A New Best Friend On The Course
Handheld GPS devices have collectively become so good that it’s difficult to favor one over another. But when navigation authority Garmin debuted its all-in-one Approach G80 last month, I had to try it. The $500 featherweight device merges golf GPS with launch monitor capabilities. Last week I took it to my adopted golf facility — Mile Square Park GC in Orange County — because I’m ultra-familiar with the hole distances. On its GPS side, the Garmin instantly recognized the correct course in its library, and automatically advanced holes every time I did. It immediately calculated accurate distances when I approached the ball, showing a nice colorful map of each hole on its touch screen, with live distances to several landmarks — and wherever else I touched the map. For that reason alone, the device thrilled me. But its launch monitor data blew me away. After pushing the function button, I set the unit down on the grass about a foot from the ball and swung away. Only registering actual ball contact and not practice swings, it displayed ball and clubhead speed, smash factor, tempo and estimated distance. Having recently gone through several extensive clubfitting sessions, I can tell you these numbers were pretty spot-on. If you’re in the market for a new GPS unit, I urge you to upgrade to this model.