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355 of 360 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than expected
Three holes into my first round with the new watch (a Christmas present to myself), it dawned on me that this is cooler than I had imagined. I predict two years from now, this is the new rangefinder technology.

For the past several years, I have been a big proponent of the laser rangefinder, arguing with my gps rangefinder friends that the laser is more...
Published on December 26, 2010 by Patrick W. Mizell

versus
145 of 157 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor Battery Life
I love the watch and find it works wonderfully. The interface is poor - too much button pushing - but it works and there are few reasons to push any buttons on the course. You can measure your drive or move from the hazard backward to your ball - that takes button pushing.

It finds all the golf courses without all that computer loading.

The major...
Published on February 24, 2011 by DJ


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355 of 360 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than expected, December 26, 2010
By 
Patrick W. Mizell (Houston, Texas USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Garmin Approach S1 Waterproof Golf GPS Watch (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
Three holes into my first round with the new watch (a Christmas present to myself), it dawned on me that this is cooler than I had imagined. I predict two years from now, this is the new rangefinder technology.

For the past several years, I have been a big proponent of the laser rangefinder, arguing with my gps rangefinder friends that the laser is more accurate to the pin. After my round today, I am not sure I will ever pull my laser out again. The convenience is unbelievable. I just look down at my wrist, and I have my distance to the front middle and back. I look in the cart at the pin sheet, and subtract or add for a perfect distance. No reaching in the glove box of the cart or fumbling around for a device.

Even cooler, and more used than I anticipated, is the function that lets me measure the distance of my shot. You just hold a button and select "measure my shot" then drive or walk to the ball, and it gives the distance. I started doing it with all my shots just to get a feel for how long I was hitting the ball with each club. Pretty cool.

Less cool, but neat -- you can also measure with an odometer how far you actually walk on the course. And other things, like how far away your mother in law's house is on Christmas day, important things like that.

The watch is very comfortable and readable with large, clean numbers. I am going to start wearing it as my regular watch.

The only con that I can tell is that there are no distances to hazards, etc. I suspect that will be in the next generation.

Only one round in, but I can tell this is going to be a keeper.

Update:

After about 4 months of pretty heavy usage, there are my thoughts.

I still think it is a great product, but I use my laser in conjunction to get precise yardage. I find myself looking at the watch as I pull up to the ball for club selection, grab the right club, then shoot it with the laser to confirm and get the exact distance to the pin. The distances were not perfect when I first used it. A few holes were off by as much as 10 yards. I wrote to Garmin about my course, and my guess is that they remapped the course using google earth or something like it. The distances are much better with the latest update. On the Garmin web page, look around, there is a link to send them comments about yardages on a particular course.

The battery charger is kind of a pain. It clips onto the watch, and with mine you have to jigger it to get it to start charging. It is not that I am not getting the leads in the right place -- that is easy to see. You have to wiggle it to get the charging bars to start. The charger definitely needs improvement, or I got a bad charger.

Also, the battery charge life is not great. I played 36 holes the other day, and it did not finish the day. I don't often play 36 so it is not a big deal, but be aware that it is really just a one round charge.

But I still love it. It is comfortable to wear, very easy to read, and fun to show off to other players. I would still buy it given what I know now.

Update a year later:

Couple of thoughts to add -- first, I am wrong about the battery connector. I have been jiggling the connector waiting for the bars to start, when I finally figured out it just takes 5 seconds or so for the bars to start regardless. So no jiggling required, just be patient.

Also, just hung up with customer support, I had a problem with the map update (my computer froze in the middle of the update and I couldn't get it to update after) and I just want to add that Garmin support is awesome. None of the usual tech support bs where they empathize with my problem every time I say something. You actually get people who know about the watch and the software and very quickly tell you how to fix it. The person I spoke with was knowledgeable - he sounded like one of the software developers. I have no idea if he was, but it was a quick and pleasant experience.
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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Product! I love it!, January 8, 2011
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Garmin Approach S1 Waterproof Golf GPS Watch (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I love this product. I've had the Skycaddie and the Garmin larger units and
I didn't realize how much of a pleasure it would be not to have to go around
to the side of the cart to look at the yardage. Also, the readout on the watch
is a lot easier to see than the screens of the larger units. The guy
complaining about the differences in yardage must be a very accurate golfer.
For me, a few yards difference is not going to matter. Although I question
whether sprinkler heads are that accurate. I have checked the SR watch
against the hand held and usually they are the same or within a yard or two.

