Garmin S40 vs Apple Golf Watch vs Bushnell Excel Review

Garmin s40

Golf Watches come in so many different variations these days, its hard to know when you are picking up a gem or a dud. Our mission is to help you navigate these often tricky waters and today we are going to be taking a comparative look at three different golf watches. Golf GPS watches are a great way to pick up the pace of your rounds, keep track of shots and gain important information on the course you’re playing.

But which options and features are best for your game? We are going to be looking at the Garmin S40 which is a good choice for those who are active on and off the course. We are also going to be reviewing the Bushnell Excel which is a good watch if you are on a budget.

And finally, we will be taking a look at the Apple Watch which, can also function as a golf GPS watch when you download certain 3rd party apps, and is a good option for those looking for a watch that offers multi-purpose functionality.

The Garmin Approach S40

The Garmin S40

We really like the way this watch looks and feels. It has 1.2” LED touchscreen display and the casing is made of sturdy metal. Since it is a touchscreen watch, you can manually move the flag to wherever it actually is on any given day.

Like most golf GPS watches, it automatically detects which course you are on and gives you distances to the front, back and middle of the green along with its true shape and distances to hazards. It also has applications for other sports such as running and keeps track of all your activity data.

Utilizing GPS satellites, the Approach S40 can also give you a general sense of how far your shot went and Autoshot keeps track of each stroke so you can build your data up on the Garmin Golf App and see where you are strong or need to improve. You can turn GPS functionality off at any time, which is great for conserving the battery and not confusing steps you’ve taken in a day with car rides although the battery should last for at least 2 full rounds in GPS mode with a full charge.

The S40 also comes in three different styles with interchangeable bands that give it a different look and feel anytime you want.

Garmin S40 Pros And Cons


  • Color touchscreen display
  • Gives distances to bunkers and hazards
  • Comes pre-loaded with 7 different watch faces
  • You can select widgets to be displayed as well
  • You can read it easily in direct sunlight
  • Rests comfortably on the wrist


  • Can’t download additional watch faces
  • Takes some time to familiarize yourself with all the features
  • Distance tracking isn’t always accurate
  • Leaving it in GPS mode will drain the battery quickly



Performance: 9

Features: 9

Value: 8.5

Overall Score: 9

Garmin s40 Golf Gps Watch Review

Get The Best Price & Fastest Delivery Here:

Check Best Price Amazon


The Bushnell Excel

Bushnell Excel GPS Watches

This Bushnell Excel can be synced with your phone via Bluetooth connectivity. You can get notifications from your phone while playing a round which is convenient. It also has a color LCD display that shows course information like green distances and distances for up to 4 hazards per course.

It also comes pre-loaded with 36,000 courses from around the world. You can switch through the different modes of the Bushnell Excel by pressing the selection buttons mounted on the side. We liked that this watch was thin and lightweight – sometimes you forget it’s even on your wrist.

This watch will automatically follow you as you advance through the holes. You don’t have to tell it that you have moved on to the next hole which is very convenient.

If you take advantage of the Bushnell Golf app that comes with the watch (like we did) you also get more detailed maps and overhead layouts of holes on your phone.

Bushnell Excel Pros And Cons

Bushnell Excell Golf GPS Watch


  • Low-profile watch face
  • Comes with a belt clip
  • Turns itself off after half an hour of inactivity
  • Backlit display
  • You can update course information via Bluetooth connection
  • Easy to use


  • The buttons accidentally get pushed if you’re wearing a glove
  • The display is hard to read in the sunlight
  • Small display screen
  • GPS positioning takes some time

Performance: 7.5

Features: 8

Quality: 8

Value: 8

Overall Score: 7.5

Bushnell Excel Golf Watch

Get The Best Price & Fastest Delivery Here:

Check Best Price Amazon


The Apple Watch

Apple Golf Watch

The sky is basically the limit with the Apple watch (series 3). There are a myriad of golf apps that you can load it up with to get green distances, hazard information, par information, course maps and even shot distance tracking.

And when you use Siri, you don’t even have to touch the screen to pull up the information you want. We used the 42mm display model and swiping through different screens and selecting different apps was a breeze even for those of us with big hands.

The patented Retina display brings images into crystal-clear focus even under direct sunlight. We downloaded the Hole19 app and it worked flawlessly on the Apple watch. We also downloaded fitness tracking apps that were good for running, hiking and swimming.

Apple Watch For Golf Pros And Cons

Apple Watch Series 3


  • Great for Apple users
  • Millions of golf and non-golf apps to choose from
  • The touchscreen works flawlessly
  • You can sync it with your iPhone to get all your calls, texts and notifications
  • Very useful off the course
  • You can get different watch bands for it


  • Battery life isn’t so good
  • You have to download a golf app for it to function as a golf GPS watch
  • You need to open the golf app in your phone before beginning your round
  • Pricey

Performance 8.5

Quality: 9

Features: 9

Value: 8

Overall Score: 8.5

Apple Golf Watch 2

Get The Best Price & Fastest Delivery Here:

Check Best Price Amazon


Performance Comparison

We really liked that the Apple Watch was so utilitarian and had many more functions compared to the other 2 watches. But we also liked that the Garmin Approach was ready to go as soon as we were on the course.

The Bushnell kind of hindered our shots since we were afraid the buttons would get accidentally pressed and our data would get confused. In terms of accuracy, the Approach was more on-point.

Once we found a decent golf app for the Apple watch, it was also pretty accurate – but finding a good app took some time.


Price Comparison

The Bushnell is by far the most affordable watch on our list – you can get one for as low as $140. The Garmin Approach S40 will run you about $250 and the Apple Watch will cost about $200 without any Apple Care plan.


Which is the Best Purchase?

For us, it came down to either the Garmin or the Apple Watch. The Bushnell felt too flimsy, the buttons were a nuisance and it was barely readable in the sunlight. But we ended up liking the Garmin Approach S40 the most.

We didn’t like that you had to download 3rd party golf GPS apps for the Apple Watch to function as a golf watch. And while we liked how useful it was off the course, we are reviewing golf GPS watches after all.

The Garmin Approach S40 is the best pure golf GPS watch so check it out the next time you’re in the market for one.



Garmin s40 Golf Gps Watch Review

Get The Best Price & Fastest Delivery Here:

Check Best Price Amazon