Garmin Approach S20 Review | The Perfect Entry Level Golf GPS Watch

Garmin Approach S20 Review | The Perfect Entry Level Golf GPS Watch

Garmin realised the gap they left in the market and introduced a high performing budget friendly watch called the Garmin Approach S20. It’s half the cost of the amazing Garmin S60. But how does it differ? Is it worth buying? Here’s my full Garmin Approach S20 Review.

Garmin is a power house name in the world of GPS watches. Why so? Well they make amazing golf GPS watches for one. Every year they seem to stay ahead of the competition with the newest innovative tech or take something that’s already been done and make it better again.

However, usually all of this comes at a cost. Although they might be the most desirable, they are usually the most expensive.

Garmin S20 Review

First Impressions

I thought it was quiet clever for Garmin to release are more budget friendly watch like S20. A watch golfers can buy to test the waters of GPS watches and later upgrade to more premium models if needed.

First impressions of the Garmin S20 (SP) watch are good. It’s light, looks stylish and also comfortable to wear. Personally I hate chunky and block style golf GPS watches. They are still being made and usually on the lower priced end of the spectrum.

That’s why I was delighted when I got my hands on this. You really notice its sleek compact design. Fair enough, it’s not the best looking in world but the best looking in this price range I think.

Garmin Approach S20 Review – On The Course

I turned up at my local club and it picked up my course pretty quickly. I was ready to go and start my round. The Garmin S20 (SP) was off to a good start.


I found like most Garmin watches, the Approach S20 was extremely accurate. Providing me with yardages to the front, middle and back of the green.

Simply press the button on the left side of the S20 to scroll between holes. I really liked the information you get from the S20. You get the yardages, hole number and a green outline.

Pin Locations

The green shape may not be the best looking thing in the world, but it’s handy to have, especially going to new courses with larger green or links.

The S20 Approach (Amazon Link) lets you check the green shape in full view and reposition pins. I love this feature.

What this does is give you the exact yardage you need; very important for wedges or scoring irons into tight pins on awkward shaped greens. You will have complete confidence that you have the correct yardage.

Hazard & Lay Up Info

The Garmin Approach S20 offers great layup and hazard info. The layup feature is nice to have. The S20 will give you the yardage you need to layup to 100, 150 & 200 yard shots.

However, I will warn you getting this info is like pulling teeth. You need to alter between menus, numerous clicks, back and forth which is just annoying. It works, but just annoying.

The hazard info is easier to get. It’s presented a little different on the Approach S20. The S20 shows you a straight line to to a circle (the green) down the right side of the screen.

You will see a letter on that line to show where the hazard it is in relation to the green. On the left hand side you will get the yardage to the front of the hazard and the distance to carry it also. A nice feature and shown a little differently which I really liked.

Garmin S20 Review – Other Features

Every Day Fitness Watch

If you are paying good money for a golf GPS watch, you will want to wear it. Garmin is known for more than just golf watches. In fact their core business is fitness related watches around sports like running, cycling, climbing, hiking etc.

The Garmin S20 will count your steps while golfing, display calories burnt. I always like this, it makes me feel better after my round, especially the bad days.

The S20 can be used as an everyday smartwatch. You can pair your watch to your smartphone to receive texts and emails while out and about. The S20 will display key notifications right to your watch. Not the best feature however when you get a notification and it’s your wife telling you to come home.

Garmin Approach S20 Worth The Money?

The battery life is very good. It will last up to 8 weeks in standard mode and 8 hours in the GPS mode (Golfing mode).

Is the Garmin Approach S20 waterproof? Yes the Garmin Approach S20 is waterproof, which is perfect if you tend to play golf in the rain or maybe live in the UK or Ireland.

Post Round Analysis With Garmin Connect

Approach S20 Review

One of the main reasons golfers purchase Garmin products is the technology and features they offer. But it’s not always the watch itself. Garmin offers brilliant post round analysis. You can sync up your watch to Garmin Connect and review your game post round. You can log and review your scores, average shots and performance stats.

Auto Shot Detection

Garmin Approach S20 offers auto shot detection and scoring features to allow you to track your scores and data. However, this is where the s20 really does fall short. Up until now the Garmin S20 has been great, but feel it lacks here compared the more premium models like the S60.

Scoring Feature

The scoring feature takes a lot of time to do on each hole. Too many button clicks make it a little frustrating, compared to other models.

If we are rushing to the next tee, I forget to do it sometimes. But that’s not a major issue as I can add it manually afterwards. I usually take a picture of my card and enter the scores manually. It’s pretty easy to remember straight after the round, just go hole by hole.

Works with Garmin TruSwing

The Garmin Approach S20 has all the features you’d imagine would be included in a Garmin Golf GPS watch. You can analyse your round after each game knowing how far you hit each shot, this is done through Garmin Connect smartphone app.

You can purchase additional add-ons like the Garmin TruSwing. The TruSwing which analyses your swing path, swing tempo and speed. You can swing away and read all the info right there on your S20 golf watch. A great little tool to do in depth analysis on the your swing.

Garmin S20 Review

Garmin Approach S20 Review Pros & Cons


  • Accurate yardage info
  • Can be used as an everyday fitness watch
  • Garmin Connect analysis
  • Waterproof
  • Good battery
  • Changeable bands


  • Complicated to use at times for scoring features and hazard info
  • Better Garmin watches available
  • Auto Shot Detection not the best compared to premium models

Garmin Approach S20 Review – Final Thoughts

Garmin Approach S20 Review

The Garmin S20 (SP) really is a good looking watch, especially the one with the black strap. It performs really well with accurate yardages, green view and pin movement options available for deadly accurate yardages.

The layup feature is a good idea, and looks great. However, it’s not executed very well. It requires too many button clicks which is a little disappointing. I do like the hazard info, I like how you are given yardages to the front and back of the hazard so you know how much club you need to carry.

I mentioned the auto shot detection wasn’t the best, but at the the same time this is Garmin’s budget or entry model. It’s not going to have all the bells and whistles the S60 will have.

For the Money you are paying, the Garmin Approach S20 is a brilliant GPS watch. If you are looking for a golf GPS watch that offers accurate yardages, looks great and can be used as an everyday smartwatch; the Garmin S20 should be considered.

In fact I recommended the Garmin S20 is my ‘Best Golf GPS Watches’ Review last year. You can check that out for other GPS watches I recommended in that post.

4/5 Stars From The Golfing Lad

Disclosure:  Please note that some of the links on are affiliate links.  I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase from one of the websites I recommend.  These commissions allow me to purchase and test products that I recommend. i only recommend products I believe in and don’t get paid any money to post about products. Please research each company before making a final purchase and only buy if you really believe the product or service can help you achieve your desired end result.

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