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Garmin S20 GPS Watch


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#1 Leftymoose

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 10:04 AM

I know the release date on these has been confusing. Some people have it, some aren't getting them for a few more. Looking for a review on this watch. Especially the Auto Shot Detection feature.

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#2 Atlantagolf

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 10:37 AM

I was able to pick one up at Goldsmith in Atlanta last Wednesday (2/10).  Unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to take it to the course due to the weather - that will change by this weekend!  Here are my initial thoughts -

The good -
1. It is very light weight.  This is as compared to my previous Bushnell neo.
2. Satellite connection is very fast.
3. Although I haven't been to the course, I live on one and from my deck the yardages seem to be spot on.
4. Hazard listings seem to be the basics that you look for on a compact device.
5. Connecting to my Mac & iPhone was quick and easy.

The not so good -
1. When connecting to your Mac/PC there is an application called Garmin Express.  Garmin Express immediately said there were course updates.  However there is an incompatibility between Garmin Express and the S20.  I have been on the phone with Garmin support - they have been great I might add - and they think they have a handle on the issue.  I am awaiting notification of the fix.  
2. The other issue I have is that it will sporadically freeze up.  Clock stops, buttons stop working and the only recourse is to turn it off and then back on.  I cannot find any common situation happening to cause it and need to bring that up with the support line as well.  

I will be back next week posting my experience with it on the course.

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#3 Leftymoose

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 10:51 AM

Thanks for info. I look forward to hearing more after you get a chance to use it.

I'm really intrigued by the Auto Shot Detection feature in this watch. I'll be using new clubs this year and will help me track my yardages (if it works). If this device does what Game Golf and Arccos do without having to use the sensors and tapping that would be fantastic! This is why I'm intrigued mostly by the S20. The hazards is also a good feature.

I have never used a a GPS watch before. I don't wear a watch at all, and don't like the idea of wearing one while playing but could get over it if it truly does work. I currently use a rangefinder that I like, but am looking for something that tracks club distance as well without the sensors and tapping and without using multiple devices.

Ideally, an S20 in a form of a handheld GPS would be exactly what I'm after..but not sure if this exists from any company

Edited by Leftymoose, 16 February 2016 - 10:54 AM.

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#4 tohughes76

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 05:44 PM

Looking forward to hearing about how your watch performs Atlantagolf.  

My big question is how does the watch know what club you used in the auto shot detection without tagging?  The only thing I can surmise is that you have to manually enter it after every shot, in which case I think it may be more cumbersome than a gamegolf unit.  The online manual doesn't offer much insight into this feature.  If they can pull it off, though, this looks like a great watch at a great price.

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#5 halliedog

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 08:56 PM

 tohughes76, on 16 February 2016 - 05:44 PM, said:

Looking forward to hearing about how your watch performs Atlantagolf.  

My big question is how does the watch know what club you used in the auto shot detection without tagging?  The only thing I can surmise is that you have to manually enter it after every shot, in which case I think it may be more cumbersome than a gamegolf unit.  The online manual doesn't offer much insight into this feature.  If they can pull it off, though, this looks like a great watch at a great price.

Agree 100% on club selection.  From everything I've read, and the few screenshots, I don't think Autoshot factors in clubs used - just location of shot, and location of next shot?  It will tell you you went from 420 yards away to 100 yards away for your second shot (WRXers anyway), and then 3 feet away for your third shot.  From my limited understanding, it would be up to you to remember what club you hit for each shot.  

(Cue a bunch of guys in your local 19th hole doing a Masters review of their round!  "Well, on the first I hit a cut Driver that left me a perfect SW to the pin.  Then on 2, I over-cooked the draw a little bit and had to punch a 2 iron under a pine tree to about 15 feet.  Got a bad read and missed 6 inches left.  Then on 3 hit ...)

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#6 Cwing

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 09:18 PM

Can't wait for the on course reviews.
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#7 Leftymoose

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 10:17 PM

I'm hoping there is an option to select the club either before or after the shot you take, then it essentially could keep track of shots per club...a simple scroll through option is what I'm hoping. There would be no other way to know which club you selected without a sensor. If it makes you remember which club you used at the end of the round for each shot that would be a deal breaker for me and categorize this as any normal GPS watch. Here's hoping that's not the case
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#8 snagy2000

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 09:08 AM

 Leftymoose, on 16 February 2016 - 10:17 PM, said:

I'm hoping there is an option to select the club either before or after the shot you take, then it essentially could keep track of shots per club...a simple scroll through option is what I'm hoping. There would be no other way to know which club you selected without a sensor. If it makes you remember which club you used at the end of the round for each shot that would be a deal breaker for me and categorize this as any normal GPS watch. Here's hoping that's not the case

I'm pretty sure if this were a direct competitor to GameGolf or Arccos they would market it in such manner. Don't get your hopes up!

