For many of us, the first time we heard of Garmin was through its sales of GPS units used for navigation in cars. But the company has used its GPS aptitude for much more than maps.
Today, the company makes devices for military use, aviation, boating, fitness, hiking, sonar fish finders, and yes maps. Little wonder that Garmin would put some of that technology into a device that has all the functionality of a watch, with additional benefits for fitness and golf.
The Garmin Approach X40 GPS golf band is the product of this multifunction discipline.
The watch may not blow your socks off but it does have features people have come to expect. It tells the time and date, of course, but also automatically adjusts for daylight savings time, provides sunset and sunrise times, and has an alarm clock.
As for its fitness functions, the X40 has a step counter, accelerometer, sets automatic goals based on your previous activity, tracks calories burned and distance traveled, and even goes so far as to monitor your sleep.
It does all of that in a sleek, compact, and lightweight package (just 31 grams) and we haven’t yet even discussed its features specific to golf.
That’s what we are here for, so let’s get to it.
The Garmin X40 tracks the distance of every full shot you take. Putts and shots around the green may not register. This alone is valuable information. To be successful in golf, you need to know with some precision how far you hit each club.
Of course, knowing how far you are from the pin is equally important. The X40 has you covered there, with distances to front, middle, and back pins pre-loaded with more than 41,000 courses. If for some reason your course is not among those, you may request for it to be added.
The device also marks hazards for you to avoid.
The display is roughly 25 by 10 millimeters, surprisingly large for such a small device. It has a resolution of 160 by 68 pixels, plenty sharp enough for anyone to read the LCD screen.
The display also accurately depicts the shape of the green, and allows you to manually move the pin to today’s location.
The X40 is water-resistance rated to 50 meters, which means you can get this thing wet, but don’t go swimming for a long period with it.
You can wear this watch daily due to its lithium-ion battery. Under everyday circumstances, the battery last up to five days. In GPS mode while golfing, it can last up to 10 hours. That’s more than enough to last an entire round, including warmup and an after-round postmortem.
The X40 has a built-in scorecard that is at least as easy to use as a tiny pencil and physical scorecard pinned to the steering wheel of your golf cart.
After the round, you can save the score, review it, and upload it to the Garmin Connect app on your smartphone.
The Garmin Approach X40 is a sleek-looking watch that comes in five different color combinations, ranging from colorful lime, frost blue, and midnight blue to more muted black, gray, and white.
It is quite narrow, with a width of about 21 mm, which is 0.83 inches. The strap is made of silicone. The watch also has a larger wrist circumference available for larger golfers.
The watch is plenty fashionable enough to be worn at any time, on or off the course.
Garmin Connect Golf App
The free golf app from Garmin is important for the overall value of the X40. Here, you can compete with your friends or even other Garmin users from around the world. It is fairly straightforward to set up a tournament and invite other golfers to compete.
Included is analysis of your round, with strokes gained included as a value add. Strokes gained is merely the measure of how well you perform against the average professional tour player. It will be a number that indicates how well or poorly you are playing in each area of the game: driving, approach shots, short game, and putting. Knowing how well you do in each of these areas can help you devise a tailored practice plan to improve.
The app allows you to review your statistics in real-time, should you choose to do so. Don’t get too hung up on that as it could slow downplay.
The X40 connects to your phone via Bluetooth, allowing you to upload results directly to the app. You can also upload results manually. The X40 is compatible with both Apple and Android phones, which covers a majority of golfers.
Garmin Express is the method the company uses to provide updates to its devices. This is true for maps, water charts, and for its golf devices as well. You can easily update your courses list via Express. These updates are free.
Express is also the method used for software updates, should you ever need one.
Unlike the app on your phone, Express is a desktop application that you download to your computer.
So is the X40 worth the price? There is really only one type of golfer who won’t get much from this device. That is the infrequent golfer who really does not care that much about improving his game. That likely represents a tiny portion of all golfers.
Another group, those who are excellent golfers with low or scratch handicaps, may find the X40 to not be as robust as they would like. These golfers are likely to dig deeper into esoteric stats such as smash factor and attack angle.
For mid- to high-handicappers, such a deep dive could actually be a detriment. Information overload could make you play worse, not better. And it is those golfers for whom the X40 is the best fit.