Garmin Approach S70 Golf GPS Watch Review
Golf Technology

Garmin Approach S70 Golf GPS Watch Review

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Garmin Approach S70 Golf GPS Watch Review

There is a lot of cool gear in the golf equipment world that doesn’t always fit neatly into Most Wanted Tests or Buyer’s Guides. You still want to know how it performs. In our We Tried It series, we put gear to the test and let you know if it works as advertised. 

What We Tried:

The Garmin Approach S70 golf GPS watch, the successor to the popular Approach S62

Who Tried It:

Connor. Director of Soft Goods Testing and resident sneakerhead. I believe golf is better with a pair of cool shoes and comfortable joggers.

I’m upgrading from the Approach S40 and ready to find a “daily driver” golf watch.

Years In the Making

Good things come to those who wait. And, boy, did Garmin make us wait for the brand-new Garmin Approach S70 golf GPS watch. As the successor to the perennial champion, the Garmin Approach S62, the Approach S70 has big shoes to fill.

Can it live up to the hype? I’ve put it through its paces and have the inside scoop on the latest and greatest Garmin has to offer. 

Garmin Approach S70: A Few Cosmetic Changes

The Garmin Approach S70 has a new look and makeover thanks to the bright AMOLED display.

Was the wait worth it? An emphatic “yes!”

The Approach S70 must be a significant upgrade over the S62 to be considered a success in my mind. That said, I’m elated to report that nearly every one of the things I wanted to see in the Garmin S70 came to fruition.

Seriously. It’s like Garmin actually listened to user feedback! 

AMOLED Display

The biggest (and most noteworthy) difference between the new S70 and the old S62 is the introduction of an AMOLED display. If you’re a technology enthusiast like me, you’ll know that AMOLED displays are known for their crisp contrast. On an AMOLED panel, black looks more, well, black. The colors are more vibrant and the course maps look flat-out amazing on the large 1.4-inch display. 

Size Matters

Speaking of displays, now is a good time to mention the next big change to Garmin’s latest golf GPS watch: Size. 

The Garmin Approach S70 golf GPS is offered in two different sizes, a robust 47mm and the slightly smaller 42mm. This is great for those of you with dainty wrists. Left out no longer! On the other hand (no pun intended), the 47mm version is perfect for my wrists. 

Updated Graphics

With all of the screen real estate, there had better be increased functionality, right? Thankfully, Garmin updated the course maps with better graphics to include things like trees, penalty areas, etc. It seems like a small thing but it adds a realistic feel to course navigation.

Garmin Approach S70: User Experience

The pin pointer function on the Garmin S70 is awesome.

A good golf GPS should be easy and intuitive to use. Between the new, larger display  and the great software features, the Garmin Approach S70 provides a terrific user experience

Here are some things I noticed as I played with the Approach S70:

  • Plays Like” distances are very helpful on a windy day or if there are differences in slope. Let the watch do the hard math for you
  • The onboard barometer adds one more data point with which to calculate your true distance to the flag
  • The ability to pinpoint any spot on the course is convenient. This made laying up or finding the distance to penalty areas a seamless experience
  • Auto-hole detection worked perfectly. The Approach S70 had no issues advancing to each new hole.

Health Benefits

The Garmin Approach S70 has a Body Battery function as one of its best health benefits.
The Body Battery tracking is one of my most-used features.

Outside of the excellent on-course experience I had with the Garmin Approach S70, I really wanted to find out if it’s a capable smartwatch, too. As a comparison, most of us cite the gold standard, the Apple Watch. I found the Garmin S70 was a worthy competitor off the course. 

Some of its admirable health and fitness options:

  • Body battery. The higher the number, the higher your energy. After my round of golf I had dropped to an 8 out of 100. Yikes!
  • Stress tracking. I loved being able to check my stress levels, especially at night as I try to unwind after a long day of writing stuff for you to read. 
  • Sleep tracking. This GPS watch functions as a full-fledged sleep tracker. It works pretty darned well, too. 

Accuracy On Par

A simple tap brings up the “Plays Like” distances.

How accurate is the Garmin Approach S70? Not as accurate as a laser rangefinder, for sure. That’s a given. But the S70 was within a couple yards (of the rangefinder reading. 

That doesn’t concern me all that much. You’re buying a golf GPS watch for ease of use, not for 100-percent accuracy. If you’re looking to hone in the accuracy, you can manually enter the pin location on the watch rather than rely on the classic front, middle and back data.

