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Garmin Approach G5 Waterproof Golf GPS (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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- Rugged, waterproof golf GPS unit with 3-inch sunlight-readable touschreen display
- Preloaded U.S. course maps, including fairways, hazards, and greens
- No annual fee; new maps available for download from Garmin.com
- Measure shot distance with highly sensitive readings to eliminate guesswork from your game
- Digital scorecard for up to four players; save and review the scores on your computer at home
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This item Garmin Approach G5 Waterproof Golf GPS (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
IZZO Swami 4000+ Golf GPS B00VBPAA3U
|Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Sold By||Blue Sky Co.||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Amazon.com|
|Are Batteries Included||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Are Batteries Required||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Item Dimensions||1.4 x 2.3 x 4.5 in||0.8 x 3.7 x 2.1 in||0.8 x 2 x 3.8 in||5 x 6.9 x 3 in|
|Item Weight||0.7 lb||3.4 ounces||3.2 ounces||0.9 lb|
|Lithium-Battery Packaging||—||Batteries packed with equipment||Batteries contained in equipment||—|
Give your game a boost of confidence with Garmin's Approach G5, a rugged, waterproof, touchscreen golf GPS packed with thousands of pre-loaded golf course maps. Approach uses a high-sensitivity GPS receiver to measure individual shot distances and show the exact yardage to fairways, hazards, and greens.
Give your golf game a boost of confidence with the Approach G5.
Eliminate guesswork from your game by keeping score digitally, getting accurate yardage readings, and more. (Click images to enlarge.)
Built for Golfers
Weighing in at just 6.8 ounces with batteries and boasting a transflective color 3-inch touchscreen, the Approach is your featherweight fairway guide regardless of the lighting conditions. IPX7 waterproofing means that the device can withstand accidental immersion as well--but thankfully, you'll be avoiding water hazards, of course.
Eliminate the Guesswork
The Approach displays and updates your exact position on stunningly detailed, preloaded course maps throughout the United States. Click to see Garmin's current Approach G5 course listing. Approach's highly sensitive GPS receiver pinpoints your position and removes guesswork from your game. And as you move, Approach automatically updates your position, so you'll always know your yardage. There's no subscription or setup fees, and Approach is compliant with USGA rules.
Touch Your Target
Need to measure distances for your next shot? Touch any point on the sunlight-readable display, and Approach shows the precise distance to that exact spot--fairway; hazard; landing area; or the front, middle, and back of the green.
Get on the Green
Zero in on the pin with Approach's Green View. Just tap the flag on the map to zoom in on the green--then you can drag the flag to position it where you see it, giving you more accurate yardage.
Keep Score Digitally
Approach doubles as a digital scorecard for your foursome. After the game, you can save and review the scores on your computer at home.
Add More Courses
Garmin is constantly adding more courses to their map data, as well as updating and improving their course maps for Approach G5. Download the latest courses from Garmin.com.
What's in the Box
Approach G5, belt clip, USB cable, quick start manual
NOTE: You can now update your Approach G5 with new stat tracking software that records putts per round, fairways hit and greens in regulation. It also tracks club distance averages and is still incredibly easy to use. Go to www.garmin.com/golf to receive this free software update for your Approach G5.
Top Customer Reviews
Build quality: All three units are rugged, with great fit-and-finish. The Garmin gets the nod, because it's waterproof. The Callaway is water-resistant, and you can purchase a watertight skin for an outrageous $24.99 to protect it further. The SkyCaddie is not recommended for use in the rain.
Size: The Callaway uPro is the smallest and thinnest, about the size of an LG Chocolate phone. The SG3 is similar height and width to the uPro, but much thicker and heavier. The biggest of all is the Garmin, the size of an iPhone and four times as thick. It's wide, heavy, and not good for the pocket.
Accuracy: The three units properly mapped my home course, agreeing on nearly all distances (within 6 yards of each other) and hazards.
GPS acquisition: The old-technology SG3 takes forever to acquire GPS, sometimes more than five minutes. Both the Garmin and the uPro acquire satellites almost instantly. The uPro has technology that, once it locks onto satellites, it really keeps them. After locking on, I took the unit indoors, and even put it in my pants pocket. It never had to re-acquire. Advantage: uPro.
