Garmin Approach X40 Golf GPS Watch Review

Image of four Garmin Approach X40 golf gps watches in different colors. White, Lime Green, Black, and Mint Green.

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Garmin Approach X40 Golf GPS Watch Review

The Garmin Approach X40 golf GPS watch is Garmin’s newest watch on the market.  It’s far slimmer and simpler than their Garmin S6 model.  With this watch, it appears that Garmin has made the decision to move away from fancy color screen technology towards a sleeker more athletic design. Despite this watch’s low profile, it comes loaded with a ton of cool features and is definitely worth checking out if you’re comfortable spending around $250.

The Garmin Approach X40 provides the yardage to the front, middle, and back of the green like traditional golf GPS watches.  However, the X40 combines the popular step tracking/activity tracker/heart rate monitor technology into the golf experience.  If you’re in the market for a golf GPS watch and like fitness trackers and/or are fearful of a larger watch interfering with your golf swing, this is the golf GPS watch for you.  Garmin’s innovative approach to this golf GPS watch makes it one of the best golf GPS watches of 2016.

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Hazard Yardage:

Like other high end golf GPS watches, the Garmin Approach X40 displays yardage to all layup positions, doglegs, and other hazards.  You can easily spot hazards on the watch screen and measure the distance to any portion of any hazard on a golf course.  Although the hazard yardage screen is a bit funky, it is accurate and efficient once you get the hang of it.

 Golf Course Coverage:

Like other Garmin products, the X40 comes pre-loaded with over 40,000 different golf courses across the globe and does not require any type of membership/subscription fee or downloads.  Simply charge it up and head to the course.   The X40 features free course updates, so as Garmin improves its course rolodex, your rolodex grows too.

Watch Face:

The Garmin Approach X40 features a 1.00” x 0.42” display screen that is 160 x 68 pixels.  This is a much smaller screen than any other golf GPS watch on the market and mirrors the look and feel of an activity tracker.  However, don’t think that the small screen display is unable to convey critical information.  This sunlight-readable screen is big enough to display everything that you need to shave strokes off of your game.

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Green View Display:

The X40 golf GPS watch was specifically designed with Green View Display, which shows you the shape and contours of the green as you play each hole. In addition to seeing how the green slopes, you can move the pin around to get exact yardages to various portions of a green.  This feature allows you to really dial in your short game.  You can accurately pitch wedges to the flag stick and figure out how the ball will roll on the green without walking up to the green before your pitch like the pros.  This feature is definitely a great addition, and an unexpected one considering the size of the watch face.

Golf Band: 

The Garmin Approach X40 golf GPS watch is the thinnest and lightest golf GPS watch on the market.  The slim band makes this a great option for golfers who have reservations about swinging a golf club with a watch on their wrist.  With the addition of activity tracking technology on a golf GPS watch, Garmin is clearly trying to cash in on the Fitbit and activity tracking craze. However, in doing so, Garmin may have unintentionally (or intentionally) eliminated a major concern of many golfers interested in golf GPS watch technology.  This watch’s low profile and slim band makes you forget that you even have it on your wrist.  If you have reservations about wearing a large watch while swinging the golf club, this is the best golf GPS watch of 2016.

This golf GPS watch is also water resistant up to 50 meters and is a great option for golfers with active lifestyles.

Activity Tracking/Heart Rate Monitor –

The activity tracking technology in the X40 shows distance traveled, steps taken, calories burned, heart rate, and activity intensity.  The band measures your heart rate throughout the day and does not require the use of a heart rare strap.   The heart rate monitor checks your heart rate at varying levels of consistency depending on your level of activity.  When you engage in a physical activity, the heart rate monitor provides feedback more frequently as the device is attempting to provide you with accurate information.  However, when you are not engaged in an activity, the monitor checks your heart rate less frequently.

Overall, the devices is fairly useful for tracking heart rate when you are moving around, but suffers from the limitations of a wrist-based heart monitoring device.

