Garmin’s Approach S42 watch helps you go the distance

Whether you are going the distance or need to know the distance, Garmin’s Approach S42 Golf smartwatch can help. A smartwatch that translates the capabilities of smartwatch and merges those with the capabilities of GPS tracking technology for golf. Garmin is a worldwide leader in GPS technology and is extends that expertise into their line of smart watches. 

The golfing market has an almost unlimited number of helpful tools available; from taking lessons, to swing gadgets or technology, there is someone or something out there to help you get better. As a hopeful, yet below average golfer, I struggle with knowing where I am in relation to the pin and determining the best club for my position.  Using the markers on a course can get you close, but I am often left guessing where I am in relation to the marker. Leveraging a GPS watch is a better way to set up your next shot. 

My favorite features

One of the things I like most about golf watches is that they have my courses stored as an available round to track. Garmin boasts over 43,000 preloaded courses, meaning your favorite course is likely to be loaded. I am able to load and see the layout much like I would on the back of the scorecard. The benefit here is seeing your position relative to the hazards and the twist and turns of the hole.  

The other feature that I really like is the ability to adjust the pin position. Using your finger you can adjust the green around the pin towards the front, back, or side of the hole. Once placed, the exact distance to that PIN is displayed rather than just to the center of the green. Our foursome did some comparing between GPS devices. We tested different lies both for drives and fairway shots and there was equal comparison in distance. The Approach S42 did great right alongside each device.

The third feature that I really like is that the Approach S42 contains a hole meter around the outside of the screen just inside the bezel. This lets me quickly see that I am on the correct hole, in terms of my scoring on the watch. Navigation is easy on the watch to get back and forth between holes.

As a smartwatch

This watch is capable of doing a lot more than just playing golf. There are a number of standard features that accompany this watch that make it the type of device you can wear at all times. I wear a smartwatch all the time and mostly I track my sleep patterns and steps. The Approach S42 GPS golf smartwatch has some nice similar features, but not the sleep tracking that I prefer. The calendar, find my phone and weather are other features I typically use.

As someone who likes tracking data over time I’ll admit that I continue to wear my other watch for daily living and switch to my golf watch for golf. Once I get comfortable with this watch I may consider a switch so I avoid losing the steps I take while golfing.


The Approach S42 GPS golf smartwatch comes in a variety of colors. One challenge is that the colors and the bands that come with them are presupposed for size. If you want the white watch, you get the small or shorter band.  The white band just barely fit my wrist. The longer bands are available for an extra charge. In this manner the user can swap it out depending on their wrist size. Obviously as a consumer I would prefer both straps lengths in the box and then purchase extra bands if they break (or get chewed by my cat). My smartwatch came like this and it is a feature I really appreciated.

The other feature that I am watching or wary of is the battery life. The first time I played the watch was only charged to about 45% and it died on hole 15. I wasn’t in a cart that had the ability to charge the watch so I lost the ability to use the device during that time. If you are fully charged there doesn’t seem to be an issue. It leaves me thinking that if I played a morning round and wore this the rest of the day, it might not make it.

I would prefer for the charger to be magnetic vs a plugin. That is really a preference and the cord fits snug and charges fast.I think proprietary chargers, while great for sales, are tough on users. In almost every area of our lives we have the opportunity to use a chargeable device of some kind. Wireless charging or USB-C seem to be coming standard. It would be great if watches of all brands would jump on board universal charging.


I really like this watch. The setup and screen layout were easy to navigate. The feel is comfortable and wasn’t too heavy or different from other watches I wear. There are a couple different watches in the Garmin lineup and this fits in the middle of their lineup. I wouldn’t go lower as you lose the color screen and a few key features. If you want to upgrade to the S62 or S70 you will get even greater functionality, but I find the Garmin Approach S42 has covers the basics in a smartwatch and everything I need in a golf smartwatch.

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