Garmin’s latest golf-dedicated sportswatch, the Approach S60, packs in all the high-tech functionality you need to play the perfect round. But that’s not all it can do – it’s also a great activity tracker and supports other sports. Plus its robust, good-looking design means you can confidently wear it all day long, no matter what you’re getting up to.

Sure, birds of a feather flock together. But even completely different varieties have some fundamentals in common. For example, eagles and albatross, apart from being golfing terms, both have feathers, beaks and wings. Garmin seems to have incorporated this kind of thinking into their 2017 line of sportswatches – and it’s a strategy that’s working. First athletes and outdoor adventures got the highly-acclaimed fenix 5. Then boaters and watersports enthusiasts got their turn with the recent launch of the quatix 5. And now dedicated golfers can get onto the new high-tech wearable bus with the arrival of the nav giant’s latest wearable rendition, the Approach S60. Although each watch is completely different from the next, line all three up and their underlying commonality becomes obvious.

Simply put, what Garmin has done is take a common design architecture, then configure each product line for specific outdoor activities – giving users from a wide variety of sporting codes the exact information they need to up their game, while sharing much of the high-tech functionality that’s made the fenix range so hugely successful. And fortunately for us, Garmin concentrated on aesthetics too; another common theme you’ll find right across their current sportswatch range. So when you strap the Approach S60 to your wrist, you’re basically wearing a good-looking fenix 5 (sans heart rate monitor) in disguise – but for golf.

Garmin Approach S60 features at a glance

  • Sleek, smart-looking GPS golf watch that reflects your passion, both on and off the course
  • 1.2-inch sunlight-readable, responsive colour touchscreen display
  • Instantly shows precise yardages to greens, hazards and doglegs on full-colour course maps
  • More than 40 000 preloaded courses from around the world
  • New intuitive user interface
  • GPS, Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ enabled
  • Water resistant to 5 ATM
  • All day activity tracker. Records steps, distance, calories, sleep and more
  • Vibration enabled for alarms and smart notifications
  • Battery life: up to 10 hours in golf mode; up to 10 days in watch mode
  • QuickFit bands for fast style changes without tools
  • 1 GB memory
  • Connect IQ compatible

How the Approach S60 helps up your game
To say the Approach S60 is one competent golf watch would have to be the understatement of the year. Apart from the usual golf features you’d expect to find on a dedicated Garmin golf device – namely details for over 40 000 courses worldwide and free lifetime updates – this smart, wrist-mounted assistant boasts a number of new features that dedicated golfers are sure to get excited about.

First up, the new PlaysLike feature takes into account elevation changes between players and targets, then calculates what the distances will play like. For example, if the shot is downhill, it’ll show that the shot will play shorter than it actually is – making your club selection much less of a gamble. SwingTempo measures the relationship between your upswing and downswing. While TempoTraining – using a 3:1 ratio – provides you with tactile vibration feedback, so you can better synchronize your swing mechanics and work on fine-tuning your swing tempo. And, when paired with Garmin’s TruSwing sensor, the Approach S60 provide you with swing speed and club path angles to help improve your swing consistency, too.

AutoShot also lets players easily review, map and analyse all of their detected shots from each round they play. This feature automatically records the location and distance of each detected shot, and then uploads it to your Garmin Connect account for post-round analysis. Plus, in addition to seeing how far a shot was, players can also use AutoShot data to compare stats from previous rounds, review distances for each club, and analyse their tendencies as they work on fine-tuning their game.

Incidently, the free Garmin Connect mobile app can also be used to receive updates for the courses you play the most often thanks to the CourseView auto updater – which automatically sends updates to the device.

Additionally, the Approach S60 measures precise distances to the front, back and middle of the green, as well as the distance to course targets like sand traps, water hazards, layups and doglegs. Players can also use the Green View feature to see the outline of the green on each hole and manually position the pin to that day’s location to get the most accurate measurements.

The Approach S60’s many golfing features:

  • Yardage to Front/Middle/Back of Green
  • Yardage to layups/doglegs
  • Measures shot distance (calculates exact yardage for shots from anywhere on course)
  • Digital scorecard
  • Custom targets
  • Stat tracking (strokes, putts per round, greens and fairways hit and average shot distance)
  • Garmin AutoShot
  • Full vector map
  • Auto CourseView updates
  • Green View with manual pin position
  • Hazards and course targets
  • PinPointer
  • PlaysLike distance
  • Touch-targeting (touch target on display to see the distance to any point)
  • Handicap scoring
  • SwingTempo
  • Tempo Training
  • TruSwing compatible
  • Round timer/odometer

Adding more fun and competition to the equation
To add another level of fun and competition, the Approach S60 is also compatible with Garmin’s new Golf app. This free offering allows users to compete against friends and fellow golfers on the same course, plus view other players’ ranks, scores, handicaps and more. Players can set up their own tournament event and invite multiple friends to compete, plus they can chat with each other and post their results for others to see. Players can also utilize the app for live scoring as they’re playing their round; scores entered on the device will automatically sync to the app for instant updates as they play.

Other things the Approach S60 can do
The Approach S60 also features a number of preloaded sport and outdoor recreation profiles, so you don’t have to just use it for golf. It supports both running and cycling (road and indoor). When swimming (in a pool) it captures the following metrics: lengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate and calories. And for those more intent on having active outdoor fun, rather than taking part in structured sport – it supports skiing, snowboarding, XC skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, rowing and indoor rowing.

Doubling as an all-day activity tracker, the Approach S60 works with Garmin’s free Connect mobile app to monitor and record daily steps, calories burned, distance covered and sleep. Plus it features move alerts to ensure users remain active throughout their day. It also receives smart notifications from compatible smartphones, so you can stay connected with notifications for call, texts, emails and more right on your watch. And, when paired with the app, the watch can also provide weather forecasts. So you’ll know whether you need to pack the brolly or not before heading out to play your round.

Boasting a modern style that goes way beyond the clubhouse, the Approach S60 is also compatible with the popular QuickFit watchbands that can be easily interchanged in seconds, without tools. They’re available in an assortment of coloured silicone, leather or stainless steel styles, and can be interchanged with a number of Garmin multisport watches, including the popular fenix 5 series.

The Approach S60 can get up to ten hours of battery life golfing and up to ten days in watch mode with activity tracking. Finally, it also boasts a 5 ATM water rating – so it can easily withstand the elements, whether you get caught in a sudden rainstorm or find yourself sweating it out on a really hot summer’s day. – (c) 2017 NavWorld

Garmin Approach S60 specifications:

Lens material: Chemically strengthened glass
Bezel material: Polymer or ceramic
Physical size: 46 x 46 x 14.5 mm
Weight: Black and White: 52 g; Premium: 61 g
Display size and type: 30.5 mm; sunlight visible, always on, low power display
Sensors: GPS, compass, gyroscope, accelerometer
Smart features: Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ connectivity; VIRB remote; smartphone compatible


About The Author

Sean Woods

Originally a photographer for the Star newspaper in the bad old days, Sean Woods turned to writing after the first democratic elections in '94. The career shift paid serious dividends, culminating in him becoming associate editor for Popular Mechanics magazine with a number of technology writing awards under his belt. His interests include anything to do with boats, motorcycles and all those fancy tech gadgets that help the modern world go around.

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