After a lifetime of aiming and holding, I’ve finally decided to hang up my laser rangefinder. I have been scouring the market this past week for golf GPS watches. I wanted to experience the best tech out there and the fuss of lightweight gadgets. Garmin has the monopoly on golf wearables and their latest toy, the Garmin Approach S60 is ripe for testing.
So I took a run at this golf GPS watch to see how it holds against its price.
I put its multi-talented fitness-tracking spec to the test throughout my day. And I am finally ready to compare it to one of my favorites, Garmin S6.
- Complete fitness tracker
- Accurate yardages including hazards and doglegs
- Touchscreen color display with full colored course maps
- PinPointer Feature
- QuickFit band for style changes
- Sleek and lightweight for the features
- Phone notifications can be enabled
- 40,000+ pre-loaded courses
- Battery life could be better
- The software of some pieces have been glitch
Garmin has come to a point where executing golf features is like 2nd nature. So they have combined their golf prowess with activity tracking capabilities. The Garmin Approach S60 golf GPS watch has been designed as a complete fitness solution with a high focus on golf. This is a premium watch and the looks match up to the price. The specs of this watch are impressive. I wondered with S60 delivered on all it promised in a way that pleased an old-timer.
I recommend the Garmin S60 for tech-savvy golfers who also take up other workouts during the day like running, walking, swimming etc.. Those who want minimum distractions to their game can go for the S6 or the S2. S60’s gilded features are tempting and take up a few button strokes. There might be a small learning curve to understand and use all its features. But if you are quick with the user interface, you will enjoy using the myriad functions.
- Slope-adjusted distances:
Going by the term ‘Playslike Distance’, this feature accounts for the elevation when playing an uphill or downhill shot. So I don’t have to adjust the actual distance for the elevation changes. This is the same high-end feature that makes Garmin G8 handheld stand apart.
This is another great feature that mostly laser rangefinders boast of. PinPointer points you in the direction of the green when you in the blind. I could swing in the right direction even from dense woods and deep sand traps.
- Training Aid:
The Garmin Approach S60 golf GPS watch can also double as a valuable coach. It has the Swing Tempo training aid which helped me tame my tempo to the golden 3:1 ratio between backswing and downswing. It even allowed me to set my own tempo ratio and ensure all shots were played according to that speed.
If you own the TruSwing sensor, you can pair it with the S60 to measure your swing statistics. Once the TruSwing device is mounted on your club and you swing, the swing metrics appear on the S60 automatically. I’ve been watching some tech-savvy students make use of the metrics and scale their progress over time.
- AutoShot Feature:
The Garmin S60 can automatically detect shots and start measuring shot distance. I use the shot distances averages to select the right golf clubs. I found it profoundly useful that I didn’t have to manually kickstart the measurement.
The greatest advantage of Garmin Approach S60 is how it gives instant access to the statistics of your gameplay. Once I finished playing a hole, I could access the shot-by-shot information for that hole with just three button presses. I could also view the score and other statistics during any point of the round. Round summary collates all the raw data collected from my game into statistics that help me play better next time.
You get to choose the scoring method you want to use in Garmin S60 golf GPS watch. You can select the popular Stableford method for scoring. Or you can enable the Handicap scoring based on the Local Handicap and Handicap index. Scoring function takes multiple buttons strokes. But I like having at least the basic scoring function.
- Connection Features:
The S60 can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth and show notifications received. It automatically shares information with the Garmin Connect account. The Garmin Connect app gives you statistical analysis of your game. It maintains all my activity data for future reference. So I can view a previous game and figure out how I played a particular round well. It really helps me straighten out some difficult shots.
It has the Find my Phone and Find my watch feature. These were life-savers for me as I am prone to leaving my devices around the house. This way, if they are in range they will detect each other. I am yet to properly explore the Connect IQ, but Garmin claims that it extends the device features with new widgets, apps etc.
- Activity Tracking:
The Garmin S60 golf GPS watch comes pre-loaded with apps to track outdoor activities like running, biking and swimming, each with its own custom module. You can also use it for training indoor without the GPS. For example, it measured my speed, distance, and cadence while running.
The S60 automatically creates a goal number of steps you must take based on previous recordings. It has the Move Alert which bugs me to move around if I’ve been stationary for too long. It also gives me sleep statistics if I wear it to the sack. It’s freaky but very helpful for someone with Sleep Apnea or such issues.
