Garmin make some of the finest GPS watches on the market. The brand is synonymous with high quality products and they excel in sports watches of all kinds and in my view, particularly golf wearables.
The brand's impressive selection of golf watches at a variety of price points but their two premium watches are the Garmin MARQ Golfer and the Garmin Approach S62. Both of these can make a claim to be the very best golf watch you can get. They're packed with functionality on the course. The only thing they can’t do is hit the ball for you.
There is a big difference in price between the MARQ and the S62 but other than that how do they differ and which one should you buy?
Garmin MARQ vs Garmin S62: Golfing features
So, other than telling you yardages to the front, middle and back of the green (a standard function of any golf watch) what features do these Garmin watches bring to justify their lofty price?
A lot actually. Firstly though, it needs pointing out that the eye watering price of the MARQ is based on the build quality and materials used rather than its functionality on the course. Just because it costs almost four times as much as the S62 do not expect it to do four times as much.
The MARQ Golfer and Approach S62 actually do an almost identical job out on the golf course. There are some subtle differences which we’ll get to shortly, but essentially they do the same thing albeit not quite in the same way.
The MARQ is as much a luxurious item of jewellery as it is a golf watch. The S62 is just all business. They both bring a ton of features to the table and certainly compare favourably with any other wearable golf device out there.
Golf is hard, we all know this, but having either of these watches on your wrist will make things easier. They can’t find the fairway or hole putts for you but just like a real life caddie they can take care of everything else, leaving you to concentrate only on hitting the ball where you want it to go.
Garmin golf watches come pre-loaded with over 40,000 courses so the watch will know where you are as soon as you arrive. Setting up is simple. You select the course, choose which tees you are playing from and then you’re ready to go.
The detailed overhead map of the course will show you everything you need to know as you stand on the tee. You can check the distances to the front and back of any hazards, see how far you would need to carry the ball to cut off a corner or check the optimal spot for a lay up that will leave you the correct distance for an approach with your favourite club.
After you tee off the watch will ask you what club you used and it will send that information back to your Garmin Connect account, which is cool because it allows you to keep track of your average drive statistics.
The yardage counter will then show you how far your shot travelled as you walk down the fairway. This is a cool feature that probably should be standard with all GPS watches. The main advantage to this is that if you know how far you generally hit each club then it will narrow your search area down considerably when you’re looking for a ball that has missed the fairway or green.
No more pacing up and down a huge area wondering “could I have hit it this far?” or “surely it must have gone further than this?”. If your standard drive carries 200 yards then with a Garmin watch on your wrist you know where to look.
By recording the position you hit your next shot from it can work out how far the previous shot travelled. So for example, if you have 100 yards left when you hit your second shot to a 330 yard hole, the watch knows that your tee shot went 230 yards.
You have the option of entering which club you used after every shot you play until you reach the green, and information on all of your shots will be sent back to your Garmin Connect account when you sync the watch with your smartphone, either during or after the round.
When you reach the green the watch will know that you are now putting and will ask you to enter your score as well as some other details, such as how many putts you had, if you hit the fairway (or missed left or right) and also whether you incurred any penalty shots. Again, all of this information will be saved to your Garmin Connect account for detailed analysis of your progress.
Registering for a Garmin Connect account is free and there are all kinds of useful statistics and analysis for you to browse through to get an idea of your strengths and weaknesses as well as where you need to improve.
Unlike other, cheaper Garmin watches both the MARQ and S62 come with a “Virtual Caddie” function. So when you have played five rounds using the watch it will have a large enough sample size to know how far you tend to hit each club and, just like an actual caddie would, it will suggest a club for each shot you are faced with based on your tendencies.
Pro Tip: If you duff your approach shot thirty yards do not enter your club selection on the watch as it will skew your overall averages. By entering your details only when you hit a decent shot you will have a much more accurate number of how far you can hit each club.
Both of these watches can also provide information on wind direction and speed when synced with the Garmin app on your smartphone, while the “plays like” feature takes into account elevation when calculating distances. So if you are playing to an elevated green the distance to the flag is not the same as the actual distance the ball needs to travel. The watch will adjust for this and factor it in when recommending the right club.
Similarly, if you are playing a par three hole from an elevated tee with the green in a valley below, the ‘plays like’ distance is going to be shorter than the actual yardage.
It’s these little things that separate the S62 and MARQ from much of the competition.
Garmin MARQ Golfer vs Garmin S62: away from the golf course
While the on course performance of both watches is stellar, the real beauty of the MARQ Golfer is that you can wear it off the course too. It’s stylish enough to wear out to dinner, serves all the usual smartwatch needs – ie: notifications – and is practical enough to meet all your health and wellness requirements.
There's heart-rate tracking and also a blood oxygen sensor, as well support for a wealth of advanced fitness metrics. Whatever fitness activity you’re into the MARQ has your back. Running, cycling, swimming – whatever your game, it's got you covered. The MARQ Golfer also keeps tabs on your sleeping patterns, stress levels and heart rate and can issue alerts if your ticker or blood oxygen levels are misbehaving.
The S62 has most of these things too and as a general smartwatch it might not be at the level of, say, an Apple Watch, but it does plenty and you won’t be disappointed.
Both watches will give you notifications from your smartphone and support Garmin Pay for contactless payments.
Garmin MARQ Golfer v Garmin S62 - Differences?
There is only one real major difference in how they both perform on the course. The S62 has a touchscreen whereas the MARQ does not. To navigate on the MARQ you have five buttons. Two on the left, three on the right. The S62 has only three buttons, all on the right.
So some will find the S62 slightly more functional and easier to use due to the capability of dragging the pointer around the screen to show the yardages from various locations. This will be a bigger deal to some golfers than others. Personally I did not find that the lack of a touchscreen held the MARQ back too much.
The benefit of the S62 touchscreen is that it can give you the information you need that little bit quicker, but on cold days when you can barely feel your fingers it can be easier using buttons as you often find yourself dragging the pointer to the wrong part of the screen.
The other differences are mostly cosmetic. The MARQ is just a stunning, luxurious item that you’ll want to wear all the time and not just on the golf course. Not that you can’t wear the S62 away from the course. You certainly can as it is a nice looking timepiece in its own right and can hold its own as an everyday smartwatch.
It comes in black or white and as with the MARQ you also have the option of purchasing straps in various colours from the Garmin store.
The MARQ is the Rolls Royce of golf watches though. It is built with premium materials, a 46-millimetre titanium case and ceramic bezel with custom etched 1-18 golf hole markings and comes with a tritone green jacquard-weave nylon strap as well as a silicone alternative. Another nice feature is the always on, sun readable screen.
The MARQ comes with three Approach CT10 club tracking sensors, which attach to the top of the grip and provide advanced tracking capabilities. If you want the sensors on all of your clubs they can be bought separately.
Garmin MARQ Golfer v Garmin S62: Which one should you buy?
It all depends on what you can afford. If the thought of paying £1700/$1800 for a watch does not make you flinch then buy the MARQ as you will love it. It might be expensive but that does not mean it is overpriced.
If, however, your budget does not allow that kind of outlay on a watch then go with the S62 because on the golf course you aren’t sacrificing any functionality. As a golf watch the S62 is as good as anything on the market.
You can’t go wrong with either so the only real consideration is cost – but clearly the S62 offers way better value for money.