Garmin S6 Review

Just when we thought the Garmin Approach series had reached the peak of potential in a golf GPS watch with the Garmin S4, they introduced one with even more features. Our Garmin S6 Review will be available in the very near future, but here are our thoughts and expectations for the most advanced golf watch on the market to date…

“Garmin Approach S6″

Garmin S6 Golf Watch

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First of all, let’s take a look at the features that set Garmin S6 apart from the Garmin S4:

  • Dedicated CourseView button with Green View for manual pin positioning. We love the dedicated green view button on the S4 that made it easy to see the green shape and adjust the pin location to get more precise distance. The dedicated CourseView button on the G6 gives the same information, but also allows you to view the shape of the entire hole, as well as see layup and dogleg distances. This is definitely a feature we haven’t seen on any other golf watch.
  • PinPointer blind shot assistance tells you where the pin is, even if you can’t see it. This can be a life saver when you are at the bottom of a hill and can’t see the green.
  • Features swing metrics: SwingTempo, TempoTraining and SwingStrength™. We can’t wait to take these features to the driving range. At the very least, it will be interesting and at best, may help you lower your handicap. If you are working on swing changes, it seems like the SwingStrength™ indicator would help you identify which “tweaks” are working and which are not. As for tempo… all golfers know that we play our best on days when our tempo is just right. Hopefully using this tool on the range will make for more consistency on the course.

Like the S4, the Garmin S6 also has a glove-friendly, high-resolution touchscreen. Distance to the front, middle and back of every green, plus par and hole number shows on the main screen. In addition to the doglegs and layups already included with the course maps, you can save custom points for future reference. As with most GPS devices, you can measure your shots. Both the S4 and S6 have an easy to use scorecard feature with stat-tracking and the S6 will utilize handicap information. Both of these golf watches will also connect via bluetooth to your iPhone and get notifications whenever you want them. Both of these watches come preloaded 38,000 international courses and never have any subscriptions or fees.

When the Garmin S4 was announced with so many features, we were skeptical that it would be easy enough to use, but were totally impressed with Garmin’s implementation and it quickly became our favorite golf watch. The same thoughts occur when looking at all that is promised on the S6… but we are far more optimistic this time, having seen Garmin pull it off over and over again with their golf GPS handhelds and watches.

Our bottom line… If Garmin has indeed pulled off another easy to use golf GPS with the bonus features that we can take to the driving range and improve our game, we think this watch will likely be worth the price!

Garmin S6 Golf Watch Specifications
Model Garmin Approach S6
Type GPS
Course Download Fees No
Pre-loaded with Courses Yes
Available Courses 38,000
Battery Life 10 hrs GPS / 20 wk
Battery rechargeable Li-ion
Height 1.8 in.
Width 1.8 in.
Depth .56 in.
Measure Shot Distance Yes
Screen Size 1″
Resolution 180×180
Display Type hi-res color touch
Weight 1.6 oz.
Rainproof Yes (50 meters)
Touch Screen Yes
Touch Targeting N/A
Manual Pin Positioning Yes
Stat Tracker Yes
Digital Scorecard Yes
Computer Analysis Tools Yes
Ground Verified N/A
Alternate Targets Yes
Aerial Hole View Yes
Green Rotates to your shot angle Yes
Add Courses Manually N/A
Compatibility Windows/Mac
USGA Compliant (local rule) N/A
Notes Swing tempo trainer and swing strength measurements. Notifications from iPhone available via bluetooth.

Garmin Approach S6


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Nikon COOLSHOT Rangefinder Review

Our Nikon COOLSHOT Rangefinder Review should end up looking a lot like our Callaway Razr review, as Nikon was always the hardware behind the Callaway name when it came to golf rangefinders. Callaway seems to have pulled out of the rangefinder marketplace, but the solid performing rangefinders can now be found under the Nikon brand.

“Nikon COOLSHOT”

Nikon COOLSHOT Golf Rangefinder
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The COOLSHOT is virtually identical to the Razr, however we think the Nikon color options are more attractive, and best of all, the price is lower!

Nikon COOLSHOT User Rating:
4.44 Stars 4.44 out of 5 (25 reviews)

Score compiled from multiple sources including Amazon, GolfSmith and TGW.

