50 Words or Less
The Garmin Approach S62 GPS golf watch is loaded with great features. Small learning curve. Awesome battery life. Loads of uses beyond golf.
I’ve been slowly weening myself off of my laser rangefinder in favor of GPS watches. For pace of play and good course management, a GPS watch can’t be beat. However, I do miss some of the abilities that my rangefinder gave me. Can a full-featured GPS watch like the Garmin Approach S62 be the perfect compromise? I tested it to find out.
Set Up & Ease of Use
After giving it a full charge, the initial set up of the Garmin Approach S62 took about five minutes. I downloaded the Garmin Golf app, paired the watch with my phone, created an account, and answered a handful of questions. I wouldn’t regard this as a significant barrier, but don’t expect to unbox this watch and head straight to the course.
In terms of usability, the S62 has a learning curve that’s not nearly as steep as I expected given the overwhelming list of features. The main thing you need to figure out is when to use the touchscreen vs the buttons. After wearing it for a day at home, I felt very comfortable navigating the everyday features.
For on course use, I would recommend giving yourself five to ten minutes to figure things out. I wore the S62 to the course for a photo session and used that opportunity to familiarize myself with it before I played. This was invaluable as I got all my trial and error out of the way before my round. Nothing about the S62 is complicated, but you need to figure out how to use different features and how to navigate the yardages on each hole.
One final note: the Approach S62 takes some time to locate satellites after you hit “Play Golf.” I found that if I was moving around, it made very little progress. Once I stood still, it took about a minute to lock in and give me a list of courses in my area.
Accuracy & Performance
Garmin is the unquestioned sales leader when it comes to GPS watches, so it’s no surprise that the accuracy of the Approach S62 is excellent. I compared it to on-cart GPS, sprinkler heads, and my laser rangefinder and found it to be spot on. It’s also the fastest GPS watch I’ve used – the yardage updates constantly as you move.
The list of features on the Garmin Approach S62 goes on for days. Here are the key golf-related features: over 41,000 preloaded courses, Virtual Caddie, wind speed and direction, PlaysLike Distances (slope adjustment), Green View, PinPointer (directions for blind shots), Hazard View, and AutoShot game/stat tracking (more stats, like strokes gained, in the app).
I could easily write a thousand words if I went in depth on every cool feature of this watch. I’m not going to do that, so here are the highlights. PinPointer is an awesome feature and very intuitive. Being able to easily navigate hazard distances puts the S62 in a league above most GPS watches. Every shot distance is automatically tracked and displayed which is a great feature. Getting in and out of Golf Mode is easy – push one button. You can keep score with one or two taps per hole if you want to – much better than many GPS units.
Two other things deserve mention: the screen and the battery life. The full-color display of the S62 is 17% larger than the S60 (1.3″), and it’s readable even in bright sun. Even more important, the battery lasts 20 hours in GPS mode, 14 days in Smart Watch mode. With most GPS watches lasting two rounds at best, this is a major advantage for the S62.
Finally, the Approach S62 does a lot off the course, too. Fitness-minded types can use it to track their heart rate, count their steps, and measure their Pulse Ox. Those that are tech inclined can get emails, texts, and alerts on their watch as well as using Garmin Pay for touchless payments.
The Garmin Approach S62 GPS golf watch retails for $499 (support Plugged In Golf, buy it HERE). This is absolutely at the high end for a GPS watch, but it’s also unrivaled when it comes to features, so you’re paying to be on the cutting edge. The Approach S62 also has more applications off the course than any other GPS watch that I’ve tested.
If you want to tap into the full power of the Approach S62, there are a dizzying number of accessories: bands, club sensors, heart rate monitors, cycling sensors, and more.
The Garmin Approach S62 absolutely lives up to the billing of being a “premium GPS golf watch.” Its battery life is unrivaled, the screen is beautiful, and the list of features goes on forever. Not only that, it has applications off the course that make it wearable on a day to day basis.
Buy the Garmin Approach S62 HERE
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Hi Matt. Thanks for the review. I really enjoy your perspective on equipment. With the Garmin, did you get the chance to test the ‘plays like distance’ feature against a slope rangefinder? That’s one feature that has been missing from most GPS watches in the past. Thanks!
