What is a golf watch?

What is a golf watch?

19 November 2019

A golf watch is a device which is used on the golf course to help the golfer obtain distances to the green and other features such as bunkers and water hazards.

There are many brands of golf GPS watches. All offer their own benefits to the golfer. The main brands in the UK are; Garmin, Shot Scope, and Bushnell.

Golf Watch Technology

The technical term for a golf watch is “a global positioning device that is going to help a golfer navigate the golf course”. In other words, it tells the golfer how far they have to the green and other on-course features such as water hazards or bunkers.

Shot Scope V2 GPS and hazards distances
Shot Scope V2 GPS watch – GPS distances screen (left). Hazards icon top left button, takes the golfer to the hazards screen shown (right).

Golf watches work using a network of GPS satellites and a GPS antenna within the watch. Signals are sent and received between the antenna and satellites to gain the location of the watch. The GPS works the similarly to the maps on your phone or sat nav in the car.

The GPS antenna is inside the watch, and it is known as the receiver – it receives the signals sent from the satellites. A golf watch is typically accurate to 3-5m, (information found on Garmin). The reason there is such variation is due to factors such a trees, nearby buildings and atmospheric pressure.

Playing with a Golf Watch

A golf watch will usually contain a map of all golf courses around the world. When playing golf, the watch locates the golfer on the map of the course and calculates how far they have to the next significant point – the green. The golf watch then displays a distance, usually in yards or metres to tell the golfer how far away the green is.

golfer looking at golf watch

Some of the best golf watches have a coloured screen or maps of the course. There are also other features that can aid the golfers improvement, such as on course shot tracking and statistics collection. These ‘performance tracking’ capabilities are found in the Shot Scope V2.

A golf watch is an aid to the golfer, it is not necessary to play with one, but it certainly helps if you have one.


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