The Garmin Approach G80 is just as useful at practicing your various golf swings as it is at telling you the hole conditions affecting your next golf ball flight. You get a great Garmin GPS golf caddy plus a Garmin golf launch monitor that uses radar to accurately measure your swing and its impact on the ball. The Approach G80 delivers a great combination of features into one very well-made GPS device.
When you are on the course, you get the kind of data that you need to make the best club and swing choices. When you want to improve your swing and accuracy, the Garmin launch monitor technology tells you exactly what your club speed is doing and how the clubface contacts the ball. You can practice your swing and improve your accuracy with the various functions included with the launch monitor functionality.
When using the Garmin Approach G80 for the Garmin integrated launch monitor, the accuracy is truly exceptional. The unit will measure clubhead speed to within plus or minus 5 mph, which is very accurate considering the how short and fast a good golf swing goes. The swing tempo is especially accurate to within a third of a second.
When it comes to ball speed, the Garmin golf launch monitors will tell you how fast it traveled to within 2 mph accuracy, while the carry distance accuracy is good to within 5 yards of the indicated distance. When it comes to total distance accuracy, various factors limit its accuracy to plus or minus 10 yards, including accounting for ball roll.
When you are playing on an included course, the GPS devices continually updates your location and gives you very accurate range information regarding hazards, the fairway, green the tree line and other items that might affect your golf shot. A combination of distance arcs and distance markers tell you the exact distances on the hole you are playing.
How it works
The Approach G80 combines GPS and radar technologies to provide the full range of services. The GPS mode provides your exact location and marks every shot you make while proceeding through your round. GPS tracking shows your exact location on course you are playing with an overhead view of the entire hole and green.
The overhead view enables you to better understand the shape and location of the front, middle and back of water hazards, sand traps and tree line so that you have a better chance of avoiding them. It also shows the fairway and green along with the relevant distance data so that you have the best chance to land your ball in an ideal spot.
The radar is what makes the Garmin launch monitor work. When activated, you just set the Approach G80 near the ball and it will record your swing and provide the relevant data. You can customize the unit to work on particular swings and improve your golf game.
Garmin Approach G80 Review Pros:
- Combines GPS tracking with Radar-enabled shot analysis.
- More than 41,000 detailed golf course maps.
- Detailed green views.
- Can play virtual rounds at the driving range.
- Launch monitor included.
- Excellent battery life
Garmin Approach G80 Review Cons:
- Relatively costly.
- No protective case included.
Free Garmin Golf App
The Garmin Approach G80 comes loaded with one of the most comprehensive lists of detailed color maps of courses located around the globe. The G80 has more than 41,000 courses included, which means virtually all known regulation courses are available. It certainly contains virtually all that most people in the United States are likely to play at home or while abroad.
An included green view feature lets you zoom in on the green and get detailed information on the high and low spots, general configuration and nearby hazards. That helps you to determine the best location to place the ball for the easiest putt and possibly put it in the hole on the approach.
The ability to get an overhead view of each hole on a course, accurate distance data and live updates while progressing through your round of golf makes the Garmin Approach G80 an outstanding tool for improving your game and lowering your scores.
General Dimensions and Design
The Garmin Approach G80 generally resembles a current cellular phone in size and shape. It measures 2.3 inches wide by 4.5 inches tall by 0.6 inches thick and weighs about 4 ounces. Two toggle buttons in the upper right side enable you to control it with the fingers on your left hand or your thumb on the right while holding it.
A 3.5-inch diagonal transflective color TFT touchscreen provides detailed information at a glance. It adjusts for sunlight so that you can see it in bright or dark light, and a mount lets you affix it to a golf cart or trolley while playing the course.
An included rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides up to 15 continuous hours of power while practicing at the range or playing a round on the course. You can get in three full rounds of golf and some practice time as well on a single charge.
An included USB cable enables charging from car USB ports, computers and AC adapters. The Garmin Approach G80 also comes with a mount for a cart or trolley and a carabiner with lanyard.
