While technology has been instrumental in helping golfers gain better insight into our game, the devices are costly and often only form one function. If you want yardage, you need to acquire a GPS or rangefinder. But, if you desire statistics such as ball speed and swing speed. Then you have to buy a launch monitor.
It would be far more affordable and efficient if you could have two in one. This brings me to the point of this post. We are conducting a Garmin Approach G80 review to determine if the launch monitor and GPS functionality are accurate and whether they can benefit your game.
Things To Consider Before Buying a GPS
If you are looking for a basic golf GPS that provides readings to doglegs, hazards, and the front, middle, and back of the green, a device such as the Golf Buddy Voice 2 Golf GPS is all you need. However, like anything, GPS golf devices range from basic to advanced.
Middle-of-the-range golf GPS products often include a digital scoring feature that allows you to keep track of your strokeplay and Stableford scores. Along with statistics including FIR’s, GIR’s and putts per round.
Finally, top-of-the-range products may include launch monitor features and sync with various applications to help you store and analyze your shot data. Select wearable golf GPS products are also compatible with iOS and Android, enabling you to receive messages to the device during your round.
Just like rangefinders, GPS devices vary inaccuracy. Although they all measure the distance to the front, middle, and back of the green. Many don’t account for elevation change between your ball and your target. As a result, the yardage readings will be inaccurate.
That is why it is beneficial to shop for a product that provides PlaysLike distance, where it factors in additional elements into its yardage readings.
Most GPS’ measure distances to the front, middle, and back of the green, as well as to doglegs and hazards. While this gives you a better indication of what club you should be hitting, it is not perfect. You do not have an exact measurement of the pin, nor are factors included in the angle of the slope and the weather conditions factored into the calculation.
Several low handicap golfers I know prefer the use of laser rangefinders over golf GPS products. Their reasoning stems from the more detailed data provided by the former. However, GPS devices provide sufficient information to help the average mid to high handicapper around the course.
The satellite on some devices will automatically detect the golf course that you are at and begin displaying hole information. However, many other devices come preloaded with data for thousands of courses around the world.
While it is unlikely that your course won’t feature, it is something to check before purchasing a GPS. Otherwise, the exercise is pointless.
On top of feeding you with yardage data, there are golf GPS products that measure the distance of your shot. That gives you a more accurate understanding of how far you hit each club in your bag, which goes a long way to enhancing your distance control.
Although devices with launch monitor features will estimate your shot distance. A shot measurement feature provides more accuracy, as it measures the distance from point A to B, rather than estimating through a series of calculations.
The green view function on golf GPS devices displays the shape of the green to help you plan your approach shots into blind greens.
More advanced products allow you to manually move the pin to receive yardage to the nearest point to the actual pin position. This does not provide a precise measurement to the flagstick. But, it provides sufficient detail for you to select the right club.
It is becoming more common to find golf GPS gadgets with scorecard functionality. This amplifies your convenience on the course, as you don’t need a pencil or a traditional scorecard. You can record your score and obtain yardage data on one device.
A basic GPS with this function permits you to record your Stableford and strokeplay scores. However, more advanced devices account for FIR, GIR, and putts per round.
Practice Mode and Games
Although it moves out of the realm of the intended purpose of a golf GPS, more advanced options are equipped with practice and game features. These additional features help you to warm up before a round and get your eye in.
These features enable you to play a virtual round, work on your accuracy through target practice and train your swing tempo. For this to be possible, your device needs to contain a radar, and as a result, the price will be substantially higher than a standard GPS product.
Battery Cycle Life
The battery cycle life on most GPS devices exceeds the time it takes for you to play 18 holes of golf. For the most part, you should comfortably fit in two rounds without needing to charge it.
Garmin Approach G80 Review
- Preloaded with 41,000 courses
- Displays yardage to the front, middle, and back of the green
- Provides PlaysLike distance yardage
- Pin position selector
- Swing tempo training feature
- Launch monitor functionality
- Games and Practice mode
- Carry distance and clubhead speed on launch monitor are only accurate to within 5 yards
- The device doesn’t provide yardage directly to the pin
- It doesn’t offer the convenience of a wearable device
The Garmin Approach G80 is a multipurpose golf GPS device with game improvement features and a digital scorecard. Besides providing PlaysLike distances to the front, middle, and back of the green. It measures the distance to sand traps, doglegs, and water hazards.
Furthermore, the G80 contains a radar that enables it to feature a practice and game function. What this means is that you can work on your distance control and accuracy both indoors and out. It also contains a swing tempo training setup that helps you identify the most suitable swing for each club in your bag.
On top of the product’s GPS and game improvement features, the Garmin comes with a digital scorecard to make life as hassle-free as possible when you are out on the course.
