Garmin Approach S20 GPS Watch Review – The Approach S20 is Garmin’s entry level golf GPS watch and offers the essential functions for yardages using a button menu rather than a touchscreen.
Garmin Approach S20 GPS Watch Review
Like most Garmin watches it is light and the rubber strap is easy to adjust and comfortable to wear.
Garmin make a lot of devices across many activities and these multi-sport manufacturers tend to make watches that are more stylish than golf specific GPS manufacturers.
The functional Approach S20 may not be a stunner, but it is better than most and the slim design and graphics on the time screen mean that you can feel comfortable wearing it on and off the course.
It charges quickly through a USB cable with a dedicated clip quickly and it managed to hold the charge easily for a round or two, plus it is waterproof which makes it handy for summer golf in the UK.
To start the golf GPS function you click the top right OK button and select start round and the S20 found the course I was on in around a minute, which is middle of the road for these things.
The yardages to front, middle and back along with the hole number and the par are displayed clearly on the screen together with an outline of the green shape that looks like a bit like scared child has drawn it.
To scroll between the holes is very easy using the Up and Down buttons on the left of the S20. There is also more information available on each hole for hazards, lay ups and scoring which is all good stuff to have.
I could explain how you get there, but I am not going to because the navigation is not very user friendly. It generally involves clicking OK on the top right to bring up a new menu and then Up and Down on the left to scroll through this menu and then OK again to select or Back in the bottom right to give up.
Usually you need to hold the watch on one side with a thumb or finger so that you can push a button against this digit on the opposite side. I am pretty coordinated, but I found alternating sides to bring up menus and then selecting options had my fingers jumping from one side to another like sailors tacking against the wind.
The information was pretty accurate, but if it is hassle to view it then you are not going to use it, especially the scoring which needs a minimum of 3 clicks before you can enter a score.
Most watches struggle to get hazard information displayed correctly and the Approach S20 has a different take on it which visually looks like an approach to a roundabout.
The letter in the circle shows where said hazard is relative to the roundabout styled green and having a distance to the hazard and then another for over it was a plus point over many other watches.
As well as the middle yardage there is also a Move Flag option where you can scroll the flag around 9 or so pre-defined points to get a specific yardage, but that only works if you know what sector the flag is in before you play.
The front and back yardage does however adjust to your angle of attack, so that is good, provided you have the stamina to get to this screen.
If you have a Garmin TruSwing swing sensor you can connect it to the Approach S20 and see the results of your latest swish on your wrist, which is pretty cool and ideal for practising instead of having to look at the Garmin Connect App on your phone all the time.
As the Approach S20 comes from a multi-sport activity background, it can also measure walking and steps and then sync them to the Garmin Connect App on your iOS or Andriod device so you can see how healthy you are being.
Therefore if you are looking for a device to be a cross between and activity tracker and golf GPS then the Approach S20 has some merit. The Garmin Connect App is free, easy to use and the facility to connect and sync wirelessly using Bluetooth is quick and easy.
When I was using it with the TruSwing, results were appearing in real time and this ability to get different devices talking to each other directly rather than going through the phone all the time is a strength of Garmin products.
The Approach S20 looks like a strapless Approach G10 with an extra £60 on the price tag for putting it on your wrist and the option of connecting to the TruSwing. Even with the mind bending navigation, the clip on G10 could be a reasonable buy as a budget GPS. However at the higher price point the S20 watch comes up against stiffer opposition that may not look as good, but is more user friendly.
If you particularly want a Garmin GPS watch for all the connection opportunities, then if you can afford it, the Approach S4 or Approach S6 with the touch screen menu and on screen message notifications from your phone would be the ones to go for.
Garmin Approach S20 Golf GPS Rangefinder – Product Details
|UK Launch||February 2016|
|UK Launch RRP||£179.99|
|USA Launch||February 2016|
|Device Type||GPS Watch|
|Dimensions||Width: 37.4mm, Height: 47.6mm, Depth: 11.3mm|
|Screen Size||Width: 23mm, Height: 23mm|
|Device Weight||42.2 grams|
|Manufacturer’s Website||Garmin Website|
Reviewed by Martin Hopley – Golfalot.com