Golf Rangefinder vs GPS Watch: Which is Better?

golf rangefinder vs gps watch

Which one should you choose: Golf Rangefinder vs GPS Watch?

We’ve pulled together the complete list of which is better a Golf Rangefinder vs GPS Watch is our mission to help you choose the best way to improve your game. We hope you find this useful. Read right to the bottom for our top recommendations for the top Golf Rangefinder and our Best choice for GPS Golf Watch.

best gps watch
The Shot Scope GPS Watch was our top choice

Do you really need a GPS Watch?

+ A GPS Watch gives you very accurate yardages to the Green, the front/middle/back,  from any location, this is done as you walk and updated immediately, so a real benefit of the GPS watch is that it speeds up play.

+ Most top GPS watch brands have thousands of courses mapped worldwide and pre-loaded, meaning you can always find the course your playing and that you will be able to use the yardages accurately.

+ It’s not only distances that are measured. GPS Watches can provide you with detailed information about hazards on the hole which you may not be able to see, also including lay-up yardages.

+ One of the big downsides to be aware of though. If you forget to charge your watch you’re doomed. Most watches need a full charge before playing, especially if you’re playing 36 holes. Also, some of the cheaper models of GPS Watches struggle to cope with 2 rounds in a day.

+ GPS watches can be purchased for as little as £100, which although not cheap, this is a very reasonable price in comparison to the cost of most other golf equipment. To help justify the cost to yourself, they can be used as fitness devices or even as an everyday watch. The Garmin range offer a payment function similar to apple pay, where you can pay by just holding your GPS watch over the card reader.

So to conclude, GPS Watches are extremely accurate and can speed up your game as you only need to look at your wrist for a distance reading. However, one of the biggest issue’s users experience with cheaper models is the time it takes to find satellites to connect to the GPS. There have been stories of Golfers not getting a connection until they are on the second tee box – read the reviews carefully before buying.

Do you really need a Golf Rangefinder?

+ The number one benefit in the Golf Rangefinder vs GPS Watch argument is that you get an exactly accurate yardage with a golf rangefinder. Point it towards any point you choose, and you very often get a yardage reading within +/- one yard. So the distance reading is not just the green. Bunker, tree, or flag. This can seriously improve your golf.

best gps rangefinder
The Shot Scope Pro L1 Laser is our top choice Rangefinder

+ Another benefit of  a golf rangefinder is that most good rangefinders will have a slope function where they can accurately calculate the distance to the target, taking any slopes into consideration. This can be a game saver on some courses which are particularly hilly.

+ We like that the charge or battery life on Rangefinders is usually excellent, with most keeping charge for many rounds which could be a real game-saver. They last much longer in comparison to GPS watches.

+ One negative point to mention is that a rangefinder can only give you yardages to things it can see. Therefore, it will not be able to provide you with information about hidden hazards or lay-up distances. So if there is a layup point which you can’t see beyond a hill or tree it wont be able to read the distance.

+ A benefit of the Golf Rangefinder is that you can use a rangefinder at any course, you’re not reliant on the course being mapped by the GPS Company. Can also be used at the range to accurately measure your distances versus your different targets.

+ One final downside is the cost. Although the price of rangefinders has significantly reduced, for top end models you could still end up paying around £200 which is a big outlay.


Our personal recommendation, if you have the budget, is to choose both a GPS Watch, and a Golf Rangefinder. Having both will mean you are prepared for all scenarios and you can improve your score every time!

Our top choice for a Golf Rangefinder was the Shot Scope Pro L1 Laser Golf Rangefinder, this was top because of its great price and amazing features such as 6x magnification, target lock vibration and tournament legal slope technology.

best gps rangefinder

Then our top choice for GPS Golf Watch was the Shot Scope V3 Golf Watch. It has a very clear, high-resolution display which can also be seen even in sunlight. The accuracy of the Shot Scope V3 was excellent, we tested it against other GPS watches and golf rangefinders and found it to be accurate within 1 yard of the most expensive model. The best thing about this watch was that it comes with 16 tracking tags that you attach to your clubs. This allows you to gather even more data about your game, such as shots gained data, which can only improve your scores and lower your handicap!

best gps watch

Why not take some time to review our articles on the Best Golf Rangefinders, or if you’re on a budget perhaps the Best Cheap Golf Rangefinders, or Electric Golf Carts. Then if you decide a GPS watch is for you, we’ve an article on the best Golf GPS watches to help you improve your game!

About Craig Barnard 49 Articles
Craig is a golf enthusiast. Having played the game for over 30 years he has always been passionate about the game. Today Craig offers golf advice and golf tips to beginner golfers through his popular website, social media and best selling Golf Instruction book. Craig spent many years working at Woburn Golf Club in his younger years. Seeing how the team of PGA professionals helped so many golfers improve and get so much enjoyment from the game from golf instruction, he was inspired to see how he could do the same. Fun Golf came from, a desire to help golfers have fun and improve their game.

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