Garmin Approach S20 Review

‘Garmin Approach S20’

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Our Garmin Approach S20 Review is based upon feedback from over 100 users. Overall the ratings are reasonably high for a golf watch with this many features, but there are a few things that were clearly outstanding on this watch. Although the number of positive comments far outweighed the negative, there are still a few issues on both sides that are worth discussing.

Before we go any further, you should know that this watch isn’t for everyone. If you just want basic distances to the front/middle/back of the greens and to hazards, you might want to take a look at our picks for the top budget-friendly golf watches.

HOWEVER, if you’re a little bit of a golf geek or a fitness enthusiast, then this watch may be the one you’re looking for! The S20 combines smartwatch features of phone notifications, activity tracking, and sleep tracking with a golf watch loaded with features.

Garmin Approach S20 User Rating:
4.25 Stars 4.25 out of 5 (158 reviews)

Score compiled from multiple sources.

Let’s start with the Garmin Approach S20 noteworthy features:
  • Distances to the front, middle, and back of the green.
  • Green shape from your point of view.
  • Manual pin positioning.
  • Distances to the front and back of hazards and doglegs.
  • AutoShot round analyzer measures and auto-records shot distances.
  • Pairs with Garmin Connect for interesting post-game analysis.
  • Pairs with Garmin TruSwing™ sensor for metrics to improve your swing consistency.
  • CourseView feature automatically updates frequently played courses for free.
  • High-resolution display easily readable in bright sunlight.
  • Activity tracking – steps and sleep.
  • Receive smart notifications for incoming calls, texts and other alerts².
  • Attractive watchband design.

Now let’s take a look at the pros and cons mentioned the most in the user feedback that we reviewed.

Garmin Approach S20 Review – Most Mentioned Pros
  • Accuracy – Overwhelminly, the most frequent positive comment was about the accuracy of the S20. We didn’t find any complaints on this point.
  • Ease of Use – Many users commmented on the ease of use, however a few users had difficulty learning how to use the features.
  • Battery Life – There were plenty of rave reviews about the battery life of the Garmin S20. The only complaint we saw was from a user who was using it as an everyday watch.
  • Screen Readability – The comments about the clarity and readability of the screen were more enthusiastic than we generally see and there were zero complaints.
  • Responsiveness – Compliments about the responsiveness of any golf GPS is fairly unusual, but it must be good on the S20, because it was mentioned frequently.
  • Hazards – Many users commented on the accuracy of the hazard information.
  • Features – Quite a few users commented on the extensive features available on the watch.
  • Value – There were a number of comments about the Garmin Approach S20 being a good value.
  • Attractiveness – Several users mentioned the attractiveness of the watch.
  • Size and Weight – The size and weight was mentioned as a positive in quite a few comments.
Garmin Approach S20 Review – Most Mentioned Cons
  • Software Problems – A number of users experienced problems with the watch working correctly. In most cases, a software update corrected the problem, but some users had to return the watch. Garmin had a glitch with an update last year that has since been corrected.
  • User Manual – There were complaints about the lack of clarity in the user manual. That no doubt led to some other complaints.
  • Ease of Use – Some users had trouble learning how to navigate the S20. As mentioned on the previous point, a better user manual might have helped with this.
  • Autoshot – Although there were a few users that loved this feature, there were several complaints that it didn’t track a fair number of shots and there was no way to manually input a shot when the watch didn’t pick it up.
  • Garmin Connect – Several users felt that the inability to make corrections within Garmin Connect made the scoring and stats worthless. Others felt it provided interesting and helpful information.
  • Difficult to fasten – Only a couple of users complained that it was difficult to put the Garmin S20 on their wrist.

As we said earlier, the Garmnin Approach S20 isn’t for everyone. However, we think this is a great choice for golf geeks who have a little patience with technology. We like the fitness and sleep tracking capability and if that interests you, this watch is a good choice.

That said, even if you’re not a geek and not patient, if you have the budget for this watch, you may appreciate it for its responsiveness, screen readability, and detailed information about hazards. You wouldn’t need even need to learn the other features if you didn’t want to.

We give this watch a reserved thumbs up and hope that Garmin will continue to improve the autoshot feature and add editing capibilities to Garmin Connect so that we can give it our whole-hearted enthusiastic endorsement.

Garmin Approach S20 Golf Watch Specifications

Garmin Approach S20
Course Download Fees No
Pre-loaded with Courses Yes
Full Hole Views Yes
Slope / Elevation N/A
Battery Life 15 hrs GPS / 8 wks
Battery rechargeable Li-ion
Size (Width x Height x Depth) 1.9 in. x 1.5 in. x .4 in.
Measure Shot Distance Yes
Screen Size .9 square
Resolution 128×128
Display Type hi-res monochrome
Weight 1.5 oz.
Rainproof Yes (50 meters)
Touch Screen No
Touch Targeting No
Manual Pin Positioning Yes
Stat Tracker Yes
Digital Scorecard Yes
Computer Analysis Tools Yes
Ground Verified N/A
Alternate Targets Yes
Green Rotates to your shot angle Yes
USGA Compliant (local rule) Yes
Notes In addition to all the golf features, it has an activity tracker, a sleep tracker, and move notification after periods of inactivity.
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User Manual for Garmin Approach S20

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