Garmin Approach G80 GPS Review

50 Words or Less

The Garmin Approach G80 GPS blends a strong handheld GPS with a basic launch monitor.  Priced to give you two devices for the price of one.


When they were first introduced, handheld GPS devices were pocket-sized miracles.  Now, with GPS built into every smart phone, we take the technology for granted.  This has forced GPS companies to step up their game, and Garmin has done just that with the Approach G80.  By pairing a quality GPS with a launch monitor, they’ve given golfers a reason to leave their phone in their bag.

Check out the affordable Garmin Approach G12 GPS HERE

Set Up & Ease of Use

The Garmin Approach G80 has a touchscreen and two physical buttons.  It takes a little time to power up and find a signal, but once it’s on it works very quickly.  The touchscreen is accurate and responsive.

To use the GPS on course, just tap “Start New Round” and you’ll be given a list of courses near your location.  Select a course, and you’re good to go.

Using the launch monitor is just as easy: choose your mode, set the G80 next to your ball, and fire away.

One feature that needs to be highlighted is the battery life.  In GPS mode, the G80 runs for 15 hours on one charge.  Most other units give you two rounds at best.  This is a huge plus for the G80.

Performance & Accuracy


As a GPS, the G80 is accurate and very fast.  Even riding in a cart at full speed, the displayed distances never lag.  Combine that with the fact that the G80 doesn’t go dim or shut itself off between shots, and you have the perfect tool for boosting pace of play.

The G80 offers multiple ways to view the course.  You can see “Big Numbers” which is great for getting distances to the green at a glance.  There’s also a more detailed view with all the hazards listed.  Finally, you can get a Green View that allows you to specify the pin location.  Toggling between these options is quick and easy.

Finally, the G80 has a feature that’s unique among GPS devices – PlaysLike Distance.  This adjusts yardages for uphill and downhill shots – Garmin’s answer to slope-adjusting rangefinders.  I found that it produced numbers very similar to my laser, and, like everything else on this device, was easy to flip on or off.

Launch Monitor

It would have been easy for Garmin to throw a basic launch monitor into the Approach G80 and call it a day.  They went far beyond that, creating four different practice modes.  Warm Up Mode gives you ball speed, club speed, tempo, smash factor, and estimated distance.  Target Practice focuses on hitting certain distances.  Tempo Training helps you find your ideal backswing and downswing timing.  Finally, there’s Virtual Round where you can load any one of the 41,000 courses and hit the shots you would on the course.

I found the G80 to be similar to the VoiceCaddie SC200 in terms of accuracy.  It doesn’t measure spin, but it’s solid at measuring speed and estimating distance.  The G80 does not measure dispersion or accuracy, but neither do other monitors in this price range.


The Garmin Approach G80 retails for $499.  With some basic launch monitors costing that much, the Approach G80 is essentially giving you the GPS for free.  Alternately, you can view it as a fairly expensive handheld GPS with a free launch monitor.  Either way, the Garmin Approach G80 is a strong value.

Please consider supporting Plugged In Golf sponsor Play Better by buying it HERE


As much as I love gadgets, what I really crave these days is simplicity.  The Garmin Approach G80 allows me to shed one piece of gear by combining a GPS and launch monitor in one.  If you’re on the fence about adding a launch monitor to your kit or upgrading your GPS, get both with the G80.

Buy the Garmin G80 HERE

Matt Saternus
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  1. Great review! Thanks. Running to the shop… Not joking. Seems perfect blend of GPS, birdie card, and doppler type of launch monitor… maybe one question, you reckon that as a launch monitor, is it at least as accurate as Mevo?

    • Matt Saternus


      I haven’t tested the Mevo personally, so my answer is a little second hand. That said, I think so, yes. Mevo does measure spin if you mark the balls, but I don’t know how practical that is for most people.



  2. Great review! I’m intrigued.

  3. I got it and tested it with my friends and it is fantastic. Exceeded expectation in every aspect…. radar more precise than expected for both ball speed and swing speed.. (confirmed by a 4 handiccaper and also the head club pro), GPS fantastic – pin placement on greens is such a great thing….

    • Hi, I joust bought it and tried out yesterday for the first time.
      On practice mode it often didn’t catch the shot and on virtual round mode it freezed quite frequently and I found both very annoying: as it was my first time and I might have messed up something I ask you: any hint?

  4. Joseph Sanchez

    Have you used both the Garmin g80 and skycaddie sx500, if so which do u prefer

    Thanks again for the time you take out to review and put out Content

    • Matt Saternus


      A different writer tested the SX500, so I don’t have experience with that model. Sorry I can’t offer a comparison.



  5. John Fielrt

    I sighted with my Bushnell to two target flags on our short game area today. Balls are landing on desert sand so where the ball actually lands is very clear. One flag was 92, the other 98. Then I hit at least a dozen balls to each flag. The G80 consistently under-estimated the carry. Balls landing at or beyond the target flags were consistently reported as 10-15 yards SHORTER than actual carry. The GPS feature on course is spot on compared to my Bushnell, but the launch monitor feature is too inaccurate to be of use.

  6. Andrew Drake

    Does it measure distance in metre’s? Cannot find a single comment about this in any of their manual’s or documents. You would think that they would advise it somewhere.

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