Garmin Approach S20

9.0 score
[Editors rating (9.0)] = (Hombre Golf Club) score (9.0)/10

Editor rating: 9.0 / 10
User's rating: based on 0 user ratings
1 star
2 star
3 star
4 star
5 star
Add your Rating

Among all the watches the Garmin has manufactured, the Garmin Approach S20 is the most basic golf watch which is a real delight for golfers particularly. Watches nowadays are far from what they used to be and their function is extended far beyond telling the time. Modern watches integrate complex measurement functions, such as measuring the speed, the distance, the pulse, and much other basic information through the GPS integrated function, to heart rate monitoring and health status data readings.

Garmin could be the main ‘culprit’ for the tremendous development of the wristwatches, as the company was the herald of the innovative ideas developed in their watches. Watches are not the only area of interest that the company is focused, it is one of the largest manufacturers of wearable technology and navigation systems for aviation, marine, sports, and outdoor markets. Most of their technologies that were previously used for cars and other outdoor systems are now successfully integrated into their watches, making the Garmin watches one of the most sports-enhanced wearables. 

The company releases different types of models so that everyone finds his/her own preference into the watch, as they offer multiple sports functions, to a few selected sports functions. Plus, all of the watches can be paired with a smartphone, however, the level of the smart functions is not the same in all of the watches, so, again, you need to find what matches your preferences. Regarding the Garmin Approach S20, it is an entry-level golf watch, but throughout this review that entry-level for Garmin is neither that basic nor that simple, so you will have the chance to read an in-depth analysis what this watch is capable of doing.

Editor's Pros & Cons

Entry-level golf watch with basic smart features

It counts steps, distance, burnt calories, and monitors your sleep

It can synchronize with the smartphone via Bluetooth or ANT+ for smart notification

It allows automatic uploads to Garmin Connect and lives social media sharing

Garmin Trueup ™ allows you to synchronize your watch with the data from another watch

Compatible with IOS and Android supported phones

Garmin Autoshot feature analyzes your performance and saves your data

GarminTrueswing analyzes your swing through 3D metrics


The screen is not in color

It is mainly golf watch lacking multisport features


For quite some time sports watches were notorious about looking clumsy, oversized, and far from stylish as manufacturers couldn’t integrate all those sensors in a smaller casing. However, as technology progressed, the size of these watches has considerably decreased, and modern-day wearables are sleeker and much more refined. The Approach S20 is not the latest release, it was released about three years ago, however, in terms of design, it doesn’t look repulsive at all. On the contrary, the sleek and thin display is large enough to help you everything displayed on it, but it is elegant enough to be worn on and off the course.

Since the Approach S20 is a golf watch which means there maps that you need to follow on it, it is understandable that the display needs to be larger for following the data provided on the screen. The rectangular shape of the screen with rounded edges will probably take up much of your wrist area as the dimensions are 0.9” x 0.9” but it is fairly lightweight so you’ll quickly forget that you are wearing it. The screen is sunlight readable, very bright and crisp, however, it isn’t a color screen. It comes in black and white color and the rubber strap is perforated all along, allows the skin to breathe normally, it is easily adjustable and comfortable to wear. This is exactly what golfers need since spending four to six hours on the course requires wearing comfortable clothes and accessories which aren’t going to distract your attention.

Unlike the modern tendency of offering touch screen watches, the Approach S20 is not such a model, so the navigation through the settings and modes is carried out through the buttons positioned on the left and right of the display. However, it is very easy to navigate as you get the instructions on-screen and the basic functions are provided on the bezels next to each button.

Activity Tracking Features

Even though it is considered to be a predominantly golf watch, it does include basic tracking functions that are useful not only for golfers but relate to other sports activities, among which walking and running. As golf does include much walking (unless you are using a cart), the step counter would come handy so that you get a basic insight of the amount of walking you spend daily or when you are on the golf course. Within this function, you get a move bar that is displayed on the device after some time of being still and it has the auto goal function that is capable of acquiring your daily activity level and assigns a daily step goal.

As it calculates the steps it calculates the distance that you have walked. It also monitors your sleep patterns such as the total sleep and the periods of restful sleep and movement. The watch comes with the Trueup ™ feature included which means in case you have another Garmin device you can synchronize both of the devices to display the data of your activity through the use of the Garmin smart app.

Golfing Features

Despite calling it an entry-level golf watch it does include multiple functions that are specifically golf-related. First and foremost, unlike many other multisport watches, the Garmin Approach S20 comes preloaded with 41,000 worldwide courses and it is set to auto-update the course view. This function allows the watch to locate your position through the GPS tracking and after you select the golf course you get the distance to the hole and the number of pars. Plus it provides you with the distance to the front, middle and back of the green, as well as the distance to layups and doglegs expressed in yards and meters.

