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Garmin Approach S62

TechRadar logo TechRadar 7/7/2022 Luke Edwards
Garmin Approach S62 © Provided by TechRadar Garmin Approach S62

Two-minute review

The Garmin Approach S62 is the newest top-end GPS golf watch from the specialist company. It follows on from the Garmin Approach S60, adding in more sports tracking features, screen size and battery life despite keeping a near identical form factor.

It's made the list of our best golf watches. The competition from smartwatches like the Apple Watch 7 and the Galaxy Watch 4, which can be equipped with golfing apps, is helping to push specialists like Garmin to create do-it-all watches engineered specifically for golf, like this S62.

While this offers a lot, to be clear, you're not getting Google’s Wear OS or Apple’s watchOS, meaning all the apps available on those platforms will remain out of reach. But what you do get is a super-specialist device that does more than golf tracking alone.

With 20 hours battery life in GPS mode, a 1.3-inch color touchscreen display and over 42,000 golf courses logged on your wrist, the Approach S62 suddenly doesn't sound as expensive as the price tag might initially suggest. You also get Garmin's other sports tacking smarts but more on that in the main review.

This golf specific watch is built with a super bright screen which is also made to be fingerprint resistant, all of which adds up to something you can use when golfing on a sunny day, without having to squint to see what you're doing.

Battery life here is impressive with a whopping 14 days of standby and a decent 20 hours of use on GPS mode. When you compare that to the Garmin Fenix 7 with 22 days of standby, it might not seem as impressive – but this is golf tracking, meaning a huge amount of data is collected to offer the accuracy you need.

Garmin Approach S62 release date and price

  • Out now in the US, UK and Australia
  • Priced at $499 / £479 / AU$799

The Garmin Approach S62 launched in the UK, US and Australia and is available from the company direct with a shipping time of between one and three days.

The pricing, at time of publishing, is £479/$499/AU$799. As is typical with these types of watches you can expect the price to drop when a new model launches.

We'd also expect that price to drop during annual sales, so for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, for example, you may snap this up at a great price.

Out of season you may also find yourself better off as deals crop up when the weather gets less golf friendly. It's not a guarantee but if you're looking to save a bit and aren't in a rush to get this right away, you might want to wait and see how the price changes.

Garmin Approach S62 design

  • 1.3-inch color touchscreen display
  • Ceramic bezel and lightweight design
  • Quick release interchangeable bands

The Garmin Approach S62 is a good looking watch for whatever use, that includes being on the course, in the clubhouse or even in the office.

The display has seen an upgrade to 1.3-inches with a clear and colorful 260 x 260 resolution. That's a 17% size increase without the watch taking up more room on your wrist – keeping it comfortably light at 61g and not affective your swing.

Garmin uses transflective memory-in-pixel, or MIP, for its display which means this works well in direct sunlight. But, crucially, it does this while keeping battery drain to a minimum – all of which are ideal for being out on the course for long days in the sun.

The watch case measures 47 x 47 x 14.8mm, and there are two different colour options, both of which have a black ceramic bezel. You have the white or black versions to pick from, each of which works with the silicone QuickFit bands, so you have plenty of options to mix that up.

You can get wet and this watch won't be affected as it's rated for submersion in up to five meters of water. In fact, thanks to swim tracking, you can swim with this on and still collect useful training data – hopefully as a separate sport as opposed to finding your ball in the course water features.

Sensors in this wonder-watch include GPS, gyroscope and accelerometer, all of which are used to track your steps but also to automatically count your shots as you play.

The Approach S62 uses Bluetooth to connect to a smartphone, and works with both iOS and Android using the Garmin Golf app. You can also collect golf club sensors for even more in depth data metrics. You have smartphone notifications for texts, calls, calendar, weather and more all on the watch without needing to reach for your phone.

The watch comes pre-loaded with over 42,000 courses, meaning you just need to get there and the GPS will offer up the local options so you can confirm where you are, which tee you're playing off, and then get started right away.

The watch is also compatible with other Garmin products like the Approach Z82 laser range finder, allowing you to pull in data clearly to use with your app.

  • Design score: 5/5

Performance

  • AutoShot detection
  • Sports tracking
  • Shot distances

The Garmin Approach S62 is a very easy watch to get going with on the course. Simply press the big red button, tap "Play Golf" and select from the location based list of courses – which should have the one you're on right at the top. Pick the tee you're playing off and you're good to get golfing.

The touchscreen works well for zipping between menu screens and you always have those physical buttons too – ideal if you're wearing gloves and still want controls.

This watch will track your game automatically. But what does that mean? You can walk up to the tee and start playing and this will track your swing - using AutoShot - to offer you how far your shot went, which is verified as you walk to the ball as you'll see from the GPS. When compared with a dedicated rangefinder we found these measurements to be spot on.

What this won't track is chip and putt shots, which you need to input manually. That said, if you opt for Garmin's CT10 sensors, which pop onto your clubs, you can accurately measure and automatically update shots for your whole game. This also then takes club data into account which can mean more accurate suggestions when using the Virtual Caddie.

The Virtual Caddie suggests the best club for you to use based on where you are on the hole. This takes into account data like the wind, elevation, hazards, your handicap, average shot distance, and more.

