Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the watch, let me first point out what factors should go into your buying decision when deciding between golf watches.
Things to Consider When Buying a Golf Watch
Many people that are new to the game aren’t aware of this, but you can’t just walk onto the golf course with your GPS watch and have it always works. For the watch to work, you actually have to have the course downloaded or already preloaded into the system.
It would be a real disappointment to buy one of these watches and then realize that your local club is not on their list of preloaded or downloadable golf courses.
2. Physical Specifications
Even though physical specifications can be a broad category for a golf watch, you still need to understand the importance. Having a watch that is uncomfortable, fragile, too small, too big, or just not physically appealing is a real negative.
I know that you are probably basing all of your decision on the watch’s abilities, but make sure you consider the physical specs of the watch too before purchasing. You wouldn’t want to be let down in that department.
3. Distance Features
The distance capabilities of a golf watch is the integral point for people when comparing golf watches. Some basic golf watches will give you yardages to the center of the green.
More advanced golf watches will actually give you that stat, along with the front and back of the green. The real cream of the crop golf GPS watches will even point out the distances to each hazard that is in play.
4. Other Uses
The final thing that a lot of people find important is that they can use it for other purposes. Some watches are basically a decent smartwatch after you turn off the golf GPS mode. Things like heart rate, calories burned, hours slept, and steps taken are just some of the common features.
More advanced models are even very useful in extreme sports such as cycling or skiing.
Garmin Approach S60
The Garmin Approach S60 is a premium golf GPS watch, that is loaded to the brim with features. The watch has excellent reviews on basically any site that you check and trust, and a lot of ratings to prove that it’s an excellent watch.
The Approach S60 is aimed at players that want to upgrade to one of the best golf watches in the game or want to get their first watch and do not want to have to upgrade for a very long time. There are not many other models on the market that have the capabilities of the S60, so it is a great investment.
Let’s get right into it and look at some of the features that make this watch such a great option.
Features and Benefits
1. Lots of Courses
As I said above, you should look at a GPS watch that offers a lot of courses so you can be sure that it has yours. The Garmin Approach S60 has over 40,000 preloaded courses that it can be used on, so chances are great that you are all set.
You can double-check with their database to make sure that your local course is in their system before paying all that money.
2. Distances to the Green and Hazards
At the bare minimum, a golf GPS watch should be able to tell you the distance from where you are standing to the center of the green on the hole that you are shooting towards.
With this watch, you can certainly do that, along with getting the distance to the front and back of the green. The part that really sets this watch apart from the competition is that it tells you the distances to hazards that are located on the hole.
That means no more guessing whether or not you can go for it over the river, because now you know the exact distance that it is to the hazard. No more blaming it on the wrong distances!
3. Battery Life
The 10-hour golf battery life is a pretty good statistic. That means that this watch should always last you 36 holes (even more if you play fast!). Too many times you can forget to recharge things, but you might get away with it with this long-lasting battery.
When the watch is not in GPS mode, it can last 10 days without needing a charge, which is definitely above the industry standard.
4. Touchscreen Display
Being a visual person, I like to see the actual hole with a satellite view because I hate blind tee shots. This display gives you the actual layout of the hole before you look at the scorecard, which is pretty convenient.
Knowing that it is a dogleg right before getting on the tee box is pretty satisfying.
The display is 1.2 inches in diameter and is sunlight resistant, so no need to worry about the glare of the sun and not being able to get a good reading on your distances. Little features like that make this golf watch stand out from the rest on the market.
5. Multi-Sport Usage
Obviously, this watch is meant for the golf course primarily. But it can actually be useful in daily life and other sports. Sports such as:
The features of this watch can be useful in these and more sports if you get creative.
6. PlaysLike Technology
I saved one of my favorite features for last. When playing on a golf course with rolling terrain, an uphill or downhill green location can play a big factor in shaving off a stroke.
The PlaysLike technology that Garmin has introduced in the Approach S60 accounts for the elevation changes and is going to let you know how many more yards or less yards you need to hit it to account for elevation changes. Talk about being more accurate and getting an advantage on the golf course.
Golfers do not realize that a decent amount of elevation change can affect their shot by 5-10 yards. That could be the difference between putting for birdie or chipping for birdie.
Even though the Garmin Approach S60 will clearly meet the needs of most golfers, it is still smart to check out what else is available.
- Garmin Approach S20 Golf Watch
- TecTecTec ULT-G Golf Watch
- SkyCaddie LX5 Golf Watch
1. Garmin Approach S20 Watch
If the price point is a little on the high side of your budget, then maybe you could opt for the S20 version. The watch has a stellar reputation in the golf watch world, and it has most of the features that the S60 has.
The only downside of this watch is that it does not calculate the elevation or distances to the hazards as the S60 version does. But for most skill levels in golf, that is not going to be the biggest factor in which golf watch they buy.
2. TecTecTec ULT-G Golf Watch
The second alternative worth pointing out is the least expensive option on the list, but don’t think that it is not of great quality. The TecTecTec name actually has great products in the GPS watch and rangefinder niche.
While it is all digital and does not give actual pictures of the layout on a hole, it is going to get the job done and give you the correct distance to the green. It is obviously reliable with an almost perfect score on Amazon.
3. SkyCaddie LX5 Golf Watch
The last alternative worth mentioning is from SkyCaddie, and it is one of their most elite golf watches. It is probably the most comparable in terms of looks and capabilities to the S60 out of all the alternatives.
The LX5 golf watch comes with a 3-year prepaid membership to over 35,000 courses that are in the system, so your favorite golf courses are most likely covered.
Check it out if you want something to compare the Garmin Approach S60 to at face value. It might come down to with brand name you prefer because they are so similar in most categories.
To conclude, you really have found your winning product if you want the best of the best in terms of a golf GPS watch. It all comes down to whether it’s in your budget and you want the elite features.
The rare features of distances to hazards and distances accounted for by elevation could be the tipping point that makes you have to have this watch. Just think about what that could do for your game if you take guessing the distance out of the equation.
If you found this post helpful, then please share it with someone else that is on the brink of buying a golf watch. Thank you for reading!
Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.