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#9 tohughes76

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 09:29 AM

 Leftymoose, on 16 February 2016 - 10:17 PM, said:

I'm hoping there is an option to select the club either before or after the shot you take, then it essentially could keep track of shots per club...a simple scroll through option is what I'm hoping. There would be no other way to know which club you selected without a sensor. If it makes you remember which club you used at the end of the round for each shot that would be a deal breaker for me and categorize this as any normal GPS watch. Here's hoping that's not the case

I would be ok with a scroll type selection of the club used, but they have to be smart about it.  If you choose to use the feature, the watch needs to automatically go to the club selection screen as soon as the shot is detected so no additional button pushes are required.  From that point, I would say that the club selection should default to the club most likely to be used to based on the current distance from the green so that you don't have to scroll through every club in the bag to get to your selection.  Heck, maybe even a smart feature like using your club averages over time to choose the default selection for each shot.  

What I would want to avoid is having to push the up or down button 7 or 8 times on every shot to select a club.  As a Linx owner, I stopped using the scorecard feature for that very reason...absolutely no logic was used in the way the sequencing was arranged to enter a score at the end of the hole.  They could have easily saved 5 or so button presses on every hole, for a cumulative total of close to 100 unnecessary presses per round.  Definitely a case of where the distraction outweighs the benefit of the technology.

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#10 riis11

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 12:31 PM

Here is another review of the Garmin S20.  Just as a warning, I noticed several typos in the review.

GPSTrend Review Link

I am also still trying to understand the Autoshot feature.  As I have seen before in one of the Garmin videos, one of the pictures in this review shows the watch where it displays Hole 1 - Driver 258 - 5 Iron 167 - Sand Wedge 73.  I am still working how the watch knows that information.


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#11 joergensen

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 02:47 PM

View Postriis11, on 17 February 2016 - 12:31 PM, said:

Here is another review of the Garmin S20.  Just as a warning, I noticed several typos in the review.
I'm not sure they had the product available when they did the "review". All of the information in the article can be found on the Garmin website.

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#12 halliedog

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 06:40 PM

I picked mine up this afternoon.  Brief review:  seems much more suited to everyday use, slimmer than S4.  

I haven't read the manual yet, literally took it out of the box and turned it on expecting it to not work at all, or flash a "Low Battery" warning, but going on 6 hours now with no sign of a charge needed.  (This could be a good or bad thing.  It must hold a charge decently if it has been in the back of a UPS truck on/off for 5 days in cold weather and is still holding original charge.  The downside is I can't find a battery meter to alert you when it is running low.  After I browse through the manual I may find a way to fix this.)  I was hoping it was dead right out of the box so I could give a review of how long it takes to go from totally dead battery to full charge, but that will have to wait.

Autoshot seems to require direct user input on what club is hit, meaning there is some scrolling through screens on each shot to select the club from a drop-down type of menu.  Time consuming and annoying, but not sure how this could work at this price point without the sensors you stick on/in the clubs.  Once again, I'm not condemning this until I read the manual and actually use it on the course.  Even if my initial thoughts are correct, I could use this during slow, casual rounds to eventually build up a database of "usual" distances I hit each club.

I haven't even tried the Activity Tracing features, so can't comment on those, but will over the next few weeks.  Also, once the battery finally dies, and I get a benchmark of 0-100% charge time, I'll turn on the Bluetooth for phone notifications and see how long the battery lasts on that mode (hoping for at least 10-12 hours).

Those of you who have been using it, please keep updating this topic!
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#13 riis11

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 07:36 PM

Thanks halliedog for your initial observations.  How does that watch look aesthetically?  Similar to the iwatch?

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#14 halliedog

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 07:41 PM

Just found out that by hitting the "OK" button (top right) from the Home Screen, it takes you into "options", and displays the battery meter on the top right.  Funny how the manual doesn't mention how to check your battery life!

The manual shipped in the box is abysmal!  Same as online, and basically useless.  I'm somewhat "tech savvy", and will figure it out, but can see many who are turned off by the lack of documentation/instruction.

Battery at 55%, which is good since its been sitting in the back of several trucks for a few days.  If it doesn't run down on it's own by tomorrow night I'll turn on Activity Tracking/Bluetooth Notifications to burn it out, then get a time for 0-Full charge.
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#15 halliedog

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 07:53 PM

View Postriis11, on 17 February 2016 - 07:36 PM, said:

Thanks halliedog for your initial observations.  How does that watch look aesthetically?  Similar to the iwatch?

I don't have any experience with i watch, other than my boss has one.  It seems similar in size (a bit taller but narrower, if you know what I mean), he has the magnetic strap (which I find Awesome), mine has a plastic/rubbery band.  He probably paid an extra $100-200 for that band, and I'm not doing that.

