Garmin Approach S62 GPS Golf Watch Review: Is It Worth $500?
\We’re not breaking any news when we say the Garmin Approach S62 is a killer piece of golf equipment. It’s been out a couple of years now, and it’s topped pretty much every best-of list, including our own best golf watches of 2022.
This watch is jam-packed with features. It does things that no other golf watch can, and it does several more things better than any competing product.
But let’s dig a bit deeper. Let’s answer a few of the comparison questions that might be important to your purchasing decision.
Because if you came here just to know whether or not this thing was awesome, we’ll get that out of the way right now.
The Garmin Approach S62 most certainly is awesome. Like, really freaking awesome!
But is it $500 worth of awesome?
And for that matter, remember that we thought the Garmin Approach S42 was pretty slick itself.
So, how does the S62 compare to the S42? And is the S62 really worth an extra $200?
As we answer those questions, we’ll check out some of the coolest golf and non-golf features included with the S62 and give you a bit of perspective on ease of use and overall performance.
Let’s do this.
First Impressions of the Garmin Approach S62 GPS Golf Watch
The S62 arrives in the same robust, straightforward packaging as all of Garmin’s recent golf products. It’s not quite the luxury feel of Apple, but I would describe the packaging look and feel as classy.
Upon opening the box, you’re greeted with a very front-and-center presentation of the watch face, which is sizable. Maybe it was because I was so excited to try this thing out, but for me, the simple, minimalist packaging design gave me the first impression that this was a serious piece of tech and a product good enough on its own merit that it didn’t need to be dressed up. It really does exude quality.
The S62 comes with a very nice silicone band that’s both functional and good-looking. The band is flexible and very clearly durable. It’s not the band you might find on a dressier watch, but for a “working” golf GPS watch, it does have a luxury look and feel to it.
The watch is available with either a white band or black band. The face and black ceramic bezel are the same with either option. To me, the body of this watch looks sporty and modern and like a luxury smart watch.
All this talk of aesthetics to say this: The Garmin S62 to my eyes is a watch you can wear as a daily driver. We’ll get into the functionality and how that might help you in your day-to-day, but talking just looks — yeah, you can wear this thing out to dinner, no problem.
Upon firing the watch up, you’re given the option to pair it with a smartphone. This process is very intuitive and straightforward. It took me only a few minutes.
In fact, I found navigating throughout the watch to be super simple after just a little bit of acclimating.
You’ve got three buttons on the right side of the watch.
The top button is larger than the other two and has a red bezel that contrasts nicely with the black. This is your action button and the one you press to begin a round of golf.
The middle button gives you your setting options.
And the bottom button allows you to go back as you navigate.
The S62 is also a touchscreen watch. So, between the buttons and the touchscreen, you have multiple navigation paths that after a little bit of use start to feel very intuitive and logical.
The Garmin Approach S62: Features Upon Features
Beyond golf, this watch is a very legitimate fitness tracker. You’ve got a heart rate monitor, a pulse oxygen sensor, a sleep sensor, a step counter, a stress level monitor and more. I mean, this thing is loaded!
But you’re considering the S62 as a golf watch with the bonus of fitness tracking, not the other way around. So, let’s talk some golf.
Where the Garmin Approach S62 really earns its place at the top of the heap is with its virtual caddie function. This is the only golf watch that can independently compile your club data and then make recommendations depending on the playing conditions and how you’re likely to hit each individual club.
That’s totally next level.
Yeah, you can get that kind of data and feedback using club sensors or interfacing with your phone or computer.
But in the case of the S62, we’re talking just the watch itself.
After you hit a shot, the watch will ask you what club you hit. It then counts off the distance from that shot to the location of your next shot. That’s how it tabulates your distances.
After you play five rounds, the watch has enough data to begin making club recommendations.
But what’s even more next level is that the virtual caddie is also taking into account the wind speed and direction and the slope.
So, you’re sitting there thinking you can clear that 220-yard water with your 3-wood. The caddie gently reminds you that you’re hitting into a 15-mile-per-hour wind, going uphill. Oh, and by the way, you only hit your 3 wood an average of 210 yards.
See Related: Arccos Caddie Review
On top of that, the caddie will give you alternative suggestions for playing a hole. Instead of always grabbing the driver, the caddie will show you how you can carve up the same hole with a different approach to club selection.
No other product does this. Period.
Beyond the caddie, you get a color, touchscreen map of each hole. You can scroll through to see distances to each hazard. You can pinch and swipe to study different parts of the hole. You can get yardages to multiple layup distances.
The watch will even show you where your average drive is likely to land so that you can see what trouble or safety might be in that area.
For every distance, you can tap the watch face and get a “plays-like” distance that factors in slope and wind.
There’s a green view. And while you do not get a heat map showing you the undulations like with the Voice Caddie T9, you can drag the pin around to place it where the hole is cut that day so that you can get accurate yardages to that specific spot.
Another really cool feature is what Garmin calls a “Pin Pointer.” Using a compass, the watch will show you where you want to aim on blind shots.
The watch also comes with a built-in swing tempo monitor, which can be very useful for practice sessions.
I’m telling you, this watch is really, really smart.
The scoring system is pretty straightforward. The watch will ask you at the end of the hole how you did. Based on your swings, it will already have a pretty good idea, though it won’t pick up your putts. You’ll have to manually enter those along with any penalty strokes.
