Garmin Approach S2 GPS Watch: An HONEST Review

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Having some sort of GPS or yardage finder is a must-have on the golf course because it’ll help a lot with distance control. In this post, I’m going to be reviewing the Garmin Approach S2 and talking about whether or not it’s worth picking up.

Long story short, the S2 isn’t perfect but it’s a lot better than some of the other GPS watches that came out in the same year. It’s a little bit more expensive than most and the battery life could be a bit longer, but I found it a lot easier to use and set up compared to some of the other units.

Garmin is probably the best brand in terms of course selection and there are over 30,000 courses programmed in. There are no additional fees for updates either so they’re always adding more. The biggest downside to the S2 is that it doesn’t show the distance to hazards (only greens and layup spots). That’s the main reason I wouldn’t get it myself.

If the choice was up to me I’d get one of these instead. They’re all newer and offer features that the S2 doesn’t come with. If that’s all the info you were looking for then great. If you want a more detailed review of the S2 GPS, be sure to watch the video or read the blog post below.

Garmin Approach S2 GPS Review

Garmin Approach S2 First Impressions

There are a few different versions of the S series from Garmin. We tested out the S1, the S2, and the S3 version and each of them has a few more features and a higher price. The S2 does pretty much everything the S1 does but it also keeps track of your score and gives distances to doglegs and layup spots.

The S3 does everything the S1 and S2 do but it also has a touchscreen display and it allows you to move the flag around to get a more precise distance. That feature is super useful, but in my opinion, these three watches are a little outdated. The S20, S40, and S60 are the newer watches from Garmin and I do like them more.

I’m not saying the S2 is not worth picking up but I do think you’ll get more value from something else. I actually don’t know if you can still find a new version of the S2 watch.

Is It Easy To Set Up

Getting things set up was actually pretty easy (a lot more than some of the others). All you really had to do was charge it and turn it on. All the courses were already programmed in, which was awesome. Here’s a demo video:

It has over 30,000 courses from all over the world (Garmin has the most I think) and all the courses I normally go to were on it. If you’re in some remote location it might not be but most of them should. It normally takes a couple of seconds to locate the course you’re on and then you should be good to go.

When they add new courses to their database all you have to do is download the Garmin App from their website, connect your GPS to your computer, and it’ll download. The entire process from Garmin seems more streamlined compared to other GPS devices on the market.

Was Navigation Easy

Compared to some of the other GPS watches out there, the S2 was quite a bit easier to use in my opinion. I wouldn’t say the other watches were hard to use, but just like anything else out there, there’s a learning curve.

The screen is about 1″, which was smaller than I was used to. I’m not the biggest fan of wearing watches and that’s why I prefer using a handheld device or one of the smartphone apps (a lot of them are free).

There are only 4 buttons on it so it’s not very hard to use and all you have to do to start your round is turn it on, select menu, select start your round, and select your course.

What Info Does It Show

The S2 has 4 different modes for you to pick from. This is pretty much the case for all watches and it’s pretty simple to navigate through all of the different modes.

The first is Hole View. That’ll give you the distance to the front, center, and back of the green and also what hole you’re on and its par. This is the feature you’ll use the majority of the time.

The next is Layup View. That’ll give you the distance to different layup and dogleg spots on the hole, which isn’t too helpful in my opinion. The downside to this is that it doesn’t show how far away hazards are. That’s the biggest downside.

Then there’s Measurement View which will give you the distance of your shots. I found this super useful. All you have to do is hit your ball, walk up to it, and it’ll tell you how far it was.

The last is Time Mode and it’ll show you the time and date. I don’t really use this feature but it’ll be really helpful if you want to wear the watch off the golf course.

How Did The Watch Perform

One of the things I didn’t like about the watch was that it didn’t last a full 2 rounds. It wasn’t a huge deal but I don’t really want to be charging the thing after every round.

Using it as a normal watch will last around 3 weeks which is perfectly fine but the GPS mode only lasted us about 7-8 hours (most watches are the same).

It’s not a big deal because you can just charge it after every round but it’d be nice to not have to worry about it every time (the S4 lasts 10 hours).

As for the distance and accuracy, it was just as good as any other watch we tested in the past and was always within 5 yards of our laser rangefinder and the markers on the course.

Garmin S2 Pros

  • I found it a lot easier to set up and use compared to others.
  • Garmin is one of the best in terms of course selection.
  • There are no additional fees for updates.

Garmin S2 Issues

  • It’s a bit more expensive than most entry-level watches.
  • It doesn’t show the distance to hazards.
  • The battery life could be longer.

The Breakdown

  • Performance score: 9
  • Price score: 8
  • Durability score: 9
  • Personal score: 8

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What’s the difference between the Garmin Approach S2 and the S4?

A. The Garmin S4 has a 10-hour battery life and has a moveable pin function.

Q. What is the Garmin Approach S2 battery life?

A. We found it was about 7-8 hours in GPS mode and 3 weeks on time mode.

Q. What is the best price for the Garmin Approach S2?

A. The cheapest place we could find it (at the time of this post) was on Amazon (link below).

My Final Thoughts

Even though the S2 is a pretty solid device, it’s a bit older now and is a bit behind in terms of features. If it were my choice, I’d go with one of our favorite golf GPS units.

The main thing I’d like to see is the S2 having the distance to different hazards. If it had that I’d have given it a 9.5 or 10. Plus, I don’t think it’s available as a new watch anymore.

Garmin Approach S2

8.5

Performance

9.0/10

Price

8.0/10

Durability

9.0/10

Overall

8.0/10

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Course selection
  • No additional fees

Cons

  • Price
  • Features
  • Battery life

Jon Webber

Just an average golfer trying to take my game to the next level. Was shooting around 100 not that long ago but have now been in the 80s consistently. Best round to date was 12 over. Best 9 holes were 4 over.

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