This article aims to provide you with the pros and cons of a golf watch, a GPS watch, a golf GPS watch, or whatever you prefer to call it. Being a golfer myself and a golfer who uses a GPS watch, I can confirm that there are many more pros than cons. Hopefully after reading this, you will be more certain on your decision to invest in a golf watch.
GPS watches continuously update the GPS location as you move around the golf course. This means that as you get to your ball, look down at your wrist and the distance is there waiting for you. Compared with a laser, where once at your ball you have to get the laser out and ‘zap’ the pin. A GPS watch is much quicker to obtain the distance than a laser rangefinder.
The numbers on a GPS watch are large, offering easy readability for everyone. Navigation between screens is relatively easy on most watches, Shot Scope V2 for example, there is only one button to press to access hazard distances.
The latest golf GPS watches are extremely accurate. The technology has vastly improved over the last 5-10 years and GPS is becoming more in line with the distances gained from a laser rangefinder.
Most GPS watches offer distances to the front and back of hazards. Usually accessed by a scroll or single button press. This is an advantage over a laser. Lasers can only ‘zap’ hazards which stick up from the ground and it is difficult to ensure you hit the back of a bunker, rather than a spot further in the distance.
The most advanced GPS watches on the market offer the golfer GPS distances and some form of shot/performance tracking feature. This enables shots to be tracked automatically* and post-round statistics to be produced, based upon actual golf shots. Invaluable statistics such as club distances, proximity to hole and tour-level putting statistics are easily collated for the golfer.
*Only some GPS watches offer performance tracking automatically, such as Shot Scope V2. Others offer a manual version.
Distances to front, middle and back of greens are generally more helpful for a typical amateur golfer. Playing for the middle of the green distance, means that you will never be very far from the pin. Often with a laser, you ‘zap’ the pin, and play to that distance, eliminating any thoughts about bounce, roll or lie, that can affect the shot.
Across the range of GPS watches available to the golfer, there is some discrepancies on distances. Garmin being the most popular among the UK market seem to set the benchmark for comparisons to be drawn. Shot Scope on the other hand, map all golf courses themselves, and therefore know exactly how accurate their GPS distances are.
For some people, they simply dislike wearing a watch. Others who wear a watch daily, find it annoying to wear a watch while playing golf. Generally, GPS watches are slightly bigger than a standard day watch, however with technology improving, they are becoming smaller and more comfortable over time.
If you haven’t used any form of golf distance measuring device, then the first time using a watch can be daunting. However, understanding how to interact with the watch is easy to learn.
Once you start using a GPS watch you will be lost without it. If you forget to take it to the course one day, you will find yourself constantly looking down at your empty wrist! A GPS watch is a simple, easy to use golfing aid that will undoubtedly help you improve your game, particularly if you have never used one before. Think about it, invest in yourself as a golfer and you can thank yourself later.