Bushnell Ion Elite Review – Key Features – Is it Worth it?

Bushnell Ion Elite

When you think of golf GPS watches, I’d be willing to bet that the first brand that comes to your mind is Garmin.

There’s no doubt that Garmin has released some of the most iconic golf watches in the industry.

But Bushnell has been quietly making really solid, affordable golf GPS devices as well.

I should know, I’ve tested a number of them. The Bushnell Ion Elite is the company’s latest offering and in the following review, I will help you decide if it’s worth your money or not.

Bushnell Ion Elite Overview

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The Bushnell Ion Elite is a color touchscreen golf GPS watch.

The display size is 1.28” and has a mostly plastic bezel. These specs are the first thing I want to talk about because comfort is very important to me when I’m golfing.

If I have a heavy ceramic bezel that houses a 2” display screen, I’m not going to be comfortable and my swings are going to suffer.

So while the plastic bezel and relatively small display screen of the Bushnell Ion Elite don’t feel very substantial, they make it lightweight.

The Bushnell Ion Elite sits very comfortably on my wrist and during testing, I often forgot it was there.

The battery life is about 12 hours and it took just under 3 hours for me to charge from completely dead to full charge.

It charges with a nice, magnetic USB cable that latches onto the back of the watch. The wristband is made of a pliable plastic and is also comfortable.

You can connect the Bushnell Ion Elite to the Bushnell app on your smartphone via bluetooth for stat tracking and round analysis.

The Bushnell Ion Elite costs just $200

Bushnell Ion Elite Key Features

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Dynamic Green View

This was probably my favorite feature.

The Bushnell Ion Elite watch allows you to see the exact shape of the green and the distances to the front, back and center of it. Big deal, this is a feature we see in almost all golf watches.

But the cool thing about the Bushnell Ion Elite green view is that it gives you green distances based on what side of the fairway you’re approaching from.

An arrow will indicate the direction you are approaching from and adjust the green distances based on what side of the fairway you’re on.

This simple yet genius feature makes for very accurate green distances.

And of course, you can manually place the pin to the correct position.

Slope Calculation

The Bushnell Ion Elite also features slope allowance.

This feature gives you adjusted distances to the green and various targets on the course based on slope and inclines on that particular hole.

So it’s basically the “plays like” distance feature on Garmin watches.

This is a very handy feature because it will give you the true distance based on the portions of the hole that are pitched and inclined so you know exactly what distance you need to hit and what club to play.

Of course, this feature isn’t tournament-legal but it can easily be toggled off.

When this feature is on, an orange circle will flash on the watch face to indicate that it is in use. The flashing orange ring goes away when it’s in tournament-legal mode.

Full Maps

This is another feature that I always like a lot in golf watches. The Bushnell Ion Elite’s full hole maps give you an aerial view of each hole.

But you can zoom in on any part of the hole, click a specific point and see your current distance from that point.

This is a really helpful feature because it gives you exact distances to specific areas on the hole.

This allows you to strategize your approach, avoid hazards, navigate dog legs and informs you as to which clubs you should be using on any given hole.

Automatic Course Detection

Once you put the watch into golf mode, it will automatically detect which course you’re on.

The Bushnell Ion Elite comes preloaded with 38,000 courses from around the world so the odds are pretty good that it will have information for your courses.

It picks up your position pretty quickly. Once in golf mode, it took about 15 seconds to determine which course I was on.

Distance Tracking

Another pretty basic feature but essential nonetheless.

The Bushnell Ion Elite uses GPS tracking to determine the distance of your last shot (based on how far you walk or travel to your ball).

Digital Scorecard and Stat Tracking

The has a digital scorecard feature. And with the smooth touchscreen interface, you can easily input your scores on each hole.

Once you’re done with your round, you can submit all your stats to the Bushnell app on your smartphone.

The Bushnell app keeps your score, your swing information, GIRs, fairways in regulation, round time and more.

It’s pretty handy when you want to evaluate your performance on each hole and the course overall.

Bushnell Ion Elite Pros & Cons


  • It sits very light on the wrist
  • It comes in black or white
  • The dynamic greenview feature yields very accurate distances
  • It takes just under two hours to charge
  • The charging cable it comes with is long (about 39”)
  • The course lists are updated automatically and for free
  • It’s affordable


  • Doesn’t display smartphone notifications
  • The display is a bit difficult to read in direct sunlight

Is it Worth it?

Another thing to keep in mind is that the Bushnell Ion Elite doesn’t have any fitness tracking modes – not even a pedometer.

But if you are looking for a straight-up, no-nonsense golf watch, Bushnell Ion Elite is definitely worth it.

It gives you all the essential golf GPS watch features, it’s easy to navigate and get the hang of and it’s an affordable alternative to many Garmin products.

I definitely recommend the Bushnell Ion Elite to anyone who really wants to focus on their golf game.

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Overall Score: 96/100

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