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I did a lot of research on golf GPS devices and finally settled on the Garmin Approach G3. I couldn’t be happier with my decision. What I would recommend to anyone searching for a golf GPS device is to ask yourself: “What do I really want in a GPS device”? This is what helped me decide on which GPS device to buy. The main reason I purchased the G3 Approach is it is one of the easiest devices to use. When out on the course, the last thing I wanted to do is fool around with a device. I wanted something very simple to use. The Approach is just that! No buttons, no sequences, just touch the screen for what you want.
The distance to the pin is always displayed in the upper right hand corner. If the pin is up front or in the back of the green, just touch the upper right hand corner to zoom in on the green. Touch the location of where the pin is on the green, and the display automatically gives you the new distance to the pin! Touch anywhere on the fairway, and the unit instantly gives you distances to that point. Nothing could be easier! The unit also measures any shot very easily. Touch “Measure Shot” on the screen and begin walking to your ball. The Garmin begins counting the yardage as you walk! It’s also very easy to keep score for each person in your foursome. The batteries last two rounds. Rechargeable batteries are highly recommended. The unit is waterproof, so don’t worry about it getting wet! It fits easily in your front pocket. I also bought the Garmin clip for my golf bag, but haven’t tried that yet.
Some reviews put down the Garmin because they said it was hard to see in the sunlight. However, I have not seen where that’s true. Just a little tilt to the screen one way or the other and it becomes easily viewable, even in direct sunlight. I’ve used other GPS devices but this one is just plain simple and easy to use. Only the Garmin and the Golf Buddy have no annual subscription fees. I chose the Garmin because I love the way is shows you a very clear visual of the whole fairway when standing on the teebox. The Golf Buddy doesn’t do this. Also, most GPS devices use an installed rechargeable battery, so if it goes dead, you have no way to replace the battery on the course until you get home to recharge it again! The Garmin uses 2 AA batteries, so I always keep an extra set in my bag. If the batteries die during the round, just pop in two new ones. All data for that round will be saved if you need to change the batteries. One click of the on/off button and it shows you the amount of battery power left. I looked at several other GPS devices: Golf Buddy, Callaway, and the SkyCaddie, but the Garmin just seemed the simplest and easiest to use. And once you get out on the course, you’ll realize how important this becomes!
Only one Con about this item that I can think of: At the end of the round, it gives you your score in how many over par your are (ex. +8). I would prefer it actually gave you an actual number (ex. 80).
I would definitely recommend this product to a friend.
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I just finished a trip to Myrtle Beach with the G3. It really made the rounds that much more enjoyable. I own a Bushnell Tour V2 scope and have preferred it in the past over GPS devices because of their simplicity and ability to get the distance to any target. Here are two reasons why I am going to only use the G3 from now on.
1) If you can’t see the target, you can’t scope a distance. Let’s say you are playing a course where you know there is water in front of the green over the hill. If you can’t see the water, you can’t scope it. Or a hazard around a dog leg. True, these situations don’t happen often but it is certainly an advantage of the GPS device.
2) I like just looking down at the device to get the yardages. No fussing with trying to hit the spot, plus I get front, middle and back of the green yardages. In the green view, in a single glance I get more information about yardages than the scope can give me.
If you are thinking of getting a GPS device where you need to download course to it, consider this. I thought we were playing Grande Dunes as one of the courses but we were playing Dunes Club. The courses are actually near each other and if I had to download the course before going down to Myrtle, I would have downloaded Grande Dunes. When I went down, I found out we were playing the Dunes club and because I had a device with all courses loaded, it wasn’t an issue.
Notable features of the G3- No fees: All US & Canada courses are pre-installed. I also downloaded an update to the courses for free. Included all trees too.- Battery life: I got 3 full rounds on a pair of Duracell alkalines. I plan on using NIMH rechargables going forward.- Screen: People have really over analyzed this. The screen is a color LCD touchscreen. In daylight, you don’t need a backlight. In fact, the last few holes the device would not use the backlight to save power and I didn’t have any issues. It isn’t an iPhone screen with a strongly backlit display. It’s the same kind of screen that you would get on a Garmin GPS device for your car but the backlighting is not as strong in order to save power. I have GolfShot on my iPhone and it wasn’t perfect either.- No buttons: This is 100% touch. Turn it on, select the course and play. It automatically changes the holes. The backlight is off unless you touch the screen so it doesn’t drain the battery. I keep this on my bag and just look down at it when I need a yardage. Simple.- Course detail: It has a zoom to any point on the course and it has a separate green view.- Size: It was smaller than I thought it would be but I wouldn’t put this in my pocket.- Durable: I like the fact that I can bang this around and not worry about it.