Battery Life On Point

My biggest concern with the move to a full AMOLED display was potential battery issues. With an advertised 16 days of battery life in smartwatch mode (20 hours in GPS/golf mode), those concerns were quickly quashed. 

I’ve had the S70 on my wrist every day for a week and haven’t charged it once, even after a five-hour round at Payne’s Valley, the Payne Stewart tribute course in Missouri (yes, I’m bragging a little).

One or Two Gripes

Green mapping and green undulation is available on the Garmin S70
Green maps are available with a Garmin Golf membership

It can’t all be good, can it? If I had one gripe (a tiny one, at that), it would be about the overall setup process. The setup and pairing process to my phone via Bluetooth took a few tries. But after the good ol’ IT trick of turning it off and then back on, I was able to connect the Garmin Approach S70 to my phone.

Since the initial setup, I’ve had no connection issues. 

One other slight annoyance is the necessity for a paid Garmin Golf membership in order to access green maps and undulation data. This pay-to-play model for extra features isn’t unique to Garmin so it’s hard to knock them here. That said, some golf GPS devices I’ve used give you green maps for free, rather than making them a paid feature. 

Garmin S70: Raising the Bar

The new AMOLED display on the Garmin Approach S70 golf gps watch puts it in a stratosphere of its own.

While the Approach S70 was a little too late to participate in our “Best Golf GPS of 2023” testing, I’m not so sure it wouldn’t have swept the competition. That said, I won’t know until we test again in 2024. 

Even still, the Garmin Approach S70 is the best golf GPS watch I’ve used. The one “catch” if you will? The price. The S70 sits in a price bracket of its own at $700. But remember,  you’re getting a device that can be used for daily wear, not just golf. 

In my mind, that makes the Garmin Approach S70 worth the asking price. 

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Connor Lindeman

Connor Lindeman

Connor Lindeman

Connor is MyGolfSpy's resident sneakerhead who believes that golf is more enjoyable with a fresh pair of kicks. When he isn't scrolling Twitter to find his next golf shoe purchase, you can find him at the piano or trying a new dessert place with his wife. #Lefty

Connor Lindeman

Connor Lindeman

Connor Lindeman

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Connor Lindeman

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Connor Lindeman

Connor Lindeman

Connor Lindeman





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      Mike jones

      1 week ago

      The feature that every garmin user wants is a pin collect feature for accurate chipping and putting distance tracking. Still not added…. I guess if they added it the ct10 sensors would be all but useless. Only other gripe I have with garmin is their program for updating firmware. For whatever reason it won’t launch on my pc, works fine on my laptop but no pc.

      Reply

      Adam C

      1 week ago

      Have they fixed the S62 issue re mapping distance to front/ middle / back and the distance tracker on the shot you have hit? I frequently see that I get a reading of (example) 150 yards to the middle of the green. I select my 150 club, hit a good swing and see my ball land further than the middle which I targeted. When I walk up to the ball, the distance hit will highlight 150 yards (to plug mark assuming the green is hit). So, I picked the right club, I hit the right shot but it turns out the middle was more like 140 yards.. the watch is only 6 months old.. anyone with similar S62 experiences?

      Reply

      Shifty

      2 weeks ago

      Well I’m a big fan of the S62. I use it to record all my rounds with ease. Even had an issue a year after my warranty was finished. Garmin sent me a new one. A great company to deal with, and will not leave you hanging.

      Reply

      Peejer

      2 weeks ago

      Yikes…$700 and they still want you to play an annual $100 fee for green maps and undulation?!? I don’t care how great you say it is, it won’t ever be on my wrist.

      Reply

      Kevin

      2 weeks ago

      Is the S70 any thinner than the S62? Unfortunately I wear dress shirts daily and have a hard time buttoning the wrist because the S62 is too tall.

      Reply

      Jack Krayson

      2 weeks ago

      $700 ouch. SmartWatches with the exception of Apple are mostly under $100. Laser devices maybe $2-300. I’ll keep my Garmin handheld; which works well enuff. These guys are nuts.

      Reply

      Craig

      1 week ago

      You’re obviously not the target market. Good luck with your $100 smartwatch, lol

      Reply

      MGoBlue100

      2 weeks ago

      Connor: Nice article. I’m in the market, but have additional questions: Can I pair this with other apps as one could with Apple watch? (MyFitnessPal, etc…) I’m guessing without digging that it functions as a step counter, heart rate monitor and all of that?
      $700 is pricey, but I’m intrigued.

