The Garmin Approach S6 is the best golf GPS watch we’ve tested to date, combining overhead hole maps with a touchscreen to determine the distance to any point on the golf course…and it’s all available on your wrist. When we first heard about the overhead maps, we had doubts – how can you implement that level of functionality on the limited screen space of a watch? Garmin has devised an elegant solution using automatic zoom. At the tee box, the S6 automatically zooms on the area on the hole map that corresponds to your typical driving distance (which you input into the watch when you set it up). So if you’ve told the watch that you drive the ball 250 yards, it will zoom in to the area 250 yards down the fairway to show you what’s around your typical landing area. More about that below, but it really is a nifty way to provide the most relevant information to you when you need it – and there’s always the option to zoom back out and pick another area.

Garmin also provides an excellent set of features, including full scoring and statistics tracking (with the ability to sync the S6 to your Garmin Connect account and view aggregated data across all saved rounds), shot measurement, Bluetooth pairing to your phone to enable notifications to your watch, an odometer, and “PinPointer”, which is supposed to tell you the direction of the pin if you are taking a blind shot. But wait, there’s more! The Garmin S6 also has a “SwingStrength” feature to measure (you guessed it) your swing strength and tempo and a “TempoTraining” feature to work on achieving the optimal tempo for your swing. There are varying levels of success with which these features are executed, but at the very least they make the Garmin S6 fun to play with.

We won’t lie to you – the $399.99 price tag is steep. And there are some areas for improvement, like having hazard distances available in list form, and not just through using the touchscreen. But we’re willing to overlook those issues because we’ve fallen for the Garmin Approach S6, and fallen hard. In our opinion, the S6 truly sets the standard among the golf GPS watches currently on the market.

Course Availability
Ease of Use
Course Details



Retail price: $399.99
Three year total cost: $399.99 Check price now

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90 / A-


100 / A+


96 / A


For more details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of golf GPS device features.

91 / A-


Garmin Approach S6 Watch

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97 / A+


Garmin Approach S6 Watch

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For more details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of golf GPS device features.

96 / A


The S6 returned distances within our standard expected range of variance for GPS devices, usually plus or minus up to 4 yards from actual distances (based on marked sprinkler heads).

92 / A-


Retail Price: The Garmin S6 golf GPS watch retails for $399.99, which makes it the priciest golf GPS watch in our tests.

Fees for Access to Course Database: As with other devices in the Garmin family, the Approach S6 carries no additional fees for course map updates.

Three-Year Total Cost of Ownership: With no additional yearly fees to download the latest course information, the three-year total cost for the S6 remains $399.99. At this price point, it is still the costliest golf GPS watch in our tests.

Value: Yes, it’s very expensive. But it is sooooo cool, with features that no other watch can touch. If you’re looking at a high end golf GPS watch, we think the Garmin Approach S6 is worth the splurge.

9 Responses

  1. My wife ordered me the S6 for our Anniversary on June 21st with an estimated shipping date of July 16th, Now Garmin is saying the Estimated shipping date is August 20th….I really hope this is worth it!

      1. While the Garmin site shows an estimated ship of 3-5 weeks, currently Amazon (via 3rd party) and Golfsmith both are showing inventory that is available to ship immediately (see links above).

        1. Ordered my white S6 last Tuesday through American golf and received yesterday. Haven’t tried it on the course yet but all controls and setup was real easy … i will keep you posted 🙂

  2. Just played with the new s6. It was complicated for me. When I turn it on, an update message appears before I can start a round. I couldn’t figure out how to score until the fourth hole. The S6 is operated by using four buttons and at least four touchscreen points. It appeared to me that the controls didn’t work as the manual instructions indicated, When I tried to post to Garmin Connect via Garmin Express but my score wasn’t entered. Right now I am very disappointed. Maybe I can learn to use it but I think the device has some problems.

    1. I have learned how to use the s6 and it is now easy to use. The internet site does not let me edit a erroneously entered score. I hope the site eventually works the same as SkyGolf 360.

  3. Just got the watch ( in France, sorry for my Englsh )
    I already owned a S1, a motorola and a bushnell neo+
    After testing for

    pros :
    – nice design
    – great shot measurement function
    – nice wrist band

    – very very difficult to read the screen ( very small characters for a 50years old golfer )
    – display not as bright as in the magazines
    – very bad display contrast, impossible to use when it is sunny or not dark !
    – scorecard very interesting but without glasses impossible to read
    – the wrist band is for small fore arms ( too short )
    – the compas is not very accurate !
    – the tempo training could be nice but impossible to read the screen …. just heard some beeeeps.

    very cons :
    – distances are wrong. we compared with Neo and WT3 80 yards of difference on a par 5 …… that s a lot !!! The maps have been updated

    very pro :
    – the reseller will give me my money back.

    Could have been an excellent gps watch with an amoled bright screen, with bigger characters and precise distances …..

    A French Golfer

  4. Christmas present from the wife. Just been sent back battery life only lasted 4.5 hours on full gps not the advertised 10.
    Will keep you informed whe new watch arrives..

  5. I have an S6 I got for Christmas. Now in Pawleys Island and have tried to use it on the course. First it was in Meters. This can only be changed i found out if you end the round. Corrected that. Next I started on the 10th Tee. No matter what I did I could not get it to start recording and give me distances for the back 9. So i had to wait until 1 and only use it for 9 holes. Can anybody help me? I pushed every button without any results. Thanks

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