As you hit the ball, the automatic shot distance function calculates the precise yardage for shots from any point on the course and it provides you with stat trackings such as strokes, greens and fairways hits and putts per round. It also has the capacity to detect course and hazard targets and it provides a green view with manual pin positioning.

The Garmin Approach S20 is compatible with the proprietary Truswing ™ app which allows golfers to analyze parts of their swing features by using 3D swing metrics. When you pair your watch with the Garmin smart app you need to select the club you’ll be using and take a shot. The 3D animation will be presented on your phone with all the details about the swing, such as the swing speed and the speed of the clubhead at impact which determines the distance of your shot, the swing tempo, the face angle at impact, the club path, shaft lean angle, dynamic loft at your stroke, the shaft angle at address, and the complete performance.

The Garmin Autoshot feature on your watch helps you to collect and review data of all your shots from each round you play. To use this feature you also need to use the Garmin App on your phone and pair it with the watch. This feature allows you to measure the distance of each individual shot, plus the auto shot map allows you to see the location of each shot. Plus, you can compare your shots from previous rounds and analyze your tendencies. The Autoshot feature can save and upload each of your rounds by confirming this feature prior to your game. With this feature, you also have the possibility to turn on the club tracking option before you tee off. This feature is useful to analyze the speed of each of your clubs and the tendency of your performance. This is a very useful feature and can literally instruct you and help you better your performance.

Garmin Connect

Sport watches are also smartwatches, and they represent a medium to get notifications of your mobile phone while you are engaged in sports activities. Even though Garmin has paid much more attention to make the performance tracking function more inclusive and upgraded, it seemed that they didn’t pay the same amount of attention to developing their smart features. Anyway, in the last few years, the company has been trying to make up for the reputation of not being too smart-friendly and has come up with much better offers.

Having said this, if you are choosing the Approach S20 mainly for its smart function then we afraid it will fail even your basic expectations. This is a golf watch and even the smart functions are more or less golf-related. This means that Garmin Connect will be your gate to the performance tracking as all the data is synchronized through this application. We have already talked about the features that you could use through the Garmin Connect app and how these features can help you improve your performance. You can also create your personal training calendar that can be synchronized too to remind you of your planned activities sessions.

There are two ways to connect your watch to your smartphone, through Bluetooth and ANT+. The Bluetooth synchronization is a very quick and convenient way to get connected to the Garmin app and also you can transfer and save everything related to your performance for further analysis.

Battery Life

We talked so much about the performance tracking features of the Approach S20, however, it is still a watch after all so you can even use it as a watch without activating all the other features. When using the watch only in watch mode the battery life will be the longest and the battery will last for about a month provided you don’t turn on the GPS and all the other features. Within this mode, you’ll get the time and the date, and automatic daylight saving time, alarm clock and sunrise and sunset time. The shortest battery time is of course when you have all the functions turned on and the battery life is about 12 hours. When used randomly, you can have a few rounds of golf or about five days.

The charging time is relatively short and it is carried out through a GPS cable and a clip, so even if the battery drains quickly, the charging is not a complicated thing to do.

Key Features

The Garmin Approach S20 is an excellent option for golfers who look for a golf dedicated watch to improve and organize their performance with reliable performance tracker that will help them improve their golfing skills. It is a GPS watch that allows you to follow maps of the golf courses, tracks and analyzes your swing and the way you play golf so that you can analyze and improve it. Most of these functions are carried out through the Garmin Connect smart app which golfers get connected to it through Bluetooth connection or ANT+. It is compatible with OIS and Android operating systems and it will be your tool for improvement.

Key Features

  • Entry-level golf watch with basic smart features

  • It counts steps, distance, burnt calories, and monitors your sleep

  • It can synchronize with the smartphone via Bluetooth or ANT+ for smart notification

  • t allows automatic uploads to Garmin Connect and lives social media sharing

  • Garmin Trueup ™ allows you to synchronize your watch with the data from another watch

  • Compatible with IOS and Android supported phones

  • Garmin Autoshot feature analyzes your performance and saves your data

  • GarminTrueswing analyzes your swing through 3D metrics

Bottom Line

Despite the fact that the Garmin Approach S20 has been designed to meet the basic needs of golfers, it can still be considered a good watch for tracking your golfing performance with the quality that Garmin offers. It is certainly not a watch that features all the bells and whistles, however, it looks stylish, it does it function well and it has a pretty solid battery life.