Garmin Approach S42 GPS Golf Smartwatch Review

Garmin Approach S42 GPS Golf Smartwatch Review

By Paul Liberatore



Time to read 4 min

For as long as I can remember, the Garmin Approach family of GPS watches have been the standard by which all other golf GPS watches are measured. With each new iteration that gets released, the tech, design, ease of use, and functions all seem to improve.

That’s certainly been the case with the Garmin Approach S42 GPS Watch. Its features all build on the success of previous generations.

Let’s have a closer look.

Key Features

More than 42,000 courses are preloaded, so you don’t have to worry about downloading a new one when you play some place for the first time.

Green View and Green Contour Data give you plenty of information about each green complex and simplify the reading of putts.

Battery can last up to 10 days in smartwatch mode and 15 hours in GPS mode.

Design and Technology

As is the case with pretty much all Garmin GPS watches, the Approach S42 has tons of design and tech features.

The first feature of note are the more than 42,000 courses that this watch comes preloaded with. Once you’ve taken care of the initial setup, all you have to do is turn it on and it will automatically recognize the course you’re at. No more having to download courses from the computer at home before you go play.

The battery on the Approach S42 is amazing. It lasts up to 15 hours in GPS mode and a whopping 10 days in smartphone mode!

The color touchscreen is vibrant and light adaptive. Unless you’re playing in the middle of the night, you’ll have no problem reading the graphics. 

The AutoShot feature tracks the distance of each of your shots and really comes in handy when you’re trying to pick a club. If you want to get especially advanced, pair the Approach S42 with the Garmin Golf app for even more advanced stats and metrics.

You won’t find yourself wondering about yardages either. On each hole, you’ll get numbers to the front, middle, and back of every green, and other important distances like bunkers, doglegs, and other hazards.

This watch is useful off the golf course too. If you’re a fitness junkie, you can utilize all the sports apps that do things like track heart rate, calories burned, track sleep, and so much more.

Compatible with your smartphone, there isn’t much the Garmin Approach S42 can’t do.


  • More than 42,000 courses mean you’ll have accurate yardage and course info no matter where you play.
  • Sports apps track your physical activity, recovery, and overall health so you can always be prepared to perform at your best.
  • Screen display is one of the clearest of any watch on the market.


  • There are less expensive watches with similar functions available.
  • Order and shipping times can vary based on supply and demand.
  • Initial setup can be difficult if you’re not tech savvy.

Our Experience

If you guys have read many of our product reviews here at Golfer’s Authority, you know I’m all about tech that makes golf more fun, faster, and helps you get better all at once.

That’s precisely what the Garmin Approach S42 does. Its tech, features, functions, ease of use, and deadly accuracy make for an unbeatable combination both on and off the course.

Having tried just about every sports watch under the sun, I’m happy to endorse this one as one of my favorites. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Garmin Approach S42 Compatible With Other Garmin Golf Devices or Sensors?

Yes, the Garmin Approach S42 is compatible with other Garmin golf devices and sensors, allowing seamless data integration. This enhances your golfing experience by providing comprehensive, accurate information for improved performance and analysis.

Can the Garmin Approach S42 Be Used for Activities Other Than Golf, Such as Running or Cycling?

Yes, the Garmin Approach S42 can be used for activities other than golf, such as running and cycling. It offers fitness tracking and multi-sport capabilities, making it a versatile option for various athletic endeavors.

Does the Garmin Approach S42 Have a Feature for Tracking Club Distances or Recommending Clubs Based on Previous Shots?

Yes, the Garmin Approach S42 has a feature for tracking club distances and recommending clubs based on previous shots. It offers accurate tracking and provides shot recommendations to assist with club selection.

How Does the Garmin Approach S42 Handle Software Updates and Improvements?

I feel like the Garmin Approach S42 handles software updates and improvements like a pro. The user interface enhancements and performance tuning keep my watch running smoothly, ensuring I always have the latest features and fixes.

What Accessories Are Available for the Garmin Approach S42, Such as Additional Bands or Protective Cases?

I found a variety of interchangeable accessories for the Garmin Approach S42, including additional bands and protective cases. These options provide customization for personal style and protection, enhancing the overall experience of using the smartwatch on the golf course.


Ever since I was a kid, my father told me that it’s impossible to buy a golf game, even though people have been trying for centuries.

And there’s certainly a significant element of truth in that statement. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to put in the work you need to get better.

But I will say, investing in the right technology that makes the game more fun, helps you get better quicker, and play faster in general is an investment I’m behind 100%.

And for that reason alone, I fully endorse the Garmin Approach S42 GPS Watch.

So, if you like tech, want to get better, and have more fun with golf, you could make a lot worse purchases than this watch from Garmin – the most trusted name in GPS golf watches.

Paul Liberatore

Paul Liberatore

As the Founder of Golfers Authority Paul Liberatore Esq. has spent the last 7+ years writing about the best golf equipment or instruction from the top golf instructors in the world. He has been a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated Golf and GolfWRX. After graduating with honors from Purdue University, he realized that he had a passion for the golf business and the law. When he's not practicing law, or creating golf content on YouTube, he can be found on his syndicated Behind the Golf Brand podcast talking with the most prolific leaders in the golf industry. 

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