There are smartwatches and then there are GPS watches made for golfers. The Garmin Approach S10 is very much the latter, and could be a good starting point for anyone picking up the game, or looking to improve further.

This is a watch that serves a more specific purpose. It’s not something you get to wear every day as a typical smartwatch. It comes preloaded with over 41,000 golf courses from across the globe, so chances are wherever you play, you will have the course’s information already programmed in the Approach S10.

Design and features

The watch is pretty straightforward in its concept and design. The screen is a modest 128 x 128 resolution, with four buttons flanking it. Those buttons aren’t just for navigating the watch, but also for keeping score during a round. The built-in GPS knows where you are relative to each course, and that’s what makes it a unique golf watch.

The key is that it knows distance, particularly the yardage to the green from the first tee for every hole. It knows where bunkers, ponds, dog-legs, trees and other obstacles may be throughout the course. Based on the course you play, it can tell when you’ve finished a hole and are about to tee off for the next one. No need to press any buttons to set up for the next shot. But if you do, you can do it by just pressing the right button.

By keeping score, you could save time and not focus on writing everything down. Granted, the Approach S10 is more entry-level, so won’t do everything a more feature-rich golf watch might do. It won’t know about the clubs you’re using, or actually detect when you’ve hit the ball.

Connectivity and Garmin Golf app

Bear in mind the Approach S10 doesn’t have Bluetooth, so it won’t pair with a smartphone and send data over. It logs data internally, except you will need to connect it to a Windows PC or Mac computer, install the Garmin Express app and move the data over from there. Once that’s done, the data goes to the Garmin Golf mobile app, so that you always have it handy on your phone afterward.

It also doesn’t have Wi-Fi to do any of that wirelessly, which is why you do have to plug in via USB. Both apps will display scores and stats, complete with a scorecard to show you how you’ve been doing over time. And if you’re looking for something different, like Stableford scoring, this watch won’t do that, unfortunately.

Battery life

Garmin rates the Approach S10 at 12 hours per charge, which should be good enough for two rounds at least. But if you’re going exceptionally long, you may need to recharge again. It’s also set at 14 weeks on standby, so if you do leave it between days at the links, you shouldn’t see much loss in that time.

Available now

The Garmin Approach S10 only comes in granite blue and powder grey, and is available now.

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Editor Cellular/Mobile Technology
I’m a fortunate man in being able to do the fun job of following and reporting on one of the most exciting industries in the world today. In my time covering consumer tech, I’ve written for a number of publications, including the Globe and Mail, Yahoo! Canada, CBC.ca, Canoe, Digital Trends, MobileSyrup, G4 Tech, PC World, Faze and AppStorm. I’ve also appeared on TV as a tech expert for Global, CTV and the Shopping Channel.

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