Best Garmin Z82 Review

The Garmin Z82 golf rangefinder transforms the highly versatile rangefinder into a truly dedicated golfing tool by providing exacting detail of every hole on just about any reasonably accessible golf course on the planet. That is no small feat. The Garmin Approach Z82 rangefinder gives you the exact location of the hazards, traps, rough and tree lines on virtually any public and a lot of the private golf courses around the globe. It even provides a color GPS flyover of every hole that you are about to play.

Garmin Z82 Review

Tech Backs the Outstanding Rangefinder

Garmin International is a highly regarded electronics brand that really made its mark using global positioning satellite systems to pinpoint locations on Earth after the company’s founding in 1989. Garmin is among the first to apply laser technology to the golfing industry and has remained among the top innovators ever since.

golf equipment with course map

In many ways, the Garmin Approach Z82 represents the pinnacle of golfing rangefinder technology as it builds on the Z80 rangefinder previously released by Garmin. Instead of adding slope-compensating technology and a couple of other bells and whistles and declaring it a budget golfing rangefinder, Garmin applies current laser range-finding technology in a package that is fully dedicated to golf and virtually no other purpose.

Tens of Thousands of Golf Courses Preloaded

The Garmin Z82 combines the best elements of virtual reality with real-time golfing tools to deliver an exceptional user experience. Garmin preloads two-dimensional color digital maps of more than 41,000 courses located around the world. You get the exact dimensions and layout of every hole prior to playing it, which greatly reduces the need to scan a hole prior to playing it.

No matter where you might travel, if there is a course that is available for public play, you likely have a digital color map of every hole with GPS flyover information. Many private courses also are included. You can preview one or more golf courses and see which ones have the most interesting and challenging holes that compel you to give them a try.

Exceptional Accuracy at Your Fingertips

The Garmin’s laser range arc rivals the best in the industry with accuracy to within 10 inches of the target. Many competitors rightfully boast about accuracy to within a half a yard, but the Garmin Approach Z82 rangefinder bests them all. Range is limited to 450 yards, which is all you really need due to the preloaded course information.

laser rangefinder for accurate distances that fit in your golf bag

Odds are the hole you are about to play already is loaded in the Z82, which provides the exact distances from the front, middle or back driving tees to the hole as well as every hazard. Even when you are in the wrong fairway after a wayward tee shot.

You can use the GPS flyover to see exactly what lies between your exact location and where your ball likely will land based on your choice of club and swing.


  • Truly dedicated golfing technology.
  • Exceptionally accurate to within 10 inches of the target.
  • Preloaded maps of every hole on tens of thousands of golf courses.
  • Detailed views of every hole.
  • No more hidden hazards.


  • Costs more than most rangefinders.
  • Relatively limited range.
  • Wind metering function is not very accurate.

Design and Construction

The Z82 rangefinder has the familiar elliptical design with a viewing lens at top and the laser measuring device at the bottom. The ergonomically designed unit measures about 1.7 inches wide by about 3 inches tall by 4.8 inches in length. It weighs about 8 ounces and has a durable polymer body that resists water while protecting the internal electronics.

gps technology for blind shots with a hole map and hazard view

The Z82 has a nicely contoured thumb rest underneath and three operating buttons on top. Whether you use your right or your left hand, the same fingers generally rest on the same buttons, which makes it even easier to use at your favorite golf course or while playing an entirely new one.

No More Hidden Hazards

You can use the GPS flyover function to view the hole and learn the exact location, size and shape of every sand trap and water hazard and their distances to the tee. It gives you a true bird’s eye view of what lies before you on each golf hole so that there are no hidden hazards, like a low-lying sand trap or pond. The Garmin Approach Z82 range finder will tell you the exact distances to each and help you to play your shot correctly.

The wind compensation is a great feature can help you to know just how strong the wind is blowing and its general direction, it displays wind speed and direction on the view finder. which greatly affects your shot and club selection. A strong wind makes a pitch shot nearly impossible to use, for example. While you can get a general feel for the wind just by standing outside and using time-proven tricks when you just have a gentle breeze, knowing the exact wind direction and wind speed can help you make a smarter choice about your pending golf shot.

