Golf Watch vs. Rangefinder

There are many ways to get accurate distance measurements on the golf course between golf watches and rangefinders. Some golfers continue to limit distances, which I don’t recommend now.

The golf watch vs. rangefinder debate depends on what type of golfer you are, what is important to you on the golf course, and where you play golf. I’ll show you everything you need to know about a golf watch and rangefinder that’s worth investing in.

The Golf Watch

A golf watch is a specialized GPS unit you wear like a regular timepiece. It provides a wealth of information that goes beyond mere yardage measurements. Let’s explore the pros and cons:

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  • Compact and informative a golf watch offers a wealth of data.
  • You won’t need to carry additional gadgets.
  • Many golf watches track your score, provide stats, and even offer previews of each hole.
  • They often come with visual representations of holes for better course management.
  • Golf watches can double as step counters, exercise trackers, and regular watches.
  • Even if your hand shakes, you can rely on accurate yardage.


  • The larger face of a golf watch may not be ideal for everyday use.
  • It can sometimes obstruct your view of the hole.
  • Some models require subscriptions for full functionality.
  • For precise pin yardages, you might need to make some estimates.

The Rangefinder: Simple and Precise

A rangefinder, on the other hand, is a no-nonsense device designed to provide straightforward distance measurements. Here are its pros and cons:


  • Rangefinders offer quick and simple number readings.
  • There are no annual subscription fees.
  • Rangefinders provide direct distances to the pin.
  • Affordable accuracy models can offer good yardage accuracy.
  • They are ideal for senior golfers who prefer simplicity.


  • Rangefinders lack visual representations of the course, making hole planning a bit challenging.
  • Unlike golf watches, they don’t support score tracking or stats.
  • Slope mode, which adjusts for elevation, is not legal for tournament play.
  • Seniors with shaky hands might find it tricky to pinpoint the flag.
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Comparing Golf Watch vs. Rangefinder

Let’s break down the comparison based on a few key aspects:


Golf watches typically pull data from the same sources, ensuring consistent accuracy for front, middle, and back of the green yardages.

Rangefinder accuracy varies, with high-end models providing the most trustable readings. For rangefinders, the sweet spot for accuracy begins around the $199 price point.

Ease of Use:

Reliable golf rangefinders, especially when used by steady hands, outshine golf watches for simplicity.

Rangefinders are quick and straightforward to use, while golf watches require some initial setup and occasional updates.


Both golf watches and rangefinders generally fall within the same price range, approximately $300.

While budget rangefinders are easier to find, products of similar quality are priced similarly.


In terms of longevity, senior golfers tend to have an easier time keeping their golf watches in great shape compared to rangefinders.

Rangefinders, especially those without magnetic attachments, can easily fall off golf carts, leading to more wear and tear.


The choice between these two devices often boils down to personal preferences for features. If you prioritize statistics, score tracking, and visual course aids, a golf watch with bird’s eye views of holes is the way to go.

On the other hand, if you’re ready to say goodbye to pacing yardages and want straightforward accuracy, the simplicity of a rangefinder might suit you best.

It’s essential to consider whether you’re a data-seeking tech-friendly golfer or someone who prefers a more streamlined approach.

When to Use a Golf Watch vs. Rangefinder

The choice between a golf watch and a rangefinder can also depend on the situation. In tournament play, turning off slope mode on your rangefinder can be beneficial, as the influx of information can be overwhelming.

For playing on a new or unfamiliar course, a golf watch with GPS technology and hole flyovers is a much better solution.

It can help you feel more confident by providing a comprehensive understanding of each hole.

Golf watches also come in handy for golfers who are learning to track their rounds and lower their handicaps.

You can easily log into the associated app to check your progress and review your performance.

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Which One Is Better: Rangefinder or Golf Watch?

The final decision often depends on your unique circumstances:


If you’re on a strict budget, you might consider a budget-friendly rangefinder as a cost-effective solution.

Skill Level:

More experienced players might lean toward rangefinders, as they tend to require less information and prefer straightforward yardages.

