Garmin Approach S20 Review 2024

Finding the distance to green can be an arduous and time-consuming process. Even carrying a range finder in your bag can consume quite a few minutes.

In this Garmin Approach S20 review, we will look at how wearable GPS watches address the problem by providing you with a variety of information immediately.

This will help you to play with confidence and speed up play.

Garmin Approach S20 Review

black Garmin Approach S20 smart GPS golf watch on a white background.

Editors Rating: 9.0 /10

What We Like

Features a monochrome LCD that enhances the display making it extremely clear and visible on sunny days.

Autoshot technology implemented by Garmin tracks every shot taken giving golfers a summary essentially of their round as well as comfortable from different yardages.

Courseview allows the GPS to update courses so if there are changes made you won’t miss a beat next time you play a certain track.

What We Don’t Like

Touch screens are usually preferred by individuals but this GPS doesn’t contain the feature.

The GPS can be off sometimes by a couple yards.

Key Summary

The durable Garmin S20 is waterproof, easy to see in the sun and extremely portable. With a warranty and fitness and health tracker, this GPS will last a long time and make attaining yardages on the course simple.

Garmin Approach S20 Summary

The Garmin S20 is a compact, lightweight, and wearable entry-level golf GPS watch that offers a variety of tracking and display features.

Feedback of the data collected is via a small screen that is readable even in bright sunlight.

It displays yardages to the front, middle, and back of the green, the hole number, and a rather archaic-looking outline of the green.

Navigation through the menus is button driven and there is no touch screen.

The yardages and the par are displayed clearly on the screen.

📢 Need To Know: In the box, you will get the Garmin S20 golf GPS watch and a USB-linked charger clip.

Is the S20 for me?

This Garmin Approach S20 GPS watch review will provide information on whether this golf watch will suit you.

If you are a golfer that requires only the basic information for the golf hole in play on a monochrome LCD, it will fit your requirements.

However, if you require a colorful experience with advanced functionality that can be controlled via a touch screen, you will find this watch unfit for your purpose.

Garmin S20 Golf GPS Features & Benefits

After the introduction that explains what the golf watch is, it begs the question “What does the Garmin Approach s20 do?”.

I will expand on the features and benefits you can expect.

AutoShot – 8.9/10

AutoShot must be enabled for automatic shot detection in the System Settings menu.

Your Approach device features automatic shot detection and recording for every shot you play from the fairway.

It records your location so it can be viewed later on the Garmin Connect™ Mobile app and the Garmin Golf™ app.

It does not detect putts in standard form.

📋 Keep in mind: You can purchase a CT10 sensor separately and attach it to your wedges and putter to track greenside chip shots and putts as well.

Preloaded courses – 9.6/10

There are more than 41,000 golf courses from across the globe preloaded onto the Garmin S20 golf watch.

CourseView – 9.4/10

CourseView feature automatically updates frequently played courses. If you are wondering how much does it cost to update your Garmin GPS, it’s free. 

Accuracy – 8.9/10

A question frequently asked is whether the S20 GPS watch is accurate for golf. 

In short, most golfers will consider a measurement that provides the distance to within 5 yards or less as accurate.

However, there are outside factors that influence accuracy that Garmin cannot control. These factors include weather, satellite, golf course upgrades, and remodeling.

Design – 8.9/10

The Garmin S20 golf watch look slightly dated. Although you can wear it off the golf course for daily use, it does not compare well to most watches.

The square-shaped watch is flat and only a little bigger than a regular watch. It attaches comfortably to your arm with its perforated silicone bands.

You are not specifically buying the Garmin S20 golf watch for an appealing look but rather for its intuitive golf functionality on the golf course.

The 1-inch X 1-inch monochrome LCD screen will display the yardage to the front, middle, and back of the green, location of hazards, layup areas, to guide you through your round.

It does this even in bright sunlight!

Battery – 9.5/10

Constant GPS tracking, use of the backlight, and freezing weather can drain the battery rapidly. Power save mode will increase battery life.

According to Garmin, you can expect 15 hours of battery life in GPS mode and up to eight weeks without GPS usage.

📋 Keep in mind: The battery requires approximately 2 hours for a full recharge.

Fitness, health, and activity tracker – 9.3/10

Garmin Approach S20 is compatible with the Garmin Connect fitness-tracker program.

Parameters that are tracked include the odometer, heart rate monitor, timer, and your sleeping patterns.

Portability – 9.8/10

Weighing in at only 1.5 ounces it is extremely lightweight and will not wear you down out on the course.

Is Garmin Approach S20 Waterproof? – 9.9/10

The Garmin Approach S20 is rated 5 ATM for water resistance and can thus withstand submersion in up to 50 meters of water.

Warranty – 9.3 / 10

Garmin’s non‐aviation products offer a 1-year consumer limited warranty against defects in materials or workmanship from the date of purchase.

Other Questions About The Garmin S20 Golf Watch

Is Garmin S20 touch screen?

The Approach S20 does not have a touch-screen therefore you will not have to continuously clean fingerprints of the screen to be able to see the distance.


There is a backlight available on the Garmin S20. To activate the backlight, you have to press and hold the top right (OK) button for a second.

Alternatives To The S20 Golf GPS

Garmin S40 Golf Watch

More Advanced Garmin Model

s20 GPS golf watch from Garmin on a white background.

The S40 offers comparable basic functionality on a more contemporary looking, rounded, color touch screen that provides an aerial view of the green layout and elevations.

The color display is highly responsive and legible in strong sunlight. Furthermore, you can manually position the pin on the green for a more accurate distance calculation.

  • AutoShot automatic tracking is available on both of the devices.
  • Both devices are preloaded with more than 41,000 golf courses from across the globe.
  • Battery life for GPS use is 15 hours on both devices.

💡 Golfible Tip: Golfers that require more than just the basic functionality will benefit from the additional color touch screen functionality.

If you are looking for a more colorful experience that offers additional functionality, click on the price button above for more information.

Verdict On The Garmin S20 Golf GPS Watch

The Garmin S20 offers basic distance information enabling you to pull the right club from your bag.

The compact, lightweight, watch is comfortable to wear and easy to read even in bright sunlight. Battery life should get you through a couple of rounds even on the busiest day on the course.

If you are wondering ‘which golf GPS is best‘, we have covered this in the hyperlink.


Is Garmin Approach S20 discontinued?

Yes, the Garmin Approach S20 is no longer in production. However, you can still find it for sale from some retailers. If you’re looking for a similar product, consider the updated versions like the S60 or S62. It has many of the same features as the S20, plus a few extras that might come in handy.

What replaced the Garmin Approach S20?

The Garmin S10 replaced the Garmin Approach S20. The Garmin S10 is a newer model that features a more slim and sleek design and updated technology. It is available in both black and white color options.

Does the Garmin s20 track heart rate?

No, the Garmin S20 does not track heart rate. However, it is compatible with heart rate monitors that you can purchase separately. You can use Garmin s20 to help you understand your fitness level and progress by counting steps and track running.

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Lawrence Smelser has been part of the Golfible writing staff since 2019 and is a freelance golf journalist. Smelser has covered the PGA Tour including the U.S. Masters with He holds a journalism Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M and a Master’s journalism degree from the University of North Texas. Learn more about our team at Golfible on our About Us page.

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