He's been being a real dick the last few days so I've been trying to avoid him.  If he comes around, I plan on asking him about battery life, apps, etc.  I have an iphone, so seriously considered an iwatch, but thought I'd have to go through an app like on my phone that are much more work than I want.  I didn't want to have to continue pressing buttons on my phone, let alone a tiny watch.  I will be using this everyday, and as soon as I figure out how long it takes to charge from 0%, I'll start using some of the other features and report back.  I know the Bluetooth is going to kill the battery, but want to see if from a full charge it's comparable to iwatch.

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#16 Fletch13

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 08:10 AM

Might take a while....got mine Tuesday and didn't put a full charge on it.

I have been using it as an activity tracker and have Bluetooth syncing to my phone and have 84% battery.....if you're just using it as a watch it might take weeks to run out so you might want to consider turning GPS on to run the battery down.

Killing me not being able to get out on a course and test it properly but that's life. I already used Garmin connect for my running stats and so far the activity tracking fits in pretty well and the golf looks like it should be useful too

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#17 Atlantagolf

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 10:01 AM

View Posthalliedog, on 17 February 2016 - 06:40 PM, said:

I picked mine up this afternoon.  Brief review:  seems much more suited to everyday use, slimmer than S4.  

I haven't read the manual yet, literally took it out of the box and turned it on expecting it to not work at all, or flash a "Low Battery" warning, but going on 6 hours now with no sign of a charge needed.  (This could be a good or bad thing.  It must hold a charge decently if it has been in the back of a UPS truck on/off for 5 days in cold weather and is still holding original charge.  The downside is I can't find a battery meter to alert you when it is running low.  After I browse through the manual I may find a way to fix this.)  I was hoping it was dead right out of the box so I could give a review of how long it takes to go from totally dead battery to full charge, but that will have to wait.

Autoshot seems to require direct user input on what club is hit, meaning there is some scrolling through screens on each shot to select the club from a drop-down type of menu.  Time consuming and annoying, but not sure how this could work at this price point without the sensors you stick on/in the clubs.  Once again, I'm not condemning this until I read the manual and actually use it on the course.  Even if my initial thoughts are correct, I could use this during slow, casual rounds to eventually build up a database of "usual" distances I hit each club.

I haven't even tried the Activity Tracing features, so can't comment on those, but will over the next few weeks.  Also, once the battery finally dies, and I get a benchmark of 0-100% charge time, I'll turn on the Bluetooth for phone notifications and see how long the battery lasts on that mode (hoping for at least 10-12 hours).

Those of you who have been using it, please keep updating this topic!

Let me know if yours "locks up".  I have been having this issue and have been on the phone with their tech support.  A replacement is on the UPS truck to me.  I suspect - not confirmed - that it has to do with the bluetooth to IPhone. I turned that off yesterday and no lock up so far.

I will be on the course this Saturday to fully test it out.

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#18 Atlantagolf

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 10:02 AM

View PostFletch13, on 18 February 2016 - 08:10 AM, said:

Might take a while....got mine Tuesday and didn't put a full charge on it.

I have been using it as an activity tracker and have Bluetooth syncing to my phone and have 84% battery.....if you're just using it as a watch it might take weeks to run out so you might want to consider turning GPS on to run the battery down.

Killing me not being able to get out on a course and test it properly but that's life. I already used Garmin connect for my running stats and so far the activity tracking fits in pretty well and the golf looks like it should be useful too

Let me know if yours "locks up".  I have been having this issue and have been on the phone with their tech support.  A replacement is on the UPS truck to me.  I suspect - not confirmed - that it has to do with the bluetooth to IPhone. I turned that off yesterday and no lock up so far.

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#19 Fletch13

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 10:26 AM

I did see you mention this on another thread but so far not had a single lock up.

I was concerned as my running watch will lock up sometimes if I leave it on standby but that is pretty old now and has taken a lot of battering over the years and miles so I'm still happy it works

Thing I've realised with notifications to my watch is how much junk I get through. Close to turning it off and would think twice before purchasing a smart watch

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#20 Ak4seven

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 10:26 AM

So just wanted to add to the others here about switching to the Approach S20. I previously had the Vivoactive watch and thought it was great. Made the upgrade to the S20 and couldn't be happier. I got the white one, as many on here stated to just "don't do it". To each his own I guess, but I like how the white looks. Played a 9 holes and watch held up great. If anyone is on the wall with this watch, don't be. It's what they advertised, an upgrade. And no problems here with any kind of lock up.

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#21 OakPark28

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 10:33 AM

Just got mine, and any time I try to either download a course on the app or do a course update through Garmin Express all I get is an instant failure. Anyone else had the same issues?