Golf Courses You Play:

If you mainly play the same course, you may not need all the features a golf watch offers, as you’ve likely memorized the distances to hazards and greens.

However, if you’re a traveler who plays on various courses, a golf watch’s versatility could make it a better tool.

Tech Savviness:

There’s no denying that golf rangefinders are more straightforward for senior golfers who may not be as comfortable with technology.

Although concerns about shaky hands and poor eyesight are valid, most rangefinders do a remarkable job of simplifying the process.

Occasional inaccuracies can usually be resolved by taking multiple readings.

Best Golf Watches vs. Rangefinders in 2023

If you’re ready to make your decision, here are some top golf GPS watches and laser rangefinders in 2023 to consider:

Our Top Picks:

Garmin Approach S12 Golf Watch (Best Value)

Garmin Approach S10 Rangefinder (Lightweight)

Bushnell Golf Tour V5 Rangefinder (Best for Shaky Hands)

TecTecTec ULT-G Golf Watch (Budget Golf Watch)

Blue Tees Golf Series 2 Golf Rangefinder (Easy to Use)

Garmin Approach S62 (Premium Golf Watch)

Bushnell Golf Pro X3 Rangefinder (Luxury Rangefinder)

Garmin Approach S12 Golf Watch (Best Value)


The Garmin Approach S12 is the budget-conscious golfer’s dream come true. This golf watch combines affordability with essential golf features.

With precise GPS technology, it offers accurate measurements of distances to hazards, greens, and fairways. The user-friendly interface ensures you can access information effortlessly while on the course.

What’s more, it’s preloaded with a wide selection of golf courses from around the world, eliminating the need for additional downloads.

In addition to yardages, the S12 provides distances to hazards, bunkers, and doglegs, helping you make strategic decisions. It also includes a built-in scorekeeping feature, making it a versatile tool for your game.

The impressive battery life ensures it lasts through multiple rounds, while its robust build can withstand various weather conditions.

For golfers who want the best value without compromising on performance, the Garmin Approach S12 is a hole-in-one.


  • Accurate GPS measurements.
  • User-friendly interface.
  • Impressive battery life.
  • Preloaded courses for easy setup.
  • Durable and weather-resistant design.


  • Lacks advanced smartwatch features found in higher-end models.

Garmin Approach S10 Rangefinder (Lightweight)


The Garmin Approach S10 is your featherlight companion on the golf course. It’s all about simplicity and accuracy.

This rangefinder is designed for golfers who seek essential distance data without unnecessary complexities.

Its lightweight and straightforward design make it a breeze to use. It provides accurate yardage measurements to hazards, greens, and fairways, helping you make informed club selections.

The Approach S10 is long-lasting, ensuring it won’t leave you hanging mid-round. If you value a rangefinder that gets the job done with minimal fuss, this lightweight wonder is your answer.


  • Lightweight and easy to handle.
  • Accurate yardage measurements.
  • Intuitive design for quick readings.
  • Long battery life.


  • Limited to distance measurements without additional features.

Bushnell Golf Tour V5 Rangefinder (Best for Shaky Hands)


For golfers with unsteady hands seeking stability and precision, the Bushnell Golf Tour V5 Rangefinder is the answer.

This rangefinder excels in delivering dependable and accurate measurements, even when your hands are less than steady.

It’s designed for consistency, ensuring that you get the most accurate distance data for confident club selection. The Bushnell Golf Tour V5 boasts clear optics for easy targeting, even under challenging conditions.

Its reliable battery life means it’s ready for multiple rounds. While it may come at a slightly higher price point, for those who value stability and precision, it’s a worthy investment.


  • Excellent stability for shaky hands.
  • Pinpoint accuracy.
  • Clear optics for easy targeting.
  • Long-lasting battery.


  • May come at a higher price point.

