Garmin Fenix 5 GPS Watch

Image of a Garmin Fenix 5 golf gps watch. Best multisport golf gps watch.

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Garmin Fenix 5 Golf GPS Watch Review

Garmin has done it again.  Just when you think they’ve made the best golf gps watch in the Garmin S60, they come out with the Garmin Fenix 5.  To be clear, the Fenix 5 is more than a golf gps watch.  It’s a multisport watch that is designed to take a beating and keep on ticking.  Garmin not only focused on jamming the Fenix 5 with technology, but they also made several versions in several sizes so that you can tailor the Fenix 5 to your specific style and needs.  While the Garmin S60 rains supreme in the world of the best golf watches, the Garmin Fenix 5 is by far the best multisport watch for golfers.  This is a small, but important distinction.   There’s no real debate that the Fenix 5 is the best multisport golf GPS watch of 2017.

The golf features of the Garmin Fenix 5 are solid.  You don’t have to worry about the watch sacrificing golf features to jam in features for rowers, runners, and swimmers (with the exception of preloaded courses).  The Garmin Fenix 5 provides yardages to the entire green and to all obstacles on the golf course.  It also has pin drop technology that gives you precise yardage for all golf shots.  As you’d expect with a premium sports watch, the Fenix 5 has a high resolution screen.  To top it off, the battery life of this watch is insane.  It easily beats the competition and provides you with hours and hours of use.  Overall, the Fenix 5 is a phenomenal choice for any golfer looking for a durable yet stylish mutlisport watch.  As long as you don’t mind the price tag, this is definitely the one of the best golf watches money can buy. With that said, lets get into the details:


Golf Functionality

Hazard Yardage –

You’re probably wondering if the Garmin sacrificed some of the best golf watch features when creating the Fenix 5 multisport watch.   For the most part, they didn’t.   The Fenix 5 accurately and clearly displays just about any yardage position that you could ever want on a golf course.   The clear color screen allows you to easily spot positions on the course that may be of interest.  The Garmin S6 and S60 both have this technology and Garmin keeps getting better and better at refining it.   On the Fenix 5, you can literally figure out the yardage to just about every position on the golf course.

  Image of the Garmin Fenix 5 golf watch. Golf watch in golf mode.

PinPlacement Technology –

Just like the Garmin S60, the Fenix 5 golf watch allows you to use the toggle to move the flag stick to any portion of the green.  This technology provides you with precise yardages to any level or corner of any green.  This is a great feature for pitching and chipping around the greens.  We all know how frustrating it can be to pitch to the green and end up on the wrong level or portion.  If you’re anything like me, this typically ends in a three putt.

Pin placement is also great for blind shots.  If you know the pin position of the golf course for the day, you can approximate it on the watch and get a better yardage from a hazard or other location off of the fairway.  Better yardage equals better scores, which is how you have more fun.

Golf Course Coverage –

No golf watch is without its drawbacks.  The best golf watches typically come preloaded with about 40,000 golf courses.  This allows you to charge the device, drive to a golf course and start playing.  Pretty convenient.  With the Garmin Fenix 5, you’re golf round will require a little more planning.  This multisport watch requires you to download the golf course that you’ll be playing via the Garmin Connect mobile application before you can use it for golf-related activity on the golf course.  For those of you that don’t want to think about downloading a golf course before you play it (people like me), we recommend the Garmin S60.

Enhanced GPS

The Garmin Fenix 5 takes GPS to the next level.  Even the best golf watches have simple GPS technology that is great for a golf course but not for challenging environments.  Because the Garmin Fenix 5 is designed for hard mountainous terrain, it comes preloaded with advanced GPS and GLONASS satellite reception.  This means that the watch will track you faster and more accurately than other golf GPS watches.  A great improvement on the Garmin S6 and the Garmin S60.

Image of the Garmin Fenix 5 golf watch. Personalized watch faces.

Watch Face

The Garmin Fenix 5 comes in three different case-housing sizes, but with one screen size.  The case housing sizes are the materials that make up the watch head (42MM, 47MM, and 51MM).  The actual screen size of the watch is 1.1 inches in diameter.  This is large enough to display all information clearly without being too bulky or flashy.  It screen also comes in either glass or sapphire crystal depending on the model that you purchase.  The display resolution is 218 x 218 pixels, which is great, but slightly less than the Garmin S60 (240 x 240).  The watch weighs 67 grams if you get a silicone band and includes 64MB of memory (less than the Garmin S60).  As you can tell from the image above, you can also personalize the watch face just like you can on a computer screen.

Image of the Garmin Fenix 5 golf watch. Golf watch with clear screen.

