Garmin S3 Golf Watch Review

The Garmin Approach S3 has been retired. Check out our current recommendations for today's best golf rangefinders..

'Garmin Approach S3'

Garmin Approach S3
Not Available

Check Newer Models
Golf Watches

Our Garmin S3 Golf Watch Review summarizes pros and cons mentioned in user reviews from around the web. From a features standpoint, we believe this is the most exciting and best golf watch on the market.

Garmin Approach S3 User Rating: 4.34 Stars 4.34 out of 5 (522 reviews)

Score compiled from multiple sources.

It’s preloaded with 30,000 courses, has a touchscreen, includes distances to doglegs and layups, allows for manual pin positioning, has a scorecard, shot tracking and more. Although the price of the Garmin S3 is quite a bit higher than other golf watches, the feature set and enthusiasm of reviewers lead us to believe it might be well worth it.

Take a look at what they are saying. Please note that positive comments outweighed negative comments by about 40%.

Most Mentioned Pros
(in order from high to low):
  • Accuracy
  • Convenience
  • Scoring Feature
  • Easy to Use
  • Improved Scoring
  • Size
  • Intuitive
  • Good Customer Service
  • Easy to Set-up
  • TouchScreen
  • Shot Tracking
  • Auto Course Recognition
  • Battery Life – some players could go 36 holes on a single charge
  • Easy to register and update courses
  • Speeds up play
  • Can be used as a regular watch in non-GPS mode
  • Acquires distances quickly
  • Manual pin positioning
  • Acquires satellites quickly
  • Ability to add custom targets
  • Size of course database
  • No fees
Most Mentioned Cons
(in order from high to low):
  • Sometimes requires more than one “swipe” for touchscreen operations that require swiping
  • Battery life too short – some players were unable to make it through 36 holes.
  • Some watches arrived in a language other than English. Customer support was reported to be very helpful. We noted that more recent reviews didn’t mention the issue and suspect it has been corrected.
  • Although it includes distance to doglegs and layups, several users complained that it did not have distances to bunkers and possibly other hazards.
  • Some users had trouble with it jumping to the wrong hole.
  • Watch band quality
  • Not enough courses
  • Poor instruction manual
  • Accuracy issues
  • Auto hole advance didn’t always work
  • Price
Garmin S3 Golf Watch Specifications
Garmin Approach S3
Course Download Fees No
Pre-loaded with Courses Yes
Full Hole Views Yes
Slope / Elevation No
Battery Life 8 hrs GPS / 4 wks
Battery Lithium-ion recharge
Size (Width x Height x Depth) 2.7 in. x 1.8 in. x .6 in.
Measure Shot Distance Yes
Screen Size 1" x 1"
Resolution 128x128
Display Type monochrome LCD
Weight 2.06 oz.
Rainproof IPX7
Touch Screen Yes
Touch Targeting No
Manual Pin Positioning Yes
Stat Tracker No
Digital Scorecard Yes
Computer Analysis Tools No*
Ground Verified No
Alternate Targets Yes
Green Rotates to your shot angle N/A
USGA Compliant (local rule) Yes
Notes Stroke or Stableford scoring. Can save, review and print scorecards from your computer. Can download new courses & updates. IPX7 Waterproof - Immersion for 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter
Order Golf Rangefinders from Amazon is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. If you buy anything after clicking through, we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. It helps us keep the site up and running, so thank you! We work very hard to obtain the correct information about product features, but cannot make any guarantees about the accuracy. Please double check with the merchant or manufacturer before making a purchase.


  1. pat cohen says

    If your golf course is not preloaded can it be loaded ?

  2. Carol Jenkins says

    Can the Garmin S3 be updated on an Apple computer?

  3. Helen quinn says

    How do I get a golf course in Canada on my garmin s3 range finder

Leave a Comment or Ask a Question!