Can You Use an Apple Watch as Golf GPS?

Golfing technology has seen incredible improvements over the past decades with dedicated GPS units, rangefinders, club tracking sensors, and more. For a beginner golfer, however, all these can be overwhelming or even overkill.

You may have seen some people glancing at their Apple Watch on the course while golfing, and it automatically triggered a question in your head: can you use an Apple Watch as golf GPS?

You can definitely use an Apple Watch as a golf GPS if you already own one. If you don’t, it’s better to buy a premium dedicated golf watch instead. Examples include SkyCaddie and Garmin.

In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about using Apple watches for golfing and how it compares to dedicated golf GPS smartwatches.

Apple Watch vs. Dedicated Golf GPS

First off, let’s establish something very important. When you hear “dedicated golf smartwatch,” you may assume that that means that it won’t do much more than estimate your yardage and track your shots. Well, that’s not the case!

Fortunately, golf smartwatches have come a long way. There are awesome dedicated units out there that pack practically everything that Apple watches have, except for maybe Siri and other iOS-specific features.

Let’s look at the biggest pros and cons of using an Apple watch as Golf GPS compared to one that’s more dedicated to the sport.

Upsides of Using Apple Watch for Golf

The main advantage of using the Apple Watch as a golf GPS watch is that it packs the power of iOS.

You May Already Have It

The first and most obvious perk of using an Apple Watch for golfing is that you may already have one, so you won’t need to spend any money.

If you already have an Apple Watch, then you should 100% be using it as a golf GPS. You’ll get to figure out some things such as what you like or dislike about it, how useful it is for you, what features you feel like you’re missing, and more.

All of this will help you determine if your golfing actually needs better tech or if it would be overkill to invest in a dedicated gold GPS.

You Can Choose From Different Apps

Another advantage to using an Apple Watch for golfing is that you’ll have lots of choices in the App Store. This means that you’ll get to choose from plenty of interfaces, features, and tracking capabilities.

Of course, this particular point can be a pro or a con depending on who you ask. This is because it requires quite a bit of trial and error, which may be fun for some, but dreadful for others.

iOS Ecosystem FTW!

Finally, one great advantage of having an Apple Watch on your wrist while golfing is that you still have access to everything we love about iOS. You’ve got Siri, you’ve your notes, your contacts, calls, reminders, and every other useful app you love.

You can also benefit from things like focus mode when you want to remove all interruptions. All the biometric details collected will contribute to your health records, you’ll get your steps in, and the list goes on.

Downsides of Using Apple Watch as a Golf GPS

All these advantages may sound great and all, but there are a few tradeoffs to be mindful of. How important these things are will depend on how serious and proficient you are with golfing.

Carrying Your iPhone on Course

The absolute biggest downside of using an Apple Watch is that you’re very likely to need your iPhone at one point or another.

Of course, you can use your Apple Watch independently, but that means that you’ll burn through its already sad battery life in no time.

If you want to make sure you’ve got enough battery life, you may end up needing to haul your electronic little brick around, and we all know that’s no way to play golf. That said, this may not be an issue if you’re strategic with how you use your watch.

App Store Hunger Games

Another point that we already mentioned is that you’ll have to choose from loads of golfing apps on the App Store.

If you’re not naturally intrigued by how different apps’ experiences are designed and how they can be personalized to suit your needs and game style, this is already a huge downside.

Another thing that makes this an issue is that the majority of the decent apps you’ll find will need some form of payment. It may be subscription-based, which is our least favorite type of payment because they can really pile up.

The worst-case scenario is that you do find your favorite app for golf, you set it up and get super familiar with it, and you even pay for it, only to find that it’s off the App Store. This isn’t very likely to happen, but it is quite possible.

You Sacrifice Some Features

While Apple Watch has a lot of the sensors that come in dedicated golf watches, there are quite a few features that aren’t included depending on what model you’re comparing it to.

A notable example is the virtual caddie feature!

Virtual caddies are super useful, especially for complete beginners. They help you figure out the right club for each shot, and they factor in things as specific as wind speed and direction.

Forget It If You’re Android

Of course, a rather frustrating downside of Apple Watches as a golf GPS is that it requires you to own an iPhone. Not a MacBook, not an iPad, and surely not an Android phone!

Apple Watches are made as a companion device to iPhones specifically. In order to even turn on an Apple Watch, you need to set it up through an iPhone.

That means that if you don’t have an iPhone or perhaps have different devices you’d like to get your golfing stats from, then the Apple Watch is just not for you.


Apple Watch makes a great golf GPS for beginners, especially if you already have one. You can use it to feel out the different options out there and perhaps decide if you’d like to upgrade later on. It also packs all the iOS apps and features we love.

If you’re considering purchasing it mainly for that purpose, though, it falls short. There are loads of great options that are either in the same budget or less, bringing all the functionality that Apple Watches provide you plus great golf-centric perks.

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