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  1. #1
    I'm a regular Andy4Par is on a distinguished road Andy4Par's Avatar
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    Garmin Approach watches

    Hi guys, I'm looking at purchasing one after seeing a couple of playing partners using them. Was wondering do you need to pay a subscription fee for using? I assume they use GPS, and have downloadable courses. Any advice or insight would be appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Posting Sensei justsomeguy is on a distinguished road
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    There is no subscription fee. It comes with all courses for a particular region (i.e., Canada), and you can download course updates from their website periodically as needed.


    BTW their customer service is awesome. I have the original Garmin S1 Approach watch, which has a watch band that was integrated into the body of the watch and cannot be replaced or changed. After 5 years when the watch band broke they sent me a brand new watch!

  3. #3
    Hall of Fame jeffc is on a distinguished road jeffc's Avatar
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    I have a Garmin Vivoactive 3 and noticed the yardages were well off what my rangefinder were telling me. I didn't really but it for the golf feature but it was kind of disappointing to see that it wasn't that accurate (off by 10-15 yards at times)
    I got a fever. And the only prescription is more golf equipment.

  4. #4
    Posting Sensei justsomeguy is on a distinguished road
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffc View Post
    I have a Garmin Vivoactive 3 and noticed the yardages were well off what my rangefinder were telling me. I didn't really but it for the golf feature but it was kind of disappointing to see that it wasn't that accurate (off by 10-15 yards at times)
    Your assumption is that the rangefinder was correct but in my experience that is often not true. I had a rangefinder before I bought the Garmin, but ended up getting rid of it because I had very little confidence that what was I was actually reading was the flagstick. Whenever I compared the yardages given by a rangefinder versus a GPS watch to actually pacing off yardages to the yardage markers on the course, the GPS watch always seemed more accurate. Course markings are not always accurate either, but I have been playing the same course for over 6 years now and I will take a GPS-based system over a rangefinder any day.


    IMHO GPS-based systems are always more accurate because they eliminate the human element in yardage measurement.

  5. #5
    Hall of Fame jeffc is on a distinguished road jeffc's Avatar
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    my assumptions are correct. We had 2 rangefinders (and often have 3 in our group) and the course markings all of which were accurate. The GPS watch was not. I've played hundreds of rounds with my rangefinder, on all kinds of courses and compared to measured and posted distances and have never once questioned it's accuracy.
    I got a fever. And the only prescription is more golf equipment.

  6. #6
    Golf Pig of the Year 07,08 rpangman is on a distinguished road rpangman's Avatar
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    I have a Garmin S20. It is very accurate. Plug it into the computer to recharge it and it updates at the same time. Even has courses that aren't listed in Golf Canada. I use it a lot in Arizona in the winter.

  7. #7
    I'm a regular Andy4Par is on a distinguished road Andy4Par's Avatar
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    I just purchased the Garmin s20 as well. Two friends I golfed with have watches and I liked how they just glanced at wrist for yardages. I have a rangefinder and I have trouble holding it still, getting a lock on flag and I especially don't like taking it out of case, trying to get a reading etc. I'm not a good enough golfer to accurately put a ball within 1 yard of a pin without a whole lotta luck...lol, so having a quick number to front, middle, back of green seems to be all the info I need to get it close. I will step off and compare s20 yardages to rangefinder yardages to see just how they measure up.
    Thanks for everyone's input.

  8. #8
    Posting Sensei justsomeguy is on a distinguished road
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffc View Post
    my assumptions are correct. We had 2 rangefinders (and often have 3 in our group) and the course markings all of which were accurate. The GPS watch was not. I've played hundreds of rounds with my rangefinder, on all kinds of courses and compared to measured and posted distances and have never once questioned it's accuracy.
    Sorry Jeff, but I've played 60+ rounds per year on the same 27-hole layout for over 6 years now, and I can categorically say that the GPS watch is very accurate and certainly much more dependable than anyone I have played with that uses a rangefinder. Even on the occasional times when I play other courses that I am not as familiar with it is accurate, because there is no human error involved. Not to mention that fact that it only takes 2 seconds to glance at your wrist and get your yardage.


