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If you’re like me and aren’t the biggest fan of wearing watches, a handheld GPS could be perfect for you. In this post, I’m going to be reviewing the Garmin Approach G8 golf GPS and sharing my honest thoughts after testing it out on the course. It’s a higher-end model and has quite a few advanced features, but that being said, how did it perform?
The Garmin Approach G8 was one of my favorites when it first came out. It’s not perfect but compared to other models on the market, it’s a lot better and has some awesome features (I don’t use all of them). It’s a little bit expensive but the quality is there and it’s just as accurate as any. The screen is large as well and that’ll be beneficial to people with poor eyesight and shaky hands.
The things we look at when testing a GPS device is how accurate it actually is, how durable and reliable it was, how easy it was to use, and the price of it. All those boxes were checked with the Garmin G8 (on Amazon). That being said, we do have some we prefer and you can see those here.
Garmin Approach G8 Review
My First Impressions Of The G8
It’s not always the easiest thing going from your phone to a touchscreen GPS because the technology and responsiveness almost seem ancient. They can often be glitchy and sometimes take a couple of seconds to respond to you.
That being said, I was actually pretty surprised with the G8 when I picked it up at first. It’s not the exact same as your phone would be but it was definitely better than other GPS units I’ve used in the past.
The graphics aren’t crazy good or anything like that, but it’s bright, responsive, and easy to get set up and use. That’s exactly what I’d be looking for in a GPS device. Here’s a demo video:
What Does The G8 Do?
The G8 has quite a few pretty cool features but the most important thing is the distance to different targets. Some units only tell you the numbers while others only show you the green. The G8 will give you the full picture.
It’ll show you the distance to the front, middle, and back of the green. It’ll also show you the distance to different layup spots and hazards on the course.
One of the coolest things was that it takes into account uphill/downhill shots. There are only a few GPS units that’ll actually do this and it is really helpful.
If you’ve got a 150-yard uphill shot it’ll take that into account and give you a longer reading (eg. 160 yards) so you can club up and (hopefully) knock it closer.
It also keeps track of how far you hit each club and it suggests what club to use based on where you are (I don’t always use this feature but it’s a good thing to have). A lot of people struggle with distance control and knowing your exact yardages can really help you out.
Is It Easy To Use?
Some of these devices can be a bit tricky to use at first but I found the G8 to be pretty simple, which was awesome.
All you had to do was push the power button on the side, press “PLAY“, and the G8 will find the course you’re on. It’ll normally take about 30 seconds to locate the course you’re on.
If you want to see a detailed view of the green you just have to tap it and then you can see the shape and drag the pin around to get a precise reading.
What Else Can It Do?
Other than the distance features, you can also connect it to your phone so you get alerts and notifications (I guess that’s useful?). That’s not something I’d use on the course.
It comes with Garmin Connect, which lets you upload your stats to share with others or keep track of yourself. Being able to see some of your data across a few rounds is pretty cool.
It’ll connect to the app through Wi-Fi so you can do a post-round analysis. It’ll just give you a birdseye view of your game so you can clearly see what part needs work.
It also has a digital scorecard on it where you can track 4 people. It’s not going to track scores manually so you will have to remember to input your scores after each hole.
How Did It Perform?
This is definitely the most important thing because if it’s not accurate there’s really no point in having it. There have been some GPS units in the past that were like 5-7 yards off on average and there really isn’t any benefit to it. Garmin has always made the best, in my opinion.
Overall, I found it to be one of the more accurate GPS units on the market and it was actually fairly close to my laser rangefinder and other markers on the course.
I’ve tested a few other devices that were quite a bit off, so it was awesome to see the G8 be almost bang on. There were occasions when it was a bit off but it’s been quite solid the majority of the time.
It was really easy to use as well which was a big plus and the online scoring analysis on the app was great as well. Overall, the performance was better than I expected.
Garmin G8 Specs
|Garmin Approach G8|
|Size||2.1 x 4.4 x 0.6 inches|
|Screen Size||3 inch|
|Battery Life||15 Hours GPS Mode|
|Distance To Front, Middle, Back||Yes|
|Distance To Hazards/Doglegs/Layup||Yes|
|Manual Pin Placement||Yes|
- The touchscreen was quite a bit more responsive than others on the market.
- It was quick to set up and locate the courses.
- It was just as accurate as my laser rangefinder.
- It’s a bit expensive.
- The battery wasn’t the best so you’ll have to make sure it dims after 15-20 seconds.
- It connected to an iPhone but not a Samsung (probably fixed by now).
- Performance Score: 9
- Price Score: 8
- Ease Of Use Score: 9
- My Personal Score: 8.5
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is there an annual fee?
Q. How many courses are on the Garmin Approach G8?
A. It’s preloaded with 40,000 courses worldwide.
Q. Does it measure in both meters and yards?
Is It Worth It?
If you’re in the market for a high-quality handheld GPS, the Garmin G8 (on Amazon) could be right for you. It’s a bit of an older model and it looks like it’s only available as a renewed device.
If you’re looking for an updated GPS for the course, there are some units that we like more. You can see our full list of golf GPS units here.