Top 5 Best Garmin Golf Watches for Accurate Performance (2023)

By: John Scott Lewinski

Top 5 Best Garmin Golf Watches for Accurate Performance (1)

If you’re uncertain about the distance of your next tee shot, it should be a relief that the best Garmin golf watches come packed with the same global positioning satellite technology that keeps planes flying in the right direction. The company makes GPS systems for aircraft, marine vessels, automobiles, and —just to add a little fun to the mix — golf watches.

In this article, we analyze the entire Garmin line of golf watches to specify what model works best for different types of players. Whether you’re a low handicapper with fashion in mind or a weekend hacker who just needs the basics, Garmin makes its best golf watches with you in mind.

Top 5 best Garmin golf watches

Best for fashion + function: MARQ Golfer (Gen 2)
Best budget: Approach S10
Best for the average golfer: Approach S12
Best for the all-purpose player: Approach S42
Best for the low-handicap player: Approach S62

How we chose the best Garmin golf watches

To break down which Garmin golf watch is best for which type of consumer, Garmin was generous enough to let us try out every item in the 2023 collection — as well as a couple from the recent past. From there, it was a question of playing the game and hitting the practice facility. An important element was choosing familiar test environments. At those spots, we knew many of the distances and hole layouts well enough to confirm with our own eyes whether Garmin was providing accurate data. Read on for our findings.

Best for fashion + function: MARQ Golfer (Gen 2)

All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy a linked product, GOLF.COM may earn a fee. Pricing may vary.

Top 5 Best Garmin Golf Watches for Accurate Performance (2)

Fashion + Function: MARQ Golfer (Gen 2)


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— Bright, clear color display
— Additional wellness features included

— Expensive

The Garmin MARQ Golfer Gen 2 is the top of the line, combining modern watch fashion, golf functions, and a suite of smartwatch features for the golfer who wants luxury. The MARQ Golfer is made of grade-5 titanium and includes a domed sapphire crystal lens with a bright AMOLED touch-screen display. It comes with a tritone green Jacquard weave nylon band and an impressive battery life of up to 16 days.

This Gen 2 Garmin watch includes all of the essential golf features, working as a rangefinder on 43,000 preloaded courses worldwide, a virtual caddie, and more. Designed as a fashionable adult timepiece that you can wear off the course, the MARQ Golfer smartwatch tracks everything from fitness and heart rate to sleep monitoring and jet lag warnings.

The MARQ is the easiest Garmin golf wearable to quantify. It’s the top of the Garmin mountain in terms of fashion and styling. By way of demonstration, while other Garmin watches on the company’s website get action photos of fit young people playing golf or checking data on their watches, the Garmin MARQ Golfer Gen 2 imagery features pensive male models looking out into the evening sky while wearing a MARQ. That’s the image the brand is going for here.

As for abilities, the total of Garmin’s golf technology goes into this model. From here, every other Garmin golf watch on this year’s or past campaigns lacks a feature that the MARQ includes. For that luxury, be prepared to pay more than $2,000 for this timepiece.

Features: Rangefinder, AMOLED display, fitness tracking | Preloaded courses: 43,000-plus | Battery life: Up to 16 days | Works with Garmin golf app? Yes

Best budget: Approach S10

Top 5 Best Garmin Golf Watches for Accurate Performance (3)

Best budget: Approach S10


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— Affordable
— Includes more than 41,000 courses preloaded

— Not a 2023 model
— Whittled-down functions and features

While the 2023 Garmin line offers the latest technology and features, the models from recent years still function on the Garmin GPS network and cooperate with the Garmin Golf app. As a result, you can save some money by snagging an older model.

The Garmin Approach S10 was designed to be a more straightforward, stripped-down golf watch option. Released in 2018, the S10 now sells for around $150 and will do the job as an on-course rangefinder.

We’re coming way down in features in the S10, but you must expect that when buying a $150 golf watch that hit the market five years ago. Value for your money is what you’re looking for here. The simpler monochrome screen is still easy to read despite lacking visual flair. You’ll see the yardage numbers to front, back, and middle pin placements with hazards and doglegs clearly marked.

Even though it’s 2018 tech, you can still review over 41,000 courses around the world. Finally, the rechargeable battery keeps the watch awake for up to 12 hours in GPS golf mode. While it’s true that every other watch on this list does the same with potentially more precision than this 2018 entry, the base functions are still reliable and on display.

Features: Rangefinder, scorekeeping | Preloaded courses: 41,000-plus | Battery life: Up to 12 hours (in GPS mode) | Works with Garmin golf app? Yes

Best for the average golfer: Approach S12

Top 5 Best Garmin Golf Watches for Accurate Performance (4)

Best for the average golfer: Approach S12


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— Affordable
— 42,000-plus preloaded courses
— Does the essentials

— Stripped-down functions
— No color screen

The Garmin Approach S12 is the company’s solid, entry-level golf watch and the best option if you’re an average player who just needs a device to track your range and course position. With 42,000-plus courses, the S12 proves you don’t need to wound your wallet for a useful golf watch. That 42,000 number of courses is the same count as the S42 and a thousand more than the much more expensive S62.

Unlike the S62, S42, and the much more ambitious MARQ Golfer, the S12 can’t function as a general smartwatch. It provides the golf features of GPS shot tracking, distance to the pin readings, and scorekeeping,but you won’t receive health data or SMS messages.

