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on October 7, 2012
This golf watch is very easy to use. I have used it on several other courses in other states since I got it in September and the satellite link was always successful. I have also used it to measure distances walked and this function is useful for determining how much exercise you get in walking. (miles) When finished using the satellite, it reverts to a timepiece which is very convenient. I would recommend this for those who only want to know front, middle or back distances to green and who don't mind wearing a watch while playing golf. I had not been in the habit of wearing one, but this is very light and doesn't interfere with my game. I like not having to grab for a distance measuring device, pick it up and put it down before swinging the club. This is easier.
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on December 31, 2012
I have a golf GPS that requires me to download the course information before I can play for the first time. That process isn't simple or without problems. This Garmin S1 is the easiest thing to use. You turn it on, tell it you want to play a round of golf (since it comes up in watch mode) and it displays a list of the courses nearby. So if you are at a golf course when you tell it you want to play, you don't have to go searching for the course you want to play, it is already on the top of the list you select from. If there is more than one course nearby, as there is at my golf club, the different courses will be listed for you to choose from with the closest first.

Using the S1 during play couldn't be easier either. You don't have to change holes manually, it knows where you are and therefore what hole you are on. You can change the holes manually, but it isn't necessary under most circumstances.

I'm used to wearing a watch during play, so I didn't have much to get used to in that regard. If you don't normally wear a watch, this may be a problem. The watch and band are one solid piece of plastic. I guess that's good for the integrity of the device but don't think you will change bands to a slip-on-type to avoid having to mess with this strappy-type.

The device acquires the satellites quickly, adjusts to movement quickly and seems to be quite accurate. Certainly accurate enough for my play.

The difficulties others have mentioned about attaching the clip-on charging device are real. You've got to mess with it a little to get a good connection. The directions tell you what the screen should look like if you get a good connection, so it's isn't that big of a problem if you know what you are doing. It's an issue, but not enough of a problem to take away a star.

I know this S1 GPS doesn't have all of the features of Garmin's S3 version or other GPSs on the market, but I don't need them. My other GPS has those features and they just aren't that useful or in some cases, that easy to use. In fact, the simplicity of just getting the distance to the green is a real advantage to me. And for the price difference between the S1 and the S3, I don't think you can do better than this device.

For the simplicity, ease-of-use during play, low price and fast, accurate readings, I highly recommend the Garmin Approach S1 Golf GPS.
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Top Contributor: Cookingon December 29, 2013
This is a review of the Garmin S1 GPS Golf Watch but for comparison purposes I will also describe how the S1 stacks up against the Bushnell Neo X gps watch. Both of these units have similar prices and time-telling functions, so I will focus my comments mainly on the golf functions.

Size: A major appeal of the S1 is that in pictures it appears to be smaller and more streamlined than the Neo X, which is rather boxy. In hand, because of its round shape the S1 continues to look more streamlined, but it is actually heavier and thicker than the Neo X, which also has a narrower band than the S1. Winner: Neo X. (BTW, neither watch was heavy or bulky enough to interfere with my golf swing; after a couple of rounds I really didn’t notice either watch.)

Legibility: Both the S1 and the Neo X display hole number and distance to front, middle and back of green. However, the main figure of distance to center of green is larger on the Neo X. I am farsighted and play golf without glasses; I can clearly read the center distance on the Neo X but not on the S1. I believe this is due to the fact that the display area of the Neo X is larger than that of the S1, so the Neo X can show larger-size figures. Even with glasses on I found the Neo X’s display of course names easier to read than the S1’s. Winner: Neo X.

Special features: Both the S1 and the Neo X can measure shot distances and have an odometer function. However, the S1 lacks the ability to show distances to hazards, which the Neo X does; and the Neo X also has a timer you can set to turn your unit on a few minutes before your tee time. Winner: Neo X.

Cost: The S1 and Neo X cost about the same. Winner: tie.

Battery time: The Neo X battery lasts at least twice as long, 2-3 rounds vs 1 round for the S1. (The Neo X actually claims to have enough battery life to play 3 rounds, but so far I have only played 2 without recharging; after 2 rounds the remaining battery life as per the battery charge icon seems to show enough for a third round.) Winner: Neo X.

