Garmin Approach S40 – A Winning Watch on the Golf Course

With the Garmin Approach S40 watch, Garmin completes its extensive line of golf GPS watches. It is somewhere in the middle between some of the premium and budget versions with an affordable price. After wearing it for several rounds and as usual, you can see that Garmin has done an excellent job of creating an attractive watch that does everything you need to do on the golf course.

Garmin Approach S40
Garmin Approach S40 buy on Amazon

Having a reliable GPS device is an excellent idea for a golfer of any skill level. It will help you make smarter strategic decisions on the field.

 Garmin Approach S40 General Features

  • Dimensions: 43.4 x 43.4 x 11.7 mm and 43 grams.
  • Screen: 1.2-inch color touch, 240×240 pixels, made of chemically reinforced glass.
  • Materials: metal bezel, plastic case, and silicone release watch strap fast.
  • Wireless: Bluetooth and GPS.
  • Water resistance: 5 ATM water and dust rating.
  • Battery life: up to 10 days in smart watch mode and up to fifteen hours in GPS mode.

 Design and presentation

The Garmin Approach S40 is the most attractive golf watch they have released to date, and for some players, it might be their most vital feature. It has a modern and elegant design that makes it capable of being used off the field.

It doesn’t have a heart rate monitor on the back. Only the 4 Garmin pins to charge the device located to the side. The quick-release pins are part of the silicone band to be easily swapped out for any 22mm bracelet.

The Garmin Approach S40 is very light at just 43 grams, and it’s very comfortable to play Golf with a watch that you barely feel on your wrist. Additionally, the display is crystal clear, making all information visible even in the brightest sunlight.


 What the Garmin Approach S40 offers

The Approach S40 comes preloaded with over 40,000 fields like many of the other Garmin and non-Garmin watches. All you’ve got to try to turn it on, let the GPS connected, and you’re done.

It also shows the front, center, and back distance on each green, which has become a standard feature on most GPS devices. Even keeping track of the score is a breeze too.

But the Approach S40 isn’t just limited to Golf. It can also be used as a daily activity tracker and even as a necessary sports watch with GPS for running and other activities. It’s not optimized for those other activities, but it works well with tracking and syncing data with the Garmin Connect system, with some limitations.

Features that stand out

Some of the features that go beyond most GPS watches include:

  • Automatic hit detection: The Approach S40 detects each time you make contact with the ball and displays your shot’s distance at the top of the screen.
  • You may find this feature very useful to see how far you are hitting the ball and to look for deflected tee shots.
  • Distances to various points on the field: you can easily toggle the distances to doglegs, critical hazards like bunkers, and placement distances
  • Excellent battery life: it can last up to 15 hours of use, which will generally translate to about three rounds before needing to be charged. Of course, this depends on other factors, such as the functions you have activated on the watch.
  • Green view function: in close-up shots, you can adjust where the pin position is on the screen to see the most accurate distance

Checking your configuration

When the Approach S40 is turned on, the first thing you’ll notice is the watch face. There are seven options available to change, and they are managed directly in it. To change the watch face, press and hold the button on the Approach S40 and then swipe up on the touchscreen to access settings.

Up or down, you scroll through the various widgets loaded on the Approach S40. Please note that the S40 is not a ConnectIQ-enabled device. This means that you cannot install custom watch faces, data fields, or widgets.

The widgets installed on the S40 include notifications, steps taken, last recorded, calendar, sunrise, sunset, and weather. Also, holding down the button on the S40 gives you access to settings. You can edit, do not disturb, lock the screen, view the screen, and toggle the phone connection.

There is a gear icon at the bottom of this list that gives you access to other functions. Among them, automatic lock, toggle backlight, toggle activity tracking, manage widgets, user profile, language, time, units, among some others. Regarding golf settings, it allows you to toggle score, start toggle tracking, club prompt, scoring method, handicap score, distance, large numbers, and club sensors.

