A Golfer’s view!

A bit different today in that I’m looking at a “watch” I’ve had for some time – prompted by a friend to do a quick review, so for all you Golfers out there here is the Garmin Approach S3.

Garmin Approach S3 GPS golf aid.

Garmin Approach S3 GPS golf aid. (easy read )

Now I’m not about to explain all the features of this model except to say some basics.  It’s water Resistant, battery life around 20 hours, has a good touch screen and high contrast so easily seen.  It has around 27,000 golf course plans in it, a scorecard feature and doesn’t look overly big on your wrist and weighs next to nothing.  The image shows how easy it is to read – Hole Number 1, Par 4, Big number is 360yds to pin, top number to back of green, bottom number to front of the green – super simple even for me. 😉

So before I start I admit this is a uniquely personal and perhaps cynical viewpoint from a golfer who started back in 1957 – played off Scratch at one time to playing my age today.

The Garmn S3 Approach Golf watch is a piece of golf assistance kit that seems to pretty much do what it says on the tin.  Nothing fancy about it, but for your average golfer it works very well.   It is obviously a GPS enabled unit with a database of all the courses (Europe model has 27,000 courses) you could ever want to play  – I play two maybe with the odd holiday trip adding another couple at most.  Though basically like most golfers I play mostly at my home course and that’s it.

So how does it perform and what does it do for your average player?   Now I’ve heard and read all sorts of guff about the accuracy – Oh! it’s a yard or so out – or it doesn’t agree with my Course Planner – as if a yard or two for most of us honestly makes a difference!    Let’s face it WE are not machines!

And talking about honesty, this unit should be renamed the “Honesty Meter” especially if we really start from basics –  like – Do you know how far you drive the ball?

Now come on – be honest – of course you don’t – you think you do, but you don’t as there are far too many factors to consider.   Did you hit the ball in the middle of the club, was your swing good, did you slice, fade, hook or draw, is there a wind, downwind or up, across etc. is the ground you hit off flat or sloping, is the landing point flat or sloping, what’s the altitude, temperature humidity, dampness and so on and on . . . . .

Now you might reckon on a good day, you can hit say 240 yards?  – that’s a maybe, a perhaps – because golf is NOT exact – as I said, just too many variables (here in Scotland with our cold, damp weather – fantasy golf is out!),  and this is where the Garmin comes into it’s own.   It is a reality check!

OK now you’ve driven the ball and it lands on the fairway and the green is within reach.  Now how many amateur golfers reach that green?   I’ll tell you – the fact is that 80% of them are more often than not, short of the target, mostly because they think they can hit that 6 iron easily 180yds – and the sad truth is – they can’t.

NOW the Garmin comes into it’s own as once you hit your drive, you simply press a button and walk towards your ball and guess what – it counts the yardage.

And what a surprise to find you’ve driven the ball – err – 202 yards.   But it also tells you that you’ve now got a 173 yard shot to the pin – and 160 yards to the front of the green and 190 yards to the back.  Depending on pin placement, you can actually move the pin on a small image of the green on the Garmin screen, just to make it a little more accurate – IF you need to do that.  I never have.

But back to the task at hand – what about this approach shot?   What iron will you use to hit 173 yards?  Duh – I dunno! A 6? – well it’s a guess.

And here you start to see the benefits of this unit.  Because with a bit of “real” practice with this Garmin on your own some evening, it can actually measure any shots you hit with any club – you then build up real knowledge
of just how far you hit, not just the driver but every club in the bag!   And most importantly you finally accept that you might need a 4 iron to hit that yardage (previously you belted the cover off the ball with a 6 or 7 – and would you believe it – short – again).

But this time you hit the 4 iron, without blasting it and as if by magic you are on the darned green!   Probably the irst time since you were 17 years old and one of the leading big hitting Juniors in the club!   Now OK the trajectory was a little lower than before, but who cares – you are ON the green.  Is that good or what!

THIS is the value of the Garmin Approach S3 – it very simply gives you each hole’s yardage, tells you how far you have hit each shot and tells you how far to the pin.   It’s taught you how far you can actually and truthfully
hit every club.  It even can tell you the distance to that stream, or dogleg turn, so you can hit short and not overrun it, or know you can hit your 5 wood over it.   Short or over – it’s your informed decision for once.

It’s very easy to use after a few holes and you soon get the trick of just glancing at it as you reach your ball to play the next shot.   You don’t need one of those that talks to you (I can think of nothing worse!).   And you really don’t need one that tells you about every little hazard on the course, with width, depth and all that value added gimmickry – because you KNOW the essentials – the distance to go, the distance you can hit and which club will do it FOR YOU.

It should really help your game.   As now you know pretty well how far you can drive (honestly), you know how far you can hit every iron you have, from a full out shot to a three quarters easy shot and so on and this probably for the first time in your golfing life.

Now that for me is as accurate as it needs to be – honestly.  So in my book the Garmin Approach S3 is pretty good value for money AND it can tell you the time too . . .

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