Garmin Approach Z30 Rangefinder Review

GolfMagic reviews the Garmin Approach Z30 Rangefinder.

Garmin Approach Z30 Rangefinder
Garmin Approach Z30 Rangefinder
Quick and accurate yardages presented on a crisp viewfinder, when paired with a Garmin device or app it becomes one of the best game management tools on the market, new case is much improved from previous generations
Slight shame you need an extra device to make the most out of all of the functions

Garmin Approach Z30 Key Features:

  • Range Relay: sends ranged distances to a compatible Garmin smartwatch or the Garmin Golf smartphone app
  • 366-metre range: six times magnification through the viewfinder and vibrates once it locks in on the pin
  • Plays Like Distance: takes slope into consideration to adjust distance based on elevation

When it comes to golf tech, Garmin is a name that commands respect and trust. It's a brand that has consistently delivered high-quality products, making it a top choice for golfers. 

The American company is one of the best names in the business, and it's recently strengthened its lineup with the introduction of the new Z30 Approach Laser Rangefinder. 

Designed to help golfers make smarter decisions on the course, the Z30 is packed full of tech, including the Range Relay function and Play Like distance, which both allow golfers to make a more informed decision when choosing what club or shot to hit.

To see how the new rangefinder performed, we took it out for 18 holes at Silvermere Golf Club.

Let's get into it. 

Garmin Approach Z30
Garmin Approach Z30

Before we get into the technical functions this rangefinder offers, let's first quickly discuss looks.

The Approach Z30 has a minimalist design, with a two-tone black-and-white colour scheme and two buttons on the top. 

In terms of weight, the Z30 probably stands in the middle of the pack; it's neither too light nor too heavy and offers enough ballast to allow you to hold it steady without it moving around too much. 

Overall, we would probably give the Z30 an 8/10 in terms of aesthetics; it's not the best-looking rangefinder we've tested this year, but it keeps things nice and simple, which will undoubtedly appeal to the vast majority of golfers. 

One key change that Garmin has made for the Z30, which we absolutely love, is the updated case in which it comes. 

We recently reviewed the Garmin Z82, and while the rangefinder itself is great, it came in an incredibly annoying case that was half hard shell, half synthetic material. 

The design was difficult to use and way too fiddly. Thankfully, the Garmin design team has decided to move to the tried-and-tested full hard shell case with a simple zip closure.

The new design will be familiar to most, and it works really well. Thank you, Garmin. 

Garmin Approach Z30
Garmin Approach Z30

Now, on to the main event, the tech that's infused into the rangefinder. 

This Z30, in its most basic form, is a simple point-and-shoot laser that delivers instant yardages within milliseconds of locking onto the target. 

The Z30 also delivers a plays like distance that takes elevation changes into consideration to give you a more accurate yardage to shoot for. 

It's also worth noting that this function can be switched off when playing in tournaments. A blue light on the side of the body will alert your playing partners to the switch. 

In its most basic form, this rangefinder is an exceptional performer. The display is clear, the buttons are easy to use, and the speed of the target lock is second to none. 

Where the Z30 really elevates itself above the competition, though, is the additional functions that come into play when paired with a compatible Garmin device or the Garmin Golf App. 

During our round, we linked the Z30 to our Garmin Approach S70 watch, and utilising the Range Relay function, the pair made for a match made in heaven. 

Credit: Garmin
Credit: Garmin

When paired with the S70 watch, the Z30 delivers a Plays Like yardage to the watch with front and back yardages. It also indicates on the rangefinder's screen where the pin is located on the green, with yardages to the back and front, and then displays the pin on your watch, highlighting hazards around your target that might also be in range. 

This array of information gives you an incredibly clear picture of your target, giving you all of the information you need to make an educated decision about the shot you want to hit. 

Now, we've all been guilty of using a rangefinder, selecting your club and forgetting what the number was, but now, thankfully, the yardage you received stays on the watch, meaning a simple glance down will remind you of the distance. 

All in all, this rangefinder is an exceptional tool for better course management. It takes a large portion of the guesswork out of your hands, and it allowed us to be considerably more accurate with our approach shots during our round, which in turn led to better scoring. 

Garmin Z30
Garmin Z30

Additional features offered by the Z30 include a magnetic strip that allows you to attach the rangefinder to a cart or trolley, waterproof protection, and a handy Find My Garmin tool that allows you to locate the Z30 from your phone once paired. 

Should you buy a Garmin Z30 Approach Rangefinder?

Rangefinders are a surefire way to help you play better golf, and the Z30 from Garmin is one of the best we've tested in 2024. 

As a stand-alone product, the Z30 is an efficient and effective rangefinder that allows you to lock on to the pin or target with ease, providing accurate yardages and elevation changes. 

When paired with a compatible Garmin device, it also turns into a professional caddy in your hand. It gives you an outstanding level of data, which allows you to make better decisions on the course. 

At £389, the Z30 also offers fantastic value for money, and thanks to the new case, magnetic strip, and find your Garmin feature, it ticks almost every box we have for a laser rangefinder.

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