Pin Locator and Flag-Lock

When you are in close enough to use your short game, the pin locator and flag-lock functions give you the distance to the hole with no more than 10 inches of measurement error. The Garmin Approach Z82 will disregard background objects, like trees and ball washers, that many other rangefinders lock on when you want a simple distance reading to the flag. When it locks on the flag, a short and gentle vibration tells you.

The Z82 can tell you wind speed and acts as a wind tracker so that you can adjust the shot accordingly. Current owners generally say the feature needs work for what are generally obvious reasons. Golfers seldom stand still while playing a golf course that generally has holes facing in just about every direction. So while one of the more innovative features, not the most useful in all spots.

Slope Angle Compensation

While it is great to know the precise distance to the hole, you need to know the effect that elevation plays on the approach shot. While the straight-line distance might be 150 yards to the hole, if the green is located at a higher elevation the effective distance is further in order to clear the terrain’s rise. Likewise, if the hole is located at a lower elevation, the shot will carry further and could overshoot the hole.

not all rangefinders measure shot distances   at your local course or provide shot tracking with vibrational feedback

Garmin refers to the rangefinder’s slope angle compensation as the “plays-like distance” to let you know how the hole’s relative elevation will affect your shot. It accounts for the distance and the upward or downward angle to the hole the tells you the relative distance. That helps you to pick the best club and swing to get the ball nearest to the hole for an easy putt.

Tournament Mode Ensures Compliance

While the Garmin Approach Z82 laser rangefinder does an awful lot and can really make your game much better by giving you a lot of very useful information, you need to shut off some features to make it legal for tournament play. A tournament mode does that for you and makes it possible to give you highly accurate range data based on a straight-line measurement. It is up to you to decide how the terrain the relative angle to the hole will affect your shot and play accordingly.

Fortunately, while practicing for a tournament, players still can use all the great features and learn the course well enough in advance that much of those extra features really are not needed during actual tournament play. But they sure do help an awful lot beforehand with perfect preparation and practice.

Accessories and Battery

The range finder also is marketed as the Garmin Approach Z82. That name emphasizes the Z82’s outstanding ability to deliver accurate and useful information that improve approach shots and helps to lower your golf score. An included lithium battery provides about 15 hours of battery life between charges done via an included USB cable and outlet adapter.

garmin approach z82 laser rangefinder for uphill or downhill shots based playslike distance

Garmin Z82 accessories include a separate 10-inch viewing tablet that gives you a better view of all of the great functions via a USB cable. An optional Garmin Approach Z82 cart mount lets you secure it to your golf cart while playing and share the information with your playing partners.

Is the Garmin Z82 the Best Golf Rangefinder?

The Garmin Approach Z82 certainly is a leading contender for the best rangefinder on the market. In pure functional terms, you cannot beat its combination of accuracy, hole preparation and outright fun factor. It is like having a highly detailed video game in your palm that superimposes your live game for a truly virtual experience while enjoying an actual round of golf. Leading competing golf rangefinders, like the Bushnell Tour V5, cannot provide the full breadth of features that you get with the Garmin Approach Z82 laser rangefinder.

range finders are cutting edge technology like the garmin golf app and image stabilization are key features for all competitive golfers

Should I Buy One?

Those who travel a lot and take their golf clubs with them will find this true golfing tool to be especially useful and likely will not mind its high purchase price. It gives players the ability to learn a new course quickly and better prepare for competitive events.

Golfers who just want general range info with some slope adjustment can find affordable alternatives that do less but still serve their needs. But with so many great features and a long-lasting rechargeable battery life helping to save on ownership costs, the Garmin Approach Z82 certainly offers a very distinct value for truly serious golfers.

Garmin Approach Z82 FAQ’s

Does the Garmin Z82 have a magnet?

The Z82 does not have a magnet. Some rangefinders like the Bushnell XE have that magnetic mount for storing your rangefinder on the cart. But the Z82 does not have that feature due to the advanced image stabilization tech it contains.

Does the Garmin Z82 have a cart mount?

While it does not come with a cart mount, there is a mount option that you can purchase. It attaches to the poles holding the cart roof up and gives you a great place to store your device while playing.

Is there a case for the Z82?

The Z82 does not come with a case, but there are case options available that you can purchase. These make great storage solutions for between rounds to protect the Z82 rangefinder.

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