Garmin Descent Mk1 GPS Golf Watch: An HONEST Review

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If you’re someone who wants a higher-end watch and like to go diving and also play some golf, the Descent Mk1 could be right for you. In this post, I’m going to be reviewing the Garmin Descent Mk1, talking about its golf features, and showing you the cheapest place to pick one up.

In short, the Mk1 is an awesome watch but I’d only recommend it if you’ll be using it for diving as well as golf. If you’re not going to be using the diving features, you could get the same benefit from something cheaper. That being said, it’s a comfortable watch that’s built well, it has a bunch of different features (other than diving & golf), and it has most of the golf-specific features you’d be looking for.

If that’s all you were looking for then great. If you want to find out more about the watch and all the features it offers or to pick one up for yourself, continue reading.

Garmin Descent Mk1 First Impressions

I’ll start off by saying, I’m not that much into diving (hopefully in the future) so I’m not going to be talking much about those features. I’m going to be talking about this watch from a golfer’s point of view.

It does have a pretty steep price tag so I did have a lot of expectations going in. I knew it wouldn’t be the most advanced golf watch on the market but it had to have all the essentials and be built really well.

I’m not really the biggest fan of wearing watches but it was quite a bit more comfortable than other watches I’ve tried in the past. It comes with a standard black band or you can also upgrade to a titanium band (I tried the standard). Here’s a quick video that goes over the design and some of the features:

Garmin Descent Mk1 Golf Features

Just so you’re aware, the Mk1 isn’t going to be as advanced as a high-end golf-specific watch like the Garmin S60. It’s a multi-sport watch (the S60 is just for golf and basic fitness) so it’s for people who do other activities as well. It does have all the essential golf features you’d want though.

The first feature it comes with is the distance to the front, center, and back of the green. You can move the pin around as well to get the exact distance to a point on the green. It’ll also tell you what hole you’re on and what par is for the hole.

The next thing the watch will show you is the distance to different hazards. It’ll tell you what hazards are in the fairway, the distance to the front and back of each hazard, and where the hazard is in relation to the green. It’ll also show you the distance to doglegs and a few layup spots on each hole.

The watch is also going to tell you how far you hit each shot. It has automatic shot detection so it’ll show you how far you hit each shot and will record the info so you can review afterward.

If you do want to track more swing stats then you can always get the Garmin Truswing. It attaches to your clubs and will connect to your watch and tell you your swing speed, ball speed, smash factor, and a bunch of other stats.

And obviously, the Mk1 is going to keep track of your score.

Garmin Descent Mk1 Non-Golf Features

The Mk1 is a multi-sport watch so it does have a bunch of different features. It’s called the Descent though so obviously it’s designed mainly as a diving watch. If you don’t dive but you still want a multi-sport watch, you might as well go with something like the Vivoactive 4.

Since I’m not a diver I’m not going to get into all the diving features because I don’t really know what they mean. All I know is that the watch has pretty much everything you’d need to have a successful dive.

It also comes with all your fitness tracking features and you can plan all of your workouts. I don’t think the heart rate monitor was as accurate as a chest strap but it was fairly good.

It also has navigation maps which I found really useful if you’re out hiking or in the outdoors. It’s way better having that info on a watch compared to one of those bulky handheld GPS units.

It comes with tracking for climbing, swimming, cycling, skiing, and a number of other sports.

Garmin Descent Mk1 Design

The design of the Mk1 is pretty slick and it comes with a 1.2-inch color display. It’s a pretty standard size and it’s not as big as some of the other multi-sport watches on the market (you can still wear it every day). It is a little bit thick though and some people might not like that.

The standard band is a black silicone material and that’s the one I tried. For around $300 you can upgrade to a titanium strap which should be more heavy-duty and durable. You can also buy new bands if you want a different color.

You’re able to control the watch with the buttons on the side of the watch. I actually prefer that over the touchscreen watches out there. A lot of people have thicker fingers and the buttons will be a lot easier to use.

Garmin Descent Mk1 Performance

When it comes to performance, the main thing I’m going to be talking about is how accurate the golf features were and how long the battery lasted. If those two features aren’t that good, there’s no point in having the watch.

When it comes to the accuracy of the golf GPS, it was pretty identical to the other multi-sport golf watches. It was very close to the Vivoactive 3, Forerunner, and Fenix 5. All of those are generally within 5 yards of the course markers. I wouldn’t say it’s as good as the Garmin S60 but it was good enough for me.

When it comes to battery life, it was pretty impressive as well. If you’re using it as a regular watch (not using it for golf or diving) it should easily last 1-2 weeks. In golf mode, the watch would easily last 2 full rounds. That was a lot better than other watches on the market so I was pleased to see that.

Garmin Descent MK1 Specs

ProductGarmin Descent MK1
Size51 x 51 x 18 mm
Watch MaterialPolymer/Stainless Steel
GlassSapphire Crystal
Quick Fit BandsYes
TouchscreenNo
Strap MaterialSilicone
Screen Size1.2 Inch
Weight101 Grams
Battery Life20 Hours GPS Mode
Water Rating10 ATM
Golf Courses41,000+
PreloadedYes
Distance To Front, Middle, BackYes
Distance To Hazards/Doglegs/LayupYes
Shot DistanceYes
ScorecardYes
Stat TrackingYes
AutoShotYes
Manual Pin PlacementYes
PinpointerYes
PinpointerYes
Club TrackingRequires CT10
Club TrackingRequires CT10
PriceCheck On Amazon

What I Like

  • The fitness tracking on it is awesome.
  • The screen is easy to read in all light conditions.
  • The battery life is great.
  • The golf features are pretty accurate.
  • You can use it for a bunch of activities.

What I Didn’t Like

  • It doesn’t store music on the watch (can control music on your phone).
  • The screen isn’t as scratch-resistant as I’d like.
  • It could be a bit too thick for everyday use.
  • The price is steep.

The Breakdown

  • Performance Score: 9
  • Price Score: 6
  • Ease Of Use Score: 7
  • My Personal Score: 7.5

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can you download music on the Mk1?

A. No, you can only control music on your phone.

Q. Can you download maps from different countries?

A. Yes. It comes loaded with North America maps but you can download others as well.

Q. How long does the Mk1 battery last?

A. It should last 5 years before you need to replace it.

Is The Garmin Descent Mk1 Worth It?

Overall, if you’re someone who wants a golf watch but you also like to go diving and have the money to spend, the Descent Mk1 could be perfect for you. The price is steep but it’s built pretty well, it works well for a lot of different sports, and it was quite accurate for golf.

If it was me, I’d go with something like the Vivoactive 4 from Garmin just because it’s cheaper and does a lot of the same thing (minus the diving features). If you wanted a watch that offered the most golf features there’s the Garmin S60. It doesn’t offer the other sports but it’s an awesome golf watch.

Let me know your thoughts and any questions you have. Like this article? Feel free to give it a share!

Looking to get some new golf gear? Click here to check out our recommended gear page to see the stuff we’re recommending and the cheapest place to get them.

Garmin Descent MK1

7.4

Performance

9.0/10

Price

6.0/10

Ease Of Use

7.0/10

Overall

7.5/10

Pros

  • Fitness tracking
  • Easy to read
  • Battery
  • Accurate
  • Features

Cons

  • Doesn't store music
  • Price
  • Not scratch resistant
  • Thickness

Jon Webber

I'm Jon and welcome to Out Of Bounds Golf. I'm not a professional golfer but I am a huge golf fan and this site was created to share the tips and tricks I've used to go from shooting 100 to breaking 90 and soon breaking 80. We'll be talking about clubs, gear, and training aids.

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