Getting courses: The Garmin wins handily. All 10,000+ available courses come preloaded in its 1GB memory. No annual fees, no paid memberships. The Garmin Approach G5 offered every course I cared to search. Of course, your mileage may vary.
To make the most of your SkyCaddie, you need to pay for an annual membership on their website, and download courses individually. Some SkyCaddie memberships allow you to download as many courses as you want from all over the world...however, the unit's paltry memory will only hold a few at a time. The uPro also requires that you sign up on their website (no annual memberships, though). With the uPro, Basic Mode (an alphanumeric color screen that resembles that of a SkyCaddie) is free for unlimited courses. For Pro Mode (the nifty aerial photography view of each course) you pay for only the courses you wish to play, a la carte. Your first Pro Mode course is free.
Information: All units show distances to the front/middle/back of greens. The SG3 also shows hazards on the same screen, but it doesn't give you hazard carry distances, like the uPro does. The Garmin shows the entire hole, including hazards. But showing the entire hole means that the illustrations of hazards are tiny, as is the accompanying yardage text. Coupled with the Garmin's dim display, it's pretty useless. Curiously, the Garmin apparently doesn't consider trees to be obstacles, so they're not represented at all on the graphical display. The uPro (in Pro Mode) shows every tree and hazard - in fact, the entire hole, as photographed from satellite. It's like viewing my actual course (including my house!) from above. There's absolutely nothing like it.
On the home screen, both the SG3 and the uPro also give you the time of day, battery strength, and GPS signal strength. The Garmin gives you none of the above. You need to briefly press the power button to see the time. It also shows a battery icon, but that never moved during my round.
Battery: The Garmin and SG3 both take AA batteries, whether alkaline, NiMh rechargeable, or lithium ion. With any AA type, both units easily complete at least two rounds. The uPro uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Unlike SkyCaddie models that use internal lithium ion batteries, which are a real horror show to replace (SkyCaddie recommends you send the unit back), the Callaway uPro battery easily drops in. Callaway says it takes three hours to charge, but it didn't take me anywhere near that long. UPro battery life is 6-12 hours, depending on how bright you set the display's backlight. With my display settings (see Display, below), I easily completed a round with plenty to spare. As far as battery preferences go: For some, constantly recharging and changing out AAs is a grind. For others, recharging (and eventually, re-purchasing) internal lithium-ion batteries ($27 for the uPro) is just as bad, especially considering that the battery can leave you high and dry mid-round if you forget to charge it the night before. To each his own.
Display: The SG3 is monochrome, so it doesn't stand a chance. Its display is dim and boring, but it does give you a button on the side for a backlight. The screen sizes on the SG3 and uPro are nearly identical. The Garmin's touchscreen display is nearly iPhone-big, and drop-dead gorgeous...when you're at home. Take it outside, and it washes out to the point of uselessness. Worse yet, to save power, the display times out a few seconds after you touch it, making it even dimmer. You touch the screen to wake it up, but when you touch the screen, the unit thinks you want to measure a distance, so the measurement feature pops up. You need to hit the "Done" button to exit that. There's no way to increase the screen timeout or disable the screen dimming feature. Also, since the Garmin is a touchscreen, it's a massive fingerprint magnet, so it only looks pretty for the first hole. The uPro wins the display contest handily, with a bright and functional screen. You can play two ways: graphically (Pro Mode), showing the course via aerial photography, or with big, bright alphanumeric text (Basic Mode). Since golf courses have very low contrast (lots of green color and not much else), I defaulted to the Basic Mode for easy readability. For the aerial view, you can always hit the Pro Mode button on the side of the unit, as it's much more useful around the green. The uPro's default setting is to power-save the display after (I think) 45 seconds. Unlike the Garmin, which dims its display, the uPro goes blank until you hit a button, which is an enormous buzzkill. Fortunately, you can get around this. You can change to a longer timeout, or disable standby altogether. As the uPro has a very bright display, what I did was take the backlight down to 25% (from a default 70%), and disabled standby completely. I easily completed a round with plenty of battery life to spare this way. The uPro and the Garmin use a reflective LCD technology that actually makes the display brighter in direct sunlight. The uPro's version of this technology worked far better than the Garmin's. The only time the Garmin display looked remotely readable was when you aimed it directly at the sun.
