Golf GPS watches have become an extremely popular gadget for golfers looking to improve their game. This handy device provides the golfer with precise yardages to the pin and hazards, allowing you to make smarter club selections and lower your handicap. In this guide, we’ll explore how golf GPS watches work and why every golfer should be using one.
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How Do GPS Golf Watches Work?
GPS golf watches tap into a network of satellites orbiting the Earth to determine your exact location on the golf course. The watch has preloaded maps of thousands of courses from around the world, allowing it to calculate the distance from your current position to any point on the course.
When you reach a new hole, the watch automatically transitions to show you distances for that hole. As you walk around the course, the distances update in real-time, accurately measuring your range to the front, center, and back of the green.
Top golf GPS watches like the Garmin Approach also provide the distances to hazards like sand traps and water, helping you strategize your shots. The result is eliminating any guesswork about how far you need to hit your golf ball.
Why Should Every Golfer Use a Golf GPS Watch?
For any golfer looking to improve their game, getting highly precise yardages on every shot is a must. Here are some of the key benefits of using a golf GPS watch:
Improves Accuracy and Club Selection
By providing super accurate measurements, a golf watch allows you to dial in the right club for each approach shot. You’ll be able to perfectly gauge distance and avoid coming up short or flying over the green. Over time, you’ll get a much better sense of how far you actually hit each golf club.
Speeds Up Play
Checking your watch for the yardage is much faster than walking off distances or using fixed distance markers. Golf GPS watches allow you to quickly size up the hole and make your club and shot selections without delay. This helps keep up the pace of play.
For golfers who don’t use a caddie service, a golf GPS watch provides the yardages and hole information that a caddie would traditionally handle. It’s like having an expert assistant on your wrist!
Provides Better Mapping
Golf watches allow you to see an overhead map of each hole with precise landing zones and carry distances. You get a detailed visual of the ideal strategy and positioning for your tee shots and approaches.
Tracks Statistics and Improves Your Golf Game
Many golf watches integrate game-tracking features like shot distance, fairways hit, greens in regulation, and more. You can analyze this data over time and watch your golf metrics improve. Advanced watches even provide swing analysis.
Are Golf GPS Watches Legal for Tournament Play?
For recreational and casual rounds, golf GPS watches are perfectly legal to use. However, most professional tours and organizations like the USGA prohibit “distance measuring devices” during tournament play. So you’ll need to leave the watch in the bag for any serious competitive rounds.
What to Look for in the Best Golf GPS Watches
With the advantages clear, it’s time to choose the right golf watch for your needs. Here are the key factors to consider:
Course library – The best golf watches contain maps for 30,000+ courses globally. This ensures the watch can provide yardages wherever you play. Look for watches from leading brands that make constant map updates.
Battery life – To last an entire 4+ hour round, opt for a watch with battery life of 10-15 hours (or roughly 3 full rounds) before needing a recharge.
Waterproof rating – Protection from rain and humidity is a must. Look for watches with a waterproof rating of at least 5ATM.
Shot tracking – The top golf watches provide shot distance and stats tracking to measure your improvement over time. This feature is invaluable for getting better.
Hazard view – Clear maps and graphics showing bunkers, water hazards, doglegs and more allow you to strategize your best path.
Pinpointer – This shows the exact direction to the pin for blind shots helping you hit the green.
PlaysLike distance – Factors elevation changes into the distance to give you the real playing distance to the hole.
Design – Pick a lightweight, comfortable watch with an easy-to-read display you’ll enjoy wearing round after round. Prioritize clear screen visibility in all conditions.
The Best Golf GPS Watches of 2023
Ready to shop for an excellent golf watch? Here are my top picks for this year:
Garmin Approach S62 – Feature-packed model with hazard view, PlaysLike distance, and excellent mapping.
Garmin Approach S12 – Great budget option with distances to hazards and green.
Bushnell ION Edge – Long battery life and auto-course recognition make this watch stand out.
GolfBuddy Aim W10 – Affordable watch with shot tracking and vibrant color touchscreen.
TecTecTec ULT-G – Loaded with 39,000 courses and provides stats tracking. Excellent value.
Get the Yardages You Need to Improve Your Golf Game
Equipping yourself with an accurate golf GPS watch is one of the smartest investments you can make to lower scores and hit more greens. Stop guessing about distances and start making great shot decisions based on reliable data. Combine that with practice and lessons, and you’ll be reaching new personal bests in no time. Any of the great golf watch options above will provide the yardages you need to take your golf game to the next level.
Golf GPS watches use satellites to give precise measurements to any point on a course
Accurate distances allow you to select the right clubs and improve approach accuracy