The Garmin Approach S2 Review: All You Need to Know to Choose Wisely

By | July 26, 2018
(Last Updated On: April 7, 2019)

Are you thinking of getting a GPS watch for golfers? The Garmin Approach S2 is worth considering as it can easily improve your game. You only have to select from a list of golf courses near you, choose the one you are in, and the Garmin Approach S2 will be able to locate it, what hole you are in, the par, and your exact location on the course. After that, the Approach S2 will also be able to display the front, middle and back distances, and these can help you figure out which golf club to use for your next shot.

That is just one way the Garmin Approach S2 can help you improve your game. What other features does the Garmin Approach S2 have?

  • Great style. The Approach S2 has a flexible look that allows you to wear it on and off the golf course. If you like an understated style, you can get the black Approach S2. But you can get other colors if you want a flashier look.
  • At least 40,000 golf courses. The Garmin Approach S2 has details to more than 40,000 golf courses already preloaded in to the watch itself. This just keeps on getting better because you get lifetime updates for free. There are four updates available every year.
  • Digital scorecards. You can enter the scores into the Garmin Approach S2, making it very convenient to keep score. You do not have to worry about scorecards, pens, or pencils.
  • Long battery life. The problem with GPS watches is that turning on the GPS would deplete the battery of your watch at a much faster rate. Because you are probably playing the whole day, this is a very important consideration. The good news is that the Garmin Approach S2 is designed to last around 36 holes, or just enough for a long day of golf. If you are out of the golf course, the watch can go for around three weeks before needing to be recharged.

What you would like about the Garmin Approach S2

The Garmin Approach S2 has a lot of golf courses pre-loaded into it, making it easier to find the one you are playing in. It makes pinpointing your location fast and easy, and the GPS is very accurate. The Garmin Approach S2 can measure shot distances and includes an odometer.

It also has a very good-looking design, a convenient scorecard function, and information on the distance to the dogleg or layup locations.

What could be better

The Approach S2 does not give you the distance over ponds or bunkers, which makes it very limited when it comes to hazard yardage. It also does not give you the width of the fairway.

Some people also do not like how the Garmin Approach S2 looks. It looks more like an old digital watch and not the smart, tech-filled watch you’d expect. The display is also quite small at 64 x 32 pixels. A lot of the watch face has been taken up by the borders of the watch, when it could have been used for the data that the watch delivers.

There are also times when you would need to manually adjust the location so that you are in the correct hole.

Alternatives to the Garmin Approach S2

It has been two years since Garmin came out with the Approach S2 and there are now several other GPS golf smartwatches in the market that do things better or that have a more modern look.

Hole 19 mobile app

First of all, there is an Android Wear and Apple Watch app that you can download that will convert your current smartwatch into a golf watch. The Hole 19 is free to download and use, and it helps you leave your other golf GPS devices at home.

The good news is that the Hole 19 offers much of the features and functionalities that you want in a GPS golf watch and dedicated golf trackers. The interface is understandably smaller, but it is as easy to use as dedicated trackers. The app uses the GPS found on your current smartwatch to measure distances. Hole 19 has a digital scorecard and a flyover view of the holes, and it also allows you to book a course for your next golf game.

The only problem is that you would need to have a smartwatch with GPS to download and use Hole 19, and then have your smartphone handy for the hole maps. It also does not have automatic shot tracking.

In this instance, you might still want to buy the Garmin Approach S2 for the pre-loaded maps and the convenience of being able to leave your smartphone at home.

Other golf GPS smartwatches

If you are really looking into buying a GPS golf watch, you can choose the Garmin Approach S2, or any one of these great alternatives.

1. Callaway GPSy Sports Watch

Callaway is a known designer and manufacturer of sporting goods, including golf accessories and equipment. Is it any wonder that they threw their hats into the GPS golf wearable space?

Callaway GPSy Sports watch sells for around $140 on Amazon and this watch has a good battery that can last up to 12 hours with the GPS turned on. Check the latest price here!

Available in black or white, the Callaway GPSy Sports Watch tracks your movement as you play. It has pre-loaded maps for 30,000 courses. You have green lay-up and carry distances information, as well as information on dog-legs and hazards. This GPS watch will also score your games automatically and even track the number of steps you make.

2. Bushnell Excel GPS

If you are looking for a GPS golf watch that you would want to wear even after the tee time, then you should get the Bushnell Excel GPS. The stylish design on this watch is sure to turn heads. But that is not its only draw: the GPS is really accurate!

It helps you with shot measurements and distances, and informs you about the different hazards that you will see when you play.

The user interface on this smartwatch has received mixed reactions. There are people who love the buttons that allow you to control your smartwatch, giving you a throwback feeling. Meanwhile, others would have preferred a touch display.

The good news is that you can play three rounds of golf before you would need to charge the watch. The bad news is that some of the features that it offers, such as the Swing Pro, may disappoint you as they need to be improved.

3. TomTom Golfer 2

The TomTom Golfer 2 comes in two colors: black and light gray. It costs around $160 on Amazon. Check the latest price here!

The TomTom Golfer 2 has automatic shot detection that allows you to score your games without having to use a pen or pencil. But what should make you take notice of the TomTom Golfer 2 is the Mysports app, which analyzes your golf game and gives you insights that you could use to improve your game. The app can help you review shot patterns, along with comparing a hole with other holes in other courses. The TomTom Golfer 2, in short, makes it easier for you to track your game both on and out of the course.

4. GolfBuddy BB5

Another great-looking GPS golf watch that you can buy is the GolfBuddy BB5. This sleek-looking watch would be a welcome addition to your wrist. Unlike most of the watches we have recommended so far, you have more color choices with the GolfBuddy BB5: black, teal, white, lime, pink, navy, and orange.

The GolfBuddy BB5, however, has a basic screen. But it has all the features you would like. It can automatically advance from one hole to another and automatically show you the distances you need to know.

There are more than 37,000 courses that are already pre-loaded into the GolfBuddy BB5. Aside from the GPS, it also has an accelerometer to measure the shots that you take. It can also do double duty as an activity tracker.

5. Garmin Approach X40

Of course, Garmin also has the Approach X40, which also does double duty as an activity tracker with a heart rate sensor. It comes in a variety of colors, including limelight, white, black, and frost blue. With 10 hours of battery life with the GPS turned on, this is a very accurate device that boasts more than 40,000 golf courses already pre-loaded.

The Garmin Approach X40 will also track your iron shots and drives automatically, so that you could see how you performed over time.

Remember, on top of keeping track of your golf game, the Garmin Approach X40 can also keep track of the number of steps you have made, the distance you have moved, and the number of calories you have burned.

Final say

The Garmin Approach S2 might not give you every detail of a golf course where you are playing in, but it is a very affordable GPS golf watch that is just perfect for practicing golfers. You can buy it for $199.99 new on Amazon. Check out the latest price here!

There are some alternatives that you can choose from, but Garmin Approach S2 remains to be a budget-friendly GPS golf watch that can help you improve your game. If this is your first time to buy a golf smartwatch, then you cannot go wrong with the Approach S2.

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