The Garmin Approach G80 golf gps works great in its game mode, which loads the relevant course and hole based on your GPS location. It provides a digital scorecard that offers options for match play, skins, Stableford and stroke play scoring and automatically adjusts based on your handicap. The touchscreen provides a readable display in bright sunlight and lets you select points on the hole to learn the exact distance from where you are standing.
When make a golf shot, the launch monitor feature can track it shot so that you can analyze what went right or wrong with it given the result. The Garmin Approach G80 continually updates various golf course maps to ensure you are getting the most accurate and current information. With more than 41,000 included golf courses, that is a truly impressive feature.
Virtual Rounds Help You Learn New Courses
If you are about to play a regulation course for the first time, the Approach G80 can put you through a virtual round while at the driving range. Enhanced map functionality makes it possible to play many of the most popular regulation golf courses around the globe while at your favorite driving range for up to four players.
You can load a course, pick the hole that you want to start your round and hit shots and simulate where they would land on the respective course. You can make the next shot based on the indicated situation on the virtual course while the launch monitor records each swing and better enables you to improve your game.
Instead of practicing the same swing with the same clubs over and over, you can pick the targets on each hole that you would like the ball to land and learn the distances and other relevant data that will help when you play a live round. The virtual function takes the guesswork out of a new course and enables you to better focus on your game and putting up the best score.
Plays-Like Distance Indicator
A particularly effective feature that really helps you to control where the ball lands is the plays-like distance feature. It is similar to a slope compensation in a golf laser rangefinder by assessing the rise and fall of the terrain.
The Approach G80 assesses the terrain and its layup and carry effects on your golf shot. So if the straight distance is 155 yards but the flag is a higher level, the Garmin Approach G80 will compensated distance to your selected target. So a 155-yard shot might be indicated as 170 yards or so to enable your ball to clear the rising terrain.
Likewise, the ball carry adjustment will shorten the actual distance that you need to shoot for after taking into account the additional carry distance a lower elevation creates. That can help you to hit your target and set up an easier approach shot or putt into the cup instead of flying the hole and possibly landing in a water hazard or bunker.
The radar-equipped golf GPS Garmin launch monitor tracks your swings using the various data parameters for swing tempo, clubhead speed, smash factor and ball speed. It delivers instant data that tells you how your game is progressing with it’s practice features.
A tempo-training feature helps you to evaluate your backswing and downswing and learn which times work the best for your various clubs. Many people generally take about three times longer on the backswing as they do on the downswing for a 3:1 tempo. But that might not be the best tempo for you and could vary based on a particular club.
When you have the tempo down better for each club that you use, you can practice more effectively and develop the muscle memory needed to truly feel a good swing while playing your next round of golf. As your swing improves over time, you will notice the relevant changes in the data provided.
Works with the Free Garmin Golf App
Garmin provides a free mobile Garmin app that you can load onto the Approach G80 and use while playing a round. The app enables you to compete with others who might be playing the same course that day and around the same time for a kind of impromptu tournament. You can post your scores and compare play data recorded with the launch monitor and distances indicated for each stroke.
The app can rank the various connected players, which makes the round a lot more fun. When you have finished and head to the 19th hole, the Garmin Golf App can help you to determine who picks up the tab and which players had the exceptional scores and swings throughout the round.
Is it worth buying?
The Garmin Approach G80 golf GPS is a truly unique golfing tool that is just as helpful at the range as it is on one of the more than 41,000 included golf courses. The two-golf-tools-in-one concept does deliver greater value from the unit whose purchase price is on the same level as many golf rangefinders.
Garmin says it is the first golfing tool of its kind to combine GPS course play with radar tracking for practice sessions and to help you better gauge your next golf shot. The radar-enabled Garmin golf launch monitor really elevates the Approach G80 well above competing GPS units. It offers a great range of regulation golf courses with detailed layouts and truly useful data for helping you to post a better score.
The ability to improve your game with accurate and detailed course information during live rounds while using the practice mode and virtual play features to improve your swings at the range make it a truly great tool to obtain.