Satellite acquisition time: On more than one occasion the S1 has taken 20-30 seconds longer than the Neo X to acquire a satellite lock-in. Winner: Neo X.

Strap width: The S1 strap is wider than that of Neo X. Winner: Probably a tie for men, ladies may prefer the narrower strap of the Neo X. Winner: depends on personal preference.

Color: Both the S1 and Neo X are available in black and white. I prefer black because it doesn’t show dirt and dings as much as white does. Winner: tie.

Charging mechanism: Both the S1 and the Neo X charging mechanisms are poorly designed and awkward; a clip with tiny metal prongs must be carefully aligned with tiny holes on the back of the watch in order for charging to take place. Both watches get a grade of “D” on this criterion, but I find the Neo X mechanism to be easier to insert and less likely to pull loose while charging. Winner: Neo X. (Note to Bushnell and Garmin: Hire away an engineer and a designer from Apple to solve this vexing problem.)

Issues: I have had no problems with the Neo X, but have to return the Garmin S1 because of occasional lapses in displaying the distances to the pin and other readings. I believe this is a quality control issue rather than a design flaw, so if you buy an S1 make sure you can easily return or replace it if it malfunctions (this is one main reason I shop with Amazon whenever possible).

Overall: The S1 is an initial model no longer manufactured by Garmin so it has only very basic functions. Garmin’s later models (S2, S3, S4) have more bells and whistles but cost 2 or 3 times as much as the S1. The Bushnell Neo X costs about the same as the S1 but shows the distance to hazards, has a more legible distance-to-center figure, and has much longer battery life, so the Neo X is the better choice.

Disclosure: I have no personal or business relationships with Garmin or Bushnell.
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on April 22, 2015
I wanted a simple, fast and accurate distance to the center of the green and this watch does its job very well. I have had laser, stand alone GPS, smart phone GPS (paid and free), the problem has always been that I have to carry something with me and more often than not it has more 'features' than I want/need. I have always wear a watch when I play so it's not a problem having something on my wrist. I am a 14 handicap and I like to play fast (under 3 hrs round in my 4 some). I love how this watch automatically move to the next hole as I play. Once I start the round, I don't have to press any button or do anything, just a quick glance at my wrist, pick a club and swing...I loved that. I have played two rounds back to back with no battery life issue. I am small so I was worry that the watch would be too big on my wrist, but it is not. It's very comfortable to wear. I wouldn't wear it as a normal watch for daily use, just because I don't want to scratch it up. If you are looking for a no frills, accurate and fast distance to the green, it won't get any better than this at the current one time price point ($99) far, so good
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on November 29, 2013
I just want to know the distance to the front, middle, and back of the greens. I glance at my wrist and know the distance to the green. This watch does the job well. It is actually a watch also & one can easily switch from the time to the distances. It charges quickly after a round. It also has an alarm, which I have found helpful at times. It can serve as an odometer. I recently used it to figure out how far I walked during a round, which was 6 miles. It can also be used to measure a shot. When you look for the distance to the green, it gives you the distance as the crow flies not along the middle of the fairway. So for holes with doglegs it will not give you the distance shown on the scorecard when you stand on the tee. It has a backlight. I am retired now, but when I used to play after work, it could be pretty dark on the last couple of holes. So the backlight would be useful under those conditions. Once at Pinehurst, NC it lost track of where it was & couldn't locate any courses. I couldn't make it go through process to locate a satellite again. After several holes, it did go through the locate process again & all was well for the rest of the round. When I got home I looked up how to reset it Hold the power button in to power it down. Then power it back up.
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on October 24, 2014
Bought this as a gift to my father who plays golf but does not really take the time to learn new technology. A few years back I bought him a $300 golf GPS that he has to download courses and then use the cursors to see where he is on the course and how far from a hole. The problem was, his favorite course was originally not available, and once it was he had issues with downloading and setting up the course on the GPS. That was it; he never used the GPS again and it sat around for years as a paperweight.