    IMHO there are only two drawbacks to a GPS watch:


    1) You only get yardages to the green (although I believe some of the newer ones also have yardages to hazards, etc). Metcalfe has a lot of doglegs so sometimes more information would be useful.
    2) When courses make changes to their layout/yardages, it can take a while before these changes are reflected on your watch. Metcalfe moved the 8th green on their 9-hole course three years ago - the total yardage hasn't really changed much (it is a long par-3), but it obviously hasn't been updated for Garmin because the pitching yardages given are clearly based on the old green.

  9. #9
    Hall of Fame jeffc is on a distinguished road jeffc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justsomeguy View Post
    Sorry Jeff, but I've played 60+ rounds per year on the same 27-hole layout for over 6 years now, and I can categorically say that the GPS watch is very accurate and certainly much more dependable than anyone I have played with that uses a rangefinder. Even on the occasional times when I play other courses that I am not as familiar with it is accurate, because there is no human error involved. Not to mention that fact that it only takes 2 seconds to glance at your wrist and get your yardage.


    IMHO there are only two drawbacks to a GPS watch:


    1) You only get yardages to the green (although I believe some of the newer ones also have yardages to hazards, etc). Metcalfe has a lot of doglegs so sometimes more information would be useful.
    2) When courses make changes to their layout/yardages, it can take a while before these changes are reflected on your watch. Metcalfe moved the 8th green on their 9-hole course three years ago - the total yardage hasn't really changed much (it is a long par-3), but it obviously hasn't been updated for Garmin because the pitching yardages given are clearly based on the old green.
    and I am telling you the one I used the other night is not. And it wasn't just one hole it was every hole at the Meadows which hadn't changed their layout on the 9's I was playing since it opened. My rangefinder is a laser and accurate to 1m, my buddies, .5m. I agree, normally GPS is pretty good, not as accurate as a rangefinder (I can shoot the pin afterall, GPS only gives you F/M/B). To each their own, I like my rangefinder and will see on other courses if the GPS is correct.
    I got a fever. And the only prescription is more golf equipment.

  10. #10
    Nationwide Player 314314 is on a distinguished road
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    I'm using Approach x40 and I was always off by 10 yards compare to another watch... until I use the proper unit settings (yards vs meters) :-D

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffc View Post
    I have a Garmin Vivoactive 3 and noticed the yardages were well off what my rangefinder were telling me. I didn't really but it for the golf feature but it was kind of disappointing to see that it wasn't that accurate (off by 10-15 yards at times)

  11. #11
    Hall of Fame jeffc is on a distinguished road jeffc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 314314 View Post
    I'm using Approach x40 and I was always off by 10 yards compare to another watch... until I use the proper unit settings (yards vs meters) :-D
    nope, definitely set in yards.
    I got a fever. And the only prescription is more golf equipment.

  12. #12
    Singles Match Play Champ 2011 John is on a distinguished road John's Avatar
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    How anyone could possibly make the argument that a GPS Watch is more accurate than a laser range finder is beyond me.

  13. #13
    Arrow shooter Chieflongtee is on a distinguished road Chieflongtee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John View Post
    How anyone could possibly make the argument that a GPS Watch is more accurate than a laser range finder is beyond me.
    Both are good.I had both. If you are pointing your range finder at a deer then your yardage is out the window. The watch comes in handy.
    It can be attached to your bag and or push cart and all you have to do is look at it. Meanwhile you have to take out the range finder everytime and make sure your hands don't shake and that the wind makes it difficult for you to focus on the target.
    Anyway it does not make a difference for most hackers including myself
    Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
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  14. #14
    5 Wood Jasonreg is on a distinguished road
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    I have both and use both in different situations. Generally, I use the GPS to very quickly assess front/back yardages and yardages to hazards/bunkers etc. and for early in the season, getting on the green is all I am really worried about. If I am pin hunting I use the laser. It is also very useful to range dogleg corners, specific aim points etc. Both are very accurate, with obvious accuracy to the Laser direct the pin. I have never seen more than a yard or two difference on the GPS to sprinkler heads etc.

  15. #15
    I'm a regular Andy4Par is on a distinguished road Andy4Par's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chieflongtee View Post
    Both are good.I had both. If you are pointing your range finder at a deer then your yardage is out the window. The watch comes in handy.
    It can be attached to your bag and or push cart and all you have to do is look at it. Meanwhile you have to take out the range finder everytime and make sure your hands don't shake and that the wind makes it difficult for you to focus on the target.
    Anyway it does not make a difference for most hackers including myself
    That's my problem chief....my hands shake too much and I am lazy. Lol
    "Get your smile on!"

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