this price point for strictly golf features with its advanced slope technology, the Approach S42 has some added value in other areas. You can get smart notifications on wrist, activity tracking, and basic running and cycling sport apps. It gets up to 10 days in smartwatch mode and 15 hours in GPS mode compared to the iON Elite's 12+ hours of battery life.


Bushnell iON Elite vs Voice Caddie T9 GPS Wearable

Voice Caddie T9 Price: $349.99

Advanced Golf Features:

  • V-Algorithm 3.0™ (Automatic Slope Calculation)
  • Practice Tempo Mode
  • Shot and Putt tracking
  • Green Undulation data (Indicate with map)
  • Course Layout View (Yardages to hazard & bunkers)
  • Customizable Pin Placement
  • Active Green
  • Course & Green Zoom (2nd level)
  • Putt View—arrow show break direction

Similarities

Both of these golf watches do traditional slope very well and offer customizable pin placement. And each is winning in the style category and features an eye-catching color touchscreen.

Differences

Again, no one does slope like Bushnell. But the Voice Caddie T9 has a few unique cards up its sleeve. It has shot and putt tracking and you don't have to manually enter your score after each shot or the end of the hole. It has a handy practice tempo mode. It offers a course view at the tee that you can zoom in on when you enter the fairway. As you approach, it displays a green view that shows distance to the front and undulation around the pin. When you enter the green, you'll get putt view along with the green undulation. That's some serious A.I. on your golf watch.


Bushnell iON Elite vs Garmin Approach S62

Garmin Approach S62 Price: $499.99

Advanced Golf Features:

  • Same features as the Approach S42 (above)
  • Virtual Caddie
  • Wind Speed and Direction
  • Full vector map
  • PinPointer for direction on blind spots
  • PlaysLike distance (slope)
  • Touch-targeting to see distances to any point
  • Swing tempo
  • Tempo training
  • Auto club tracking with accessory
  • Green contours with Garmin Golf app membership

Similarities

Both the Bushnell iON Elite and Approach S62 put a stylish GPS watch with color touchscreen on your wrist. Both offer slope technology, customizable pin placement, and custom targeting. You get loads of preloaded courses on each, along with digital scorecard, and shot tracking.

Differences

While the slope on the Garmin watch does not include the Elements factor of the Bushnell watch, the Approach S62 does offer a lot more golfing features. AutoShot detects shot distances and auto-loads them to the Garmin Golf app. PinPointer tells you direction on blind shots. And Virtual Caddie uses your shot data from previous rounds, along with elevation, wind and the layout of the hole to determine which club you should use and where you should aim on your next shot. You also get wind speed and direction. Plus, a green contours feature is available with the Garmin Golf app membership ($100/year or $10/month).

But the S62 doesn't stop at golf features. You get Garmin's health monitoring, including wrist-based heart rate, Pulse Ox, advanced sleep, and Body Battery™ energy monitor. Compass, gyroscope, and accelerometer come standard. Smart features include push notifications, calendar, weather, smartphone music controls, and Garmin Pay™ for contactless payment. Plus, you get activity tracking and several basic sport apps. This is truly a golf smartwatch for active lifestyles, which is why it is $200 more than the Bushnell iON Elite. Oh, and it gets 14 days in smartwatch mode and a whopping 20 hours in GPS.


Is the Bushnell iON Elite the Golf Watch for You?

Want easy-to-use advanced golf tech on your wrist in a watch stylish enough to wear off the course?

The 2022 iON Elite will give you reliable, precise distances at a mid-range price point.

Buy it on PlayBetter and you'll get free 2-day shipping and free 60-day returns—no questions asked.

If you qualify, you can pay 3 interest-free payments over 3 months, or choose another payment plan.

We're here to answer any of your questions about this new Bushnell golf GPS watch or any of the others featured in this article. Just hit us up in the chat box in the lower right corner.

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