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

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Garmin Approach S5 GPS Watch


  • 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.


  • 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.


Garmin Approach S5


Price as reviewed:


Clubhouse Golf

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.


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.