Garmin Approach S60 vs Vivoactive 3 vs Fenix 5 vs Apple Watch

In this post, I’m going to be comparing the Garmin Approach S60 watch to the Vivoactive 3, the Fenix 5, and the Apple Watch. I’ll be covering what is best for golf and also show you the cheapest place to pick them up.

In short, here is how the S60 stacks up to the Vivoactive, Fenix, and Apple: All 4 of these watches are high quality and we’d definitely recommend having some sort of range finder on the course. The Vivoactive and the Fenix are essentially the same golf watch and we’d recommend the Vivoactive 4 since it’s cheaper (and the same price as the 3). If you want the most golf features possible we’d recommend the Garmin S60.

If that’s all you were looking for then great. If you’d like to know what our favorite golf GPS is, you can see best golf GPS watch here.

The Apple Watch

This is a regular smartwatch that can download 3rd party apps for use as a golf GPS.

We’ve never considered recommending an app over recent years because they’ve always been slow and kind of clunky to use (which has now changed).

Our favorite app for simple features (distance to the front, center, and back of the green) is called Hole19. If you want a bit more info (fairways/greens in regulation, etc) we’d recommend an app called 18Birdies.

Who Is The Apple Watch For?

Using the Apple Watch as a golf GPS would be great for someone who already uses Apple products and wants a watch that does more than just golf stuff.

It’s not the most advanced golf watch out there but we found it to be a high-quality smartwatch.

If you want a watch that offers more golf features (Touch Targeting, Plays Like, etc) we’d recommend you continue reading.

The Garmin Vivoactive 3

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is a relatively affordable multi-sport watch that comes with a bunch of different sports apps (running, cycling, swimming, and golf).

It’ll give you the distance to the front, center, and back of the green as well as the distance to hazards and doglegs.

It has data for over 40,000 worldwide courses, will show you how far your shot was, and will give you the distance to any point on the green.

Who Is The Vivoactive For?

If you’re someone who wants a multi-sport watch but doesn’t want to spend a fortune, this could be for you.

It’s probably our second favorite golf watch on this list because it’s much cheaper than the Apple Watch and it’s lighter and more compact than the Fenix 5.

It’s still not the most advanced golf watch but it does offer all the basic features as well as some more advanced ones (PinPointer View & Green View).

The Garmin Fenix 5

The Fenix 5 is a more advanced version of the Vivoactive 3 but is pretty much the same in terms of a golf watch.

The golf features are essentially identical and the difference between the 2 is the non-golf features.

The Fenix 5 is heavier and a more heavy-duty watch and is designed for outdoor activities that could be tough on the watch (hiking, climbing, etc).

Who Is The Fenix For?

We didn’t find the Fenix 5 to be the most comfortable watch on the market just because it’s a little bit heavier and bulkier than the others.

We prefer the Vivoactive 3 over it but if you’re going to be using it a lot in the outdoors, it could be for you.

If you just want a golf watch that offers the most features, our favorite is the Garmin Approach S60.

The Garmin Approach S60

The S60 is an advanced golf watch that’s designed for golf specifically and not 15 other sports.

I found the S60 to be the easiest one to use because it didn’t have a bunch of features like the others.

It comes loaded with over 40,000 worldwide courses and will tell you the distance to ANY point on the hole.

It’ll also take into account elevation and will give you a Plays Like distance which helps you pick the right club.

Read review: Garmin Approach S60

Who Is The S60 For?

In our opinion, this is one of the best golf watches on the market, and would highly recommend it.

If you want an everyday watch or one to use for multiple sports, this probably won’t be for you.

If you just want it for golf and want the most features possible, this would be great for you.

We found it to be the fastest of the 4 watches and it also seemed to be the most accurate.

Pros Of These Devices

  • Knowing the distance to the front, center, and back of the green will really help you hit more greens in regulation.
  • Having an average distance for how far you hit each club will help you a lot with distance control.

Cons Of These Devices

  • These aren’t the cheapest watches on the market.
  • A laser rangefinder would be a bit more accurate.
  • I’m not a fan of wearing watches while I’m golfing (I attach it to my bag).

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can the Vivoactive 3 face be digital?

A. Yes.

Q. Can you play music through them?

A. You can control the music being played on your phone with the Vivoactive 3.

Q. Do you need to connect it to a phone GPS?

A. No, they are standalone devices.

Are These Devices Worth It?

Overall, all 4 of these watches are good devices but if we had to decide, we’d go with 2 of them. If you don’t want to spend a fortune and you plan on using the watch for other sports (and going out) we’d recommend the Garmin Vivoactive 4 (the newer version of the 3, and also the same price).

If you just want a golf watch that offers the most features possible, the Garmin S60 has the best features, or you can check out our favorite golf GPS.

What To Do Next:

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Hey, I'm Jon. I started Out Of Bounds Golf to share my findings after testing golf gear for the past 10+ years. My goal is to make the game a little easier to understand, whether that's with finding the right product or answering common questions.

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