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Golf Tech Reviews

Garmin Approach S10 vs S20 Comparison

Many seasoned golf enthusiasts would agree – Garmin produces some of the best golf watches on the market.

What they may disagree about, however, is about which one of these watches is the best, and which provides the best value for money.In this article, we’re going to focus on two great Garmin watches, the Approach S10 and the Approach S20, comparing and contrasting the two.

We’re going to highlight the key differences, list their respective pros and cons, explore which is best for golf, which is the best watch overall, and which is the best value for money.

Then we’re going to top that off with a section where we answer some of your most frequently asked questions on the subject.

By the end of the article, you will be very well-informed, and in a position to decide which of these two great golf watches may be best for you. Please feel free to scroll ahead to any section of particular interest to you. And without further ado…

What The S10 And S20 Have In Common

It’s fair to say that the Garmin Approach S10 and S20 golf watches have a lot in common. First off, they both come from what is currently the biggest brand in GPS devices, and such this feature is brought into their Garmin Approach watches. And it is this very capability that really lends itself to use in golf.

Both watches come preloaded with over 40,000 golf course maps worldwide, and yet more courses can get added over time, and the download of the updates is available free of charge over the course of the watch’s lifetime.

And where these watches really come into their own for your golf game is that they provide accurate yardages, based on the GPS signal, to the front, middle and back of the green and so on, so you will be informed exactly how far you have to hit the golf ball at each turn.

This can also help you to decide which club to use for each shot.This handy function means it could even replace your rangefinder. It’s not quite as accurate as a laser rangefinder, but it’s certainly not far off.Moreover, these watches can also give you yardages to hazards and doglegs.

Garmin Approach S10

Garmin Approach S10 Garmin Approach S10
$149.99

If you want to stay focused on your game and the course, this is your golf Watch. Based on your location, the easy-to-use approach S10 golf Watch automatically chooses the course you’re playing from more than 41, 000 preloaded courses worldwide with free lifetime updates. Then it provides yardages to the front, back and middle of the Green as well as hazards and doglegs. Complete a hole, and it automatically transitions to the next hole as you walk from the Green to the next Tee box. And if you really crush one, you can measure the distance for bragging Rights.

Pros:
  • 41,000 preloaded golf courses worldwide
  • Accurate yardages using GPS
  • Golf statistics tracking
  • 12 hours battery life in GPS mode
  • Available in a choice of 3 colors
  • Relatively affordable price tag
  • No pesky smart notifications
Cons:
  • Doesn’t double as a smartwatch
  • No Bluetooth connectivity, so it can’t pair with Garmin Truswing sensors
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05/18/2022 08:34 am GMT

The Garmin Approach S10 first became available as recently as 2018, and is still a very prominent bestseller with the leading online retailers in the category of golf course GPS units.

The S10 is a lightweight, 36.28 grams, GPS watch with an ultra-high resolution, 128 x 128 pixel, square screen, where data is displayed in a large font in white on a black background.

It is clear and easy to read, even in direct sunlight. And the screen is a nice size, coming in at 0.9 by 0.9 inches.

It comes with thousands of preloaded golf course maps, and you can bring up the green view, which not only gives you the front, middle and back, but also any hazards and doglegs.

Pros

  • 41,000 preloaded golf courses worldwide
  • Accurate yardages using GPS
  • High display resolution
  • Readable in bright sunlight
  • Golf statistics tracking
  • 12 hours battery life in GPS mode
  • Available in a choice of 3 colors
  • Relatively affordable price tag
  • No pesky smart notifications

Cons

The S10 VS The S20

The Approach S20 was actually produced 2 years before the S10, and it is thought that the S10 was invented and produced as a means of providing a more affordable version of the S20, albeit with fewer features.

There are two main ways in which the Approach S10 is lacking compared to the S20. First off, it does not have Bluetooth connectivity. And as a result of this, it cannot be paired with a smartphone for smartwatch notifications.

Most people would argue that this makes it a poorer watch overall. However, many golfers prefer to take a GPS golf watch onto the golf course that does not have smartwatch capability because it means that they can enjoy their game entirely uninterrupted by pesky smart notifications. 