 A round with the Approach S40

To get started, from the main screen showing the watch face, you need to press the button once. The majority of the screen will be occupied by the words Play Golf and a flag icon. Just by touching it, you can start playing Golf. The watch has 18 holes that show up around the bezel, and when you play Golf, the hole you are on is highlighted on the edge of the screen.

Then all the maps of the local golf courses will appear. Once you begin the sport, the opening number, the distances to the front and back of the green, the space to the flag, and a graphical representation of the green appear on the first screen. You can then touch the green image and move the flag if you are not in the location that appears by default. At that point, the distance to the flag will update if you move it around the green.


The Approach S40 on the green

Tapping the small down arrow at the bottom of the screen will reveal more details of the green. This data includes distances, bunker, and more critical characteristics of the hole you are playing.

On the other hand, by pressing the physical button while playing a hole, you will see the options. There you can change the hole, view the scorecard, view round information (steps, distance, and time), measure your last shot, save your location, see sunrise and sunset times, and finish the round.

As you hit and move through the hole, your shot count is indicated by large plus and minus signs. This is so that you can change the number of hits if the Approach S40 is off the mark. You can also go back and edit your shots while playing around to make sure everything is recorded correctly. The distances are also updated and your progress, so you always know exactly where you are and how far the green is.

 Applications and connectivity

Two applications are required to use the Garmin Approach S40 to its full extent, Garmin Connect and Garmin Golf.

Garmin Connect

It is used to control the watch’s timing and capture all data collected by the watch, beyond golf data. Garmin Connect mirrors the smartphone app for the most part with dashboards.

These include performance stats, golf courses, leaderboards, and swing analysis displayed in the golf section. And on the other hand, the performance monitoring results, the steps are taken, the sleep monitoring, and more data are included.

Garmin Golf

Provides a broader view of the course and each hole. Data from the S40 is synced to your phone, so you can edit your scorecard on your phone or watch while playing Golf.

You don’t need to use your phone while playing Golf actively. However, it can help you better understand the course’s layout if you are playing Golf on a new one.

The Garmin Golf app also displays the leaderboard, all scoreboards, performance stats, club performance (provided you have the CT10 club trackers installed), and the basic settings of your Approach S40. All other data appears in the Garmin Connect app.

 Smart features

 By syncing the Approach S40 with a compatible phone, you can receive smart notifications right on your wrist, such as calls, texts, emails, and other alerts. It also offers the weather forecast, calendar, or the function of finding your phone. In general, it is compatible with Android or iOS, but you can check with Garmin if your device meets the requirements.

Is the Garmin Approach S40 for you?

This watch completes the Garmin Approach S line. So if you don’t want to shell out more money for an Approach S60 but want more features than the Approach S20, it’s a great middle-ground option.

The S40 also integrates with Garmin’s shot-tracking sensors, the Approach CT10. It can also connect to your TruSwing swing analyzer.

Garmin has created a very lovely ecosystem of game-enhancing hardware and apps that work well together. One thing missing from the Approach S40 is swing rhythm tracking, a valuable form of practice.

It is possibly the only disappointment in this golf watch. Overall, the Garmin S40 has a good list of features, and you get a lot of value for money.

What do users think?

The evaluations provided by Amazon customers it is worth taking them into account before buying online. And in this case, more than 82% of users consider the Garmin Approach S40 to be an excellent watch for Golf and other activities, as seen in these comments:

  • – “The watch fits my needs thus far and has more features that I even have yet to find out the way to use.”
  • – “I love the color and the style.”
  • – “I have owned other Garmin golf watches within the past and this is often the simplest by far!”
  • – “I bought this as a present for my husband to exchange a previous Garmin golf watch. He wears it every time, not just on the golf course. He uses it to track his biking and hiking trails.”


If you’re looking for a GPS golf watch, Garmin should be at the top of your list. They now have options at multiple price levels, and all of their products are accurate and feature-rich. For its price, the Approach S40 goes beyond some of the features in its category and is only beaten by the Approach S60, which is still the best golf GPS watch.

It cannot track your swing’s tempo or point to any location on the course with your finger, which can be valuable features for many golfers. However, it has many virtues that make it the best intermediate option to take to the golf course and work.

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