It's all on the wrist

MIJBURGH BEUKES
Last updated 05:00 04/12/2012
Garmin Approach S3

GARMIN APPROACH S3: Pricey but a useful gadget for a golfing nut.

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REVIEW: There are plenty of tools out there that can help you achieve better scores on the golf course. Some of them are very basic, such as a stat sheet that you can fill out after every shot; others can be as elaborate as a GPS app on a tablet computer. Garmin has come up with something much more useful and convenient - the Approach S3.

The S3 is a GPS unit disguised as a digital watch, but it's a lot more involved than a bog-standard Casio. It has a touch screen that lets you measure your individual shots, see how far you are from the pin/dogleg etc. It even tells the time!

In all fairness, this is a very useful gadget and any spouse/partner would do well to get this for their golf-loving better half. It comes preloaded with more than 27,000 golf courses; it has a Green View mode that allows you to place the pin on the current hole's green so you can get accurate measurements. Other than being able to measure your shots so you can keep track of your club averages yourself, it also gives you layup distances as well as precise yardages to the front, pin and back of the green.

From a product design point of view, this unit has been well thought out. It is very comfortable, will accommodate all wrist sizes and has the added advantage of not being as big a distraction as its G6 cousin. As far as aesthetics go, I would prefer the white model, as the black one is not quite as stylish, but that's a personal preference. One gripe I had is that the touch screen is quite small. I don't have the biggest of fingers, but I sometimes had issues selecting the option I wanted. Another was the price; Garmin must have thought that because it has combined a watch and a GPS unit, the price should reflect that. I would want a little bit more from this unit if I were to pay that much.

I did, however, enjoy using it, with small things like an odometer to measure how far you've walked as well as a timer that tells you how long your round took being some welcome added extras. Add to that having a digital scorecard and being able to put in custom distances, this is a serious contender for a Christmas present.

Garmin Approach S3 ($499)

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