Garmin Approach S5

The GPS watch is packed with cutting edge technology

Garmin Approach S5
Golf Monthly Verdict

An excellent GPS watch that is comfortable to wear, easy to set up and use and boasts lots of useful features that make it an ideal distance-gathering companion.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Features a colour touchscreen that can be used wearing your glove. Lots of useful features and its compact size means it doesn't interfere with your swing.

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    The distance to the green doesn’t show when you touch the hole view to plot your tee-shot. Superb graphics come at a cost.

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Golf Monthly's Garmin Approach S5 review, a GPS watch with a colour screen that pairs with your phone to recieve smart notifications out on the course

Key technology This feature-packed, touchscreen GPS watch has a full colour, glove-friendly display, with full-hole views of over 38,000 courses internationally. You can manually move the pin positions, while the Smart Notifications feature allows you to receive emails, texts and other alerts from your iOS device. The Garmin Connect for Golf site lets you analyse, share and compare your round with others.

GM Review Given that the unit itself is fairly substantial, the first thing you notice is its light weight. The mix between touchscreen and button navigation is very intuitive, and wearing a glove didn’t affect this whatsoever. The accuracy was impressive, as was the speed at which the device picked up the course and automatically switched holes.

Having hole visuals, as well as a multitude of hazard and lay-up information, really aided course management. Manually being able to move the pin position was also a welcome feature, as were the lay-up distances.

The Approach S5 doesn’t have the Tempo Trainer feature found on the Approach S6, which makes the S5 legal in competitions. The colour hole views and manual pin positioning mean it’s almost like having a top-of-the-range handheld GPS device on your wrist.

In golf mode you should get 36 holes from a full charge – slightly less than other devices but the features justify that. The Smart Notifications facility means you don’t need to be seen using your phone on the course, while the ability to add in your stats as you play helps you assess your game in depth.

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Joel Tadman
Technical Editor

Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all product content here at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader find exactly what they are looking for. So whether it's the latest driver, irons, putter or laser rangefinder, Joel has his finger on the pulse keeping up to date with the latest releases in golf. He is also responsible for all content on irons and golf tech, including distance measuring devices and launch monitors.

One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 86 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 3.2.

Joel's current What's In The Bag? 

Driver: Titleist TSR3, 9° 

Fairway wood: Titleist TSR3, 15° 

Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18° 

Irons: Ping i230 4-UW

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8, 54°. Titleist Vokey SM9 60° lob wedge, K Grind

Putter: Evnroll ER2V 

Ball: 2023 Titleist Pro V1x