Bushnell Excel GPS Rangefinder Watch: An HONEST Review

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Bushnell makes some of my favorite laser rangefinders on the market and I did have high hopes with their GPS watch. In this post, we’re going to be reviewing the Bushnell Excell golf watch and I’ll be sharing my honest opinion after comparing it to other GPS watches. I’ll also talk about the cheapest place to pick it up.

The Bushnell Excel does have some good features and does the basics pretty well but it isn’t good enough for us to recommend. We prefer others a lot more because they’re pretty much the same price, have more courses/features, are more consistent, and come with a better app.

I’m not saying the Excel isn’t a good watch because it is decent. I just found that there are better options on the market in this price range. If you can find the Excel on sale for an awesome price then it could be worth picking up. You can see our favorite golf GPS here.

Bushnell Excel First Impressions

This watch came out in 2017 and was designed to replace the previous Bushnell Neo Ion watch. Bushnell did make some improvements and everything about it seems a bit higher quality.

It’s a fairly inexpensive watch and is more for the beginner golfer or someone who’s tighter on a budget. It doesn’t have all the features in the world but it will give you 80% of what you’re looking for.

Bushnell Excel Features

The Excel is going to give you the distance to the front, middle, and back of the green as well as the distance to hazards and doglegs. That’s pretty much the case for the majority of golf watches out there.

It is Bluetooth compatible so you can get notifications and alerts on the watch (if you really need that). I don’t but I’m sure you know the guy who spends more time on his phone than playing golf.

It also has over 36,000 courses around the world. All of the main courses in my area were on it and I’m sure the same will be the case for you.

The feature I used most was the shot distance function (really helped me dial in my distance). Here’s a demo video:

Was It Designed Well?

I found the watch to be pretty good-looking and comfortable and it comes with a 25mm x 25mm color display. It probably wasn’t something you’d want to wear all of the time but it was fine for a couple of hours.

One negative I had with it was the fact that the screen was fairly dim and hard to read in sunlight. If you kind of blocked the sun with your body then you could see the screen just fine.

Another thing is that it didn’t seem as well built as some of the other watches on the market (it didn’t break but it feels like it could). It’s an inexpensive watch so this is kind of expected but it is something to be aware of.

How Did It Perform?

In terms of the performance, Excel was right up there with others in this price range. This is the main thing that really matters because if it’s not accurate, there’s no point in having it.

It wasn’t as good as a laser rangefinder and it wasn’t as good as some of the higher-end watches (the Garmin S40), but it was always within about 5 yards of the course markers.

One of the negatives I had with this watch was that it took quite a while to lock in on the satellites and took longer than some to give you your yardage.

The battery life was decent and lasted 2 full rounds.

Bushnell Excel Specs

Bushnell Excel
Size54 x 45 x 14 mm
Quick Release BandsNo
TouchscreenNo
Strap MaterialSilicone
Screen Size1 x 1 Inch
Weight46 Grams
Battery Life14 Hours GPS Mode
Water ResistantYes (Not Waterproof)
Golf Courses35,000+
PreloadedYes
Distance To Front, Middle, BackYes
Distance To Hazards/Doglegs/LayupYes
Shot DistanceYes
ScorecardWith App
Stat TrackingNo
AutoShotNo
Swing StatsSome
AppYes

Pros

  • It’s an affordable golf watch.
  • It’s just as accurate as any of the others in this price range.
  • It gives the yardage to hazards and doglegs.
  • It’ll tell you how far you hit each of your shots.

Cons

  • The screen is fairly dim and hard to read in sunlight.
  • It takes quite a while to locate the courses and distances.
  • It doesn’t seem to be the most well-built watch out there.
  • It sometimes loses signal.

The Breakdown

  • Performance Score: 7
  • Price Score: 8
  • Quality Score: 7
  • My Personal Score: 7.5

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Does the watch keep score?

A. Yes.

Q. Does it come with an app?

A. Yes, you can download the app to see hole overviews and distances.

Q. What comes with it?

A. The watch, a belt clip, and a storage pouch.

Is The Bushnell Excel Worth It?

Overall, there are some good features on Excel but it isn’t good enough for me to recommend. Like I said before, if you find it on sale for cheap then it could be but there are better options out there in our opinion.

You can see our favorite golf GPS units here. They’re pretty much the same price, have more courses and features, come with a better app, and are much more consistent.

Bushnell Excel

7.3

Performance

7.0/10

Price

8.0/10

Quality

7.0/10

Jon Webber

Just an average golfer trying to take my game to the next level. Was shooting around 100 not that long ago but have now been in the 80s consistently. Best round to date was 12 over. Best 9 holes were 4 over.

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