Garmin is a brand renowned for keeping things on the ‘straight and narrow’ via their GPS-centric products and the new Garmin Approach Z80 rangefinder follows the same philosophy out on the golf course.
Garmin's sat nav systems have accurately revealed distances, positions and directions around the globe for years, but the Garmin Approach Z80 marks the company's first foray into laser rangefinders for golfing purposes.
However, the Approach Z80 isn't just a laser rangefinder - as you'd expect from Garmin, it also includes a goldmine of GPS information that removes any doubt about your next shot out on the course.
GARMIN'S GPS NOUS
Garmin aren't exactly rookies when it comes to applying GPS technology to a golf setting.
Garmin are market leaders in sports wearable devices such as the Garmin Approach S60 GPS golf watch, which uses GPS to provide distances from any point on the course to wherever you want your ball to finish.
And it's this technology that makes the Garmin Approach Z80 the complete package - a virtual course map with live GPS distances is overlaid onto the left side of the Z80's viewfinder, seamlessly integrating with the laser distance targeting function.
The Garmin Approach Z80 is the most comprehensive and accurate rangefinder on the market, meaning you can go ahead and fire at any target with complete confidence.
WHAT YOU'LL SEE THROUGH THE Z80'S VIEWFINDER
A full colour virtual map of the hole you are currently playing is displayed on the left edge of the Z80's crisp and clear OLED screen. GPS distances to significant features such as the green or hazards such as bunkers and water are displayed on the hole map, while a more detailed view of the green shape, as well as yardages to the front and back of the green, is shown when the Z80's Green View feature is activated.
The Garmin Approach Z80 also has an image stabilisation feature that reduces shakiness and assists the autonomous Flag Finder function, which actively detects pins and calculates precise distances to the hole when the range button is pressed.
And once the pin or target is locked, a smart new feature called Laser Range Arc renders a virtual arc on the course map to indicate the areas and hazards in play at the current ranged distance. The feature is also useful in Green View mode to determine whether the hole is cut in the front, back or middle of the green.
LOCK IT IN WITH PRECISION
The Garmin Approach Z80 rangefinder can lock onto a target or pin up to 320m away and is mind-bogglingly precise, with accuracy to within 25cm.
It has a six-times magnification zoom that enables golfers to clearly identify the target they are seeking. Together with the map overlays, golfers can see where the pin is located, even for blind shots, through the Z80's Pinpointer feature.
PLAYS LIKE FUNCTION
The Garmin Approach Z80 also has a Plays Like mode that takes into account elevation changes and calculates distances accordingly.
For example, a 150m shot downhill will be displayed as a Plays Like distance of 140m; or a 150m shot to an elevated green will have a Plays Like yardage of 160m.
The Plays Like function can be toggled on and off so the Z80 conforms for tournament use.
AS A MATTER OF COURSE
There are over 41,000 courses preloaded onto the Z80 and course updates are also free to download.
And if you're keen try most of them, the Z80's rechargeable lithium-ion battery will last for up to 15 hours, or approximately three rounds. View the Garmin Course Library here
GOLF GPS VS GOLF RANGEFINDER
It hasn’t always been as simple as carrying a Garmin Z80 Rangefinder & GPS around the course allowing you to benefit from both devices in one compact unit. The thing is, if you select the rangefinder you are greeted with pinpoint accuracy at the touch of a button. However, if you select the GPS you have the blueprints to the golf course in your pocket - allowing you to see every crevice, hazard and feature that is waiting for you around the corner. This making the decision between units very difficult.
- A GOLF GPS is the Car Satellite navigation for the golf course, without the annoying voices that instruct you to make a specific manoeuvre in a short amount of time. At the size of a smart phone, it opens up the soul of the golf course, enabling you to analyse the path ahead and avoid any unnecessary meetings with deep canyons with just the change of a club.
- The GOLF RANGEFINDER is a small lasered scope that can display distances to certain targets with the touch of a button. Also used in Archery and shooting, the Rangefinder offers unparalleled accuracy to the flag, or, if visible, a hazard can also be used as a distance reference, allowing you to strategically plot around the trouble. As the unit only uses power when the user takes aim, the battery life on a rangefinder can last for a very long duration.