The Garmin Approach S62 (010-02200-00 model) may be pricey, but it provides a much more comprehensive experience in a stylish package that’s a few odd years ahead of rival watches and phone apps. For regular golfers looking for an intuitive, holistic experience for both on and off-course use, this is an excellent choice.
- Works as an everyday smartwatch
- Accurate GPS measurements
- Virtual caddy analysis
- Excellent battery life in GPS mode
- Pricey for a GPS watch
- Not great for beginners
The Garmin Approach S62 (010-02200-00 model) is perhaps the best golf watch you can get today. Hopefully, this isn’t a spoiler for the rest of the review, but I thought I’d best put it out there straight away.
Having tested out the premium Garmin Tactix Delta last year, I have been wondering how the Garmin Approach S62 stacks up against its high-end sibling. The S62 is Garmin’s flagship golf watch, but the Tactix Delta was so much more than just a piece of kit to help you get around the golf course.
The Approach S62 comes in at almost half the Garmin Tactix’s price and it lacks the wow factor of the latter, including the solar charging feature, but in terms of functionality on the golf course, it certainly doesn’t disappoint. To a certain extent, we can say its better value thanks to its touchscreen feature, accuracy, and long battery life makes it a killer value overall.
It’s also among the best smartwatches you can buy, due to a plethora of non-golfing features, but of course, the golfing features are what we’re mainly ranking it on…
Garmin Approach S62
- Water resistance: 50 meters
- GPS: Yes
- Heart rate sensor: Yes
- Display: 1.3 inches
- Smartphone notifications: Yes
- Storage: 1 GB
- Size: 1.9 x 1.9 x 0.6-inches
- Weight: 2.2 ounces
- Battery life: 14 days
- Battery life in GPS mode: 20 hours
Design and Display
As with all GPS Sports watches, the Garmin Approach S62 is designed to remain functional in use, above everything else. It sports a comfortable rubber strap and fairly reasonable weight – only 2.08 ounces. Since you’re going to have it strapped on your wrist, you won’t feel hampered during any kind of activity, including golf.
The 47mm – the only available size option – is perhaps hovering on the large side, but aside from sleep, you won’t find it too much of an issue. We suspect, however, that not everybody interested in this watch would feel the same. Those with small wrists will find it a little overbearing and will be better served, at least from a comfort perspective, by the midrange Approach S42 with its 43mm case.
It’s not all about comfort, though. With a bigger case size, it means you’re also getting a bigger screen, and since you’ll be spending a lot of time interacting with it, there’s every reason you’d want it to be as big as possible.
The S62’s 1.3-inch color screen is a fairly standard affair. It’s not going to blow you away, but at the same time, it’s also not going to put you off. You’ll still be able to see the maps and maps clearly even in direct sunlight, and it adds a backlight and brightness sliders right into your wrist.
For instance, it will take a day or two to figure out a swipe up or down from the home screen that loads up the daily stats. Around the edge of the display, you’ll find 1-18 stamps – as you’ve maybe guessed from the number, you can use this as a gauge for holes on the course.
On course performance and Garmin Golf
A single click of a button brings up the golf menu and the built-in GPS then quickly determines your location and loads up details of available golf courses. Garmin products come with over 41,000 courses preloaded so wherever you’re playing, it will certainly know.
You’ll need to decide whether or not to keep the score. Should you decide not to, then the watch acts as a GPS and provides yardages. If you do keep score, you can either sync with the app on your smartphone during play or wait until you’re through from the course.
Well, enabling the shot tracking option lets you tell the device which club you used for a particular shot. This is a useful feature as it will send the data back to your online Garmin account and after five rounds, you’ll be able to access Virtual Caddie.
The touchscreen comes in handy as it lets you drag the pointer to any location on the hole display to see the yardage. This is very useful in situations where you’re looking to lay up and need to know which iron to use to leave you with your preferred distance into the green. This is a feature that’s also invaluable when you can’t see the green and maybe hit a blind shot in over trees or any obstacle.
Also, when the watch is paired with your smartphone, it will take into account wind conditions when suggesting a club. There’s even a ‘Plays Like’ feature which factors in slope and elevation. All of the data recorded during the round will be sent to your Garmin account every time you sync the watch with your smartphone.
All data is stored and displayed in great detail. Saved scorecards, your average distances with each club, even the cool little graphics showing your full drives. You don’t even need the watch to benefit from the Garmin golf account as you can record your score on your phone as you play via the free Garmin Golf app. Combine that with the watch and you have the best experience at the course.
With all the golf features, the Garmin Approach S62 wows with off-course features as well. Again, considering the watch’s asking price, this is much more than just a basic tracker. Garmin did a nice job of integrating the appropriate features from its wide-ranging lineup.
While this isn’t the most ideal watch to take on a hike, use for tracking strength sessions or register nightly sleep, it is very capable still, thanks to Garmin’s Elevate heart rate monitor which is as accurate as optical monitors can achieve, and the built-in GPS tracking is even better.
With the added benefit of a Pulse Ox Sensor – for monitoring oxygen saturation during the day (can be turned on for sleep) – Garmin Pay and notification support, it becomes a pretty exciting experience. There’s also support for Garmin Connect IQ, which allows you to tap into third-party apps for mapping and detailed battery info, while the usual delights of Garmin Connect have you poring over the tracked data.
The Garmin Approach S62 has a pretty respectable battery life, lasting up to 14 days on Smartwatch mode, and up to 20 hours on GPS mode. That can include a couple of GPS-tracked, three-hour rounds in the week, as well as three or four gym sessions.
If you will be playing less golf in the winter months, the S62 will naturally last a bit longer – even if you’ll be using it to track hikes and walks with GPS.
The Garmin Approach S62 isn’t cheap, but it offers a much more comprehensive package when you compare it with rival watches or phone apps. It’s an excellent choice for regular golfers who love digging into their data, with an intuitive design and additional tracking experience that means it’s the best gadget to use when at and away from the course.
That said, the required input and level of tracking will be likely a little more for the average golfer – even those who like the idea of more insights. Again, it’s also a fairly steep learning curve device, as you’ll have to adapt your routine to think about it.
If all this excites you more than it scares you, though, and you’re ready to embrace the wider Garmin experience, then you’ll certainly enjoy your time with this complete Garmin Approach S62 smart golf watch.
Garmin Approach S62, Premium Golf GPS Watch, Built-in Virtual Caddie, Mapping and Full Color Screen, Black (010-02200-00)
4 used from $409.99