Monday, December 4, 2017

Product Review: Bushnell Excel GPS Rangefinder Watch

Bushnell has just turned the GPS watch market on its ear. The new Excel GPS rangefinder watch has rendered all others insufficient.

It does what all others do, of course, by providing yardage to the front, middle and back of the greens. But there is so much more that sets this watch apart.

For example:
Bluetooth integration with smartphone allows you to get course updates without needing to sync with a computer and you can receive calls, messaging and calendar notifications on your watch.
Long battery life – You can play three rounds before needing to charge. My current gamer makes it through approximately 27 holes. That’s fine if I’m playing 18 at home and can charge at night, but when I’m on a golf trip and play 36 holes a day, it’s no fun to play “blind” on the back nine of the second round.

Bushnell has mastered the “expected” with the Excel. Golfers expect their GPS watch to come preloaded with courses and this product delivers with more than 35,000 tracks worldwide.

They also expect distances from the front, center and back to be easy to read. Check.

Additionally, your GPS watch should have auto course recognition - meaning, the satellite knows what course you’re playing from your location. Auto hole advance is demanded, too. Done on the third green and moving to the fourth tee? The watch automatically changes with you. Considering the weather can change in an instant, the Excel is water resistant. It also includes a USB charging cord.

What about the unexpected bells and whistles? The Excel boasts full-front optical mounted color display with auto brightness adjustment and shows up to four hazard distances per hole. Considering the many shots taken before approaching the green, the latter is critical.

In the past, I’ve worn a GPS watch on my right wrist because I had my trusty Fitbit (to measure steps taken) on my left. No more, as the Excel offers an integrated fitness step counter! It also serves as a stopwatch, alarm and timer.

There are swing metrics available, as well. Measure your tempo and swing speed with the Excel. The ideal swing ratio is 3:1 - backswing through follow through. According to the Excel, I’m consistently between 2.9:1 and 3.1: 1. I’ll take it. I’m also around 97 mph on swing speed, which I’d like to increase a little bit (something to work on).

I saw the weather feature and thought it would be awesome to have a 4-5 hour forecast. What can I expect from Mother Nature over the upcoming round? It was actually a temperature and barometric pressure reading. Perhaps the next generation of GPS watches will address the forecast, though I feel like I’m asking for too much. Give me an inch and I'll ask for a personal meteorologist.

Everything to this point has been awesome and is enough reason to get yourself an Excel GPS rangefinder watch. That said, the Bushnell Golf app is included with your purchase. The app offers:
- Full color aerial views of hole layouts with distances
- Scorekeeping
- Book tee times
- Swing analysis stats
- Pedometer and Fitness Trackers

Here’s the coolest feature. You get all of the above ... AND ... 3D flyovers with distances. Maybe I’m a simpleton, but I LOVE this part of the package. It feels like I’m watching a PGA TOUR telecast on my phone.

The Excel GPS rangefinder watch retails for $249.99, but I’ve seen it for sale at Dick’s, Golf Galaxy, PGA TOUR Superstore and (to name a few) for $199.98. For more information, visit

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