Garmin announces Approach G80 GPS golf handheld: Advanced swing metrics and gaming modes

Spring is right around the corner and with it comes the start of the golf season. Garmin announced its latest GPS golf device, bringing advanced metrics and game modes.

While I am not much of a golfer, I hit the links a few times a year and use the Garmin Golf app on my Fenix 5 Plus. While the multi-sport devices support golf play, Garmin has a collection of dedicated golf devices that include a laser range finder, golf watches, golf club trackers, GPS golf bands, and handheld GPS golf computers.

Today, Garmin announced the new Approach G80 - a premium handheld that merges GPS technology with built-in launch monitor capabilities to calculate advanced swing metrics, and also introduces new gaming options that are going to make the golfing experience even more entertaining for veterans and newcomers.

The Approach G80 has a 3.5 inch sunlight-readable color touchscreen display and a battery that lasts up to 15 hours with active GPS. There is a divot on the back of the case so that you can set the G80 down on a golf ball and then position it in the vicinity of your ball in play in order to calculate swing metrics. Metrics that you can measure and analyze include ball speed, club head speed, smash factor, estimated distance, and backswing/downswing timing.

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Image: Garmin

There are new gaming modes, such as Virtual Tournament and Target Practice. These modes let you play on famous worldwide courses and improve your game by hitting specific targets as you challenge your friends. You can use these modes on the driving range or even at home using a golf net.

When you go out to one of the more than 41,000 golf courses that are loaded on the device you can view all of the details of fairways, hazards, and greens. Whether golfers are facing an uphill or downhill shot during play, the PlaysLike Distance feature can automatically adjust yardages to a specific target based on the elevation where the golfer is standing. What's more, the Approach G80's PinPointer option works like a compass to easily guide users to the green during challenging blind shots.

The Approach G80 is available now with a suggested retail price of $499.99.