Garmin S60 Vs S60 Premium – Which One Should I Buy?

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If you have ever shopped golf GPS watches then you have surely heard of the Garmin Approach line of watches. We have reviewed a number of them and even compared them to other watches and they consistently outperform the competition.

We personally use the Garmin S60 during our rounds and it is quite simply, a beast of a golf GPS watch. But if you have dug a bit deeper, you probably came across the Garmin Approach S60 Premium. So, is the S60 Premium better than the standard S60?

The only difference between the S60 Standard and the Premium is that the premium has a leather strap and a more resistant scratch proof glass covering and it comes with a price of over $100 extra. We’ve never had a problem with the glass on our standard model and unless the leather straps are something you are really looking for, we would go with the S60 Standard and it is still the best golf specific watch on the market.

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The Garmin Approach S60 and S60 Premium

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If you are looking to gain an edge on the course, then these gps watches are for you. They come preloaded with 40,000+ color course maps that give you distances to hazards, dog legs, and the front, middle and back of the green.

They both feature a 1.2 inch, color touchscreen watch face which allows you to manually set the pin to the day’s position, switch through the different activity tracking modes, access the digital scorecard and more.

With both, you get accurate “plays like” distances that take into account slope and elevation. They also feature shot tracking which records each swing you take during your course and even tells you how far each one went and where they ultimately ended up.

The distance tracking for both watches is accurate too. It uses GPS positioning to measure how far you have to travel to your ball once you take your shot so it’s a pretty easy means of measuring distance for a good GPS device.

The swing tempo measurement feature of both watches is also very handy. It gives you valuable insight on your swings including approximate ball speed and backswing tempo. We found this really handy especially for those of us who were trying to improve our fairway shots and pitches.

You can also customize the Garmin Approach S60 and S60 premium with downloadable watch faces. They will both get you about 9 hours of battery life in GPS mode and over a week of life in normal, watch mode.

So we have talked a lot about what features these 2 watches share; so what is the difference between them? This is where Garmin makes a somewhat surprising move. Believe it or not, there are only 2 differences between the Garmin Approach S60 and the S60 Premium.

And neither of them has to do with actual golfing. The Premium comes with a nice leather band while the standard Garmin Approach S60 comes with a silicone band. The second and last difference is that the Premium has a higher-quality scratch-resistant screen.

Pros & Cons Of The S60 In General

The following list of pros and cons takes both watches as a whole. Since they are so similar, we will have one list for both watches while omitting the features that the Garmin Approach S60 standard does not have as we have already discussed those.


  • Feels very comfortable on the wrist
  • Automatically detects which course you are on
  • Very lightweight
  • QuickFit bands allow you to quickly change the wristbands
  • Features a pedometer and other fitness tracking modes
  • The screen is easy to read even in direct sunlight


  • They sometimes omit certain shots you take and does not track them
  • Some of the downloadable watch faces didn’t work
  • Screen freezes sometimes in fitness tracking mode
  • Takes a little while for it to pull up course information


Get The Best Price On The S60 Standard Here:


Performance Comparison

Being so similar, you can probably imagine that both the Garmin Approach S60 and the S60 Premium perform pretty much the same. While it was nice that we didn’t have to worry about scratching the screen of the S60 Premium, it didn’t really affect performance while we were wearing it.

Similarly, the leather band doesn’t do anything to hinder or enhance performance during swings. So we gotta say, in the performance department, both of these watches measure up pretty equally.

Price Comparison

Here’s where the real difference between the Garmin Approach S60 and the S60 premium lie. You can get the Garmin Approach S60 Standard in the ballpark of $300.

But if you are looking to score the Garmin Approach S60 Premium, you are likely to pay an average of about $120 more. It typically retails for about $450.

Things we Like About the Garmin Approach S60

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  • Color touchscreen
  • Custom pin-setting
  • Different fitness tracking modes
  • Compass feature that gives you the direction and distance to the green (Exclusive)
  • Greenview distancing that gives distances to the front, back and middle of the green
  • Slope calculation that gives you an accurate “plays like” distance
  • Auto shot tracking
  • Swing tempo measurement
  • Digital scorecard
  • You can connect both watches to other smart devices via Bluetooth

Which One Should you Buy?

At this stage, you can probably guess which watch we like better. Don’t get us wrong. The Garmin Approach S60 Premium is an amazing watch that features some nice, non-golf upgrades to the Standard Garmin Approach S60.

It has a higher quality, leather watch band and for the golfers who are prone to hitting their watches against other objects, you will really appreciate the scratch resistant ceramic bezel screen. But the question is “which one should you buy?”

In our humble opinion, the leather watch band and scratch resistant screen of the Garmin Approach S60 Premium do not warrant the significantly higher price point. While these features are nice to have, they won’t help you improve your golf game. And isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?

For less money, you can get an amazingly helpful and intuitive golf GPS watch in the Garmin Approach S60 standard. It is our pick so be sure to check it out if you’re in the market for a golf watch!

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Get The Best Price On The S60 Standard Here: