Garmin Approach S20

8.0 score
[Editors rating (8.0) + Users rating (10.0)] / 2 = (TheGearHunt) score (8.0)/10

Editor rating: 8.0 / 10
User's rating: based on 1 user ratings
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Garmin Approach S20 Review Facts

Smartwatches are no longer just a fly by night accessory, and many people are finding them to be like computers in that the one they own is out of date and not being supported anymore. If you have one that seems to be a few years old, and a couple of versions out of date, you may be looking to upgrade and get a new one. With that in mind, we too, are trying to assure we can keep you up with all your options, and Garmin is one of the biggest and most reliable brands you can go with.

If you are curious as to what this particular Garmin has to offer, feel free to follow along as we delve into what makes this smartwatch something to look at. It may be a better fit, especially if it’s golf you prefer, over swimming or walking. What does it offer besides a different sport to work with? Let’s find out if it holds up to the older styles and doesn’t end up catering to only one crowd.

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • Great for golfing
  • Great appearance
  • Accurate
  • Easy to read
  • Great battery life
  • Waterproof
  • Heart monitor
  • No subscription required
  • Navigation difficult
  • Hard to press one handed
  • Not a touch screen


If you are looking for a completely specialized smartwatch for golfing, you have finally found it and it is from a company most smartwatch users trust. This particular watch follows the same line as a predecessor, the S4, but it is actually a bit less expensive. It doesn’t really hold many new options, though, which is a let down for a few who were hoping for new ways to use their golfing smartwatch.

This watch can keep track of what par you are on, the distance, your swing and seems to be highly accurate in tracking how well you are doing. It does keep track of your steps, and even your running as well, allowing you to track some basic activity. The watch is said to have other sports in which it can keep some activity on, but in the end, it is truly built for golfers.

Basic Features

At its most basic, the watch keeps track of time and has a large enough display to be easily readable even outdoors or in dim lighting. It’s even backlit which makes it hold less glare. The band itself isn’t anything spectacular, but the rectangular design does give a much more comfortable, and less bulky, look to it. This is also a specialty smartwatch, so you are not going to find a whole lot of extra features.

If you want a sleek golf tracking watch, this is where you will want to go. With an easy to see the display and lightweight design, you won’t have to worry about having your swing thrown off by a watch that slides around your wrist or hampers the way you bend either. Simply put it on, set up and head out for a day on the course.

Advanced Features

With a smartwatch, you could put the many features under the basic, honestly. Since it is obviously going to have menus and likely have some connection to the internet for its features to be usable, these could be considered ‘basic’. However, we feel with how quickly technology advances today, even though it is expected, these are not really ‘basic’.

The awesome feature with this golfing smartwatch is that it has many of the known golf courses already pre-mapped out on the device. You simply go into the menu, select the course you are on and you are ready to go It takes into consideration the layout, your swing, your steps, and even keeps your score. Thanks to a few additional apps, it can also give you tips and help you with improvements to your game. It even has a practice swing feature, so you can train to get your best game on.


The S20 offers Bluetooth connection which can make it easy to pair up with other technology you carry with the same features. No more having to plug in via cord to your cell phone to upload data, you can use this connection and take it right to your apps for keeping track. This feature also allows you to receive other alerts from emails to texts even. It helps you be able to stay on track and not have to keep reaching for your phone to see what an alert is for.


While generally speaking you can get the same information on your watch as you can on the apps that it is used in conjunction with via phone or computer, the latter two are slightly easier to read and get the information from. The apps offer a ‘before you swing’ rundown of what would be the best way to handle the shot as well as details about the hole itself, which prepares you for the shot. An ‘autoshot round analyzer’ which measures distance and records shot locations on your GPS for you is great for finding your perfect spot.

One of the best app features is a connection to the local golfing community as well as the larger worldwide community. Everyone with the app can record their game, upload and share their experience with others. This means you can compare notes with other players in an effort to improve your game and even help others to improve theirs, all while just enjoying your own game.


With the sleek design, this watch makes it a breeze to wear and play in. The screen isn’t bulky and with its rectangular shape, it doesn’t cause issues with wrist flexibility when you go to swing. Something many players do not consider on a professional level is that a watch that does not fit properly, when it slides, can affect your swing. That’s what makes this adjustable band a great thing, you can assure that it doesn’t slide, leaving you raw and taking that attention and balance off of your game.