I was going to buy my father one of those handheld golf GPS lasers but then a colleague of mine recommended the Garmin Approach S1 GPS Watch. This watch is amazing! Courses are already preloaded (including all of his favorite courses), when he is ready to play golf he clicks on a button to start, the watch shows him a few courses that are nearby, he chooses the correct one and presses start. Thats it! From then on, the GPS knows that hole you are on, and shows you the distance to the green. The only downside of this GPS is that you are always looking at the distance to the green so if you are ever hitting to a spot before the green or before a water hazard, you will not know that exact distance. I would highly recommend for the convenience, ease of use, price, value etc. If you are a pro, I would probably recommend a handheld laser instead.
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on October 30, 2013
I purchased this watch in the Spring of 2013 and I have been very pleased with the functionality and build of the watch. Over the many rounds of golf I have played, the watch has functioned well, and it is a great tool to measure approximate yardage to the hole. One look at your wrist, and you get an approximate yardage. I say approximate, because the pin location is frequently moved and the watch will obviously not be as accurate as a handheld range finder. The yardages are pretty accurate though. Pros - the buttons and menu are very easy to use. On a course, you just punch one button and it turns on the GPS to locate the course. The course is easily found, which you then select. The watch then automatically figures out which hole you are on. You can also easily change the hole number, assuming you don't start on Hole 1. You can also very easily measure shot distance by pushing just one button twice (I can do that now without looking) and then driving up to the location of the ball to see the distance in yards. The build of the watch is very good, and although I have not tried the waterproof feature, it looks rugged. As others have noted, you just have to make sure the four charging pins of the charger attach properly to the contact points on the back of the watch. If they do connect properly, the watch makes an electronic beep that lets you know it is charging. You do have to be careful to not jerk the watch when the charger is attached as the charging contact may easily be disturbed. I bought the Special Edition watch in off-white color, and I have received compliments on the watch. I highly recommend this watch. By the way, I had previously tried 'Golf Buddy GPS+ Watch' and I had to return it as it was unreliable and failed to function properly in my trial runs. The Garmin S1 is way better-looking and easier to use.
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on June 2, 2015
I purchased the Approach S1 about 2 years ago. The watch works exactly as advertised. Gives me the information I need (yardage to front, middle, and back of the green) with an easy to read display and no clutter. If simple yardage is what you're looking for, the S1 is a great product.

Some commenters reported that the unit is difficult to charge, but I never had a problem attaching it to the charger. Once charged, I was able to get 2 full rounds (8+ hours) on a single charge.

The one weak spot on the unit is the band, and several commenters have reported this same issue. I wore it continuously (it also works a just a regular watch) for 18 months and the band split along the side. I tried super-gluing it back together, but that would only hold for a day or two. Unfortunately, the band is an integral part of the unit and cannot be separately replaced. However, I reported this issue to Garmin customer service via email, and was told they have a program for the S1 where if the watch is out of warranty they will replace it (the whole watch, not just the band) with a replacement, refurbished watch for $25 (if within the 1-year warranty the replacement is free). You do need to send the old watch to Garmin, and it takes 10-14 days to receive the new watch. In my opinion, this is a fair resolution of the band issue. However, I am docking the S1 one star for what appears to be a design flaw with the band, otherwise this would be a 5-star product.
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on August 11, 2013
Since putting this to use in August, I have played about 25 rounds on my home courses (one club with two courses in separate towns). What I have found remarkable is that I now integrate distance readings seamlessly into my routine setup, just glancing at my "watch" without the device causing any distraction. My prior GPS was a good handheld but innately awkward because I had to take it out of my pocket etc. etc. I now play faster and more confidently. On this low-end Garmin, I find I don't miss any of the intermediate distance features of my prior golf GPS. Why? Partly because I'm playing familiar courses and don't flirt with sand traps or water. For layups, I just subtract 100 yards from the distance to the front, center, or back of the green. In this specific device, I have found that "less is more." Golf is complicated, and quickly measuring distance gives me more time to think--the real key to better golf. I am absolutely enchanted with this "watch." In team golf, by the way, it's extreme convenience makes supplying distance requests from team mates effortless and, therefore, less distracting.
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on November 11, 2013
This watch is doing everything I'd expected it to do. My yardage is very accurate on each shot at each of the 3 local courses I've played since buying it, and it's really cool not having to have a separate piece of equipment to get yardage or having to look for yardage markers on the course. I would definitely buy this again.

The only minor critiques I have of it are that battery life is short and I get maybe 2 rounds out of it before having to charge it (just means you can't forget), and it's a tad bulky. Neither of these are showstoppers for me, however.
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