Notable Features of the Nikon COOLSHOT Rangefinder:
  • Compact, lightweight, ergonomic design.
  • First Target Priority algorithm displays the range to the nearest target among the multiple results obtained. You can then exactly measure the distance to the flagstick, instead of a background object.
  • 8 second scan mode makes targeting easier even with slight movement
  • High quality 6x monocular with multilayer coating for bright clear images.
  • Targeting range from 10 – 600 yards.
  • Long eye relief for glasses wearers.
  • Wide field of view (7.5 degrees).
  • Waterproof
Nikon COOLSHOT Specifications
Model Nikon COOLSHOT
Type Laser
Slope No^
Vibration or Sound Indicator n
Height 2.8 in.
Width 1.5 in.
Depth 4.4 in.
Weight 5.9 oz.
Battery CR-2 Lithium
Battery Life N/A
Display LED
Rainproof Yes
Magnification 6x
Maximum Range 600
Minimum Range 11
Notes *This model is legal under the USGA local rule, but the COOLSHOT AS has Slope and is not legal for tournament play.
USGA Compliant (local rule) Yes*

Nikon COOLSHOT


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Leupold GX-3i2 Review

“Leupold GX-3i2

Leupold GX-3i2
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The preliminary findings of our Leupold GX-3i2 review process are leading us to put tit at the top of our laser rangefinder leaderboard. It matches feature for feature with the Bushnell Tour Z6 with Jolt technology, but costs less.

Leupold GX-3i2 User Rating:
4.77 Stars 4.77 out of 5 (13 reviews)

Score compiled from multiple sources including Amazon, GolfSmith and TGW.

The GX-3i2 has a really easy-to-see red OLED, that makes it much easier to read than less expensive rangefinder models. It also has 6x magnifcation, and new PinHunter 2 technology that makes locking onto the pin easier than ever and confirms it with a beep.

The name isn’t as well-known as Bushnell in the golf world, but this fifth-generation American owned family business has been making high-performance optics for hunters since 1907.

Leupold GX-3i2 Features and Specifications
Model Leupold GX-3i2
Type Laser
Slope No
Vibration or Sound Indicator y
Height 2.2 in.
Width 1.4 in.
Depth 3.6 in.
Weight 7.8 oz.
Battery CR2 Lithium
Battery Life 6000+ actuations
Display red OLED
Rainproof Yes
Magnification 6x
Maximum Range 450+
Minimum Range N/A
Notes Fog Mode
USGA Compliant (local rule) Yes

Leupold GX-3i2


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Voice Caddie T1 Review

“Voice Caddie T1 Watch”

Voice Caddie T1 Watch
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Building on their success with voice model golf GPS devices, Voice Caddie has taken a big step by entering the golf watch market. The Voice Caddie T1 is billed as a hybrid golf/fitness watch. For golf, it has the basic information you would expect from any budget priced golf watch: distance to the front, middle and back of every green and the ability to measure shot distance. At this price point we’re pleased to see that the VT1 allows you to keep score as well.

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There’s one more bonus feature that could prove to be very interesting if it works as advertised. The Voice Caddie VT1 detects when your swing begins and measures the tempo of your backswing and forward swing. If this is accurate, it might turn out to be a useful training device for the driving range.

For fitness, it reports speed, distance and calories burned. We like the fact that golfers who are also casual runners or walkers won’t necessarily need to buy a separate fitness watch for those activities.

Of course, it can also be used as a watch that tells the time, date and has an alarm and stopwatch. In watch mode, it lasts up to 28 weeks on a charge and in GPS mode, it lasts up to 11 hours. There are no fees for the Voice Caddie VT1 and it comes preloaded with over 30,000 golf courses. It also has automatic course and hole recognition. It’s available in black and white.

Voice Caddie T1 Watch Specifications
Model Voice Caddie T1 Watch
Type GPS
Course Download Fees No
Pre-loaded with Courses Yes
Available Courses 30,000
Battery Life 11 hrs / 28 days
Battery Rechargeable
Height 1.87 in.
Width 1.87 in.
Depth N/A in.
Measure Shot Distance Yes
Screen Size N/A
Resolution N/A
Display Type LCD
Weight 2.19 oz.
Rainproof N/A
Touch Screen No
Touch Targeting No
Manual Pin Positioning No
Stat Tracker No
Digital Scorecard Yes
Computer Analysis Tools N/A
Ground Verified N/A
Alternate Targets No
Aerial Hole View No
Green Rotates to your shot angle N/A
Add Courses Manually No
Compatibility N/A
USGA Compliant (local rule) N/A
Notes Automatically measure your swing tempo on every swing.

Voice Caddie T1 Watch


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GolfBuddy WT3 Review

“GolfBuddy WT3 Watch”

GolfBuddy WT3 Watch
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We’re still evaluating user reviews, but we are expecting the GolfBuddy WT3 will be near the top of our charts when it’s all said and done. The only negative we’ve heard so far is that it’s a little bulky, which is true of most golf GPS watches. This may not be the smallest, but it is packed with more features than the Bushnell neo-XS, which claims to be the smallest.