Thinking ahead, as they usually do, Garmin created a sleek looking product that looks good and has great apps to work with. The only downside to the style is that it isn’t a touch screen. While we often focus on appearance for this section, it is actually the functionality of the style that drew our attention here.

Instead of an easy to scroll and see with touch, it ended up being designed with buttons, which is an older method of getting through a smartwatch menu. In some ways that’s good, but with a sport based smartwatch, it seemed a bad thought to us. Otherwise, this watch looks great and with its backlit face, it gives us a nice style fit for outdoor use.


With the way this watch is made, it seems to be pretty durable straight off the rack. Seeing ahead to the possibility of ending up in the water, it can stand up to 50mm depths without causing damage. This means you can enjoy golfing and even get caught in the rain without freaking out if it actually ends up getting pretty drenched.

With the replaceable interchangeable leather and plastic straps, you can choose what is both most comfortable and what will last longest with your level of activity. Making it not a touch screen does lower the necessity for it to be scratch-proof, but the sport of choice does tend to be one where you may want some sort of protection. Unfortunately, this only comes in the way of purchasing screen protectors. These are offered, but it seems a slight oversight by Garmin not to have a scratch-resistant face.


This particular watch has a very nicely sized face to it with a fully digital face which is backlit and sun readable. What this means is that you can read it easily in the sun or bright lights without an issue, and it’s easy to read even when the light gets dim. The size is also great because nothing is too scrunched up or small to make out. Many believe the design took its cue after Apple and that they did a great job implementing the overall size and shape to make it both comfortable and easy to read.

The shape of the face also means that you don’t have to worry about it interfering with your swing, plus it isn’t top heavy. A circular face often has a tendency to slide around the arm, with the rectangular shape, it’s balanced properly and will be more likely to stay in place on top of your arm, making it less of a distraction.


This brand has always offered a variety of styles and types of band. The gold line appears to be no different. They offer a variety of colors and have leather as well as the usual hard bands so that you can find one that fits comfortably and conforms to your style both in appearance and how it feels on your skin. Because they are interchangeable, it also means you don’t have to worry if a band snaps or breaks from wear- you can get a replacement or use an extra you may have gotten and quickly fix the issue.

Ease of Use

The watch has a beautiful display, and each option is easy to read and understand, however, this seems to be where the ease stops. Everyone has had one major complaint when it comes to the use of this product, and that is its user interface. Since it isn’t touch screen, they had to implement buttons to take over the control of menus and for putting information in.

Unfortunately, the way the menus work and how to put this information it is not a simple one or two-button process. You have to press your way through the menu, select which part of the watch you want to use, press more buttons to reach the spot in the current setting you want to change in order to change it, select that and then change it. All that work just to put in your scores and suddenly it isn’t as appealing to do so. Many even complained that it is actually to difficult to press through with just a single hand.


At least when you get to the rechargeable battery you will find this watch is easier to use. It comes with a USB recharging cable which can be plugged into any USB plug and then the other end gets clipped to the watch to recharge it. The great news is that the charge actually holds a great charge thanks to the simplicity of the display itself. Since it doesn’t have a colorful setup, but rather has a simple black and white display, it doesn’t take much to run. This means you will have a longer lifespan than some of the fancier golf watches that give full color.


This was a major complaint when the watch first came out. Despite there being another version still on the market, and that version still being at its original retail, this one was not lower priced. Thankfully it has dropped quite a bit since then and sits at nearly $100 USD less than it originally was priced for. You can find this product for $150 now and for the different modes, appearance and easy readability, it isn’t a bad buy.

Garmin also tends to offer warranties and will even fix their products if something goes wrong while it is being used properly. So, you really don’t have to feel like your biting the bullet, unlike with less reputable companies.


All the watch truly comes with is itself, its band and the charger. That being said its favored feature only works if you have the Garmin TruSwing band which comes separately as an accessory. What this does is lets the watch read your swing as mentioned. It takes strength, movement and power into consideration when paired with the band to help you perfect your game.

Of course, other accessories include the usual for any real smartwatch. Extra bands, a car charger, and extra adapters if needed so you always have one on hand.

Key Features

-Connects to TruSwing
-Battery life
-Easy to read display
-Pre-set golf course layouts
-Low glare

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a golfing partner in a watch, this one has you covered in many ways. However, if you aren’t willing to put effort into getting through all the menus and their options, this might not be what you are looking for.