Also, at the end of the hole, the watch will ask you whether you hit your drive left, right or center. That’s a very slick feature that allows you to see your driving tendencies after multiple rounds. Take it from me: the data can be a little sobering.
Like all of the Garmin products, the S62 is preloaded with more than 41,000 golf courses. I’ve yet to hear of a course where you can’t use this watch.
Using the Garmin Approach S62 on the Course
I’m just gonna say it: I’ve loved golfing with this watch.
First of all, it’s comfortable. It weighs just 2.2 ounces. And I’ve never had any issue with the buttons hitting the back of my hand or interfering with my swing in any way.
But it’s all the features that make using this product kind of addicting. The touchscreen ease of moving around a given hole to scout out yardages is just really nice.
And having the wind speed and slope further informing your decision-making is very cool.
I found the virtual caddie to be very useful, but I will say that if you’re inconsistent with how you hit your clubs, like I am, you’re not always going to be able to trust what the caddie is telling you.
For example, I play most of my rounds on a very tight, tree-lined golf course. Because I’m anything but consistent, I play plenty of shots per round from the trees. I usually use my 5-iron to punch out from the trees. Those punch shots often go 50 yards or less.
So now the watch thinks I hit my 5 iron considerably shorter than I actually do if I’m taking a full swing.
One workaround would be to just not enter the punch shots or other irregular shots so that you better preserve your full-shot club averages. You can still enter your total score at the end of the hole, even if you didn’t input the club information for some of your shots.
It took me a few rounds to really get familiar with the watch to the point that I felt like I was consistently using all it had to offer. I think this would be the case for any product with this much technology. There’s just a lot going on here. It may take a little bit to find the in-round rhythm that works for you.
After your rounds, the Garmin golf app has all of your shot data stored and ready for your review. If you’re like me, you won’t always like what you see. But hey, we’ve all got to face the truth about our golf games.
The app shows you things like your average greens in regulation, average putts per hole, driving accuracy, longest drive and average distances for each club. You can even see how you compare to other Garmin users in average strokes gained for tee shots, approach shots, chips and putts.
Garmin Approach S62 vs. Garmin Approach S42
The S62 does still have that same proprietary Garmin charging system that drives us a bit nuts. As we’ve said before, we’d prefer a more universal USB-C port.
The S62 is noticeably larger than the S42, especially in the profile. The S62 has a thicker profile that makes the watch sit a bit higher above your wrist. To some, the sleeker S42, which also has a more narrow band, might be preferable for off-the-course style.
The S42 has just one button with the rest of the navigation being touchscreen. As mentioned, the S62 is also touchscreen but has three buttons. Personally, I like the additional buttons. They don’t get in the way of anything, and I find that they allow for faster overall navigation once you are familiar with the watch.
The big upgrade on the fitness side comes with the S62’s addition of a heart rate monitor, which is a significant feature.
On the golf side, the showstopper difference is with the virtual caddie, which really is awesome. Pair it with some Garmin CT10 sensors, and then you’ve really got some shot tracking power.
Overall, the S62 has a much more fun, fluid feel than the more mechanical features of the S42. The beautiful color view of the hole and the ability to zoom in and out of various parts and to drag targets around to get different distances is really nice.
Garmin prices the S42 at $299.99 and the S62 at $499.99.
Here’s my take.
Yes, the S62 is worth $200 more than the S42. No question.
But to me, if you don’t want all that the S62 does, I’d recommend a handful of other golf watches before I’d recommend the S42.
I just find the S42 to be caught in a bit of no-man’s land. It’s not the best. And it also doesn’t do enough extra above what you get in something less expensive.
So, Is the Garmin Approach S62 GPS Golf Watch Really Worth $500?
I understand that spending decisions are entirely personal. But for my money, there is absolutely no question that this golf watch is worth every bit of $500.
When you compare what it can do to other products on the market, it’s a bit of a no-brainer.
What other watch gives you club recommendations, shot data, wind speed and direction, an aiming point for blind shots and suggestions for better ways to play a hole all while it tracks your heart rate, stress and sleep?
There’s no other watch that checks so many on-course and off-course boxes. So, for $500, you’re really getting a watch that can become a central part of your daily life.
Now, do you need to spend $500 to get accurate yardages? Of course not. There are a bunch of less expensive options that do a damn good job at spitting out the most crucial information.
But for the avid golfer…
For the golfer that spends $500-plus on a new driver…
Or the golfer that pays hundreds of dollars to play a single round…
Or the golfer who travels a lot and regularly plays new and unfamiliar courses…
Or for the golfer who just wants the very best with all the coolest tech and features…
If you fit any of those profiles, and you’ve got $500 in your golf budget, I highly recommend you give the Garmin Approach S62 some serious consideration.
This golf GPS watch has the potential to improve your game. At the very least, I’m confident it will improve your enjoyment of the game.
Want More Golf Watch Options?
- Best GPS Golf Watches of 2022: 8 Great Rangefinder Alternatives — We break down what’s special about each contender for best golf watch.
- Voice Caddie T9 Review: An Excellent GPS Golf Watch — The T9 has its own case to make for best golf watch of 2022. Find out what it does better than any other product.
- Garmin Approach S42 GPS Golf Watch Review: A Worthy Golf Watch? — Get the full lowdown on all that the S42 can and can’t do.
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- Wonderful feature set
- Enough health features to want to use off the course
- Shot tracking is a unique addition
- Still don't love the proprietary charger
- Shot tracking isn't quite as good as dedicated sensors