While the Approach S12 doesn’t have the suite of functions of the MARQ Golfer or the S62, it contains those needed by the average or recreational player. And in a bit of a twist, the more modest functionality of the S12 allows its battery to hold out up to 30 hours —more than double the S42 and 10 hours longer than the S62.

Features: Rangefinder, scorekeeping | Preloaded courses: 42,000-plus | Battery life: Up to 30 hours (in GPS mode) | Works with Garmin golf app? Yes

Best for the all-purpose player: Approach S42

Top 5 Best Garmin Golf Watches for Accurate Performance (5)

Best for the all-purpose player: Approach S42


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— Meant for off-course duty
— Color screen
— Multiple design options

— Smaller screen than the S62
— No virtual caddie function

The Garmin Approach S42 is an affordable option if you want a golf watch that serves a purpose after the round is over. Available in various designs and color options, the Approach S42 performs as a traditional smartwatch off the green with smart notifications and fitness tracking — mimicking those abilities of the mighty MARQ and the S62.

Further, the S42 is for you if you want a watch that provides essential golf data such as distance to the pin and green overview. While the S42 can claim 1,000 more preloaded courses than the more ambitious and expensive S62, it does lack that pricier model’s virtual caddie feature.

Looking down at the S12, the Approach S42 adds the smartwatch functionality that the cheaper model doesn’t include. Meanwhile, this version adds AutoShottechnology, automatically tracking and reporting where the ball you hit lands. Add it all up, and the S42 settles nicely between the S12 and the S62.

Features: Rangefinder, multiple design options, smartwatch functions | Preloaded courses: 42,000-plus | Battery life: Up to 10 days (15 hours in GPS mode) | Works with Garmin golf app? Yes

Best for the low-handicap player: Approach S62

Top 5 Best Garmin Golf Watches for Accurate Performance (6)

Best for the low-handicap player: Approach S62


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— Larger screen than other S models
— Color screen
— Virtual caddie function

— Pricey
— Fewer preloaded courses

While the MARQ Golfer (Gen 2) sits atop the Garmin golf line, the next step down is the Approach S62. Resembling a traditional smartwatch in appearance with its familiar touch screen design, the S62 lacks the refined timepiece feel of the MARQ. Still, the Approach S62 offers a color screen with multiple golf features. In keeping with its aesthetics, the device can serve as a functional smartwatch with messaging and multiple health monitoring functions.

The highlight for S62 is the virtual caddie function —an offering shared in our collection by this watch and the knightly MARQ Golfer Gen 2. The AI factors in wind speed and direction to suggest a club based on the distance you swing with a specific club.

To compare this watch to the S42, S12, and the humbler S10, the Approach S62 surpasses each of the lower models saves for two key exceptions. The more active S62 inexplicably offers 1,000 fewer preloaded courses and a battery lasting only 20 hours due to its more active processing. Still, the add-ons of the virtual caddie and smartwatch functionality compensate for those shortcomings.

Features: Rangefinder, virtual caddie | Preloaded courses: 41,000-plus | Battery life: Up to 14 days (up to 20 hours in GPS mode) | Works with Garmin golf app? Yes

No risk on your wrist

Garmin takes technology used to keep planes flying, boats sailing, or cars driving safely and squeezes it into a timepiece that tells you how far you need to hit your next golf shot. Some models are more expensive than others, and some offer functions far beyond golf. Regardless of how much you want to spend and what sort of device you want on your wrist, there’s no risk that you’re making a poor purchase with Garmin for your game.

How to pick the right Garmin golf watch for you

Any Garmin golf watch model on our list will accurately and reliably tell you your distance to the pin. With prices ranging from $150 to over $2,000, you have options to fit your golf needs and budget.


There’s a significant cost variation between the four new Garmin golf watches for 2023 —and several more price points if you’re willing to shop Garmin models from recent years.

If you’re a watch horse who wants a fashionable timepiece, there’s the $2,000-plus MARQ Golfer Gen 2. If you want a basic yet effective device, there’s the $200 S12. Add bells and whistles without jumping to the MARQ’s style, and you can land somewhere in the middle.


The big player in the fashion world is the MARQ Golfer Gen 2. Beyond that advanced timepiece, Garmin’s S versions resemble more common smartwatches.


All of the Garmin golf watches serve as rangefinders on thousands of golf courses worldwide using the manufacturer’s proven GPS technology. Depending on the model you choose, the golf watch can become a health and fitness tracker or add other smartwatch features.


Which Garmin golf watch is best for me?

As with so many accessories in the golf world, what’s best for you in the Garmin watch line comes down to how much you love golf, how well you play, and how much you can afford to spend. With a price range from nearly $2,500 to $150, we think we’ve offered an option to find your comfortable fit.

What’s the best 2023 Garmin golf watch for beginners?

With essential functions like range distance, scorekeeping, and a price of around $200, the affordable Approach S12 is the best beginner golf watch in Garmin’s 2023 line. While you can find cheaper rangefinder watches from other manufacturers, the S12 offers Garmin reliability at a manageable price.

What’s the top-rated Garmin watch?

The Garmin MARQ Golfer (Gen 2) is the company’s top-of-the-line model. For a bit over $2,000, you’re buying a fashionable timepiece with a bright color screen to track your golf round and additional health and wellness features.

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Top 5 Best Garmin Golf Watches for Accurate Performance (7)

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John Scott Lewinski hustles around the world, writing for a network of publications and recording a total monthly readership of more than 100 million people. As an author, he is represented by the Fineprint Literary Agency, New York.

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