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#22 Ak4seven

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 10:42 AM

View PostOakPark28, on 18 February 2016 - 10:33 AM, said:

Just got mine, and any time I try to either download a course on the app or do a course update through Garmin Express all I get is an instant failure. Anyone else had the same issues?

Yeah, and I called garmin about that. They said its a code issue but they are working on it. Said that the watch is fully operation and the update will be fixed soon.
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#23 OakPark28

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 10:47 AM

View PostAk4seven, on 18 February 2016 - 10:42 AM, said:

View PostOakPark28, on 18 February 2016 - 10:33 AM, said:

Just got mine, and any time I try to either download a course on the app or do a course update through Garmin Express all I get is an instant failure. Anyone else had the same issues?

Yeah, and I called garmin about that. They said its a code issue but they are working on it. Said that the watch is fully operation and the update will be fixed soon.

Thought it would be something like that. Good news that I won't be on the course until next week then.

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#24 BlackDiamondPar5

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 10:47 AM

View PostAk4seven, on 18 February 2016 - 10:26 AM, said:

So just wanted to add to the others here about switching to the Approach S20. I previously had the Vivoactive watch and thought it was great. Made the upgrade to the S20 and couldn't be happier. I got the white one, as many on here stated to just "don't do it". To each his own I guess, but I like how the white looks. Played a 9 holes and watch held up great. If anyone is on the wall with this watch, don't be. It's what they advertised, an upgrade. And no problems here with any kind of lock up.

How comprehensive are the hazards, dog legs etc?

Would this be a good replacement for a fit bit or Garmin vivofit?

Thanks

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#25 joergensen

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 12:22 PM

View PostAk4seven, on 18 February 2016 - 10:26 AM, said:

Played a 9 holes and watch held up great.

It appears you are the first with real experience. A lot of us are waiting to hear more, including details on the AutoShot function and how to select clubs, if possible.
Please please please - don't let us down :-)


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#26 pitchinwedge

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 12:56 PM

Have had mine for a couple of days now.  Activity tracking + Garmin Connect + myfitnesspal = works great.  But, the activity tracking portion of the watch doesn't set it apart for me from any other wearable options.  

For me, the only real advantage to the S20 is AutoShot.  So it totally sux that I haven't yet been able to get it out on the course to test the Autoshot feature. After playing around with the menus, it seems it should recognize when a swing (shot) is taken but there's no way to know what happens next until I (or someone) gets it out on the course.
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#27 BlackDiamondPar5

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 02:18 PM

View Postpitchinwedge, on 18 February 2016 - 12:56 PM, said:

Have had mine for a couple of days now.  Activity tracking + Garmin Connect + myfitnesspal = works great.  But, the activity tracking portion of the watch doesn't set it apart for me from any other wearable options.  

For me, the only real advantage to the S20 is AutoShot.  So it totally sux that I haven't yet been able to get it out on the course to test the Autoshot feature. After playing around with the menus, it seems it should recognize when a swing (shot) is taken but there's no way to know what happens next until I (or someone) gets it out on the course.

What's the significance of auto shot?
Also how comprehensive is the hazard data and is it easy to access? Does it automatically return to some default view after checking hazards?  One of the things I like about the NeoX is it requires no user interaction when playing unless you want to check hazards or measure a shot.

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#28 joergensen

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 02:30 PM

View PostAndy L, on 18 February 2016 - 02:18 PM, said:

[What's the significance of auto shot?
Autoshot is supposed to track each shot automatically. I presume this means that the S20 automatically registers each shot. Similar to Game Golf, but fully automatic, and without the club information. Unless the club selection can be entered manually. I would also presume that it means S20 automatically keeps track of the score.

I expect S20 offers quite similar functionality to Microsoft Band 2, with the addition of green, hazard and layup information.

Edited by joergensen, 18 February 2016 - 02:31 PM.


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#29 pitchinwedge

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 02:37 PM

View PostAndy L, on 18 February 2016 - 02:18 PM, said:

What's the significance of auto shot?
Also how comprehensive is the hazard data and is it easy to access? Does it automatically return to some default view after checking hazards?  One of the things I like about the NeoX is it requires no user interaction when playing unless you want to check hazards or measure a shot.

Autoshot "supposedly" records the distance of each of your shots automatically.  I'm going to guess it's shot-tracking at the most basic level, but it's still shot-tracking.

I've have, however, seen how it works with hazards.  I wasn't actually playing, I was standing behind a tee box and selected the HAZARD feature.  It works exactly as in this video:

https://www.youtube....h?v=cUY0G9yDZzs

Edit: haha just realized the dude's got the same clubs as me.  I'd never wear the purple outfit tho.

Edited by pitchinwedge, 18 February 2016 - 02:40 PM.

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#30 furu

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 06:18 PM

Garmin has probably used the technology from S6 in S20. The swing trainer in S6 registers your shot. Now add GPS, and you have shot tracking.


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