Finally, this tournament legal device has a battery cycle life of 15 hours, which should last three rounds before you need to charge it. The downside of this remarkable product is its price tag. It is more expensive than renowned Bushnell laser rangefinders, which confirms that this is a top-of-the-range product.
Features & Benefits
Golf Course Functionality
In 2019, Golf Monthly published an article that stated that there were more than 38,000 golf courses in the world. However, they likely omitted non-affiliated or private courses from that list. Garmin, on the other hand, has managed to preload the G80 with over 41,000 golf courses.
On the whole, a Garmin G80 should function on the majority of golf courses in the world, which is especially handy if you are a frequent traveler.
With the Approach G80, you enjoy PlaysLike distance yardage from your ball to doglegs, hazards, and the front, middle, and back of the green. While the measurement does factor in the slope to deliver more accurate readings. It does not consider the elements or wind speed.
In truth, the yardage provided is sufficient for mid to high handicap players to select the correct club and get the ball within the vicinity of their target.
Easy To Read Screen
The design of The G80 features a 3.5-inch widescreen, making it easy for young and old eyes to use. The size of the screen also displays the full layout of the hole to help you plan and visualize your strategy from the tee.
Apart from its design and yardage measurements, this golf GPS is fitted with launch monitor capabilities. It provides a platform for you to practice and hone your accuracy and distance control, both in and outdoors.
This feature allows you to measure your clubhead speed, ball speed, carry distance, smash factor, and swing tempo. While this is a handy feature for you to gain better insight into your swing, it is not as accurate as the average launch monitor device.
Finally, the launch monitor is set up to help you warm up before hitting the links. Get your swing dialed for a superior round of golf.
Added to the launch monitor function of the G80 is swing tempo training. This feature helps you to identify the best swing for each club in your bag.
It is not uncommon to find a golf GPS with a digital scorecard feature, and the G80 is no different. You can keep score for your entire fourball if you are playing strokeplay, Stableford, skins, or matchplay.
Garmin Approach G10 Alternatives
1. Garmin Approach S60
Garmin’s S60 Approach golf GPS is a more affordable, wearable product, offering maximum convenience during your round. Like the G80, this GPS is pre-loaded with hole information from over 40,000 courses.
The device has a battery cycle life of 10 hours while playing golf, meaning you can realistically expect to play two 18-hole rounds before it needs a charge. Furthermore, the S60 delivers PlaysLike distance to help you make better-informed club selections.
This golf GPS is a more affordable alternative to the G80. However, it does not offer any launch monitor features.
It is worth considering the S60 if you are a fan of wearable devices and are looking for basic yardage information.
2. Garmin Approach G10
The Garmin Approach G10 is a significantly more affordable device compared to the newer G80 golf GPS. The GPS clips onto a bracelet, belt, or bag for comfort and convenience. Over 42,000 courses are pre-loaded onto the G10, meaning you can use it on most links around the world.
The digital scorecard on this device allows you to keep track of your Stableford and strokeplay scores. Plus statistics such as FIR’s, GIR’s and putts per round. These are useful for identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your game.
Furthermore, the G10 measures the distances of your shots and provides yardage to doglegs, hazards, and the front, middle, and back of the green.
Based on the functions of Garmin’s Approach G10, it is tournament legal per USGA Rule 4.3a. I would recommend this option to mid and higher handicappers. However, lower handicap players on a budget may find the G10 beneficial.
3. Garmin Approach G30
The Approach G30 is a mid-range handheld golf GPS that enables you to select the target you would like the yardage to. It is not the common practice of GPS devices, which typically only measure to select points on a hole.
Conversely, the G30 helps you to accurately gauge the carry required to reach a specific target, giving you deeper insight and more confidence in your club selection. Furthermore, this golf GPS is pre-loaded with hole information for over 40,000 courses globally and features a slim design that is easily portable.
Finally, this golf GPS enables notifications for emails, messages, and incoming calls. And, it features a digital scorecard where you can track the scores of your fourball and statistics such as GIR, FIR, and putts per round.
The Approach G30 is best suited to mid and low handicap players who want the exact yardage to a target for that day. It is one of the few GPS products which offers this feature.
In recent years, launch monitors and golf GPS devices have become a popular feature in the arsenal of the average golfer. However, the cost of this technology is often exorbitant, and sometimes our budget does not cater for both products, so we opt for one over the other.
Our Garmin Approach G80 review has revealed a product which while expensive in the world of GPS devices, is affordable in the realm of launch monitors.
If you are a mid to low handicapper looking for an affordable launch monitor with GPS features. You can view the Garmin Approach G80 here.
- Garmin Approach G10 Review: How Accurate Is It?
- Garmin Approach S6 Review; GPS Golf Watch Tried & Tested
- Garmin Approach S60 Review; Is It Really Better Than Other Models?
Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.