Garmin Approach S6 Review Summary
The closest thing you can get to having your own personal caddie, Garmin’s latest GPS golf watch, the Approach S6, not only keeps track of your stats and scores but provides you with a birds-eye view of over 30,000 courses; measures your swing tempo and alerts you to hazards and lay-ups.
When it comes to stroke-saving, high-tech wrist wear, the Approach S6 is packed full of impressive new features that are guaranteed to take the guesstimation out of your golfing game.
Garmin Approach S6 Review – It’s time to up your game
Read our review of the Garmin Approach S6 to see why this golfing watch is considered a masterstroke of technology:
Ensuring that you are always on par, this lightweight watch with color touchscreen display is heavy on new and exciting features that will keep you smiling all the way back to the clubhouse. Whether you want to improve your swing or pace of play, when you navigate through the touchscreen display you will be rewarded with a first-of-its-kind Swing Metrics device for comprehensive training and analysis.
The Approach S6 is preloaded with tens of thousands of courses, complete hole view, lay-up distances and easy to read yardages, allowing you to feel right at home both on the fairway and the green.
- Unique features such as Swing Tempo, Pinpointer and Touch Targeting
- Tons of statistical analysis available when synced to Garmin Connect
- Strong course coverage
- Handicap scoring
- Poor battery life when in GPS mode
- Unable to view digital scorecard or statistics on the device – had to be synced to the mobile app or on the web page
New and exciting features
For a little lightweight watch, Garmin’s latest golfing wearable promises big things. Read our review of the Approach S6 to see if it lives up to the hype.
Superseding the Approach S5, this watch delivers all the features and functions you would expect from Garmin. From its color touch screen display to its swing strength, tempo training and text and email alerts, the only thing it appears that this watch can’t do, is carry your clubs for you.
This watch is incredibly simple to use; despite the sophistication of its design; and comes preloaded with over 30,000 of the world’s most famous courses. From the moment you carry your clubs onto your chosen golf course, the Approach S6 will automatically present you with all the precise distances you could possible need for navigating around each hole. When you want to know exactly how far you are from the fairway, hazard or green, the all new Touch Targeting feature allows you to calculate exact distances, whilst the directional PinPointer ensures that you turn blind shots into hero shots, to keep your score down.
You may have mastered the green, but if it takes you umpteen shots to get there then you may as well head back to the clubhouse. Saving you hours of practice at the driving range, the Approach S6 can help you perfect your posture, balance and most importantly swing, with its fantastic new Swing Tempo and Tempo Training features.
Turn on the new handicap scoring system and see how well you’ve performed in Stroke play or Stableford. And when you connect to the Garmin app, not only can you see how well you have played hole-by-hole, but view and compare other players rounds within the Online golf community.
- New Color Touchscreen Display: High resolution, sunlight readable, glove-friendly, colour resistive touchscreen display.
- New Performance Design: Very slim and only 47g light – the design of the S6 was awarded with the Red Dot Design Award.
- New CourseView Maps: Dedicated CourseView button displays exact distances and the true shape and layout of an entire hole, including tee box, fairway and green.
- New Swing Training: With TempoTraining you can get audible tones that indicate the optimal 3:1 swing ratio, which allows you to adjust your tempo resulting in a better balanced swing. With SwingStrength you can calibrate how hard you swing your golf club so you can train yourself to swing more consistently.
- New PinPointer: Provides blind shot assistance by pointing you in the right direction when you are unable to see the pin.
- New Handicap Scoring: Provides handicap scoring options for individual holes, player’s local handicap or index/slope methods. Scoring options include Stroke play or Stableford.
- New Garmin Connect: Online golf community lets you play, analyse, share and compare your round; visit GarminConnect.com for more details.
- New Touch Targeting: Touch any point on the display and it shows you the precise distance to that exact spot, whether it’s the fairway, hazard or green.
- Precise Distance: Distances to front, back, and middle of the greens is displayed in large, easy-to-read numbering.
- Smart Notification: Receive emails, texts and alerts directly on your golf watch from your iPhone 4s or later.
- Preloaded Courses: Over 30,000 preloaded international courses and free lifetime course updates.
- Green View: Displays true shape and layout of the green; allows you to zero in on the pin and manually move the pin to the day’s location, giving you more accurate yardage.
- Shot Distances: Measures individual shot distances and calculates exact yardage for shots played from anywhere on the course.
- Stat Tracking: Enhanced stats keep track of fairways hit, greens in regulation and putts per round.
- Save Locations: Save custom locations including bunkers, water, hazards and more.
- High-Sensitivity GPS: GPS receiver for better accuracy and improved tracking under trees.
- Digital Scorecard: Save, review, share and print your individual score (includes Stroke Play and Stableford with adjustable handicaps).
- Durable: Rugged, lightweight, and water rating of 5ATM (50 meters).
Garmin Approach S6 Review – existing features
An evolution of the Approach S5, Garmin has enhanced all the best loved features from this previous model to create a new GPS golf watch that is top of its game.
For a course with a view, this watch can pin point specific locations. Its clever Green View will show you the true shape and layout of each green. And, at the tap of a button this nifty watch can also display yardages to the front, back and middle of each green on its high-resolution touchscreen. You can even customize yardage points and manually position pins for exact distances to doglegs and layups. So, no more excuses for balls bobbing on the water, being buried in the bunker or resting at the bottom of a hill; with the Approach S6 you can predict just how far away a hazard, fairway or green lies.
