Garmin Approach S4 Golf GPS Watch Review

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Garmin Approach S4-GPS Golf Watch

Garmin Approach S4 golf GPS watch is the updated version of Approach S3. This watch first introduced in 2015. This upgraded version comes with preloaded over 40,000 golf courses around the world. It has glove-friendly higher resolution touchscreen display and easy to read digital scorecard for Stroke Play along with Stableford. It will display yardages to the front, middle and back of the green including layups and doglegs. Also, you can move the pin position manually to get yardages to doglegs and layups as well as can customize yardage points (mark traps and hazards).

We have written above that you can customize your hazards and yardages, and didn’t give any reference of pre-mapped hazards because there are none. Approach S4 allows you to input custom points where you can include bunkers or water hazards. It was also not present in their previous version Approach S3. It’s disappointing, though Garmin courses database has pre-mapped hazards yardages today (they used in their other models such as Garmin Approach X40 or Garmin Fenix 5 Plus). So, we can keep hoping that Garmin will fix this issue in their next version of this watch.

The significant differences between Approach s3 and Approach S4 are the dedicated green view button (Green view gives true shape of the green), additional stat tracking (fairways hit/left/right), improved battery life. Also, you can receive smart notifications such as email, text, alerts on your watch, but only when paired with a compatible Apple iPhone. It’s not an Android compatible watch to receive notifications. It’s also a significant limitation of this watch.

However, despite these limitations, Garmin Approach S4 GPS golf watch got a huge response and positive reviews from its end users. So, Approach S4 is one of the best golf GPS watches we can recommend, but the price is comparatively high among other modern available watches and even more than some dedicated devices that have full hole graphics and more advanced features.

Design

In general, the looks of the Approach S4 is very nice. The sleek design of this watch will definitely represent your personality. It’s lightweight, flexible, and comfortable to wear and easily fit in any wrist size. You can use it just like an everyday wearable watch as it has an odometer too to measure how far you have walked.

The dimension of this watch is 2.4×1.8×0.6 inches, and the weight is around 58.4 g. The watch is 1-inch across and has a high-resolution glove-friendly touch-enabled 128×128 pixels display screen. It will not cause any problem in reading the game stats under bright sunlight. The touchscreen of this watch is very easy to use that found in very few watches.

There are two colors available in the market right now, black and white. You can choose among them that suit your best for you. This watch is also water resistant up to 10 meters (1 ATM).

Features

Course coverage – Garmin Approach S4 preloaded with over 40,000 golf courses all over the world. There is no annual/monthly fee or subscription or membership required for course update. So, you can download the course updates free. However, It will take around one minute to locate the satellites when you hit “Start Round”. The watch will show you a list of nearby golf courses when get connected to the satellite. Obviously, the course will be always at the top of the list where you are standing. Also, there is no complain found about satellite connectivity such as disconnected in the middle of a play.

Dedicated Green View Button – It’s a great feature of Approach S4. You don’t need to scroll through the menu anymore, just pushing this button will take you to the Green View screen quickly. Green View gives you the true layout of the green from wherever you are on the course, even if you are behind it.

Once you have done, now use the touchscreen to move the pin manually to the day’s location. This feature is particularly useful on par 3s where you will be able to dial in the distance you need to shot with confidence.

Digital Scorecard – You can track your score with the built-in digital scorecard throughout your rounds. The scoring option of this watch includes Stroke Play and Stableford. So, you can upload and save, review, share and print scorecard from your computer through USB cable (included with the watch). Also, when you hit a big one, You can see shot distance with the measure shot feature.

Smart notification – Pairing your iPhone with your watch can receive all the smart notifications such as email, text and RSS alerts right on your wrist. Also, you can read the email or text from your watch. It works as a wireless extension of your iPhone and will display whatever your phone does. So, You will never miss any important notifications – even in the middle of your rounds. But it’s disappointing that this feature works only with the iPhone and will not work with any Android device.

Auto Hole Advance – When you enter on the green, this watch will automatically show you the scorecard screen with par listed. This watch will automatically advance to the next hole when you walk to the next hole without entering a score. So, you don’t have to touch it for the whole round if you are not using this watch for scoring. However, users can return to the prior hole or advance to the next hole manually by swiping up/down on the screen or tapping at the top/bottom of the screen.

Measure Shot – We found a review on Amazon where a user described this feature very nicely. He used this feature a few times. From his practical experience, he found that the watch displays 0 yards when he hit the “Measure Shot” button after he took his shot, but the yards start increasing when he moves toward to his ball. When he reached the ball, he checked yards displayed on the watch and hit the “Measure Shot” again and found the screen resumes showing yards to the pin. Certainly, this watch shows yards from the tee to the ball instead of yards to the pin in this mode, which he has gotten familiar to looking at as he was approaching his shot to start thinking about what club he should use. However, he had preferred the watch to display yards to pin while in “Measure Shot” mode and show shot distance only when he hit the button.

Battery Life

Garmin uses a rechargeable Built-in lithium-ion battery in Approach S4. Battery life has been improved in this version (the previous version was Approach S3). According to Garmin, the battery will last up to 10 hours in GPS mode and 6 weeks in watch mode. So, it can assume that you can play at least three full rounds from a single charge.

Garmin Approach S4 Review

Pros

  • Relatively Inexpensive.
  • Easy to use.
  • Comes with over 40,000 courses preloaded.
  • No annual/monthly fees or subscription for course updates.
  • Measure shot distance.
  • Dedicated Green View Button.
  • Digital scorecard.
  • Accurate yardages.
  • Smart Notifications.
  • Used High-resolution bright sunlight readable touchscreen.
  • Water resistant up to 10 meters.
  • Long battery life.

Cons

  • Smart notifications available only for Apple iPhone.
  • Takes little extra time to full charge.

Final Thought

Many websites, blogs and forums reviewed the Garmin Approach S4 already. We found positive responses from most of them about this golf GPS watch. We also analyze the real user’s reviews, and they are overall satisfied using this watch. So, we will definitely recommend Approach S4 to be your next golf buddy. However, some of the users experienced issues with battery life and some screen locking/malfunction.