Thanks to the clear, colourful and decent resolution screen, you can track ahead on the course to see what's coming up – in fact there is a dedicated Hazard View screen just for this. That means you can check to see if there are any bunkers or water features you need to take into account. Usefully this even offers distances so you know what you're aiming to hit in order to get the perfect layup.

Once you're there it's time for Green View which now offers stunning accuracy thanks to the Green Contour Data, which shows the lay of the land with slope direction wherever you are.

Off the course you have lots of smartwatch options available to you. Either tap the red button then the dots, to pick a sport to start, or swipe up to get immediate data. On the data screens, which you can organise in the order you want, you have information like the weather, your heart rate, your blood oxygen levels, smartphone music controls, your notifications, sunset and sunrise, your calendar and plenty more. This is also a nice spot to see you last round data at a glance.

Also available on this watch is Garmin Pay, allowing you to go out without a wallet and still get the drinks in at the clubhouse. Or, if you're running or cycling – which this tracks too - you have that money on your wrist should you run into need. This even tracks sleep so you can see how well you've recharged and use Garmin's Body Battery score to assess how much energy you're going to have at your disposal that day. All very clever stuff.

Garmin created its dedicated Golf app, as separate to the general management Connect app, as a dedicated manager for Garmin golf tech. So you have a nice minimal menu with data on the game you're playing – if you want to dive deeper than what the watch face can offer. This also helps you zip through your previous games and averages to see how you're performing.

While the app is a useful option to have on your phone, it's what it does in the background that counts. This automatically syncs with the watch making sure it's up to date as is all your data. So that means you won't need the phone to come out of your bag all game. 

Since notifications pop up and can even be marked as read, it's easy to stay away from the phone – this also lets you adjust which notifications come through normally as opposed to when playing, where you might only want calls to come through and not messages.

Keep an eye on your leaderboard scores that compares you to others on the course, your friends who also use the app, or to your past efforts. You can also use smart tracker enabled clubs which will be shown in your Golf Bag in the app, so you can track how much you use each club and how well they perform for you.

The watch also works with the regular Garmin Connect app so you can view your other sports you've tracked, your sleep, your heart rate averages and plenty more as you would with any other Garmin watch – getting you the best of both worlds here.

  • Performance score: 4/5

Features

  • 14 days standby
  • 20 hours of GPS

The battery life of the Garmin Approach S62 is very good. This is using accurate GPS and movement sensor data very regularly to give you the most accurate measurements. And it does this while staying light and slim enough to not be noticed.

As a result you get a decent 14 days of standby time, allowing you to wear this all the time with very few charges. But when it comes to pure tracking, with GPS enabled, you're looking at about 20 hours of use – which is a step up from previous models.

On the course that means you can have this on for a week and play three games without needing to charge it. So if you're going away for a golf weekend, for example, you won't even need to pack the charger.

The charger won't take much room though as it's a dedicated cable that plugs into most phone chargers or USB wall ports and juices up fast so battery life really never need be much of a concern.

The Garmin Golf app is available for both iOS and Android devices. It pairs using Bluetooth so is low on battery consumption for both devices and once paired will auto connect for each use. Garmin used to be better at pairing over iOS compared to Android but those issues seem to be a thing of the past now and both work first time and fast.

  • Features score: 4/5

Value for money

The Garmin Approach S62 is the best of the best Garmin has to offer for golfers that want to track their game and more. Automation is fantastic meaning you can play a game and this will do nearly all of the work of keeping tracking not only of your golf scores but also your bodily efforts, so you can see directly how the two affect each other.

If you're a regular player then investing in some club tracking sensor is advisable as that makes everything truly automated so you can go play and need not do a thing to have your entire game tracked and saved for you.

  • Value score: 3/5

Final verdict

The Approach S62 is for golfers at varying levels, helping beginners with guidance on the course, but also helping more seasoned playing find areas they can improve performance.

Seeing the hole coming up is a very powerful tool which can enhance any player's game. This almost makes it feel unfair to whoever you're playing against without the backup of the watch.

Should I buy it?

Buy it if...

If you want a powerful and automated golf tracker that also offers smartphone notifications, step tracking and a premium build quality, and more sports tracking this is ideal. 

Don't buy it if...

You want to go for the cheaper S42 or S12, or if you're perhaps new to golf tracking and just want to try before you commit to the higher end price.

Also consider

The major competition comes from the same brand. Garmin is leading the way here. That said, for Apple Watch and Wear OS users, an app based alternative might be enough to save some money but still get smart tracking on the device already in use.

Garmin Approach S42

The Garmin Approach S42 is the company's mid-range golf watch. This offers a lot of what the flagship option does but saves you some money but ditching a few of the features you may not need. The scree is a little smaller at 1.2-inches and the battery life is less impressive at 10 days in standby and 15 hours of GPS tracking. You also don't get other sports tracking.

Hole 19 + Apple Watch / Wear OS

Hole 19 is a free app, available on both Apple Watch and Wear OS devices which helps to track your game. This won't automatically track shots, and it requires a phone to offer hole maps, but it's a step up from pencil and paper to digitise your game.

This uses GPS to track distances off the tee and to the pin, without the need for a phone. But for strokes, putts and fairway shots you'll need to input that manually. This then syncs to the connected phone so you can analyse your game afterwards.

How we test

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed June 2022

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