A GPS with launch monitor technology? Equipment editor Hannah Holden checks out the new Garmin Approach G80
Our Garmin Approach G80 review took place at Lightcliffe.
Garmin Approach G80 review: First impressions
On first impressions this is a really neat piece of kit, small enough to carry around easily to practise with, but with a high resolution screen for crisp, clear images of the course.
It also has a really sturdy case and bag clip to make sure it stays securely on your golf bag.
The charging time for this device was really quick. I simply plugged it in and after a few hours I was ready to head out to the course and do some testing…
Garmin Approach G80 review: The tech
The Garmin Approach G80 is a GPS unit providing you with maps and yardages for more than 41,000 golf courses which have been pre-loaded on to the device. It features a touch screen display allowing you to pick yardages from specific spots using the zoom functionality.
Undoubtably, the main feature in the Garmin Approach G80 is the new integrated radar. This allows golfers to track data parameters relating to their golf swing and the golf ball. The new radar provides launch monitor technology and features four practice and game modes to help you work on improving your shot consistency.
The warm-up mode allows players to track their club head speed, ball speed, smash factor, swing tempo and yardage providing players with instant feedback on their game. Simply place the device down next to the golf ball and start hitting shots, all the data will be displayed on the screen after each shot.
There is an additional tempo training mode allowing you to practise, and find out, which backswing and downswing timings are best for your game. It offers custom modes for players to use relative to their clubhead speed.
The device also overs the ability to play virtual rounds of golf. More than 41,000 golf courses from around the world are pre-loaded onto the device allowing you to play the courses from your local driving range or practice net.
This mode works by allocating you points for how accurate your distance control is. So if you have 175 yards to the pin and hit it 175 it assumes you have holed your shot. It simply works on distance and doesn’t take shot direction into account.
Finally you can use target mode to complete target practice games to work on your distance control. Simply select which distance you want your target to be and start hitting.
You can either play single or dual player and are allocated points based on how close to the target your shots finish, this then generates a score relative to par. By connecting the device to the Garmin Golf app you can also compete against other golfers.
Garmin Approach G80 review: NCG Verdict
When it comes to distance measuring devices I have always leaned towards using a laser. As a scratch handicapper I wanted to know the distances to the pins and felt any other obstacle such as trees and bunkers I could also use the laser to obtain yardages. So having said that I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed using this device out on the course and how much extra information it provided me with compared to my laser.
In April I took the device to Troon whilst competing in the Scottish Ladies Amateur Championship and the information it provided me with out on the course was invaluable. Whether it was distances to bunkers, front of green distances or yardages on blind shots it really showed me how much a GPS can improve your course management and scoring.
The case and bag clip that come with the device meant I didn’t always have to delve into my bag to get my laser I could just have a quick glance at the screen and be ready to play.
This is a really compact device yet the quality of the images isn’t compromised and it provides really clear viewing. The graphics are really vivid, easy to use and have great detail of the golf course.
This device has excellent battery life and easily made it around 36 holes in one day with only just over half of its battery power.
The practice functions and game modes are really simply and easy to use, it literally takes seconds to set up. They were really enjoyable to use but also provide great information and feedback in a practice session.
To say this device is so small there is some seriously impressive technology in this device. I couldn’t believe how remarkable accurate the data from the radar was relating to ball and club data, producing very similar results to the TrackMan I tested it against.
This is remarkable when you compare the prices of the two devices.
This is an expensive product so if you are just looking for a GPS to provide distances out on the course this may not be the best product for you even though the GPS is a great piece of kit. However if you are wanting a GPS and a launch monitor to help you in practice this is definitely a product to have a serious look at. The practice functions in-particular were excellent and they added an extra element to my time on the range.
More information can be found on the Garmin website.