Dec 122011

Article by Martin Adam Harris

I’ve been using Golf GPS rangefinders now for about a year and a new product on the market that’s caught my attention has been the Garmin S1 Golf Watch.

It’s unlike most golf GPS products as it’s actually worn on the wrist as a watch. Despite what you might assume, it’s not huge and clunky, and in fact looks pretty stylish, but then if you know Garmin you will know they also make GPS Sports Watches and are the market leader there so it should come as no surprise.

What I like about it most is the fact that it recognises any golf courses that are nearby as soon as it is turned on, or the when the GPS is switched to active.

The Approach S1 uses a high-sensitity GPS receiver that is inside the watch. That’s how the magic happens.

It’s just like wearing a light digital watch, and the information useful to golfers is that it shows distance to the front, back, and middle of the green. This has let me improve my handicap and judge shot distances so much better. Oh, and it is legal to use this under the rules of golf so don’t feel guilty for taking the advantage in this way!

Pre-Loaded Golf Courses

There are thousands of golf courses already loaded onto the Garmin Approach S1. It doesn’t actually display the golf course layouts like the sister Garmin products Approach G3 and G5 do. However that’s not really important as the distances displayed are completely precise so you can measure your shots easily.

Odometer – How Far Did I Walk?

If you’re a data freak like me, you’ll also want to know how far you’ve walked over the course of a game. You can do that because Approach S1 comes with a built-in odometer in it which will tell you how far you walked throughout your game of golf.

Importantly, as I tend to play in all weather and am quite clumsy by nature, the Garmin Approach watch is not only waterproof, but it’s also pretty sturdy. You can give it a good whack and it still works.

No Subscription Fees or Hidden Charges

One of the most favourable features for me is that unlike other Golf GPS products I’ve owned, with Garmin you don’t need to subscribe. All the set-up and course data is free with no subscriptions. And in the unlikely event you find that your golf course isn’t on the Approach S1 you can download free updates from the Garmin website.

I’ve played around 30 courses in the last year, and they were all pre-loaded into the GPS Watch.

There’s a Garmin Approach website with more information on it, so if you want to Buy Garmin Approach S1 you can do that.

I would recommend it over the other Garmin Golf GPS products, but ultimately it depends on what your budget is.


I am a keen golfer and like to share my thoughts with how my game is progressing. I hope you enjoy my review and golf anecdotes. If my review didn’t answer all your question then there is also a Garmin Approach S1 Review on this website that I also contribute to.

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