Garmin Approach S20 ReviewThe Garmin Approach S20 is highly recommended among golf watches. This article delves into what the features are and what the likes and dislikes are from over 1000 customers. 

Among the likes are that it is a great value for its price (~ $190), it has a long battery life (15 hours in GPS mode and up to 8 weeks in activity tracking mode), and that yardage tracking is accurate even when compared against a laser finder.  

Other information covered in this review includes the ideal application for the Garmin Approach S20 and how it compares to its competition.

Garmin Approach S20 Review

Top Features

Activity Tracking 

The unit keeps up with your activities. Displays steps, number of calories burned, distance traveled, and time of day.  It also lets you know how much you slept.


It can analyze shot distances for every round after your game on the Garmin Connect Smartphone ap. 

Battery life 

The battery lasts about 8 weeks in activity tracking mode; 15 hours in GPS mode.

Comfort & Style 

The watchband has a hinged design and a high-resolution display.

CourseView auto-updater 

The CourseView auto-updater allows for automatic updates of most frequented courses. 

Distance to hazards

Watch calculates distances to bunkers, water hazards, layups, doglegs, and front, middle, and back of the green. 

Green View feature

Using manual pin placements, the unit displays the shape of the green. 

Preloaded courses 

You can select from more than 40,000 courses around the world, that are updated regularly (standard protocol). 

Receive Smart notifications 

Incoming calls, texts, emails, and other alerts are allowed. 


The TruSwing golf swing sensor provides metrics to improve your swing consistency and allows you to evaluate the data when paired with your S20 golf watch. 

Water rating

Waterproof to 50 meters (5 ATM). 

Wireless connectivity

It can upload and share scorecards with Garmin Connect Golf.

Ideal Application

Many people state the Garmin Approach S20 helped improve their golf game.  Being able to see the course with pin placements and know about the hazards were two beneficial items mentioned. 

Several others enjoyed being able to use the step counter and activity tracking functions of the Garmin Approach S20 watch. 

What We Liked


The list below includes comments made about the S20 from people that were offering their support for the product.  Highlighted text is for those comments repeated most often in customer reviews.


  • Like the big screen, it’s easy to read
  • Can wear it in the shower without any problems
  • Watch face very bright, can read it in the sunshine
  • Wear it 24/7 without any problems 


  • Beats hand-held range finders
  • Able to upload all courses very fast 
  • Integrates well with the Garmin SmartPhone ap
  • Like being able to read emails while playing golf
  • Distance readings available as soon as cart stops 
  • It syncs to workplace health program and customer earns health points for steps


  • Shot tracking works well
  • Like the score tracking feature 
  • Like step and calories burned counters 
  • Like being able to edit and add shots after the round is over
  • Yardage tracking is accurate; it was compared to a laser finder
  • Tells you how much you sleep, even when you are not wearing it


  • Easy to use
  • Great value for the price
  • Appreciates the long battery life 
  • Quick to start, interrupt and end the round 
  • Great product, after taking the time to learn how to use it properly
  • Excellent customer service, helped customer work through problems

What We Didn’t Like 

Garmin Approach S20Design

  • Hard band to fasten on the wrist; no confidence in watchband lasting


  • When data is lost, it is not recoverable  
  • The unit has synchronization and satellite connection difficulties
  • Unit is too technical; more for someone who wants to focus on the watch than the game 

Concerns noted in customer comments also had some explanations, such as perhaps the reason yardages were off for some was related to thick cloud coverage or poor satellite connections.


  • It doesn’t record putts
  • Cannot track club statistics
  • Yardage measurements are off
  • Wish watch had a light, can’t see it in the dark


  • Customer support is lacking
  • The unit stopped working after purchasing it
  • Hard to switch from one function to another
  • No paper instruction manual provided with S20; have to access it online
  • The battery charging system seems substandard; works sometimes, not at others 
  • When the battery dies, the unit has to be thrown away; battery soldered into unit 

How Does it Compare To Others In The Same Category

Garmin Approach S20The Garmin Approach S20 is considered one of the “Best Golf Watches of 2020” by Two Golf Guys. It was selected because of its excellent battery life and has been placed next to other golf watches such as the:

Another watch, that is priced about the same as the Garmin Approach S20 is the:

Comparing it to Golf Buddy Aim W10 GPS 

Things that are different from the Garmin Approach S20 are that the Golf Buddy Aim W10 GPS unit has touchscreen capability, it is a battery with an 11-hour life before needing charging, and there is a zoom feature to see around the green better.

It is heavy rainproof, whereas the S20 is waterproof up to 50 meters. The Golf Buddy does not have Activity Tracking.


Garmin Approach S20The Garmin Approach S20 is a mid-priced golf watch that has many unique features. Customers enjoy wearing it all day because not only does it help to improve your golf game, but it provides step and calorie counting functions, it can sync with cellphones and provide you with emails, and it doesn’t need charging too often.

The main feature desired because it is worn so much is that it has a light so that you can read the data at night, when in the dark. However, as many said in their reviews, it is a great value for the cost.