Just for fun, I took along my iPod Touch 2G, to compare all the displays outdoors. I figured that the iPod's conventional LCD wouldn't compete with the reflective technology of the Garmin and the uPro. Wrong. The iPod destroyed both of them. It wasn't even close. So, if you have an iPhone (the iPod Touch won't do GPS), you may want to look into the golf GPS apps at the App Store. If you do decide to use an iPhone, just remember, it won't stand up to being dropped, kicked, and tossed around like these three ruggedized units, and it for sure ain't the least bit water-resistant.
Hole-to-Hole: The simpler SkyCaddie wins here. It automatically advances to the next hole. If there's any confusion (you're playing past the current hole, for example), it'll ask you if you want to move to the next hole. If you're starting on Number 10, for example, the SkyCaddie makes that selection easier as well, with a grid from which you can select holes via cursor. The Callaway Auto Hole Advance is kind of a drag. If you're anywhere near the green, Auto-Advance jumps to the next hole. You can't measure your 40-yard pitch to the current green. And when they say Auto, they mean Auto. In Auto-Advance mode, there's no way to back up to the current hole, or any previous hole, for that matter. The only way out is to go to either Manual Advance, or Manual Advance With Prompt (it asks you to press the center button to advance). Hitting a button on each hole is tedious. The Garmin Auto-Advances sequentially, but if you jump around (skipping a couple of holes to get around slow play), you need to touch the screen arrows for each hole advance.
Settings: The Garmin gives you almost nothing to customize, as it is both very intelligently designed and extremely automated. It would have been nice to be able to crank the screen brightness, or at least extend the timeout. Both the SG3 and the uPro give you a host of settings to mess with, including screen brightness (contrast only with the SG3), hole advance preferences, and much more.
Cost of ownership: The Garmin and uPro are color, so they're not cheap. If you want to compare apples to apples, you could go to the color SkyCaddie SG5, but be advised that the SG3, SG4, and SG5 are virtually identical in functionality, screen size - basically, EVERYTHING - so you're paying almost $150 more for color alone, which is the cost of a whole 20-inch color TV. (My SG3 is discontinued, so now I'm quoting price from the replacement SG4.) Couple that with the amazing wow factor of both the Garmin and the uPro, and the top-of-the-line color SkyCaddie SG5 is a terrible deal. To the SkyCaddie's cost of ownership, add their totally outrageous annual membership fees. SkyCaddie also charges ridiculous sums of money for stuff like plastic cart mounts and batteries. The Garmin wins here, hands-down, with all available courses preloaded into memory. No fees whatsoever! For accessories, RAM Mounts makes a rock-solid, relatively reasonably-priced cart mount for the Garmin. The uPro, while not requiring you to pay for a membership, makes you download each course. They're all free, if you want to use only Basic Mode. But if you want what makes the unit famous and awesome, which is Pro Mode video previews and flyovers of each hole, you need to pay. If you go for a 20-course package, for example, that's $60. It's still cheaper for most people than SkyCaddie, because there's no annual fee. And the more courses you buy, the cheaper it gets per course. However, uPro accessories such as cart mounts are rarely discounted, and you'll pay more for their little plastic add-ons than you would pay for a complete multi-handset cordless phone system or a new DVD player.
Extras: Each unit has (or will soon have, in the uPro's case) the ability to track scores and aggregate player information. I don't use any of that stuff. No amount of button-pushing or touch-screening could beat the ease and speed of marking stuff down with a pencil.
Wow Factor: The SkyCaddie is deadly dull, with zero Wow Factor, but highly functional. One would think the Garmin, with its big, beautiful touchscreen, would win. However, the screen is just too dim to view the image-based interface in normal outdoor lighting. The Callaway uPro, with its unique video flyovers of every hole, is the winner. While the flyovers may not be great outdoors (golf courses are green-on-green-on-green, so there's little contrast), they're great for previewing new courses in your home before you travel. Beyond that, the uPro comes with several preloaded video tutorials to help you get the most from the unit, and an earbud is in the box, so you can listen to the video narration. Voice Recognition, to allow you to change settings, holes, etc. by voice command, is built into the Callaway uPro, and they say it'll be activated by late 2009.