Garmin Approach S20

Garmin Approach S20 Garmin Approach S20

Approach S20 is the golfing partner that doubles as your everyday watch. Features more than 40,000 courses plus Garmin AutoShot round analyzer, activity tracking and smart notifications.

Combines elegant watchband design with high-resolution display and activity tracking.

AutoShot round analyzer measures and auto-records shot distances.


Pros:
  • App support with AutoShot Round Analyser for reviewing your performance after every game
  • Shows layup distances
  • Works as a regular watch and can also be used for email and social media
Cons:
  • This watch has difficulty syncing to the course you are on
Some of the links on this website are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, we may earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

The Garmin Approach S20 first became available to buy in 2016, but still remains a prominent bestseller with the leading online retailers in the category of golf course GPS units.

It was the first of these two watches to come out on the market, yet is packed with more features.

Like the S10, it also has a high resolution screen, nice screen size, is lightweight, has thousands of preloaded maps, and gives you all your yardages, including those to hazards and doglegs.

Smartwatch Functionality

The Garmin Approach S20 is the full package. Not only is it an excellent GPS golf watch, but it’s also a smartwatch too.

It will pair with your smartphone via Bluetooth, and is compatible with both Android and iOS smartphones. This means that so long as you have your smartphone in your vicinity, you can receive smart notifications such as those for calls, texts, emails, and more.In most people’s eyes, this makes it the better overall watch.

However, it does not have a separate smartwatch and GPS mode which means that it can interrupt your golf game, and possibly do so at critical points, such as during your shots, which can be incredibly off-putting.

This smartwatch functionality also means that the battery life runs down more quickly than it otherwise would have. However, if the watch has had a decent charge before the game, the battery is unlikely to run out during the game.

Besides, it’s the GPS functionality rather than the smartwatch functionality that drains the battery the most.

Compatibility With The Garmin Truswing Sensor

But it’s important to note at this point that the Bluetooth capability on the Garmin Approach S20 has yet more usefulness to the golfer, in addition to being able to pair it with your smartphone… The Garmin Approach S20 can be paired up with the Garmin TruSwing. And this is where the Approach S20 really comes into its own.

The Garmin Truswing is basically a special sensor that you can attach to each of your clubs before each shot, that will provide the golfer with advanced swing metrics.

The Garmin Truswing sensor is really something. It features an easy and robust golf club attachment, and it can record quite a lot of data on your golf swing, including the likes of your swing tempo, your swing speed, the club path coordinates, the club path, face to target, the dynamic loft, the shaft angle and the shaft lean.

It can even provide the golfer with 3D animations, displaying each swing on your smartphone or tablet. The Garmin Truswing is an incredibly useful tool for anyone working on improving their golf game, helping you to deduce where you might be going wrong, and what you can try to do differently.

Fitness Tracking

And, there’s another way in which the S20 has an edge over the S10. It also doubles as a fitness tracker.

This means that it monitors your heart rate via the pulse on your wrist, and through this it can judge the number of calories you burn.

It can also track your stats in other sports and activities besides golf, so you could use it to garner your distance covered while cycling, for example.

Pros

  • 41,000 preloaded golf courses worldwide
  • Accurate yardages using GPS
  • High display resolution
  • Readable in bright sunlight
  • Golf statistics tracking
  • 15 hours battery life in GPS mode
  • Available in a choice of 2 colors
  • Can also be used to track other activities
  • AutoShot round analyzer

Cons

  • It can often cost about $100 more than the S10
  • You may be interrupted during your golf game with smart notifications

Key Differences Between The S10 And The S20

Difference In Price Tag

The first difference you’ll notice between the S10 and the S20 is the price tag. We would argue that both watches are very reasonably priced for what they can do.

However, some online retailers like to charge about $100 more for the S20 than for the S10, which is quite significant, and could be quite off-putting for some.

Garmin Approach S10 vs S20 Comparison

Smartwatch Functionality

In terms of features, however, the most significant difference between the Approach S10 and S20 is that the S20 is a smartwatch, whereas the S10 is not.