The downside is you don't get the detail eg, distances to hazards or
specific spots on the course that you can get with the
handheld Garmin. Another negative is that the other guys in
my foursome are always criticizing me for checking my watch
for the time.
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145 of 157 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor Battery Life, February 24, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Garmin Approach S1 Waterproof Golf GPS Watch (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I love the watch and find it works wonderfully. The interface is poor - too much button pushing - but it works and there are few reasons to push any buttons on the course. You can measure your drive or move from the hazard backward to your ball - that takes button pushing.

It finds all the golf courses without all that computer loading.

The major defect and it's major is that the batteries won't last for 36 holes. It's a one round device and you better remember to recharge it or you won't have a device for the next round.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great new product, February 15, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Garmin Approach S1 Waterproof Golf GPS Watch (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
This is the real deal and it will soon be the most popular range finder on the market. The courses are already pre-loaded so no need to download courses off the computer and pay extra fees. With a click of the button it identified the course I was playing while standing on the first tee. Simply glance at the watch to automatically get the front, middle and back yardage (you don't need the exact distance to the pin because you aren't good enough) and no need to stand there holding up a range finder trying to line up and click. Also with the touch of a button it will measure the exact distance of the shot you just hit. The watch is very light so you don't even feel it and the font is big so you don't need to take out your reading glasses.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars as golf was meant to be, January 17, 2011
I got this watch for christmas (a month ago), and have played a half-dozen rounds with it. I walk and carry my bag, often in the rain this time of year. I like going directly from lie to lie with no pushcart, no distractions, and I certainly do not want to fuss with gadgets. All you have to do is push one button that says "start round". It knows where you are, so it knows what course you're playing, and what hole you're on. You just glance at your wrist to see how far you are from the pin (front/middle/back), without ever having to push another button. The readings have matched the course markers every single time I've checked them. No subscriptions, no fees, and it's waterproof, so no worries.

You can directly measure the length of a drive/shot if you like, by pushing about two buttons, but I have yet to do that. I just subtract. You can also measure how far you've walked during the round, but I haven't used that feature either.

On a couple of occasions, where the next tee box is very near the previous green, the watch fails to understand that you have moved on to the next hole, and will continue to give distances to the previous hole. You have to press one button to let it know. I'm not sure a software fix could be made for this, really. I'd rather have to tell the watch I've moved on, rather than have to tell it I haven't moved on yet because I just skulled my pitch or sand shot 30 yards past the green. I think the programmers chose the correct trade-off.

I used to wear a Suunto golf watch that kept score. This Garmin displays tiny dots to represent what par is, but you can't input anything, not even a simple stroke count. I thought I would miss the scorekeeping feature, but now I'm not sure. I really don't have a problem remembering what I shot for 18 holes, and I love not having to fiddle with pressing buttons. But if Garmin could make it real simple, it might be a nice option...?

You can play about two rounds per charge, which is impressive considering the battery must be tiny. The watch is actually pretty good looking. It has a backlight and time/date/alarm functions so you can wear it daily if you want to look like a real sport-o. The battery lasts forever when it's not talking to satellites. Bottom line: this watch allows you to benefit from GPS but still play the game the way it was meant to be played, hands free.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Less is more., February 14, 2011
I have used the Garmin S1 for 3 rounds of golf at my club since receiving it a few weeks ago. I was immediately impressed by the ease of use, it does not get any simpler than placing it on your wrist and turning it on. It is extremely accurate and I've measured is against the yardage markers on the course as well as the yardages provided by the caddies. It is so lightweight that you can easily forget that it is being worn. I also own a Sky Caddie SGX that I will use when playing on a new or unfamiliar course so that I can see the layout and details of the holes. However once familiar with the course the S1 will be the instrument of choice.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blows away other options, February 12, 2012
By 
JavaManny (NYC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Garmin Approach S1 Waterproof Golf GPS Watch (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I've tried just about everything. SkyCaddies out the wazoo, laser rangefinders, iPhone apps (GolfShot). The convenience of having 90% of the info you need right on your wrist - not in your pocket, on your belt, on your golf bag - makes this a no-brainer. Unless you're on the tour don't even consider anything else. This will improve your game and quicken your play.

PROS

CONVENIENCE: 5 stars. Front/middle/back yardage always right where you need it.

ACCURACY: I've found it to be every bit as accurate as any other electronic device and usually within a yard or three of rangefinders and course markings. In other words, it's a heckuva lot more accurate than I am.

