Garmin Approach S1 Golf GPS Watch Reviews

"I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post."

Today, we share about Garmin S1 reviews.

The Garmin Approach S1 golf GPS watch brings the distances to your wrist-top, fast and accurate. It has been succeeded by more versatile and smarter golf watches with more crucial features. But S1 remains the definition of simplicity and a reliable model to build on.

What’s new about Garmin Approach S1 Golf GPS Watch?

The feature set of Garmin Approach S1 golf GPS watch, though limited, is executed efficiently in that all operations are seamless. There are no software glitches or hardware oversights. We tackle the design and features point-wise below:

Garmin Approach S1 Golf GPS Watch


The Garmin Approach S1 looks like a sports watch with a round body. The screen is 1 inch across and the body is only slightly bigger. At 1.8 ounces, it is the lightest, most compact golf watch we have tested to date. So it can be worn with regular clothes outside of a golf course. It is available in black and white models.


The operations are carried out by four buttons on diagonal points of the circular body. One is the power/backlight button, a second one is an OK/menu button and then the up/down buttons to scroll through the menu options. Between these four, the operations are smoothly handled.


Garmin Approach S1 golf GPS watch carries a black and white screen that can be easily read in any light. It has a backlight that stays on for around 8s after you press the backlight button.


This golf GPS watch has a silicone strap with extended holes along the sides for ventilation and the quick-release strap system.


The Garmin Approach S1 is charged via a USB-to-clip cable. There are multiple leads on the clip which connect to the back of the watch. Although they may feel tight, all leads might not touch properly until you fiddle with the charger. Look at the screen for charging status before walking away.


The Garmin Approach S1 golf GPS watch shows you distance to the center, front, and back of the greens. The center distance is in the largest font size in the center of the dial. The other two yardages are in slightly smaller font at the top and bottom of the screen. There are no hazard distances though. Garmin S2 and S3 don’t provide hazard distances either. But S2 provides layup and doglegs.

Shot distance:

A standard feature in most golf GPS watches, the S1 goes into measurement mode for tracking shot distances. You can note down the shot distances separately, as it doesn’t save the values, only measures them.

Course Coverage:

The course database of pre-loaded course maps is region-specific in the Garmin Approach S1. If you buy the US version, you get 16,000+ courses. You have a Canadian version of Canadian courses. Suffice to say, they cannot take this golf watch global. It is best suited for leisure golfing at golf clubs within the country.

Auto hole Advance:

The S1 golf GPS watch advances to the next hole on the golf course once you have finished with one. While you cannot switch off the auto advance, you can manually reverse or advance the hole number. Hole and par information is provided on the screen. Hole handicaps are not available though.


You can personalize the Garmin S1 golf watch through some preference settings. You can choose between yards and meters for distance readings, the language of the watch, alert sound, etc.


Watch functions:

The S1 has a watch face that turns it into an innocent-looking watch when you are not playing. It shows the time and date. You can also set an alarm on it. It also has an odometer which helps you map the number of steps you walked.

Course Updates:

We first got a real whiff of Garmin’s camaraderie when it announced zero subscription fee for course updating. You can simply connect it to your PC and run the updates through a Web Updater program.


We found the distances from the Garmin S1 golf GPS watch to be accurate within 2-4 yards. This is all you need with the convenience of GPS on your wrist. The satellites lock quickly. The accuracy remains consistent throughout the years of use.

Battery Life:

The rechargeable battery of Garmin S1 can get through 6-8 hours of GPS-ing. So we are estimating a maximum of 2 rounds of golf per charge. In the newer versions of the Garmin Approach line, the battery life is better. As a watch, it can show time for 3 weeks before going dead.


The S1 can withstand up to 1m of water pressure for 30 mins which means it will survive the rains until you find safe cover but do not take it swimming.

How to use Garmin Approach S1?

The Garmin Approach S1 golf GPS watch is designed to be used without any hassles right out of the box. We do recommend charging it to full potential before the initial use.

You can update the software and course database directly through a PC program called the Web Updater. It requires minimal manual supervision. This program automatically recognizes the device and shows available updates, if any.

The GPS satellites lock and distance reading is instant in spite of this being a 7-year old technology. Once you switch the GPS on, you can access the menu which will show the 10 nearest courses based on your location at the time.

You can select the course you are playing and after that, the operation is pretty much hands-free. It will recognize the hole nearby and advance itself after tackling every green.

We sorely miss the hazard distances here because, with the available buttons, we can scroll between the three nearest hazard distances easily.

There is no manual flag-moving feature or scorecard ability either.

Bottom Line

Garmin Approach S1 golf GPS watch is the most user-friendly golf tech we have used in a while. The fee-free access to updated course databases is a big plus. It makes a good golf GPS watch for the uninitiated or leisure golfer. Barring the lack of features that we see in the Garmin handhelds, the S1 defines convenience.  What do you think about our Garmin Approach S1 reviews?

Related Posts


Offers & Crazy Deal

Photo of author
Dominic J. Leon
Dominic J. Leon. I am a golfer with a deep passion for golf right from my childhood. I have added unbiased product reviews for all the latest golf equipment from the market leaders. Follow me on: Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin, Tumblr.
Leave a Comment