What’s the best golf GPS watch and handheld device? The Garmin Approach 20 is the winner in the golf watch category, in terms of handheld devices, the Garmin Approach G8 is the winner. Garmin leads the way in terms of GPS technology and it is no surprise that they have taken the golf world by storm. Check out the comparison table below to see the best golf GPS watches and handheld devices for 2023.
Top Golf GPS Watches
Garmin Approach 20
Bushnell Neo Ion 2
|Best Budget Golf Watch||
|Best Hybrid Golf Watch||
Golf Buddy Voice 2
Top 2 Golf GPS Handheld Devices 2023
Garmin Approach G8
Bushnell Phantom Golf GPS
Golf Watch Reviews
#1 Garmin Approach 20
Best Golf Watch in 2023
- AutoShot technology automatically tracks the statistics of your round, the stats can be viewed post round on Garmin Connect (smartphone app & web page access)
- Ergonomic design that ensures a comfortable fit
- The approach 20 is compatible with Garmin’s TruSwing golf sensor
- Activity tracking including: steps, calories, hours of sleep and distance covered
- High resolution display that is sunlight readable
- Bluetooth connection
- 15 hour battery life
- Measures distances to front, middle and back of the green
- Preloaded with golf courses from around the world
- Not all golfers enjoy playing with a watch on their wrist
- Doesn’t calculate exact distances to the flag
Approach 20 Review
Garmin GPS golf watches lead the way and their Approach 20 model is the best golf watch currently available on the market.
The Approach 20 features Garmin’s signature AutoShot technology, this technology tracks your play during the course of a round and gives you access to insightful statistics after the round via the Garmin Connect platform (smartphone app & web page accessible)
The stylish yet comfortable Approach 20 is compatible with Garmin’s Truswing smart sensors and all of this data including distances to the front/middle/back of the green can be viewed on a high-resolution display.
The approach 20 is more than just a golf GPS watch, it also tracks fitness such as steps taken, calories burned, distance walked and hours of sleep. This powerful golf GPS watch is a watch, fitness tracker and golf “caddie” all built into one compact device that retails at a very affordable price point.
#2 Bushnell Neo Ion 2
Runner Up Best Golf Watch
- Designed and manufactured by Bushnell, a leading brand in the golf industry
- Preloaded with 36 000 golf courses from around the globe
- Auto course recognition
- Impressive battery life
- Distances to front/center/back of green
- Fitness tracking including step counter
- Reversible rubber bands
- Available in two different color options
- Affordable price tag
- Black and white display
- Doesn’t connect with smartphone in order to allow email, text etc. notifications
Neo Ion 2 Review
The Neo Ion 2 is one of their latest releases and it features everything that one would need and expect from a high-quality golf yardage watch.
The Neo Ion 2 is preloaded with 36 000 golf courses from around the world and its bluetooth connection allows it to update course information wirelessly. This compact golf GPS watch has an extended battery life that lasts for a minimum of 3 rounds, once the battery is depleted it can be charged with ease through the USB charger cable that comes with the watch.
The Neo Ion 2 provides distances to the front, center and back of the green, it also gives exact distances to up to four hazards per hole, this is very useful information to have both from the tee and on approach shots.
The Neo Ion 2 is more than just a golf watch, it also doubles up as a fitness tracker and it has a built in odometer that tracks exactly how far you walked in search of your golf ball.
This functional golf watch retails at an affordable price tag and it will definitely be a welcome addition to the bag of any serious golfer.
#3 Canmore TW-353 Golf GPS Watch
Best Budget Golf Watch
- Preloaded with 38 000 golf courses from around the world
- Digital clock with an alarm, can be worn as a normal watch
- Measures distances to front/center/back of green as well as to hazards
- Captures distance of shot hit
- Design features a digital scorecard function
- Comfortable rubber strap that can be exchanged with ease
- High contrasts display
- 11 hour battery life in GPS mode
- Affordable price tag
- Canmore isn’t a recognized golf GPS manufacturer
- The TW-353 doesn’t feature fitness tracking capabilities
The TW-353 features a simplistic design that measures all of the basic numbers that you would need out on the golf courses including distances to hazards as well as to the front, center, and back of the green.
The TW-353 comes preloaded with 38 000 golf courses and it can be updated with ease via the Canmore website. The high contrast display of this budget golf GPS watch ensures that numbers are easy to read.
With 12 hours of battery life in GPS mode and 60+ hours in standby mode you definitely won’t be stuck without power out on the course. The TW-353 doesn’t carry a high-end name tag, but this affordable golf yardage watch can keep up with the best of them.
#4 Golf Buddy Voice 2
Best Hybrid Golf GPS Watch
- Easy to use talking GPS that calculates distances out on the golf course
- Measures distances to the front/center/back of the green
- Up to 14 hours of battery life
- Waterproof design that can be used in any weather conditions
- Male/female voice options
- Affordable price tag
- Pre-loaded with over 38 000 courses
- No subscription fees
- Can be worn as a watch or it can be used as a handheld golf GPS
- Doesn’t provide exact distances to the flag
- Offers limited information from the tee with regards to carry distances over fairway bunkers, penalty areas etc.