So, while you can get smart notifications from your smartphone on the S20, you cannot do so with the cheaper S10.

Battery Life

There’s also a significant difference in the battery life between the two watches. Whereas the S10 has a battery life of up to 12 hours when in GPS mode, the S20 has significantly more at up to 15 hours in GPS mode.

However, if the S10 has a full charge when you first reach the golf course, you will still have enough battery life for two whole rounds of golf, if not three. So neither option is a bad egg when it comes to battery life.

Special Features

Thanks to its built-in Bluetooth connectivity, the Garmin Approach S20 has another feature not possible with S10, and that’s its compatibility with Garmin Truswing sensors, which we discussed earlier.

Which Is The Best Watch For Golf?

This is actually a bit of a tough question to answer…

Garmin Truswing Compatibility

At face value, you’d be forgiven for assuming that the Garmin Approach S20 is the better one for your golf game, thanks to its compatibility with the Garmin Truswing sensors… However, you don’t necessarily need the Garmin Approach S20 to be able to use the Garmin Truswing Sensors.

Sure, having the S20 on your wrist can quickly bring up all of your swing metrics is a pretty neat and incredibly useful feature. However, you can also bring up all that juicy data via an app on your smartphone.

Moreover, in many ways using an app on your phone rather than on your watch is a better option because it means that you will be able to see a 3D animation of your shot directly on your smartphone, which may be able to better inform your game play compared to simply viewing figures which may have little meaning to you.

Yardage Accuracy

We have to admit however that the Garmin Approach S20 does have the edge over the S10 when it comes to yardage accuracy. It offers better shot tracking distance measurement and analysis.

Which Is The Best Fitness Tracker?

This is an easy one to answer, because only the S20 doubles as a fitness tracker and the S10 does not.

Which Is The Best Watch Overall?

I’m just going to come out and say what we’re all thinking. A watch that also has smartwatch functionality is a way better watch than a watch that does not.

With a smartwatch, you can pair it to your smartphone via Bluetooth, and provided that you’re not too far from your smartphone, you can get immediate push notifications every single time you get a call, a text, an email, and sometimes even social media notifications.

This way you never miss a thing. And this is why we would argue that the Garmin Approach S20 is a better watch overall than the Approach S10.

Which Is The Best Value For Money?

As we mentioned a little earlier, one of the key differences between the Approach S10 and the S20 is that the S20 costs significantly more money than its counterpart, the S10.

In fact, there are some online retailers out there that will charge you approximately $100 more for the S20. In which case, if you are happy enough with the features in the S10, it makes more economical sense to go for the S10 over the S20.

However, some of you may feel that “cheaper” does not necessarily mean better value for money, and if you are impressed with what the S20 can do for you compared to the S10, we can certainly see why you’d go for the S20, provided that you have the budget. The Garmin Approach S10 is very reasonably priced for a GPS golf watch, but at the same time, the Garmin Approach S20 is very competitively priced for a watch that features not only GPS functionality but also Bluetooth and smartwatch functionality.

Garmin Approach S10 vs S20 Comparison – FAQ’s

Does The Garmin Approach S10 Have Bluetooth?

We have mentioned this earlier, but it bears repeating here. The Garmin Approach S10 does NOT have Bluetooth connectivity, and this is why it cannot be used as a smartwatch, and why it cannot connect with Garmin Truswing sensors.

Wrap Up

If you have already made up your mind that you’re going to go for a Garmin golf watch, truth be told, you would do very well with either the Approach S10 or the Approach S20.

And if you find yourself somewhat torn between the two, the decision of which to go for ultimately depends on how much money you’re prepared to spend, and whether or not you feel the additional features in the S20 are worth the extra money.

If you’re already in the market for a new smartwatch, then you could do a lot worse than the Approach S20, but if you’re of the view that a smartwatch will be an unnecessary distraction on the golf course, then the S10 may be more up your street.

That said, the S20 is both a better watch overall than the S10, and a more accurate GPS golf watch than S10. Meanwhile, the S10 attracts more sales, but this probably down solely to the more affordable price tag.

Andrew Barrett