Top Two Golf GPS Watches

If you ask us to pick the best golf GPS watch, we just can’t do it without knowing a little bit more about your preferences. But here are our top two golf GPS watches and we bet one of them is the right one for you!

The Garmin Approach S4 and the Bushnell neo-XS are very different in several ways. What they do the same is provide distances to the front, middle and back of every green and they will both easily measure your shots. That’s pretty much where the similarities end, unless you want to count the fact that both can be worn on the wrist!

The biggest difference that most golfers will notice before anything else, is the price. The Bushnell XS is currently about $100 less than the Garmin S4, which means that those S4 features better be pretty impressive… and they are, but still it’s not the right watch for everyone. There’s another advantage that the Bushnell holds over the Garmin… it has distances to hazards, up to four per hole. The Garmin has layup yardages to doglegs and targets like the 100, 150 and 200 yard markers, but that doesn’t always help on a new course. On the other hand, it is handy on golf courses you know well.

So what are the features that make the Garmin S4 worth the extra money? Admittedly, not everyone will want or need these features, but for those who do, Garmin did a great job…

  • Scorecard and Stats – A dedicated scorecard button on the side of the watch takes you to a screen where you can easily enter your score. If you choose to have your stats tracked, a simple press to the bottom of the face will take you to the Putts screen and another press takes you to the Fairways screen which allows you to enter straight, left or right for your tee shots. Greens in regulation is calculated at the end of the round. Once you begin using the scorecard feature on any given round, it automatically pops up at the end of each hole, making it even easier. The scorecard and stats feature on this watch is super easy to use and we give it a big thumbs up!
  • Touchscreen – Unlike your smartphone, a light tap on the Garmin S4 face won’t do anything, which keeps you from accidentally ending up on the wrong screen. Once you learn to press the screen rather than tap it, you’ll love the way it works. On a GPS watch with so many features, the touchscreen is almost essential to keep the navigation simple and Garmin has done it beautifully. There is even a “Back” button indicated by an arrow on the left side of the face, that will always take you to the last screen.
  • Green View and manual pin placement – A dedicated button on the lower left side of the watch will take you to a view of the green – complete with the shape as it sits from your location. By pressing the middle of the green, you can drag the pin location to a place more representative of the day’s pin placement and you’ll get distance to the new location. A nice feature for large and tricky greens.
  • iPhone Notifications – The Garmin S4 can connect to your iPhone via Bluetooth and display your texts, emails and notifications. It’s easy enough to set up and use and amazingly isn’t too obtrusive. You can go back and forth between your distance and your messages fairly easily. The only problem we encountered was that we lost the Bluetooth connection and had to take time to reconnect after we had gotten too far away from our iPhones (left them in the cart some distance away).

ou know yourself better than we do… Which do you like, distances to hazards or a scorecard with stats and the ability to get distances to different pin locations? Oh yeah, and there’s the money thing, but just remember, you’ll probably be using this watch for several years, so the price per round on either one, is still pretty darn reasonable!

Bushnell neo-X vs neo-XS

Bushnell neo-X vs neo-XSThe Bushnell neo-X vs neo-XS is pretty short and sweet. These are both excellent golf GPS watches sold at a very reasonable price. Both watches are almost identical in operation, but the neo-XS offers up to four hazard and layup points per hole, versus only two on the neo-X. If you typically use hazard and layup information on your golf GPS, then the neo-XS is definitely the watch for you. If that information isn’t something you’re inclined to use, the decision comes down to appearance and price. The neo-XS has a more rounded shape and is available in three color options – black, charcoal and white. We think it’s the better looking of the two watches, but that’s a matter of personal taste. The Bushnell neo-X comes is only available in black.

Bushnell neo-X vs neo-XS.
Model Bushnell NEO-X Watch Bushnell neo-XS Golf Watch
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Price Regular Price $199.99
Today $178.88

Bushnell NEO-X Golf GPS Rangefinder Watch, Black

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Regular Price $199.95
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Bushnell Neo Xs Gps Watches

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GRS Score 4.5
(256 Ratings)
N/A
(N/A Ratings)
Height 1.4 in. N/A in.
Width 1.5 in. N/A in.
Depth .6 in. N/A in.
Weight 1.8 oz. N/A oz.
Battery Rechargeable N/A
Battery Life up to 16 hours up to 3 rounds
Rainproof Waterproof Yes
Pre-loaded with Courses Yes Yes
Instant Course Recognition Yes Yes
Auto Hole Advance Yes Yes
Course Capacity N/A N/A
Touch Screen No No
Stat Tracker No No
Digital Scorecard No No
Computer Analysis Tools No No
USGA Compliant (local rule) Yes Yes
Alternate Targets Yes Yes
Ability to Add Targets No No
Measure Shot Distance Yes Yes
# of Available Courses 30,000+ 33,000+
Course Download Fees No No

Garmin S3 vs S4

Garmin S3 vs S4In the match-up of Garmin S3 vs S4, there is a clear winner in our opinion, but it’s only fair to say that both of these are terrific golf watches.

If there were a bigger price difference between the Garmin S3 and the S4, it would make our decision more difficult. However as of this writing, the Garmin S4 is about $50 more, but has several features that we think give it the edge over the Garmin S3.

