Golfers of all skill levels will be satisfied with the Garmin Approach S42, a sleek and nearly full-featured watch with excellent battery life.
For well over a decade, Garmin has been a market leader in golf GPS devices, and throughout that time, I have used or reviewed several of the golf watch versions. The $299 Garmin Approach S42, however, has overtaken the more expensive Garmin Approach S62 as my favorite wearable for the green so far.
Review of the Garmin Approach S42’s layout and user interface
The Garmin Approach S42’s design was impressive right out of the box. At barely 1.5 ounces with a 43-millimeter width, the device doesn’t overwhelm my wrist or get in the way of my swing. The unit’s 11.7-millimeter thickness conceals its considerable power as well.
The watch is stylish in all the right ways. The light sand band and rose gold trim on my unit increase my green style ante and make it appear good in any situation. A second choice with a larger strap is available in a similarly stylish black/gunmetal color. Playing my neighborhood muni gives me all the functionality I require, but I still feel at home at a country club taproom.
Garmin provides the watch with just one external button. This enhances the watch’s aesthetic appeal, but adding a second button could facilitate easier access to its functions and capabilities. And there are lots more features: The use of a wristwatch is no longer necessary thanks to clock functions such an alarm and stopwatch. By linking with your smartphone, smart applications offer a variety of features like notifications, weather, and find my phone.
GPS, a gyroscope, and an accelerometer are onboard sensors that are also utilized to count your shots automatically while you play (more on that shortly).
The Approach S42 connects to a smartphone through Bluetooth and is compatible with both iOS and Android smartphones running the Garmin Golf(opens in new tab) app. This means that in addition to the app’s multitude of functions, you can receive smartphone notifications for texts, calls, calendar events, weather, and more on your watch rather than having to pick up your phone.
The watch already has over 42,000 courses pre-loaded, so all you need to do is arrive at the course and the GPS will show you the local possibilities. This way, you can quickly confirm your location and choose which tee to play off of before beginning.
Review of the Garmin Approach S42: golfing features
The Garmin Approach S42’s golfing features are as reliable as they always are with Garmin. The watch is extremely accurate and comes pre-loaded with 42K courses. Among its many player-friendly settings are handicap scoring and yardage to layups.
But, you can add the Approach CT10 sensors if you wish to advance your game management. These gadgets attach to the grip of your clubs and offer more detailed swing information. I enjoy how the sensors can essentially map any shot, record it for later reference, and use this knowledge to choose a better course and club. Having said that, I don’t believe the sensors are required for each round.
Despite all of the S42’s high-tech features, I am a fan mostly because of its simplicity. I get the impression that Garmin listened to players like myself who value accuracy and use over frills and bells. The satellites instantly identify any course I’m playing after I start golf mode, and they even start me on the hole I’m on if I didn’t start on the first. (In tournament play, this is typical.)
My watch reminds me to update my score after leaving the green, which helps me keep track of my progress. When I take a swing, the device immediately starts tracking the distance of that shot till I re-contact my ball and take another swing. This helps me locate my ball and build a good understanding of the yardages that each of my clubs offers.
Review of the Garmin Approach S42’s battery life
The battery life of the Garmin Approach S42 is, in my opinion, a key selling factor. But I used it longer during testing than Garmin’s claimed 15-hour GPS mode runtime and 10-day non-GPS runtime. I banked 4-5 hour rounds and completed four complete rounds on a single charge.
We would point out that it takes about five rounds to properly master all the features and make the most of what is on offer. According to our tests, even though it has a higher price tag than more affordable alternatives, we would definitely advise seeing this process through since it will be worthwhile. It’s unquestionably among the top Garmin golf watches(opens in new tab) available right now.