Tom's Guide Verdict
The Garmin S62 Approach benefits from a versatile design, long battery life and top-notch golf features, making it the best golf watch an avid player can get.
Works as an everyday smartwatch
Accurate GPS measurements
Virtual caddy analysis
Excellent battery life in GPS mode
Pricey for a GPS watch
Not great for beginners
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
Water resistance: 50 meters
Heart rate sensor: Yes
Display: 1.3 inches
Smartphone notifications: Yes
Storage: 1 GB
Size: 1.9 x 1.9 x 0.6-inches
Weight: 2.2 ounces
Battery life: 14 days
Battery life in GPS mode: 20 hours
Last Father’s Day, I bought my dad the Garmin Approach S20, a $199 no-frills golf tracker that has an adequate battery life and legible course maps. While he likes it, he takes every opportunity to suggest if I really loved him I would have splurged on the more versatile — and more expensive — Garmin Approach S60.
Sick of his scoffs, I did him one better and let him conduct this Garmin Approach S62 review. The Approach S62 offers a sharper appearance, larger screen and lengthier battery life than its S60 predecessor. Plus it supports a Virtual Caddie feature, which offers club suggestions and other shot tips based on your past rounds. While those upgrades sound nice on paper, we hit the links to see how a golfer with more than 30 years of experience thinks the S62 tees up to its $499 price tag, and if it belongs on our list of the best sports watches as the best Garmin watch for golfers. Also, to see how it compares to the Garmin Approach S42.
Garmin Approach S62: Price and availability
The Garmin Approach S62 costs $499 and is the newest golf watch you can buy from the well-reputed GPS brand as of this writing. The standard Approach S60 is $399, while the Garmin Approach S40’s more affordable $299 price makes it one of the best sports watches you can buy, but you won’t get everything the S62 or S60 have.
Garmin Approach S62: Design and display
The Garmin Approach S62 might not look as luxurious as, say, the $1850 TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Golf Edition, but its scratch-resistant ceramic bezel and interchangeable silicone straps strike an excellent balance of swank and comfort. To that effect, it looks sporty enough for clubhouses yet stylish enough for a steakhouse. We reviewed the all-black unit, but there’s a white version that better resembles a golf glove, which some aesthetically-minded players might prefer.
Its round, 1.3-inch display is surrounded by 18-hole markers and is 17% larger than the Approach S60. But the screen real estate increase doesn’t add any more bulk, and my dad appreciated how the S62’s slender design didn’t impede on his swing.
And unlike the Garmin Approach S20 he’s accustomed to, the Garmin Approach S62 features a colorful, 260 x 260 pixel touchscreen. While a finger can be used to navigate the display, he liked that an array of buttons is available for when his hand was gloved.
My dad’s main complaint with the Approach S62’s screen is that it isn’t as easy to read in direct sunlight as other golf watches he’s tested. But on the bright side, he found it isn’t much of a fingerprint magnet.
Garmin Approach S62: Golf and Virtual Caddie features
Garmin is no newbie to the golf tracking game — like its other Approach models, the Approach S62 works in conjunction with Garmin Golf app (iOS, Android) to provide information for more than 41,000 courses worldwide, as well as personal scorecard metrics.
In real-time comparisons with his trusty rangefinder, my dad found the Approach S62’s GPS readings precisely on par. The watch gave him a complete overview of the hole ahead at each tee box, letting him know how far he stood from hazards or the green so he could plan his shots accordingly. Seeing the nature of each hazard and geography of the hole on his wrist was helpful when he played unfamiliar courses, too.
Garmin’s AutoShot shot tracking function automatically recorded his long shots, although he needed to enter his chips and putts manually. If you’d like Garmin Golf to track your short game or identify which club you’re playing without manual input, you’ll want to get Garmin’s CT10 sensors. A pack of 3 costs $79.99, while a full pack of 14 costs $299.99. The CT10 system saves you a few steps when using the Approach S62, and provides analysis specific to each of your clubs, too.
The Virtual Caddie feature can also provide club insight, to some extent. Unique to the Garmin Approach S62, Virtual Caddie collects data on your game to offer advice on which club you should play on any given turn based on your handicap, average shot distance, elevation changes, hazards, local wind speed and more.
My dad isn’t the type to rely on technology for golf tips, but the Caddie impressed him by suggesting the same clubs he pulled from his bag before checking his wrist. Though it’s not guaranteed to improve your golf game, the insight provided by Virtual Caddie doesn’t feel gimmicky and might benefit you if you tend to experiment with your club choices. That said if you’re a beginner, relying on the Virtual Caddie could rob you of the decision-making experience that’s integral to learning the game.
Garmin Approach S62: Off the course
My dad doesn’t wear his Approach S20 during his tabata, cycling or weight lifting workouts because it’s not well-equipped for exercise. The S62, on the other hand, offers most of the fitness features you’d expect from pricier multisport watches like the Garmin Fenix 6 or Garmin Forerunner 945.
The Approach S62 can track bicycling, rock climbing, skiing, running and a variety of indoor exercise. It’s also waterproof so it can record your swims or be worn while paddleboarding, which my dad swears he’ll take up soon. For now, he actually keeps the S62 as he goes about his daily activities, taking a look at his heart rate, steps, stairs climbed, ‘Body Battery’ and SpO2 measurements. Although he’s an athlete, he’s never been motivated by fitness tracking, but the fact that his familiar golf watch doubles as a workout wearable is starting to turn him onto it.
I even convinced him to try sleep tracking. It’s still not for him, but like other Garmin offerings with Advance Sleep Tracking, the Approach S62 can record your sleep cycles and respiration data.
When you’re not golfing, exercising or sleeping, the Garmin Approach S62 is a suitable smartwatch. It supports Garmin Pay for contactless payments and you can customize which of your smartphone notifications you want sent to your wrist. Only Android users can respond to texts or reject phone calls directly from the S62, though.
Garmin Approach S62: Battery life
The Garmin Approach S62 lasts about 14 days without a charge, although you’ll get just 20 hours in continuous GPS mode. My dad made it through a week with 3 rounds before needing to recharge the S62, so it’s safe to say you can leave Garmin’s proprietary charger at home for a weekend golf trip.
Lined up next to pricier sports watches, the Approach S62’s battery life in GPS isn’t outstanding, but should be more than enough for its intended task. The triathlete-focused Forerunner 945 lasts up to 36 hours, while the made-for-the-outdoors fenix 6 can eke out 72 hours in its most efficient GPS mode. But considering the GPS accuracy needed for golf and the slim shape of the watch, its stamina is pretty impressive. And the Garmin Approach S60 only gets 10 hours of active location tracking, by comparison.
Garmin Approach S62: Verdict
There’s not much you can show a 30-year golf veteran that he doesn’t already know. Though lots of gadgets for the links claim to improve your game, he’s found few that actually deliver. The Garmin Approach S62, though, has earned itself a permanent position on my dad’s wrist thanks to its great look, accurate GPS, long battery life and versatile applications.
Yes, $500 may seem pricey for a sports watch, but for an avid golfer and athlete the Garmin Approach S62 is an excellent accessory and worth the $100 upgrade from the S60. Much like someone who cares about their game would drop serious dough for premium clubs, the S62 (and its Virtual Caddie) offer clear tangible assistance without coming off as gimmicky. Newcomers to the sport might find the $200 Garmin S20 satisfies their needs for a fraction of the cost, but for serious players, the S62 is the best golf watch for getting you to the green.
Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.