Great question. I did not see it on the watch face, and the website seems to indicate that’s something that comes into play with the app only. I will look deeper into this the next time I’m at the course and get back to you.
Awesome review. Been waiting on a good review on this watch. On the older model, the “play like feature was displayed on the screen. I think you just have to double-tap the distance on the watch.
That was exactly it, thank you!
The Plays Like Distance is an awesome feature. It’s hard to test head-to-head with a laser because the flag is rarely in the exact middle of the green, but the yardages were all in the same ballpark. Honestly, I give the edge to Garmin because you get slope-adjusted distances to things you can’t shoot (front and back of green, hazards, etc).
Great – thanks for the quick response Matt!
Where can I purchase this wonderful watch for golfing?
There’s a link in the review above that will take you direct to Amazon to purchase it.
Very informative, I need to save a few more pennies, but I have been looking around for one and this really helped.
I still am using Game Golf App and there isn’t another system out there that offers the information and ease of use.
Hi there, thanks for the review! May I ask plse if you’ve noticed any buttons catching on your wrist and/or sleeve? I had an old S6 and had to return it after a few rounds, as it was constantly changing between screens every time my wrist/sleeve caught one of the side buttons! I appreciate theres probably a way to lock the screen, but would find it annoying having to constantly lock and unlock during a round, as I’m slow enough at the best of times lol!!
The watch is fairly sizable. When I wore it, I kept my sleeve pulled up behind it the entire time. I don’t think wearing a sleeve over it would be very comfortable.
Great review. Can you answer your phone or reply to a text like a Samsung watch?
I don’t believe that this watch has phone-like functions.
I currently use Garmin Fenix 5x and doesnt want to retire the watch as I use it extensively for other activities. Is it worth spending money and getting Approach S62? other than the latest updates you mentioned, does it make sense to get a new Approach S62?
I’m not familiar with the Fenix, so I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer your question. Are there specific things you are unhappy with about the Fenix on the course or things you want but don’t have?
Thanks for getting back to me Matt, but have you noticed yet your wrist catching on the buttons, ie. Accidentally moving screens because of buttons catching on wrist during the swing?
No, I haven’t.
I have a ShotScope and I have several questions, because although SS provides a ton of data and visually prepares it for me, I feel like I am missing some information on the course.
In your opinion, how good is the automatic shot tracking function? Did it catch up with every shot?
How helpful is the app in analyzing your game, as good as ShotScope?
The watch looks quite bulky does it distract you in your swing?
All the Best
The shot tracking from Garmin is not on the level with Shot Scope at all.
The watch is a little big, but I didn’t find it distracting.
If you are generally happy with Shot Scope but want a little more, keep your eyes open for Shot Scope V3, coming July 6.
How does the S62 compare to using an Apple Watch with Arccos?
I don’t have an Apple Watch, so I’ve never used Arccos with an Apple Watch and thus can’t offer a comparison.
I have had two S62 watches with no success!
Sleeve catching and my glove changing the screen,also it freezes up if on hot days of temps over 100 degrees. Keeps great time.
Went to g80 approach, lost a lot of great functions but for now it gives what it states…
Since you’ve reviewed both now – if you had to pick one, is it the Garmin S62 or Shot Scope V3?
Shot Scope V3 is my choice.
Hi Matt, with the Garmin S62, how can you start using and tracking your bags Club Distances in order to take advantage of the Caddie feature? I’ve had the watch for a few weeks now and don’t quite understand how that works. Do you need the sensors on your clubs to make this work? Thanks.
Yes, I believe you need all your clubs tagged to make the best use of those features.
Just wondering if the screen works with polarized sunglasses or does it go black?
I’ve never had a problem reading the screen with any kind of sunglasses.
Was wondering on the fitness or health features? Does it have any?
Yes, those features are listed in the review.
Thanks for your brillent review. I have the Garmin G30 handset. Is it worth updating.
I prefer a watch to a handset, so I’d say yes.