Our Garmin Approach G30 review took place on the course at Moor Allerton in Leeds.

We’ve reviewed a few GPS watches recently but have been conscious of the fact that many people don’t like to wear anything on their wrist when playing golf.

So we asked Garmin to send in their latest handheld device which can be put in your pocket or attached to your golf bag.

Garmin Approach G30 review – First impressions

What struck me straight away with this device was just how small and lightweight it is. It weighs next to nothing and easily fits in the palm of your hand.

Garmin approach G30 review

This is highlighted further by the fairy heavy-duty bag clip that comes with it. I’m sure it could do a job towing a car.

But I have no problem with this at all as one of my fears with devices like this is that they will fall off at some point during the round.

Garmin approach G30 review

The charging time was very quick. It went from 18 per cent to fully charged in about two hours. Simply plug it into your computer with the USB cable provided or stick the cable into the plug end of your mobile phone charger.

There isn’t too much to learn with this device, it has 40,000 pre-loaded courses and there’s no sign-up of registering required.

It’s very much a case of turn it on and go which is often exactly what I’m looking for.

Garmin Approach G30 review – The results

This device is operated by a touch screen. We’ve had a few issues with touch screen watches and handheld device in the past but this seemed to be very responsive and easy to use.

After arriving at Moor Allerton, I switched the device on and a large ‘Play’ icon comes onto the screen.

Hit this and it starts searching for the nearby courses. Within about two seconds all three courses at Moor Allerton came up.

This is one of the fastest we’ve ever tested on this front. Some devices can take about a minute to find you. It was a clear sunny day though which can help pick up satellite signal quickly.

Garmin approach G30 review

Once you make it to the first tee, there are a couple of display options on the screen.

You can have the front, middle, back numbers displayed or you can have the overhead view.

Garmin approach G30 review

The latter works best for me as it gives the numbers for bunkers and other hazards at a quick glance.

Garmin Approach G30 review

As you get nearer to the green it’s possible to zoom in on the green and move the pin to the relevant location. Again, the touch-screen is very user friendly and it’s not difficult to be quite precise when doing this.

Garmin approach G30 review

It also displays a number of other yardages around the green so you really do have the next best thing to a laser.

Garmin Approach G30 review

The Approach G30 has no trouble detecting when you have moved on to the next hole.

There’s a few other features such as a digital scorecard and you can also pair it with the TruSwing device which attaches to your club and gives detailed information about your swing.

It’s also possible to pair it with your mobile and receive notifications during the round. I wouldn’t recommend using this feature.

Garmin Approach G30 review

Garmin Approach G30 review – NCG verdict

This is a very impressive little piece of kit and will suit those golfers who really don’t want to wear a GPS watch but want to have loads of information at a glance.

It’s fast, easy to use and very responsive. You feel Garmin have used a lot of their touch screen expertise here which gives them a bit of an edge on some of their competitors in the golf market.

One of my fears was that the screen is too small to gave good touch screen capability but it’s very smooth and precise. You don’t have to waste time bashing away with your fingers – even if you have fat sausage fingers like me.

The slight downside for me is that for this price, you can get a bit more bang for your buck with more all-singing, all-dancing devices and watches.

But the Approach G30 does what it is supposed to do extremely well. It feels really well made, runs smoothly and quickly, has good detailed graphics, and won’t give you any headaches when it comes to operating it.

SRP: £269.99

More information can be found on the Garmin website.

James Savage

Former equipment editor of NCG. Inconsistent ball-striker and tea-maker.

Handicap: 17

Play Aldeburgh & Woodbridge in April for £224 per person


Subscribe to NCG