Compared to the Bushnell Neo (which offers no graphics and very basic) the G3 is much more useful and worth the extra cost. The G5 has a higher resolution and larger screen. The practical difference is that you see more of the hole and green but the points that you get numbers to are the same. The G3 and the G5 use the same maps and work the exact same way. The G5 is larger overall. I would go with the G5 if you regularly play courses you are unfamiliar with. Note that the size of the numbers are exactly the same on the G3 and G5.
What I don’t like (but am willing to live with) about the G3?- The trade off for this being a durable device is that the screen is recessed making it sometimes tricky to click on the corner buttons. People with fat fingers may have an issue.- I wish the screen was bigger but I know that a big screen comes with the tradeoff of requiring more battery power. The G5 is a larger device but the graphics are the same size, you just see more of the hole. Check out the images on their website. They are an excellent and accurate representation of the difference between the screens.
I purchased the Garmin G3 for only two reasons. The price and lack of subscription. I got more than I paid for. The features of the G3 definitely give the average golfer the best bang for his (or her) buck. I read many reviews on many different GPS systems. Initially, the GPS that I was leaning toward most is the SkyCaddie SGX, but when I considered the price and subscription cost of the SGX the Garmin became that much more attractive. I learned my lesson trying to go from an automotive Garmin GPS to another brand. Just wasn’t the same. Not only did I read the reviews, but I went into the local golf stores to get a good idea of the user ability and to compare the reviews I ahd read of both the SGX and the G3.
Many of the negative reviews for the Garmin focus on the screen and the glare. While the system can “maybe” have a little glare at times, it is nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be based upon the reviews I read. I have no problem reading the screen and knowing the location of hazards. For people who are vision impaired or would normally have to wear reading glasses to see particular colors or fonts, this may make reading the screen a little more difficult.
I greatly enjoy being able to navigate through the courses prior to arriving at the course. To some extent I already know which clubs I plan to use for each hole. It doesn’t always work out that way, but arriving at the course knowing you’ll tee the first hole for a 4 hybrid (my 190 yard club) because of the hazard at 205 yards builds a little starter confidence.
Inputting in the scores and players are also relatively easy. I particularly like moving the pin around on the green to make my club selection a little more accurate. I often used the markers on the course to verify the accuracy of the GPS, and it is almost always right on target. I’ve only been off by a yard once or twice. While the GPS does use AA batteries, it easily lasts at least one round. This was a problem for me given that I have other electronics that use AA batteries. Therefore, I already have quite a few rechargeables. I usually put two extra in my bag for safe keeping, but I have only had to change the batteries once while on the course, but that was during a second round and after playing with the system while off the course. Another good feature that I like is that while I browse course on the system I can get the address and phone number right off the screen and call to set up a tee time. My thought process is typically, “this traffic sucks. I wonder if there are any course nearby where I can grab 9 or more holes in the next few hours. I know! I’ll check the garmin GPS, browse for nearby course, check out the 1st few holes, determine if I like the course, call them up.” I know I shouldn’t be doing any of this while driving, but hey I love golf, and most of us who are golfers are strategic risk takers. There is always that hole on which we know we shouldn’t pull out of driver, but we do it anyway, only to end up in the water, or searching through the bushes looking for a pro v1 ball, only to find a few other balls that aren’t yours. All those other balls represent the people who shouldn’t have pulled out the driver. I only wonder how many of them actually did the right thing and took that extra stroke.
Overall, I am very pleased with the Garmin G3. The score taking, accuracy, pin location, look, fell, durability, and did I mention the tough screen. The touch screen is perfect. I definitely think that I got my money’s worth.
If I had to change any features, it would be the ability to input the clubs that I use for each hit and keep track of my club distances to get an accurate idea of which club I should be using and when to use it.
Most importantly, go out, buy it, enjoy it, and have fun.
These are great for the golf lover. My newphew was blown away by these cufflinks.They are made very well and look great.
We ordered these for as a birthday gift for the golfer that has everything “golf.” He’s a pro and instructor. This was his first pair of golf cuff links and he likes them. They are not heavy, the metal is of good quality, and they look nice.
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