Offers a lot of features many other GPSs don’t. The launch monitor is useful when warming up, testing a new club or hitting a precise distance via the target practice mode but the hole maps are a little underwhelming.
Comprehensive GPS device
Launch monitor provides accurate shot insights
Practice modes hone your distance control
Hole map graphics are underwhelming
By Joel Tadman published
The Garmin Approach G80 is so much more than just a very good GPS device, it’s also a launch monitor. The G80 delivers standard yardages on over 41,000 pre-loaded courses. It detects the course you’re on rapidly and it’s quick to access the various, plentiful features. You can put it in your pocket or clip it to your bag or trolley frame via a special mount (£15.99).
The touchscreen makes the features easy to navigate but the screen is much smaller and even in its maximum brightness setting, is quite dark, pale in colour and hazy, making it difficult to see clearly in certain light conditions. Recent changes to our home course weren’t incorporated, but the distances provided were within a few yards of our laser rangefinder.
The Approach G80 has features such as Garmin’s PlaysLike Distance, giving you distances to the target, adjusted for uphill or downhill shots, which can be easily turned off for tournament play. Green View allows you to zoom in on the green to get precise yardages according to wherever the pin is on the day.
The sunlight-readable touch screen is receptive and you can point to any spot on the hole map for detailed yardage information.
The PlaysLike Distance tool is a useful one outside competition to give you a great feel for the effect of slope on yardages. Pinpointer shows where the green is on blind holes and you can zoom into the green to get accurate yardages to the flag.
But, it's also a launch monitor able to track club head speed, ball speed, smash factor, swing tempo and estimated distance. You simply position it on top of a ball just in front of where you are hitting from. It also works with the free Garmin Golf app, letting you compete, compare and connect with fellow golfers.
There are also games and practice modes that will help you improve – check the tempo of your swing or compete against friends or other golfers anywhere in the world.
Carry distances on the G80's launch monitor differed by around 10 yards with driver compared with the Foresight Sports GCQuad but were much closer with irons and wedges, to the point that it provides a very useful reference for a fraction of the cost.
This is an excellent “two in one” product, both as a GPS unit and a portable launch monitor.
Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all product content here at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader find exactly what they are looking for. So whether it's the latest driver, irons, putter or laser rangefinder, Joel has his finger on the pulse keeping up to date with the latest releases in golf.
During these enjoyable years he has had some money-can't-buy experiences, like interviewing Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy one-on-one and covering the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.
One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 87 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 4.7.
Joel's current What's In The Bag?
Driver: TaylorMade SIM2, 9°
Fairway wood: Titleist TSi3, 15°
Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18°
Irons: TaylorMade P770, 4-PW
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8, 50°, 54° and 58°
Putter: Evnroll ER2V
Ball: 2021 Titleist Pro V1x
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