Battery Life –

According to Garmin’s website, the Garmin Approach X40 features a lithium-ion battery that will last for 5 hours on GPS mode.  Put simply, I’ve found that the x40 lasts for up to three full golf rounds.   This is a bit better than Garmin’s S6 golf GPS watch, likely due to the smaller screen.  Three rounds of golf is above average for a golf GPS watch as other golf GPS watches typically last about 36 holes.  Because this golf watch has so many features jam packed into it, I give the X40 a slight edge in the battery department over most golf GPS watches on the market.

AutoShot Round Analyzer –

A great feature of this golf GPS watch is the AutoShot Round Analyzer.  This feature automatically detects shots during the round from tee to green and is fantastic for post round analysis.   It allows you to figure out which holes you excelled or struggled on for a given round.  When looking at data historically, you can see how you have played various courses and holes throughout the year.

Other Features:

Garmin Connect Golf Community –

A new feature of the latest line of Garmin golf GPS watches is the Garmin Connect feature.  This feature allows users to track rounds, upload data to the internet, and compare the results with the Garmin community.   This gives the watch an almost video game like aspect that allows you to see how you stack up against the competition at most courses around the world.

Scorecard and Stats Feature – 

This Garmin Approach X40 golf GPS watch allows you to keep the score on the watch itself (similar to the S6).  This golf watch also allows you to upload your scores and rounds to a computer for post-round analysis.  Additionally, if you play a course multiple times a year, the X40 allows you to patch together your best scores on each hole so that you can assemble your perfect round.

TruSwing Technology –

The Garmin Approach X40 golf GPS watch also has an optional feature called TruSwing.  This technology attaches to your golf club and gives you real-time 3-dimensional animations of your golf swing and other metrics that are great for figuring out how to optimize your game.  This feature is great for the golf range and provides helpful stats that shave strokes off of your game.

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Bluetooth Feature –

This golf GPS watch is equipped with a Bluetooth feature (much like the S6) that allows you to pair it with your cell phone and other Bluetooth capable devices. This allows the user to receive emails, texts, alerts and more right on your watch.  When an alert comes into your watch, the X40 will vibrate to send a signal to the user.

Smart Notifications

Style –

This golf GPS watch is a sleek low profile golf watch that includes all of the features you want in a golf GPS device.  In addition to measuring your heart rate and offering activity tracking like a Fitbit, it eliminates the need for an additional activity tracking device.  The Garmin Approach X40 is super light weight at 1.1oz and has an athletic feel to it.  This golf watch is not the most stylish, but it certainly wont offend anyone, and most people will likely assume that you have a Fitbit.    


  • Some of the best features of any golf GPS watch on the market
  • Tons of pre-loaded courses
  • No membership or subscription requirement.
  • Accurate (even from the rough or out of bounds areas)
  • Activity Tracker for running, golfing, etc.
  • Heart rate monitor
  • TruSwing Technology
  • Movable pin locations for precise yardage
  • Uploadable scorecard feature for accurate round tracking
  • Exact yardage to different hazards
  • Bluetooth technology
  • Scorecard features
  • Garmin Connect Technology


  • Cost
  • The small screen takes a bit of getting used to and can be difficult to navigate
  • The shot distance calculator can be glitchy at times

 Is this the best golf watch for you? 

  • This golf GPS watch is the best option for a golfer with an active lifestyle.  It gives accurate yardage, has a great battery, and provides distances to the hazards.  What makes this golf watch one of the best golf GPS watches of 2017 is the additional technology that is somehow jam packed into this small device.  Not only does it measure your heart rate and offer activity tracking like a Fitbit, but it also provides the Garmin connect technology allowing you to connect with the golf community around you.  If you’re in the market for a high end golf GPS watch, but love the technology of a FitBit, this is the golf GPS watch for you.

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For more information, feel free to check out Garmin’s Promotional video below:

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