Garmin Approach Z80 rangefinder/GPS review

Garmin Approach Z80 rangefinder/GPS review: the most exciting piece of technology we've seen in 2018.

2D map on side of screen, PinPointer, shows where you'll hit on tee shots, does the basics well
Missed the flag a couple of times when getting yardages


Garmin Approach Z80 Review

The Garmin Approach Z80 is one of the most boundary pushing products of 2018 in technology.

This product does everything you could want a rangefinder/GPS to do, but then throws in a heap of other attributes you didn’t even know you required. There's no going back after using the Z80 - that's a warning...


Sleek design that sits comfortably in the hand, and importantly doesn’t feel like it’s going to slip out. Overall it’s understated, classy and premium. The cover is small and again premium which minimum branding.


The first thing you’ll notice when you look through the rangefinder is that a 2D layout of the hole is on the left of the screen, showing you distances all over the hole.

The actual view is also different – rather than a simple magnification of what you are looking at, the image appears to be ‘digital’, which is a fun addition.

Once you lock onto a flag, you also get a 2D overlay of the green, which front and back information. You can also see where the pin is on the hole, and an arc will give you distances to wherever you choose.

When you lock onto the flag the distances change colour. There’s an image stabilising app in the device to help you pick out the pin – locking onto flags is relatively easy, but we did pick up a couple of trees on occasion.

Distances come down to 10”, and there’s a “plays like” setting in there too which takes into account gradient, which can be easily switched on and off for tournament use.

There are a couple of accessories that make this stand out from the crowd. Firstly off the tee you can see an arc on the 2D map that will allow you to see everything that comes into play for your shot. For example if you drive it 280 yards, the arc could show that your drive would land in the bunker if you push your shot. This is the only rangefinder we’ve used on every tee box!

There’s also a PinPointer feature that allows you to use the Z80 even if you have a blind shot. An arrow on your screen shows you the way to the hole, and when used in conjunction with the map you’re getting as much information as if you could see the hole. A great addition, especially for those that spend time in the woods. 

It's relatively easy to navigate the Z80, done by using the main menu and flicking through the options. It will take a couple of minutes to learn your way around, but from there on in you're golden. 


There’s nothing like it on the market – the Garmin Z80 is the best rangefinder or GPS produced to date. Alas, that is reflected in the price.

It does all the standard things well – yardages, front middle and back numbers, plays like distances – but adds in a few spicy new additions.

The 2D map on the left of the screen allows you to visualise the hole quickly and easily, and it gives you heaps of added information like where the hazards are. It also shows you what comes into play off the tee. The PinPointer system also allows you to use the device when you have a blind shot.

If you have the money and want the best, there’s no need to look past the Garmin Z80.

Head to the Garmin website for more.

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