Garmin Approach S42 Golf Smartwatch Series Review

garmin approach s42 golf smartwatch review

One great thing about the Garmin Approach GPS golf line of watches is that each new model seeks to helps golfers improve upon their game. The Garmin Approach S42 is one of the newest models in this line, and it delivers a superb set of new and enhanced updates of previous tracking features that rises to the occasion. The new Approach S42 is a lot like the Approach S40, but there are many new additions that will be reviewed in detail in this guide.

The Garmin Approach S42 features an enhanced new display and a set of performance tracking features, like the new and improved green view feature, that provides manual pin-positioning and quick references to distances of the front, middle, and back of the green for a dynamic and precise post-game analysis.

The Garmin Approach Series strives to make golfing easier and more convenient for golfers who want precise details of all the aspects of their gameplay. After recent testing of the Approach S42, all the details and key features of this new model are reviewed for your convenience. This article will analyze what’s new and let your know what has been improved upon based on past models.

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  • Features 42,000 course maps from around the world
  • Green View allows manual pin positioning; quickly reference overall distance to the front, middle, and back of the green as well as hazards and doglegs
  • The AutoShot round analyzer measures and auto-records detected shot distances and pairs with optional Approach CT10 club tracking sensors for more automatic game tracking capabilities
  • 15 hours in GPS mode battery life
  • Large, 1.2-inch sunlight-readable color touchscreen display


  • You may find many of the features of this watch similar to the Garmin Approach S40
  • A bit expensive

Approach S42 Key Features

When it comes to key features, convenience, and optimization of golf courses for superior variety and innovative viewpoints is the standout of this watch. The Green View feature of the new Approach S42 is vastly improved upon from the S40 and gives you each green’s true shape from wherever you are on the course, and it allows you to drag and drop the pin for greater accuracy.

Your watch comes preloaded with more than 42,000-course view maps of golf courses around the world. When paired with Garmin Golf on your compatible smartphone, you can download updates for the course you play most often. Gone are the days of having to sift through multiple activity tracking features to accurately sync to a particular course.

The overall stats are improved upon as well, especially when used in the big numbers display mode. The Approach S42, when paired with your smartphone and using the Garmin Golf app, can show insights into strokes gained analysis, participation in leaderboards and tournaments, and more overall insight and data about your game.

Furthermore, the autoshot round analyzer can automatically detect shot distances, which is further enhanced when viewed against the green view feature.

When it comes down to the real standout of this model, the Garmin Approach S42 truly comes alive when you download and sync with the Garmin Golf app to compete on leaderboards from any of the available 42,000 courses. You can run contests with your friends with live scoring, automatic scorecard uploads, and the ability to review all your stats in real-time during play and after your round. 

Additionally, with the enhanced activity-tracking features, including the move bar and vibration alerts, the Approach S42 GPS golf watch encourages you to stay fit by tracking a wide array of fitness features during your time on the course. All your stats are collected for you to view and analyze through Garmin Connect.

Everything on this watch is easy to read, and this is a much-needed improvement and new approach than what can be found with past models in the Garmin golf watch line.

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Why You Should Buy the Garmin Approach S42

The Garmin Approach S42 is a high-resolution, enhanced, and overall outstanding new Garmin golf watch that accurately shows shot distances, analysis, and a convenient touchscreen display all inside of a golf GPS watch.

This golf watch is much more than just a cosmetic makeover in the Approach line, the Garmin Approach S42 allows you to quickly reference distances to the front, middle, and back of the green so you have all the data you need for the perfect shot.

All of the old conveniences in the Approach line are still present and you can still receive emails, texts, and alerts right to your watch when paired with a compatible smartphone. You can also take advantage of built-in sports apps and estimated activity-tracking features, including the move bar, vibration alerts, calories, steps, and even sleep tracking that is available when paired with your compatible smartphone.

With more sensors to improve detection accuracy, the enhanced AutoShot game tracking automatically detects along the fairway and records distances for post-game analysis on Garmin Connect.

The internal, rechargeable battery provides up to 10 days in smartwatch mode and 15 hours in GPS mode. This new model truly comes alive when you pair it with the company Golf app for strokes gained analysis, to participate in leaderboards and tournaments, and gain more insights into your game. 

Speaking of GPS, the Approach S42 is stellar in this area and quickly gets your location using GPS to show precise yardages to greens, hazards, and doglegs, on full-color course maps. Golf GPS can be finicky at best, but the Approach S42 focuses on the exact distances in every dynamic of your game, and the results are incredibly improved.

The Garmin Approach S42 is an all-around solid golf GPS watch with great battery life, stellar club tracking, and sunlight-readable font and interface.

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How does the Garmin Approach S42 differ from the Garmin Approach S40?

The Approach S42 has a stronger display of the green view feature that appeared in the previous Approach S40 model. Additionally, more enhanced activity tracking features are included as well as an enhanced touchscreen display.

What varieties does the Garmin Approach S42 come in?

You can choose from a Gunmetal ceramic bezel and black silicone band, a rose gold ceramic bezel and a tan silicone band or, a silver ceramic bezel and white silicone band.

You May Also Be Interested In:

Garmin has a full range of golf GPS watch models to choose from. Two models worth considering, and that can stand on equal footing with the Garmin Approach S42, are the Garmin Approach S40 and the simpler, although very convenient Garmin Approach S10.

The Garmin Approach S40 is the previous generation golf GPS watch in the now ‘Garmin 40s series.’ Like the Garmin Approach S42, the S40 has a convenient green view feature and a slightly smaller 1.2-inch display. If the price tag of the Garmin Approach S42 is an issue, the S40 is very similar.

If a larger golf GPS watch is not your preference, the Approach S10 may fit what you are looking for. This model is lightweight and clear, with easy-to-read data thanks to the ultra-high resolution screen. The data resolution displays numbers in large, translucent white coloring, which complements the easy interface controls of the watch.

Final Thoughts

The Garmin Approach S42 is a convenient and innovative GPS golf watch that improves upon some of the glitches found in the Approach S40, as well as providing new features that stand out. The advanced technology and enhanced image display via touchscreen and ease of reading in sunlight make for great capabilities for both user convenience on the course as well as useful performance tracking capabilities to refer to via the app.

It’s certainly a device worth considering based on the new feature set alone. The battery is long-lasting, and all of the smart notifications of previous models are still intact.

Check out the new Garmin Approach R10 portable launch monitor!

Best GPS Tech

At Best GPS Tech we found it frustrating that there were limited websites available, willing to provide an honest opinion on the latest GPS technology to aid our interests. We enjoy creating content around GPS products from the industry leaders such as Garmin, FitBit and more. We hope you find the site informative in helping you make the right buying decisions.

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