Apart from the distance to the center, front and back of the greens, we get distances to hazards, layups, and doglegs.
The Garmin Approach S60 brought back memories of the Fenix. Its suave design is lightweight with a round dial. The dial is just as big as a normal sports watch. You can choose between leather and silicone watch bands. The leather band is premium. But I prefer the silicon band because it repels sweat and doesn’t choke your wrist in the summer like leather. I can easily replace the bands to my preference because of the QuickFit system. The bands snap off without any tools.
The S60 is water-resistant up to 50m under. It holds 1GB worth of internal memory. It weighs 1.8 ounces total.
The Garmin Approach S60 has a touchscreen 1.2” dial. I found the S6’s screen impressive. This one simply blew my mind with its ultra-clear color display with 240 x 240-pixel resolution against S6’s 180 x180. The display is easily readable, come hail or rain.
In the Hole View, the Garmin Approach S60 automatically updated the holes for me as I finished one hole. I can also drag the hole indicator to change the hole in case the automated function is stuck. It has the Green View which allows me to move the Pin to a location of my choice. All the distances are updated accordingly.
The battery of Garmin Approach S60 lasts through 10 hours in Golfing mode or 10 days in watch mode. Since it’s a golf watch and fitness tracker, I expected a little more battery life. What if I don’t get time to charge it between activities?
B. Course Detail
Garmin Approach S60 golf App boasts of covering 40,000 golf courses worldwide. It is the largest database we have seen lately. There’s no subscription fee for updating the database either. I just downloaded the Garmin Express App for updating the local course which had changed slightly in hole arrangement.
The Garmin Golf app also helps golfers compete with each other from any of these 40,000 courses. They even have a weekly leaderboard that I could join. It definitely gave me a big kick to play better and practice harder.
C. Setup/ Syncing
The Setup was a breeze. I charged it off the AC adapter and was good to go.
If I were a more cautious user, I would download the Garmin Express app for the PC and the Garmin Connect app for my cellphone. I ran a course update to make sure the courses were all latest before heading out. These apps also help with software updates and a short device registration process.
I know some users who have had trouble syncing with the Garmin App repeatedly. So I wouldn’t rate the S60 as perfect just yet. The software needs tweaking to work well in all the pieces. Hopefully, the Quality Management team at Garmin will sort out this issue. S60 is an expensive watch. Nobody wants to be mired in connection issues especially with Garmin Connect which records and shows the Statistics.
D. Ease of Use
As I feared, the Garmin Approach S60 golf GPS watch has one too many functions to peruse. And this could be distracting. Most of the options are based on the control menu. I can add, remove or reorder the widgets without any issues. This gives me the freedom to arrange the control menu to my preference.
I could zoom in and out of the Hazard view and point to anywhere on the course and find the distance to the point. The screen is moderately large enough for my fingers.
The Garmin S60 has improved over the previous golf GPS watches in terms of accuracy. Dusting off my trusty old rangefinder I found the distances from both within 2 yards of each other. The feature of moving the Flag around also adds to the accuracy of the device.
F. Social Proof
To gather the user opinions, I went through reviews of Garmin S60 users. The vote is split on this Garmin golf GPS watch. Customers love that the options for customization on this watch turn it into a very personal device. There are a number of nifty features that I haven’t even discovered yet. The all-around fitness tracking is useful for someone with multiple athletic interests as many people are these days. Garmin gets brownie points from the users for no subscription fee and the special PlaysLike distance feature. Although it debuted as an expensive watch, it has come to a more agreeable price for its feature set. So I expect the popularity to rise.
While a number of people reveled in the glory of all its features, there were half as many miffed by the watch’s apparent refusal to lock on GPS satellites sometimes. That and the occasional Syncing issue with Garmin S60 aside, I was suitably enamored by the S60.
I was on the lookout for some golf GPS watches that returns high value for money. The Garmin S60 is perfectly positioned at its current price to do so. It’s a cutting edge creation with a lot of customizable features for the technologically-forward golfer. It goes with the current generation’s inclination towards all fitness-related activities. And it has managed to do so without adding to the size of the watch. There are some software issues as with every smartwatch of this generation. Fortunately, the ability to push software updates will help the consumers warm up to S60 more.
Last updated on August 10th, 2018 at 06:44 pm