TecTecTec ULT-G Golf Watch (Budget Golf Watch)


The TecTecTec ULT-G Golf Watch is all about affordability without compromising on essential golf features. It’s the go-to choice for budget-conscious golfers looking for accurate yardage measurements. This watch offers a straightforward and user-friendly experience, ensuring you can quickly access critical information. While it may not have all the bells and whistles of higher-end models, it’s lightweight, comfortable to wear, and provides the essential data you need to improve your game. The TecTecTec ULT-G is a practical choice for golfers who want value for their money.


  • Affordable option.
  • Accurate yardage measurements.
  • Easy-to-use interface.
  • Lightweight and comfortable to wear.


  • May lack some advanced features found in higher-end models.

 Blue Tees Golf Series 2 Golf Rangefinder


Simplicity and ease of use are at the heart of the Blue Tees Golf Series 2 Rangefinder. This rangefinder is designed for golfers who appreciate straightforward functionality.

It provides quick and accurate measurements, making it ideal for those who want a fuss-free experience on the course.

With a simple design and rapid readings, it’s perfect for golfers who don’t want to spend time fiddling with complicated features.

It’s portable, compact, and comes at an affordable price point, making it a practical choice for golfers who want distance data with minimal hassle.


  • Simple and easy-to-use design.
  • Fast and accurate readings.
  • Compact and portable.
  • Affordable pricing.


  • May not have advanced features like slope measurement.

Garmin Approach S62 (Premium Golf Watch)


The Garmin Approach S62 is the golf watch for those who want it all. It’s a premium choice packed with features for the serious golfer.

With exceptional accuracy in yardage measurements, this watch leaves no room for guesswork.

Its high-resolution touchscreen makes navigation a breeze, and it’s equipped with smartwatch features, including notifications and fitness tracking.

Preloaded with thousands of courses from around the world, the S62 ensures you’re always prepared, no matter where you play.

If you’re a golfer who demands the best, the Garmin Approach S62 is your ultimate companion.


  • Exceptional accuracy in yardage measurements.
  • High-resolution touchscreen for easy navigation.
  • Smartwatch features for notifications and fitness tracking.
  • Preloaded with thousands of courses.


  • Premium pricing.

Bushnell Golf Pro X3 Rangefinder (Luxury Rangefinder)


For golfers who demand the pinnacle of accuracy and luxury, the Bushnell Golf Pro X3 Rangefinder is the choice.

This luxury rangefinder leaves no room for compromise, providing unparalleled accuracy and precision.

It’s equipped with advanced features such as Slope mode and JOLT technology, ensuring you have the most precise measurements on the course.

The build quality is robust and designed to withstand various conditions. With long-lasting battery life, you won’t have to worry about running out of power mid-round.

While it comes at a premium price, for luxury-seeking golfers, it’s an investment in a superior golfing experience.


  • Unparalleled accuracy and precision.
  • Advanced features like Slope mode and JOLT technology.
  • Robust build quality.
  • Long-lasting battery life.


  • very expensive
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Final Thoughts on Golf Watch Vs. Range Finder

In my final thoughts between the Golf watch vs. Range finder, I had to option for the golf rangefinder as a superior choice for senior golfers.

As fantastic as the high-tech golf watch can be, I often find it to provide more information than necessary.

I prefer receiving yardage, strategizing the shot, and concentrating on the feel rather than being overwhelmed by all the statistics.

Certainly, this is my perspective, and you’ll need to align the distance-measuring device you select with your personality, golfing skills, and objectives for your golf game.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How accurate are golf GPS watches?

Golf GPS watches are generally quite accurate, with most models providing yardage measurements within a few yards of the actual distance to the green or hazards.

What is the best fitness and golf watch?

Determining the best fitness and golf watch can depend on individual preferences and needs.

Some popular options included the Garmin Approach S62, the Apple Watch Series 6, and the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2.

To find the current best option, I recommend checking recent reviews and comparing the latest models.

Q. What is the easiest golf watch to use?

The easiest golf watch to use may vary from person to person, but some models known for their user-friendly interfaces include the Bushnell Neo Ion 2, the Garmin Approach S10, and the Voice Caddie T2.

Keep in mind that ease of use can also depend on your familiarity with technology and personal preferences.

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