Is this the best piece of golf tech for 2018?
Garmin Approach Z80 review: Out on the course
Charging is no trouble at all as you can just plug the lead into your laptop.
I did find the Z80 a little bit tricky to get out of case but that could just be due to my sausage fingers.
Something that really impressed me was the speed in which it picked up my location and gave me a list of courses to choose from.
This can often take a few minutes when setting up a GPS watch but the Z80 did it in seconds both times I used it.
I can’t stress how cool the information and images look through the viewfinder.
I’m very familiar with Moor Allerton so don’t need help with where I’m going but as well as the numbers to the front middle and back of the green, it gives you a yardage suggestion for your tee shot.
It has a red dot in the middle of the fairway, in A1 position, and gives you a yardage to that spot.
It also has the yardages for the bunkers and hazards.
When I played at Bridport (in the fog), a course I had never played before, I’m not sure I would have made it round without the Z80.
The laser was made redundant by the fog so I was relying on the GPS and course flyover information.
When the fog cleared, and when I used the Z80 at Moor Allerton, I was impressed with the functionality of the laser.
The number flashes in bold red when you have locked on to the pin which is a nice touch.
So when you have zapped the pin, you literally have all the information possible through the viewfinder.
The Z80 goes into standby mode when idle for five seconds or so which really helps to preserve the battery. After playing two rounds, I still had more than 50 percent battery life.
So maybe stick it on charge after every three rounds.
Garmin Approach Z80 review: NCG verdict
The only criticism I would have of the Z80 is the fact you have to look through the viewfinder all the time.
I feel it would be beneficial to just have the numbers available at a glance. But that’s just me being picky.
This is genuinely the best piece of golf tech I have tested over the past four years.
If you are a serious golfer and like to have as much information available to help you out on the course then you need to check out the Z80.
Playing in the fog on a course I was unfamiliar with gave the Z80 a chance to really shine.
The flyover maps were invaluable off the tee and the front, middle, back numbers really helped on the approach shots.
Some people may be put off with all that information. Fine. Don’t buy one.
Some people won’t want to be getting the laser out for every single shot. Fine. Don’t buy the Z80.
But if you love your technology and like to have lots of information to hand out on the course, the Z80 could change your life.
If you can afford it.
As you would expect this sort of technology doesn’t come cheap. It’s a whopping £549.99 and no it doesn’t hit the shots for you, or clean your shoes, or buy you a drink in the clubhouse after.
But it’s a really cool piece of tech.
More information can be found on the Garmin website.