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!