The Garmin Approach S6 will also keep score for you and track a host of statistics that can be analyzed post round. You can eliminate the need for carrying a scorecard as this watch digitally keeps count of the number of putts per hole, greens in regulation and average distance to each shot played. And if that wasn’t enough, when you upload your game to Garmin Connect you can save and review not only your own game but other players too.
Pair this watch via Bluetooth to your smartphone, and you can receive email and text notifications as well alerts to let you know when you have incoming calls. And when you think this watch can’t possibly do anything more, you may be surprised to learn that it even tells the time and comes complete with odometer to see how far you’ve walked. A timer is also included so that you can keep track of how long it takes to play a hole or even a full round.
What we loved about the Garmin Approach S6
There are tons of exciting features that are unique to the Approach S6, including its Swing Tempo, Pinpointer and Touch Targeting that we loved, but have already covered within this review. But having tested this watch first-hand, there were a couple of features that really surprised us.As we unpacked the box, our first thoughts were just how user-friendly this watch would turn out to be, given the complexity of its design. We needn’t have worried though, as the user manual was clear and succinct and the navigation screens intuitive enough to programme.
Not only does this watch look stylish but it performs well too and was amazingly accurate when calculating distances. The screen and graphics were bright and clear (even in full sunlight), and within just one round of golf we had successfully used nearly every feature, to the detriment of our fellow players.
We will be the first to admit that the Approach S6 is pricey, but out on the golf course you will soon be reaping the rewards of your investment.
You may be interested in:
- Garmin Approach S20 – mid range GPS golf watch
- Garmin Approach X40 – activity tracker and golf GPS
- Garmin Approach G10 – compact handheld
- Garmin Approach S60 – stylish golf watch and tracker
What could be better
There is very little room for improvement with the Approach S6, however there are a few features that we felt let it down.
One major flaw must be the battery life, probably the only downside from having so many features. The touchscreen and GPS are both incredibly draining and when you add Bluetooth into the mix, we were lucky to make it through a full round of golf.
The touchscreen itself we found difficult to use when we were wearing gloves or for those with larger fingers, and that fact that we were unable to view all our statistics until the end of the game was another bugbear.
An expensive purchase, you certainly get what you pay for with the Approach S6. This high-end golf GPS watch has features that are currently unmatched by any competitor. So, if you want to stay ahead of the game, despite some of its shortcomings, this is the watch to wear.
Style and design
The Approach S6 not only does the business on the golf course, but looks the business when off it too. It will therefore come as little surprise to hear that this modern looking watch has won an award – the Red Dot Design Award – for its innovative yet stylish design.
Its high resolution, water resistant color touchscreen makes this watch perfect for wearing whatever the weather, and its lightweight, slim design gives it an everyday look. So, don’t be surprised if it starts to attract some attention.
As mentioned above, the battery life for this watch is somewhat hindered by all its high-tech features. That said, depending on how you choose to use your watch, you can manage up to 20 weeks in watch mode alone. Turn on the Bluetooth and GPS functions and watch the power display drain away after just 10 hours.
Comparison to others
There are plenty of alternatives to the Garmin Approach S6, but how does it stack up to the competition? Let’s take a look…
Bushnell NEO Golf Watch
The Bushnell NEO ION golf GPS watch is the newest weapon in the maker’s arsenal, and the successor of Bushnell’s NEO XS golf watch. Because of its low price and unique attributes, this feature packed watch is one of the best and most affordable golf GPS wearables of 2017.
The Bushnell NEO ION features include:
- Accurate yardage to the front, middle, or back of the green
- Larger watch face
- Tournament legal and complies with USGA rule
- Excellent battery life
Garmin Approach X40 golf GPS and activity tracker
Garmin’s Approach X40 GPS wearable is their newest watch on the market. It has a slimmer, thinner display than the Garmin Approach S6 and although it does not include a color touchscreen, the design is sleeker than previous models. Despite its style and small screen, it comes with a lot of cool features and is becoming a popular choice for ladies. It is definitely worth checking out if you want more bang for your buck.The X40 provides the yardage to the front, middle, and back of the green like all other traditional golf GPS watches, however, it also combines modern step and activity tracking technologies into the golf GPS experience.
Garmin Approach X40 Golf GPS and Activity Tracker features include:
- Accurate yardage to front, back and middle of the green hazards
- Slim, lightweight watch with in-built wrist heart rate technology
- Tournament legal and complies with USGA rule
- Excellent battery life
Garmin Approach S20 GPS golf watch
This watch was released before the Garmin X40, but is so different that it is still considered to be one of the best golf watches on the market. The S20 is not as slim or sleek as the X40, but, like the Approach S6, it comes loaded with many of the same features.This golf watch, would be appealing to those who are in the market for a wearable that copycats the Apple watch design. Its features are familiar with other golf watches and like most of the GPS golf wearables we have reviewed, the Garmin Approach S20 provides accurate yardage to all areas of the green. The one thing that really stands out and makes the S20 unique however, is its super-long battery life.
Garmin Approach S20 golf GPS watch features include:
- Easy to understand graphical user interface
- Game tracker to automatically track shots along the fairway
- CourseView feature
- Sporty design with activity tracking and smartphone notifications
- Excellent battery life
Is the Approach S6 worth buying?
The Garmin Approach S6 is a top of the range GPS golf watch that does so much more than calculate distances – which is just as well given its rather expensive price tag. That said, you get what you pay for with this watch, packed full of unrivalled features which until now have only been available in larger handhelds. The perfect golf course companion, the Approach S6 would certainly suit any serious golfer.