Winning Features on the Garmin S4:
  • Stat Tracking – Built into the scorecard on the Garmin S4 is an easy to use stat tracking system. It’s really fast and helps you track fairways hit, greens in regulation and putts. Both the S3 and the S4 let you look at your scorecard on a computer and the S4 gives you a summary of your stats. In the future more features should be available using Garmin Connect.
  • Dedicated Green View Button – It’s so easy to get to the green view with one press of a button on the lower left side of the Garmin S4. It shows the green shape and allows you to quickly change the pin position. Press the Green View button again and you’re back to the main screen with distances to your new pin location. You can do this with the S3, but not quite as easily.
  • Battery Life – the Garmin S4 should give you an extra couple of hours of battery life. For those who play 36 holes in a day, this is critical. For the rest of us, it will come in handy when we forget to charge it between rounds.
  • Integration with iPhone – For the iPhone user who likes to check emails, text messages and other notifications during the round, the Garmin S4 makes it easy and much more subtle than constantly looking at your iPhone. It’s truly amazing how well Garmin has added this feature to the watch without making things too complicated.
  • In short, the Garmin S4 is the coolest golf watch on the market, but also super easy to use and loaded with features. There’s nothing wrong with the Garmin S3, but if your budget can handle the price difference, we recommend going with the Garmin S4.


    Garmin S4 Review

    Garmin S3 Review

Bushnell V3 vs Z6

If you’re trying to decide between the Bushnell V3 vs Z6, there are a few key differences to think about. First, there’s a big price difference. The Bushnell Tour Z6 and the new Z6 with Jolt each cost over $100 more than the V3. For that amount of money, the difference better be pretty special…

Admittedly, there are a few features that we really like on the Z6.
Bushnell V3 vs Z6

  • The Z6 has a 6x magnification level vs the 5x on the V3.
  • The Z6 can range the flag at 450 yards, while the V3 can only hit it at 300 yds.
  • The Z6 has VDT (Vivid Display Technology) that displays the information in red, which is easier to read than the black found on the V3.
  • The Z6 has ESP (Extreme, Speed, Precision), which makes it faster and precise down to the half yard.
    1. Frankly, we love all of those features and if the price difference was $50, it would be an easy call. Both models now have Jolt technology which causes a vibrating burst in the unit when you’ve locked on to the target, but the most important thing to know is that BOTH OF THESE LASER RANGEFINDERS ARE ACCURATE. The Bushnell V3 is a great rangefinder that most players will be thrilled to use, but the Z6 is a litter easier to use, a little easier to read, and a little faster. And if you’re a big hitter who needs to know those longer distances from time to time, the Z6 can deliver something that the V3 cannot – distances over 300 yards.

      If you’re like us and telling yourself that you probably don’t need to spend the extra money for the Z6, think about this… Golf Rangefinders can last a very long time and the improvements you’ll see in this technology over the next decade isn’t really going to change that much. So if you buy the Z6 and use it for 5-10 years, the difference in price per year is incredibly low. And if your eyes happen to deteriorate in that time, or if you start hitting it longer and are driving those par 4s, the extra money will have been well spent!

      Bushnell V3
      Bushnell Tour V3 with Jolt
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      Bushnell Z6
      Bushnell Tour Z6
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Callaway Diablo Rangefinder Battery

You won’t need to replace your Callaway Diablo rangefinder battery too often, but you definitely don’t want to be caught on the course without a spare. We put the instructions below for how to read the battery indicator and replace the battery.

Callaway Diablo Octane Rangefinder Battery
Single Battery
Replacement battery for Callaway Diablo Octane Rangefinder
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2 Pack
Leupold GX-1 Duracell 2-Pack CR2
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If you get familiar with the battery indicator, you can replace the battery before it dies in the middle of your round.

Callaway Diablo Octane Rangefinder battery indicator

Replacing the Callaway Diablo Octane Battery

  1. Open the battery chamber cover – Use the ball of your thumb or a coin inserted into the recessed part of the battery cover, to rotate the cover in the direction indicated by the Open/Close arrow. It may not open easily due to its rubber packing for water resistance.
  2. Replace the old battery with a new one – Install new battery with the [+] and [-] correctly positioned following the “Battery installation” indication seal in the battery chamber. (The [+] pole goes towards the insider of the chamber.)
  3. Close the battery chamber cover – Align the Open/Close indicator with the white dot and insert the battery chamber cover. Using the ball of your thumb or a coin, turn the cover in the opposite direction to the arrow indicator. It may not close easily due to the rubber packing for water resistance, but continue to turn it all the way until it stops. Confirm that the cover is securely closed.

Bushnell V2 vs V3

Bushnell V2 vs V3Not so long ago, the decision on buying a Bushnell V2 vs V3 laser rangefinder was a more relevant discussion. The short story was that the V3 was newer and added one impressive new feature, but cost a little more. You made your decision based upon how much you valued the new feature (we’ll get to that in a minute). Now, the V2 is getting hard to find and when you do find it, the prices aren’t necessarily any better than the V3, making the decision pretty much a no-brainer.

However, if you happen to catch a great price the V2, then “Game On”! So what’s the difference? The Bushnell V3 has “Jolt” technology, which means the unit has a series of vibrating bursts when it locks on to the target, making it a little easier and faster to gain confidence that you’ve got the right distance. Other than a few cosmetic changes, these two models are nearly identical. Both the V2 and the V3 are available with and without slope.

Experienced laser rangefinder users may not be willing to pay much more for Jolt, but if you’re new to laser or have any trouble holding it steady, it’s probably worth the price difference to buy the Bushnell V3.