Golf Buddy Voice 2 Review
This compact golf GPS device can either clip onto your belt or with the purchase of a Golf Buddy wrist strap it can be worn as a golf yardage watch.
The Golf Buddy Voice 2 calls out the distance to the front, center and back of the green and it also measures the distance that you hit your previous shot. The Golf Buddy is perfect for the regular golfer that doesn’t want to get bombarded with lots of unnecessary information.
The voice setting on this golf GPS is adjustable and it can be set to either male or female. This compact hybrid golf GPS has an impressive battery life of 14 hours, this ensures that you will never be left guessing as to how far away you are away from the green.
The Golf Buddy is indeed your buddy out on the golf course, it’s only drawback is that it doesn’t measure exact distances to the flag or any other target.
Handheld Golf GPS Reviews
#1 Garmin Approach G8
Best Handheld Golf GPS
- The G8 gives exact distances to the targets
- The G8 calculates slope and it adjusts the distance to the target accordingly
- The G8 can receive text, email and other alerts from iphone smartphones (4S and later models)
- The G8 remembers which club you hit on previous shots, it gives recommendations accordingly on future shots from similar distances
- Display sizes can be adjusted for easy reading
- Digital scorecard function for your 4 ball
- Preloaded with more than 30 000 golf courses worldwide
- Courses are updated automatically when the G8 is connected to a wifi network
- Carrying around an additional device can be a hassle to some golfers
- Quite expensive
Approach G8 Review
These smart devices can calculate basically any distances that you can think off, almost like a caddy.
Gone are the days where you have to guess about what the carry distance over a penalty area is etc.
The Approach G8 is designed and manufactured by GPS industry leader, Garmin. The Approach 8 calculates exact distances to targets and it calculates slope into the final number displayed on the screen.
This smart handheld device can connect with your smartphone allowing it to display text, email, and other alerts directly from your mobile phone. The club advice feature of the Approach 8 remembers which clubs you chose to hit if you are faced with a shot from a similar distances it will provide recommendations based on based shots.
The text on the bright display of the Approach G8 can be adjusted in terms of size for easy reading. With 30 000 courses preloaded on the device, chances are that you will never be stuck playing a course that isn’t on your Approach G8.
The Approach G8 does carry a fairly hefty price tag but this smart handheld golf GPS will definitely make life much easier out on the golf course.
#2 Bushnell Phantom Golf GPS
Runner Up Best Handheld Golf GPS 2023
- Designed and manufactured by industry leader, Bushnell
- Preloaded with 36 000 golf courses in 30 countries
- Automatically recognizes the golf course that you are playing
- Measures distances to front/center/back of green
- Provides distances to up to four hazards off of the tee
- Battery lasts for 2+ rounds
- Affordable price tag
- Magnetic mount that sticks to frame of golf cart
- Minimalistic design, doesn’t offer advanced features such as fitness tracking
Phantom Golf GPS Review
Bushnell design and manufacture the best rangefinders that money can buy, but their range of products doesn’t stop there.
The Phantom golf GPS by Bushnell is a handheld GPS designed specifically for golf.
This golf GPS with its minimalistic design is preloaded with 36 000 golf courses, it has a 12+ hour battery life and it features a BITE magnetic mount that sticks to metal surfaces.
The Phantom measures distances to the front, center, and back of the green as well as distances to up to four hazards. This affordable handheld golf GPS is available in a variety of color options and it is a great little gadget to have with you out on the golf course.
Do you Need a Golf GPS Device?
A golf GPS device isn’t a necessity, but if you are serious about improving your golf game then a distance measuring device is definitely a must-have item.
Distance measuring devices include rangefinders, golf GPS watches, golf handheld GPS devices etc. Golf GPS devices feature advanced designs in comparison to rangefinders and golf GPS watches, if you are a techy then you will definitely enjoy all of its functionalities.
Golf is a game of precision, knowing exactly how far you are away from your target or what the carry distances over a bunker is, is exactly the type of information that you need in order to lower your scores.
Watch vs. Handheld: Advantages & Disadvantages Compared
Watch vs. handheld, there is no right or wrong answer here, at the end of the day it all comes down to personal preference.
The advantage of a golf watch is that it is easily accessible on your wrist, it provides you with the basic distances that you need and it doubles up as a fitness tracker. On the downside, some players don’t enjoy playing with any accessories on their wrist and limited distances are displayed on a golf watch.
Handheld GPS devices are more complex, they provide a host of different distances to various targets and some devices can also calculate slope. Another advantage of a handheld golf GPS is the fact that it can double up as a smartphone, receive notifications while you play and keep score for you 4 ball electronically.
Handheld GPS devices are more expensive than golf GPS watches, but they do offer more in terms of functionality. Both devices will be an asset to any golfers, at the end of the day the most important part is to choose one that matches your needs and preferences.
With so many golf GPS watches and handheld devices to choose from picking a winner was no easy choice. Garmin has and continues to be the leading manufacturer of GPS and in particular golf GPS devices, you definitely won’t go wrong by adding one of these to your golf bag.
Bushnell, Canmore and a host of other brands are worthy competitors and their golf GPS device offerings continue to get better and better.
The Garmin Approach 20 and Approach G8 are the best golf GPS watch and handheld devices for 2023 respectively, if you are serious about lowering your scores invest in one of these top distance finders.