Battery Life

The battery life is where this golf watch really stands out.  The Fenix 5 multisport watch destroys its competition in this category.   The Fenix 5 lasts up to 9 days in smartwatch mode, 20 hours in GPS mode, or 35 hours in its tracking battery saver mode.  In golf speak, this means that you can get five full golf rounds out of this watch without needing to recharge it – even if the golf rounds last nearly five hours each.  This is simply unheard of.  We think that the great battery life spawns from the watch’s multisport design.  This watch was designed for hiking and exploring the outdoors, it is built to last without a charge for safety reasons if a hiker gets lost.  The beautify of that for a golfer is that you can squeeze more golf rounds out of this watch.  Though you may not need it to save your life on the golf course, it can certainly save you strokes on the golf rounds where you didn’t have time to charge your watch beforehand.

Image of Garmin Fenix 5 golf gps watch. Golf watch with metal band.

Changeable Watch Bands

If you’re a watch person that really values style then you’ll love the Fenix 5.  It has a ton of different watches sizes, colors, and bands.  Because of its classic and sleek watch-head, you can slap a metal, silicon, or leather band on this watch for whatever occasion.  This is a work watch and a play watch.  It can be paired with suit or a pair of running shorts.  If you’re really looking for versatility, get the version of the watch that most fits your needs and purchase a watch band (or two) for those special occasions.  This is a much smarter approach than buying multiple watches for multiple occasions.

Swing Training & Analysis

Because the Garmin Fenix 5 is also compatible with TruSwing technology. If you’re familiar with this technology, it allows you to analyze just about every aspect of your swing.  Simply strap the truswing to your golf club, turn it on, and pair it to your mobile device (or watch).  The device will trace each golf swing from start to finish.  And it will provide you with amazing feedback on your swing patch, clubface angle at impact, swing speed, etc.

Scorecard and Stats Feature

This Garmin Fenix 5 allows you to keep your score on the watch itself.  There is no need for you to have a paper scorecard anymore.  And there is certainly no reason for you to have a scorebook that tracks the aggregate of your scores.  All of this can be done on your Garmin Fenix 5  and you can access the aggregate data through the Garmin Connect mobile application.  You can also break down the important stats about your game (putts per round, driving accuracy, chips, etc.).

Bluetooth and Connect IQ

The Garmin Fenix 5 is fully bluetooth compatible and can pair with any bluetooth capable device.  It will display your text messages, phone calls, ESPN alerts, emails, song selections, and anything else you can connect to via bluetooth.  The technology is amazing and the interface/usability of the watch’s bluetooth feature is a great improvement on the Garmin Approach S6.   Its particularly useful if you typically receive a lot of text messages or emails while out on the golf course.  Instead of worrying about your phone chiming during a backswing, you can just silence your phone and check your golf watch.

Image of multiple garmin fenix 5 golf watches. best golf watch for multisport functionality.

Multi-Activity Tracker

By far the best aspect of the Garmin Fenix 5 watch is its multisport functionality.  It offers you an insane number of features for multiple sports.  This golf watch accurately tracks your heartrate and provides you with a ton of data that you can use to analyze your performance.  In addition to simple step counters and tracking running, this watch tracks athletic performance and training.  The watch is actually smart enough to let you know whether you’re training effectively, if you’ve peaked, or if you’re training too hard.  It’s like having a personal trainer on your wrist while you workout or play sports.  This watch tracks too many sports to mention here, but a few include: skiing, snowboarding, XC Skiing, stand up paddleboarding, rowing, indoor rowing, swimming, walking, running, riding a bike, hiking, rock climbing, etc.

Mapping & Navigation

We’re in the business of providing golf reviews so we’re not going to spend too much time on the non-golf related features of the Fenix 5.  However, we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least mention the mapping technology that is a part of this watch.   The Garmin Fenix 5 features a ton of mapping and navigation features.  It has full color TOPO U.S. mapping preloaded into the watch.  It also has compass features and a built-in altimeter, which measures elevation.

Other Features

The Garmin Fenix 5 is packed with a million other cool features as well.  Way too many to explain in this review.  As you have likely gathered by now, this watch can do just about anything that you want it to do if you’re into sports.  Below is a non-exhaustive list of some of the features of the Garmin Fenix 5:

  • Water resistant to 100 meters (better than any other golf watch)
  • Auto shot sensor for post round analysis
  • Calorie burn calculator
  • Enhanced mapping
  • Sleep monitoring
  • Exercise intensity tracker
  • Customizable home screen
  • Digital scorecard
  • Handicap scoring
  • Personal Trainer Features
  • Enhanced GPS
  • Altimeter

Is this the best golf watch for you?

Buy the Fenix 5 multisport watch if you’re really into the outdoors and playing more sports than golf.  It’s the best multisport watch on the market by far.  It offers you so many cool features for so many activities that it’s well worth the money.  Although this watch isn’t as impressive as the Garmin S60 for strictly golf features, it is a close second while giving you a million other features. If you buy this watch we doubt you’ll be disappointed, its one of the best multisport watches on the market.


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