Garmin Approach S60: Golf GPS Watch review

Garmin has launched the new Approach S60 golf GPS watch into Australia and after testing it out over the last few weeks we can confirm it’s a beauty.

Garmin Approach S60

We were pretty excited to get our hands on the new Garmin Approach S60 golf GPS watch and we weren’t disappointed.

The Garmin Approach S60 is an updated version of the Approach S6 which came out a few years ago now. Resembling the multi-sport Garmin Fenix GPS watch, the Approach S60 is geared towards golfers with a circular colour-screen face that looks as stylish as any golf watch we’ve seen.

Whereas recent offerings from both Garmin and other golf watch brands have tended to lean towards a more sporty design, Garmin have gone the other way with the Approach S60 offering up a watch that looks good on the tee, in the office or at the bar.

In our opinion, the Garmin Approach S60 could be considered the best golf GPS watch on the market.

First impressions
Our first thoughts were the ones we spoke about in the Garmin Approach S60 unboxing video a few weeks ago. This is a slick-looking watch. Probably the most stylish golf GPS watch we have reviewed. The first thing we noticed is just how solid the Approach S60 feels.

This is a Garmin watch after all – they don’t do things by halves but it was noticeable that this was a not just a watch to be worn on the golf course.

The leather band is comfortable, looks good and can be easily interchanged without the need for any tools. The default/time view can be changed to several different options and it was clear that the inside circular section, featuring 18 numbers was going to be useful on the golf course.

On the golf course
The Garmin Approach S60 does a great job of giving you all the basic distances you need; front, back and centre of the green. But it’s the extra stuff that the Approach S60 can do that distinguishes itself above its competitors.

Pre-loaded with 40,000 golf courses, the Approach S60 is a breeze to get running on the golf course.

Tapping the golf application will see the S60 begin searching for golf courses near your location. Selecting the golf course you’re playing will reveal some options including whether you would like to keep score before showing a map of the first hole and distances to the front, back and middle of the green.

By tapping the colour map of the hole you can zoom and measure the distance to say, a bunker or water hazard by simply positioning the marker anywhere you like. By tapping on the green, the pin position can also be moved and saved for that particular round.

We particularly liked the option to switch easily to any hole on the course by dragging your finger around the outside of the watch face and selecting the hole of interest. The digital, colour watch face is incredibly responsive.

Once we knew all the options, there was no time wasted in getting a few quick measurements in between shots.

A bunch of other great features can be enabled to track more information during your round including the option to set the average driving distance to be mapped automatically each hole to give you a quick way to see if your tee shot will reach that hazard.

The Garmin Autoshot feature is again implemented in the Approach S60 as well as the SwingTempo and Swing Training features. By connecting to the Garmin Golf app, AutoShot is a great automatic way of tracking your every shot on the golf course. It’s easy to enter club information and see your round shot-by-shot.

Off the golf course
It would be remiss of us to not add a little more on how much we enjoyed wearing the Approach S60 off the golf course.

Like a lot of the Garmin range, we added the running app to our favourites and with a click of the top-right button, we could easily select it to track our run on the odd day we were feeling like doing some exercise.

It kept us moving by tracking the number of steps we took each day, received call and message notifications from our smartphone, and we lost track of the number of compliments and enquiries we received about the Approach S60.

Drawbacks
The Garmin Approach S60 comes with its own unique USB charging cable. And while the battery life was fantastic (we estimate you could easily get through a full day of golf without needing a recharge) we did find ourselves out of battery and after leaving the cable behind, we couldn’t immediately recharge it.

The GPS lost track of which hole we were playing during one testing but it was easy to get to the correct hole by sliding our finger around to around the perimeter of the watch face.

While we loved the large, solid feel of the Approach 60, we could see that its size may annoy a few golfers who aren’t used to wearing a watch while playing a round of golf. After preferring to use a rangefinder for the past year, it did take us a while to get used to wearing it on the golf course. By the end of the round, we loved how simple it was to use and wouldn’t hesitate to wear it again.

The price of the Approach S60 might put a few golfers off as it is towards the top end of the market. But if you’re looking for a slick new watch, AND something to wear on the golf course, this is a ripper that will keep you happy for many years.

The Garmin Approach S60 is priced at $570 and now available in Australia.
The Garmin Approach S60 was provided for review purposes only. We voluntarily reviewed this product under Aussie Golfer’s review policies.

7 thoughts on “Garmin Approach S60: Golf GPS Watch review

  • August 18, 2017 at 11:58
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    hi Guys, good review – although may I confirm that’s its bulky size is extremely annoying – it feels like a ‘transformer’ on your wrist – which may – at any moment morph into a golf trolley. When will a company make a wrist gps that is slim and sleek looking- rather than the current batch of transformers? How you could use the phrase : “This slick looking watch” totally baffles me as it stands 12 mm high off your wrist.

    Reply
    • June 4, 2019 at 10:00
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      Hi Paul,
      Agree that this watch is a somewhat bulky, though in comparison to other “sports” watches, this is not the largest by far – think G-shock.
      Lastly, seems you may have confused “slick” with “sleek”. Probably not a sleek watch but definitely looks slick!

      Reply
  • April 11, 2018 at 05:01
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    Great review of the Garmin Approach S60 watch Brian. An older Garmin Approach model I had broke down recently, and so I’m looking for a new GPS watch. This particular Garmin Approach model is great (as is most of their offerings), but I think the S20 is worth mentioning as well. It’s fairly new and it has fantastic ratings overall. I’m looking to get it myself, and I found this resource to be helpful in that regard: https://golfstead.com/best-golf-gps-watches. Have you reviewed the S20, or do you have any thoughts on it? Thanks in advance.

    Reply
  • January 10, 2020 at 11:52
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    I need the large face and numbers as without it I could not make out the numbers without my reading glasses, which in it self would be annoying having to pull out the reading glasses every minute.
    Although I adjusted the handicap to what I was playing a specific course, the watch always gave me an additional shot after completion of the round. Instead of a score of 36 it showed me a score of 37. This on all the courses where I played Stapleford. It showed the correct number of shots on stroke play. Was in communication with Garmin for about 4 months and they could not figure out what was wrong. Apparently a technical glitch. Had it returned for a refund. Anybody experienced the same problem? Or did I do anything wrong?

    Reply
  • February 26, 2020 at 10:17
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    Hi,
    Bought a garmin S60 second hand and have had it for about a month. I was really happy with its easy to use functions and the automatic shot distance counter. After golf there was 31% battery left so I put it on the charger. The watch has now gone dead, doesn’t charge and nothing on the face.
    I rang garmin and they are sending out another charger cable but I don’t think that is the problem.
    Has anyone else had this issue?

    Reply
  • February 26, 2020 at 18:20
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    There’s just a chance you had a similar issue that I had. After doing the “slip slap” of sunscreen cream on my arms and wrists – the contact points became slightly coated, and the device wouldn’t charge.
    I cleaned with cotton buds and acetone – then it came ‘alive’ after a charge.
    Chris.

    Reply

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