The Garmin Approach S20 gives you the the accuracy of a golf GPS Rangefinder and the convenience of wearable tech. You can wear the Approach S20 like a conventional watch or affix it to your golf bag for convenient carrying. You also can add new Garmin CT10 club-trackers that turn the S20 into a true club analyzer with real caddie capabilities. More on that a little further down in this Garmin S20 review.
What the S20 Does
The Garmin Approach S20 uses the internal GPS system to locate the golf course and hole that you are about to play. It takes a couple of minutes to accurately determine your location and load the respective course, so it helps to turn it on when you are checking in prior to your round. By the time you arrive at either the 1st or 9th hole to start your round, the golf course will be loaded and the GPS unit will track your exact location.
When you arrive at the tee, it will load the hole in just a few seconds and then auto-advance your location through each hole for the full round. It tells you the shot distance in large gray letters on a black LCD touch screen. The Garmin Approach S20 golf watch measures 1.5 inches wide by 2 inches tall by 0.7 inches thick and weighs an ounce.
The LCD screen measures a 1 inch by 1 inch and measures 1.3 inches diagonally. As you play through the round, the Garmin S20 automatically advances to the next hole and gives you the middle, back and front distances to the green. The Garmin S20’s polymer body and LCD screen resist water, and the rubber watchband fits comfortably around just about any adult’s wrist.
Four buttons deliver all of the inputs with two mounted on each side. The buttons on the left side let you scroll up or down. The top left button also is the power button. The buttons on the right let you choose a menu item or back out of one to continue scrolling.
- Highly accurate to within about a yard of the target with actual distance.
- More than 40,000 regulation golf courses with free updates.
- Legal for R&A and USGA tournament events.
- Electronic scorecard and swing tracking.
- AutoShot Round Analyzer.
- No overhead view or hole flyovers.
- No slope compensation.
The golf watch is powered by an internal lithium-polymer battery gives the watch up to 15 hours of battery life while in golf mode. A USB cable enables charges from a USB charging port in your car, a computer or an AC adapter.
More than 40,000 Golf Course Maps
The Garmin S20, like some of the other Garmin watches, contains information on more than 40,000 courses around the world. You do not get a rendering of each hole like on many GPS golf units.
Instead, you get the distances to the green with a rendering of the green that reflects your approach angle. There are no overhead views of flyovers of holes. And you do not get any information on hazards, layups or carry distances that might affect your golf club selection and golf shot.
While some golfers might find the lack of hazards and overhead views to be annoying, it does help to keep the price low and the info fast to obtain. The accuracy is good to within about a yard of the indicated distance, which is ideal. You can choose your club based on the distances provided and can eyeball the hazards to stay away from them with a good golf swing.
An included USB cable makes it possible for the Garmin Approach S20 upload round summaries online and share it via others. The USB connection lets you download free course updates from Garmin to ensure you have the most up-to-date course information for your next round.
Garmin Golf App Included
The Garmin Approach S20 comes with a free mobile golf app that works on iPhones and Android phones and really delivers a lot of great tools that you can use while playing a round and at the driving range. It gives you the detailed overhead color views of each hole, hazard and green that you cannot get with the Garmin Approach S20 GPS golf watch.
The Garmin Connect also works as an electronic golf bag, digital scorecard and results tracker for each club. You can track shot distances and review them later for each club so that you know your average distance with each one. Some clubs likely will show obvious signs of your need to work on your swing with a particular club. When that happens, you can better focus your practice efforts the next time you go to the driving range.
The caddie function will help you to choose the best club for a certain golf shot by showing the average distances for each club versus the distance of the golf shot you need to make. The course obstacles will make a difference, like when you need to clear a tree, shrub or similar obstacle with a pitch shot while in close to the green. But the average distances per club will help you to pick the correct club every time you are on the course.
The Garmin Golf App also lets you compete with others on the same course and post live scoring updates during your round as one of it’s golf features. The golf app ranks the connected players and makes a round of golf even more fun. It also helps to settle things like the longest drive when it is time to settle up at the 19th hole.
An included tempo-training feature also helps you to work on your backswing and downswing and with each club and improve your swing and accuracy. Most golfers take about three times longer on the backswing as they do on the downswing, which helps to accelerate the clubface through the ball and send it the furthest possible distance.
When you develop the correct tempo for each golf club, you will improve your golf game and possibly make a scratch golfer out of you. So the Garmin Approach S20 GPS golf watch and its SwingTempo feature will help you to make your golf game better.
Garmin Approach S20 Review: Why Should I Buy a Garmin Approach S20?
The Garmin Approach S20 is a great combination of simplicity, accuracy and convenience when you use just the watch on the golf course to get the accurate distances needed to reach the green.
With the additional Garmin Golf App loaded onto your cellphone, you get the best of everything with a full-color map of the course and hole you are playing and detailed views of hazards and the green. A low purchase price makes it a no-brainer for most golfers as a best golf watch.