GolfBuddy WT3 Watch User Rating:
3.92 Stars 3.92 out of 5 (36 reviews)

Score compiled from multiple sources including Amazon, GolfSmith and TGW.

The WT3 not only provides distances to the front, back and center of every green, it has dynamic green view which shows you the shape of the green in relation to where you are standing and allows manual pin positioning for more accurate distance. It also has distances to water hazards, bunkers and trees. We appreciate the scorecard feature, but wish it also allowed stat tracking. As with most golf watches, it has a shot measuring feature. Of course, the best feature of all… is the price!

GolfBuddy WT3 Watch Specifications
Model GolfBuddy WT3 Watch
Type GPS
Course Download Fees No
Pre-loaded with Courses 36,000+
Available Courses 36,000+
Battery Life 8 hrs in GPS mode
Battery 300mAh rechargeable
Height 2.09 in.
Width 1.77 in.
Depth .63 in.
Measure Shot Distance Yes
Screen Size 1.26
Resolution 144×168 px
Display Type Transreflective
Weight 2.57 oz.
Rainproof Yes IPX7
Touch Screen No
Touch Targeting No
Manual Pin Positioning Yes
Stat Tracker No
Digital Scorecard Yes
Computer Analysis Tools No
Ground Verified Yes
Alternate Targets Yes
Aerial Hole View No
Green Rotates to your shot angle Yes
Add Courses Manually No
Compatibility N/A
USGA Compliant (local rule) Yes
Notes Can be used as a regular watch. Also can be used to track distance and time for walking or running.

GolfBuddy WT3 Watch


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Top Two Golf GPS Watches

If you ask us to pick the best golf GPS watch, we just can’t do it without knowing a little bit more about your preferences. But here are our top two golf GPS watches and we bet one of them is the right one for you!

The Garmin Approach S4 and the Bushnell neo-XS are very different in several ways. What they do the same is provide distances to the front, middle and back of every green and they will both easily measure your shots. That’s pretty much where the similarities end, unless you want to count the fact that both can be worn on the wrist!

The biggest difference that most golfers will notice before anything else, is the price. The Bushnell XS is currently about $100 less than the Garmin S4, which means that those S4 features better be pretty impressive… and they are, but still it’s not the right watch for everyone. There’s another advantage that the Bushnell holds over the Garmin… it has distances to hazards, up to four per hole. The Garmin has layup yardages to doglegs and targets like the 100, 150 and 200 yard markers, but that doesn’t always help on a new course. On the other hand, it is handy on golf courses you know well.

So what are the features that make the Garmin S4 worth the extra money? Admittedly, not everyone will want or need these features, but for those who do, Garmin did a great job…

  • Scorecard and Stats – A dedicated scorecard button on the side of the watch takes you to a screen where you can easily enter your score. If you choose to have your stats tracked, a simple press to the bottom of the face will take you to the Putts screen and another press takes you to the Fairways screen which allows you to enter straight, left or right for your tee shots. Greens in regulation is calculated at the end of the round. Once you begin using the scorecard feature on any given round, it automatically pops up at the end of each hole, making it even easier. The scorecard and stats feature on this watch is super easy to use and we give it a big thumbs up!
  • Touchscreen – Unlike your smartphone, a light tap on the Garmin S4 face won’t do anything, which keeps you from accidentally ending up on the wrong screen. Once you learn to press the screen rather than tap it, you’ll love the way it works. On a GPS watch with so many features, the touchscreen is almost essential to keep the navigation simple and Garmin has done it beautifully. There is even a “Back” button indicated by an arrow on the left side of the face, that will always take you to the last screen.
  • Green View and manual pin placement – A dedicated button on the lower left side of the watch will take you to a view of the green – complete with the shape as it sits from your location. By pressing the middle of the green, you can drag the pin location to a place more representative of the day’s pin placement and you’ll get distance to the new location. A nice feature for large and tricky greens.
  • iPhone Notifications – The Garmin S4 can connect to your iPhone via Bluetooth and display your texts, emails and notifications. It’s easy enough to set up and use and amazingly isn’t too obtrusive. You can go back and forth between your distance and your messages fairly easily. The only problem we encountered was that we lost the Bluetooth connection and had to take time to reconnect after we had gotten too far away from our iPhones (left them in the cart some distance away).

ou know yourself better than we do… Which do you like, distances to hazards or a scorecard with stats and the ability to get distances to different pin locations? Oh yeah, and there’s the money thing, but just remember, you’ll probably be using this watch for several years, so the price per round on either one, is still pretty darn reasonable!