Garmin’s best watch yet? Our Approach S70 Review

By , Golf Equipment Writer
  • At a glance

  • TG Rating 5 out of 5
  • Owner Rating Not yet rated
  • Pros
    • Great inter-connectivity with other Garmin products
    • A true all-round lifestyle watch
    • Has all the best features of Garmin's Approach series
  • Cons
    • Price is high if you're only using this for golf
  • RRP £599.99

What we say...

It’s among the most expensive golf watches on the market, but could it also be the best? Today’s Golfer takes to the course with the Garmin Approach S70 to see how this new watch performs

“If golf is your world, this is your watch.” This bold statement is lifted straight from the Garmin website. Certainly, this is a worthy contender for our Best GPS Watches guide.

Whatever your feelings, Garmin has certainly laid down the gauntlet with this one. But what does this mean in terms of functionality? Let’s dive in and see what’s actually on offer, and see if Garmin’s claim has validity – if so earning it an argument in our best golf rangefinder watches – or if the Approach S70 is another victim of marketing hyperbole.

The Garmin Approach S70 box

Rrp: $699.99

Price: $649.99
Alternative Retailers
Walmart
$679.99
Kohl's
$699.99
Lowe's
$699.99
Macy's
$699.99

Features

So, what do we want from our basic rangefinder watch desires? To get started, Garmin has preloaded 43,000 golf courses into the S70. Looking at how many courses there are located on the planet, I feel safe saying that you’ll do well to find a location not listed on the watch.

The S70 combines this vast library of courses with mapping data that includes more commonly expected features, such as distance to the front-middle-back of the green and information on hazard locations, through to the more unique ones, like virtual caddie, which uses wind speed/direction, elevation, and previous swing data to recommend a club for you.

You can, quite rightly, point out that a lot of these features are also available in the Approach S62 at a lower price point. Why you should consider moving into the S70 model though, is for reasons beyond the golf course.

The Garmin Approach S70 display has customisable stats

With golf watches, we’re used to strapping them on before we leave for our round and taking them back off once we’re home again, likely to go into a drawer or cupboard until the following weekend. This is where Garmin wants to start changing your mindset around your device.

In the S70, you don’t just have access to the latest golf technology. This model was designed to wholly integrate into your lifestyle – everything you need is built into the watch.

This doesn’t just mean giving you the time and providing notifications from your phone. Garmin has included multiple sports profiles into the watch, allowing you to continue wearing the specialized timepiece in your other active pursuits.

The out-the-box functionality includes walking and workouts; running and biking; even swimming can be tracked without a need to take off the same watch that was telling you pin locations a few hours before. You also have a Tempo Trainer for added assistance in your golf game, even off the course.

The fitness menu on the Approach S70 has everything for your lifestyle

The Connect IQ store, Garmin’s App Store equivalent, also has a series of downloadable apps to enhance the S70 utility even further. And with the release of the Approach Z30, you’ll see inter-connectivity between Garmin products reach an entirely new level.

With so much on offer, it’s a struggle to know where to begin with all the features. As a golfing website though, we thought we’d be better off taking to the golf course before we did anything else with this latest watch.

Review

I started my time with the new model by setting up an account with the Garmin Golf and Garmin Connect app. Fast and easy to set up, this allows the S70 to use your phone network for updates on the go as well as give you access to ‘Find My Garmin’ should I ever misplace it in a locker while changing. As I’ve not had a fully connected smartwatch for a fair period, I did have to get used to the occasional vibration from my wrist but the benefits of not forever looking at my phone to see if I have an important text is extremely helpful.

The starting menu for Golf on the Garmin Approach S70

Usually, I carry a laser rangefinder, as I don’t always need a yardage from every shot, and find some watches to be cumbersome while swinging. The 1.4″ display on the S70, however, is not so large that you’re aware of it while hitting, but still plenty big enough to see all the information you need clearly (there is a ‘Big Numbers’ and ‘Pin Pointer’ mode if you do need the data to be larger though).

I’ve found no issues in the brightest sunlight or the most overcast day seeing what’s being displayed thanks to the high-contrast colors on the AMOLED screen. The face is also customizable so you can dial in exactly what metrics you want to see in your day-to-day.

As a golf GPS watch, it’s extremely impressive. Incredibly fast to load courses and with an impressive amount of data. The one feature I found myself constantly going back to was the green-contouring visuals, helping me confirm what my eyes were seeing on long putts across the green. The only caveat of this feature is it’s not available without a Garmin Golf membership – £8.99/$9.99 per month or £89.99/$99.99 per year – which I’m keen to point out on Garmin’s behalf that this is by no means a subscription-based unit, the Golf membership is merely a small additional tier if you want even more options.

Comparing laser distances to the wearable I’ve not seen more than a 1-yard difference between the two readings, so I’ve no problems trusting the information without any other devices to back it up. If you want even more accuracy, you can pair the Approach Z30 with the S70 as mentioned previously. The displays will crossover, giving additional distances on the laser heads-up and a target on the GPS watch of where exactly you’ve zapped with the Z30.

The GPS running mode and tracker in the Approach S70

Outside of the course, I’ve had time in the swimming pool as well as using the fitness tracking while walking my dog. Checking my times for pool lengths as well as keeping track of my heart rates has become an obsession, with every data point you could want being uploaded straight onto the Garmin Connect app. There’s even a recommendation for recovery times built into the watch, ideal for getting your body working at its optimum.

Final Verdict

I’ve been using the Approach S70 for about two weeks now and can honestly say this will now stay a permanent part of my life. The everyday activity tracker as well as the golf being in one convenient and comfortable package has become essential, far more than my previous experience with the more basic Approach S12, and the only time the watch has come off was to charge it – and that was only after 10 days of use!

The one and only downside I can find is the price. At £599.99/$699.99, this is one of Garmin’s most expensive watches, certainly the most expensive they offer in Golf bar the luxury-series MARQ watches. Yet even with the cost, if you’re living an active lifestyle with golf, or just love optimizing your life, there’s not anything that competes with the Approach S70 as a complete package.

About the author

Lewis Daff

Lewis Daff

Lewis Daff joined the Today’s Golfer digital team in 2024, having spent more than a decade in both big box golf retail and independent stores, working as a club fitter and builder.

Experienced with every level of golfer, from beginner to professional, he has achieved Master Fitter and Builder status with most major manufacturers, including Mizuno, Taylormade, and Callaway, helping him to cement both a wide and deep knowledge base. Lewis specializes in Clubs, Shafts, Training Aids, Launch Monitors and Grips.

In Lewis’ bag is Taylormade Qi10 Driver, Taylormade SIM Max Fairway Woods (3-15, 5-18), Wilson Staff D9 Forged 3-iron, Srixon ZX7 MKii Irons (4-PW), Titleist SM9 Wedges (52*, 60*), Toulon San Diego Putter, and Callaway Chrome Tour Ball.

Talk to Lewis about why steel shafts are now dead and graphite is the only way forward or any other equipment you’d like to debate via his email.

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