SPEED OF PLAY: Easily the fastest option.

EASE OF USE: With rare exceptions, it knows what course and what hole you're on without needing any input from you. And, it doesn't need line-of-sight or the steady hands it takes to laser-sight a flag from 200 yards away.

MEASURE SHOT: While this option existed on other devices I had I never used it because you had to take your device out on both ends to get this number. Now I use it regularly when I hit a good one to more accurately know how far I hit - not think I hit - various clubs.

EVERYDAY WATCH: Great, big digital numbers (and light) that even middle-aged guys like me can read without my glasses.

CONS

INTERMEDIATE TARGETS: It cannot tell you how far to a bunker or water hazard. On courses you play regularly it's usually not too big a deal but on new courses it certainly can matter. I still use GolfShot on my iPhone for scoring/tracking my rounds and will fire it up for intermediate target distances on those rare occasions I need more info.

PIN POSITIONS: It can't give you exact distances to the flag like a laser. But you can usually figure it out close enough for rock 'n roll by knowing the pin location (front/middle/back).

CHARGING: The battery is only good for 1 round so if you play a lot you've got to remember to charge it when you get home. It takes a good couple of hours to fully charge. And, as other have pointed out, the charger clip takes some getting used to.

Seriously, if you've gotten this far in this review stop reading and start ordering. No other system available presents even close to the combination of convenience and accuracy of the Garmin watch.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It Works For Me, April 9, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Garmin Approach S1 Waterproof Golf GPS Watch (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
This is the most convenient way to use a GPS on the golf course. It provides distance to front, center, and back of the green, auto advances to the next hole, and easily measures shot distances. It doesn't show a graphic of the hole and it doesn't keep score or other stats, but really, who needs a device to do that. It is accurate compared to the other Golf GPS devices out there. I have only had it not find one course I played, and it was a fairly new course in another town. This device loads the courses I regularly play. I could not get the battery to last for 36 holes, but I only play 36 about twice a year. The charging clip is a little bit of a problem to get positioned correctly. It just takes some attention to get all the pins lined up in the holes on the watch. The big factor for me is not having to remember to bring a GPS to the golf course, it's right there on my arm. The next positive factor for me was not having to pay an annual fee. All in all this device works, is convenient, and relatively inexpensive. I have owned a Sky Caddie SG2 and a GolfGuru4. When I needed to buy a new watch, I bought this device, and I'm glad I did.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT Product, January 16, 2011
By 
Brian Ford (Cave Creek, AZ United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Garmin Approach S1 Waterproof Golf GPS Watch (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I have now used this for 4 rounds & it is truly amazing, cant believe it fits all of that into a little watch...Highly recommended, only thing is it needs to be charged before each round, but it has a charger included & the watch looks cool too
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple and Accurate GPS Watch, October 28, 2011
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Garmin Approach S1 Waterproof Golf GPS Watch (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
The Garmin Approach is pretty cool, and at $250 it's a bit expensive, but it's the best option out there if you don't want to lug around a hand held GPS.

I tried an app on my phone before and I HATED carrying the phone in my pocket or having it out on the course in the first place. I golf to get away, not to carry my phone and look at a screen. All I want is to know how far away the pin is, and with this simple watch I can do that easily.

The distances are close to accurate, which is obviously critical, and I played a few courses and they were all available. It tells you front, middle, and back distances and it also can chart your distance from shot to shot. I always wondered how far I drive the ball on certain holes...now I confirmed that its not that far at all.

Not that you're looking for this advice, but I was very concerned with just the feel of having something on my wrist while I golf. I have never worn a watch or anything and thought it might feel weird. I actually don't mind the feel of it while golfing...I often don't even realize I have it on.

The one thing I don't like that much about the phone is the quality of the watch band/clasp. There is a simple piece of metal that clips into an endless run of slits in the band...and the band is stiff rubber. It feels fine on my wrist, but I'm concerned that after a lot of use that little clip might just snap off.

Lastly, it is a rechargeable watch and has a weird system for recharging. It has 4 little nodes on the underside and you clamp on a charger to the outside of the unit that matches up with the nodes. I made it through each round with no problem in regards to battery life, I just find clamping the charger to the watch itself a bit strange...and since that charger is not universal...if you manage to loose it...I think you're screwed. Also, if my dad bought this watch he would struggle getting the little charger dots to match up with the holes on the bottom of the watch. He's 64.

Overall, I love the watch. It works as its described, and knowing what I know about it now, I would buy it again.
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