      Reply

      Connor Lindeman

      2 weeks ago

      Thanks! I’m not sure about integrations with third party apps, but the overall health functionality is superb. The Garmin Connect app makes it easy to track everything.

      Reply

      Wilson Player

      2 weeks ago

      The Garmin site states you can add apps, watch faces, and data fields to the watch from the Garmin store.
      I have the Fenix 7. it is the multi-sport watch of similar size. I use it as my daily watch as well as running, sleep tracking, golf, notifications…
      The battery life is no joke. I charge it every other week. A little more when I play a lot of golf and use the GPS for hours.
      The garmin yardages are easy to read, with all the typical layout distances (100, 150 layup, bunker front/back, water, greens..).
      Score keeping is simple.
      The garmin app tracks all your shots, rounds and scores in one place.
      The price may seem high to some. But this is not a toy smart watch. It is a fitness watch that is made to be used 24-7 and keep going

      Reply

      Dr Tee

      2 weeks ago

      The price of this thing is waaaaay high. I’ve been disappointed with just about every GPS watch I’ve ever owned, in particular Garmin. The best I’ve found is the Skycaddie LX5. Don’t waste your money on this thing.

      Reply

      Patrick

      2 weeks ago

      I’ve had the Garmin S60 for close to 3 years now. I play about 100 rounds a year. I wear my watch every day because I get a lot of emails and phone calls. Regarding golf: it’s never let me down. You get what you pay for. Garmin is the gold standard for golf watches. It’s that good. But you have to buy one to appreciate it.

      Reply

      Ned

      2 weeks ago

      No thanks $700 is way overboard there others out there amost as good for half that price.

      Reply

      David

      2 weeks ago

      Feels like everyone wants to sell something expensive and still want you to pay a subscription for basic functions…
      Come on, money does not come to us magically and if we have to work more, we can’t play golf so we can’t buy your toys

      Reply

      Yohanan

      2 weeks ago

      I waited 3 years for this watch. Specifically the AMOLED screen
      Play Better sent an email early this morning PDST and mine be here Thursday evening. Yes $700 is a bit much … And I am a laser guy. It will be interesting how I like or dislike or tolerate this watch on my wrist?With the S62 being 500 (and might go on sale) the extra 200 for a brighter screen and more of a daily driver as far as a watch goes …. I am excited! Thanks Garmin for listening to your customers and now new customers!

      Reply

      Jeremy Korting

      2 weeks ago

      $700!!! Good lord. I get that it has all the bells and whistles and doubles as a everyday smart watch, but that is an outrageous price tag. Especially when it doesn’t have wireless charging and still has that craptastic 3 prone charger thing they use. Also there is no wireless updating of course information or uploading your golf data i.e. what Skycaddie offers. I think they overstepped a bit with that price tag. Shotscope offers something that is on par or at the very least not that far behind at a fraction of the cost. I will be interested in seeing if this price comes down after it has been on the market for awhile or if sales are slow they drop it down to a more realistic price.

      Reply

      Cody

      2 weeks ago

      Agreed. They’re trying to price it like a top of the line smartwatch- I like my S60, but I can’t imagine buying another one at these prices when I don’t care about 95 percent of the features they force you to buy into if you just want the nice screen and responsive display.

      The updating and charging system also feels like something you’d get from a knock-off Chinese brand on eBay.

      Reply

      Patrick

      2 weeks ago

      I’ve had an S60 for three years. It receives texts and emails and lets me know who is calling me. I can check the weather and I know how many steps I take daily. Great value since I play about 100 rounds per year.

      Codasco

      2 weeks ago

      Any idea if these software improvements will make their way to the Fenix and Epix models?

      Reply

      Connor Lindeman

      2 weeks ago

      Not sure ATM, but my gut says yes.

      Reply

      Cody

      2 weeks ago

      Hopefully a lot of the screen tech trickles down to the lower tiers (old 40-series) because I would love to upgrade my S60 to something faster and with a better screen, but I have less than zero interest in any of the non-golf features they’ve tried to cram into this thing.

      I don’t really want to wear an enormous orange-clad watch everyday, so it would only see use on-course. $700 is crazy compared to the competition at ShotScope when all you want is a good golf watch.

      Reply

      Connor Lindeman

      2 weeks ago

      Agree, would love to see the AMOLED panel on some of the other models.

      Reply

      Jack

      2 weeks ago

      Tempting but at $700+monthly fees, I am sticking with my S62 until these come way down in price.

      Reply

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