Golf Gear Reviews

Garmin Approach S20 Golf GPS Watch (Long Battery Life & Tournament Legal)

S20 GPS watch by Garmin

Last Updated: Mar 4, 2019 @ 8:33 pm

Pre-loaded Courses: 41,000+
Display Area Size: 23 x 23 mm
Weight: 1.5 oz
Battery Lifetime: 15 hours (GPS mode)/8 weeks (smartwatch mode)
Recharge Time: Approx. 2 hours
Waterproof: Yes
Tournament Legal: Yes

Our Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

Check Latest Price


Garmin Approach S20 Watch Review

Person wearing Garmin S20 GPS Watch for golfStarting its own trend, the S20 golf watch brings in all the basics at low prices considering the very successful, expensive, and already reviewed S60.  The S20 lacks more than a few perks that the S60 sports, but let’s check out if living without them is worth the cost savings.

Your initial judgements are going to come from what’s obvious.  The silicone strap maintains the adjustable feature that’s necessary to achieve the perfect fit.  Combine the breathable strap with a plastic backing for the chemically strengthened glass display, and you have a very lightweight watch for all day use.

In fact, this is no ordinary golf watch that’s meant to be removed immediately after the game.  It’s been designed to last up to 8 weeks in smartwatch mode.  On the course, the Bluetooth connectivity means you’ll be able to receive text messages, social media alerts, and any push notifications that you’d rather not miss when eyeing up the distance for your next hole.

But, despite its aesthetics and everyday-wearable appeal, it’s the intuitive golf mode platform that you’ll appreciate.  There’s no touch-screen or color mode feature, but you’re getting what you really need in the first place: the distance.  With yardage to the front, middle, and back of the green, hazards, layups, and doglegs and their relative position to the fairway, you won’t be left wanting.

AutoShot, Garmin Connect, and Digital Scorecards are all available with the S20.  It’s also compatible with a TruSwing golf swing sensor to analyze technique and club metrics if you’re already on the ball and own one.  As expected for Garmin, fitness features are included.

The execution of the golf and fitness tech is an improvement on the older Garmin models such as the Approach S4 and something new to our decade that buyers are tee-crazy about.  But, there are some quality control and/or inaccuracy issues that may need to be addressed.

  • Price
  • Feature-rich
  • Tournament legal
  • 15-hour GPS mode life span
  • Lightweight/compact

  • Quality control issues
  • Inaccurate measurements


Garmin Approach S20 Watch Q&A

Is the S20 GPS Watch Accurate for Golf?

Measurement discrepancies to within 5 yards or less is considered accurate.  However, inaccurate readings can occur with a GPS compatible device that’s out of Garmin’s and your control such as weather, satellite, golf upgrades, and remodels.

Sometimes user error can be the cause since the S20 will automatically position pin placement to the center of the green and not necessarily to the hole.  If you’ve manually moved the pin away from the center of the green, or you’re incorrectly using meters instead of yards, and vice versa, you can have measurement discrepancies of several yards that can severely impact your game.  It’s always wise to remember to check in with course markers here and there just to make sure the issues aren’t user-related.


Is the Garmin Approach Golf Watch Complicated to Use?

It’s not a complicated watch to use per se, but it some features require constant use of the golf watch.  Because the Garmin is so feature-rich, it can potentially interfere with game quality if you’re constantly fiddling around with it.  A golf watch may not be for you if you’re a traditional pencil and scorecard kind of person who gets enough out of a golf laser rangefinder.


Can You Manually Move Pin Placement on the Garmin S20?

Yes.  While auto course identification will automatically place the pin on the green, if you have more accurate pin information for the day, you can manually adjust it by using the screen menu and selecting the “Move Flag” option.


Does the Approach S20 Automatically Track Scores?

No.  After each hole, the S20 will prompt you to manually enter your score.  It’s a digital scorecard that basically replaces the tedious use of paper and pen.


What are the Fitness Features on the Garmin Golf Watch?

The S20 golf watch can track calories burned, steps taken, and distance traveled.  It also includes two monitors that track inactivity and sleeping patterns.  It will also “learn” your movement habits so that it can automatically assign you a daily step goal.  Also included is Garmin TrueUp.


What is Garmin TrueUp?

This is an activity feature included in the Approach golf watch.  Not only the does S20 allow you to upload your fitness stats to Garmin Connect, it also allows for that information to be synced with other compatible devices.  This allows you to have your most current fitness stats available to you across multiple devices if you wanted to transition between them at any time.


What is Garmin AutoShot?

This is a new technology that automatically senses and records each shot.  You can use this information for post-round analysis.  The Garmin Connect app must be downloaded to your smartphone, and it must be wirelessly (via Bluetooth) paired with the S20 golf watch.

AutoShot will automatically measure the distance of each shot taken during the round and record the club used.  When data has been uploaded to Garmin Connect, you can view the AutoShot map to see the location and distances of all shots taken throughout the round.

Post analysis can help you compare your scores and improve your shots for that course.


Noteworthy Features:

  • Long-lasting GPS battery life for 15 hours of golfing leisure or competition
  • AutoShot tracking analyzer for post-analysis comparisons and improvement strategies
  • Smartphone compatible to stay constantly stay connected
  • Fitness trackers with TrueUp for up-to-date stats
  • Distances to front, back, and center of the green including hazards


Our Verdict on the Garmin S20

Garmin Approach S20 Watch for GolfTo ping up the strokes, the Garmin Approach S20 can get you the distance.  Ultimately, this is what a GPS golf watch is designed to do, everything else is a luxury feature.  In this case, the S20 covers everything for a reasonable, low price.

For a watch that covers the basics and offers a few more perks to provide everyday versatility and practicality, it’s a winner.

However, if you’re always after that little bit more of tech, a smoother platform, and you’re willing to pay the extra for it, the Approach S60 might be up your alley.

It’s a touch-screen, color display with the compatibility to track heart rate and multiple activity tracking options to encourage a fit lifestyle outside of golf.  But, when it does come to the green, it has everything you’ll ever need to make par every time!

But, the Approach isn’t your only golf watch option if you want a color and touch display for a cheap price.  To land those perks, you only need to look as far as the GolfBuddy WTX watch.  There will be some compromises for the lower price, but having no additional fees, automatic features, fitness trackers, and smartphone connectivity, you will clearly have most of it.

It’s tee time, and the S20 can serve you up a sweet game that smells of success.  It certainly lacks nothing that’s essential to your round.  The basics are what you need, and that need is distance.  With a few, extra features thrown in, you can adequately critique yourself and be a better golfer come next round!

Check Latest Price


      Golf Tamers