Summary: Not one of these units is perfect, but the Callaway uPro is the runaway winner. It's simple to use, highly customizable, deadly accurate, super-fast, and gorgeous to view. 2nd place goes to the SkyCaddie, even with its monochrome screen, pokey operation, and 20th Century technology. The Garmin comes in last, even though it's the most sophisticated, intelligent, beautiful, automated piece, made by people who really know GPS. The thing is just too dim to use outdoors.
Saturday morning I woke up bright and early and took it out to a course I had never visited before to see just how well this investment would pay off. Looking at the top-down, color view of every hole from tee to green, I knew everything I needed to know to reach the green in regulation--it didn't matter that I hadn't been here before.
On a par 5 with a sharp left dogleg, I used the Garmin to determine the distance to the middle of the left bend. I touched the screen and pinpointed a spot 190 yds to the center of the fairway, with bunkers on the left. I grabbed my 3I hybrid and let 'er rip. Perfect shot! Right in the center of the bend, and a straight shot at the green 250 yds away. A 3W got me to about 50 yds, and then a (lucky) little pitch and I was up and down for birdie!
A few holes later, the Garmin showed me a par 4 that goes out straight and level for about 200 yds. There the fairway ends and it's about 100 yds up a hill to the right with about 20 yds elevation difference to the green. Again, I grabbed my 3I hybrid and whacked the ball about 190 yds just short of the fairway's end. Then I grabbed my PW and knocked the ball up the hill to the elevated green and 2-putted for par. Sweet!
Eventually, it's the 18th hole (par 4) and the grand finale--there's water on the right and fronting the green, with bunkers on the left of the fairway and behind the green. The center of the green itself is about 260 yards off, and while the other 3 golfers in my foursome decide to break out their drivers and go for it, I used the Garmin to determine the best lay up point--about 180 yds to the widest part of the fairway past the water. I grabbed my 4I hybrid, plopped the ball perfectly in the fairway, and I had an easy wedge shot to the green to par the hole, while two of my compadres were flailing away in the bunkers, and the other was digging his ball out of the deep rough beyond and left of the green (I was willing to share my Garmin with them, but they'd all played the course before and "knew" what to do!).
Those are the three "highlight" holes of my first round at this course. The Garmin does everything but hit the ball--that part is still left for me to do, and, unfortunately, I don't always hit the ball so perfectly, or there would have been more highlights!
Nonetheless, the Garmin was the perfect aide for course management, and I know it saved me several strokes. Even though I had never visited this course before, each time I walked up to the tee box I was filled with confidence because I knew exactly what club to use and where to aim. I could see the shape and depth of every green, and I knew where my margin of error was when making my approach.
Sunday morning, I got up early again and took the Garmin out to a course I have visited several times before. Unfortunately for me, my shots were rather inconsistent, to say the least, and I shot a miserable round. However, that was entirely my fault--the Garmin was still an excellent guide throughout. On the rare occasion I did hit my shot straight and true, my distances perfectly coincided with what the Garmin was telling me. And again, each time I made an approach shot, I knew the depth of green and the locations of the hazards, and whether I should err long or short, left or right.
Additionally, I should mention that I've had a competitor's golf GPSR for a couple years now. It's been adequate for the job and was half the initial purchase price of the Garmin, but it was severely lacking in many ways because it:
-- required an annual subscription to download courses;
-- only held 10 courses in memory at a time, so I would have to connect to my computer and download courses if venturing out of my "home" area;
-- only showed distances to a handful of landmarks, e.g. bunker, end-of-fairway, water hazard, etc.;
-- had a monochrome LCD;
-- was NOT a Garmin (I admit, I have a pro-Garmin bias, as I've had two of their hand-held GPSRs and an in-car unit, all of which I've been impressed and satisfied with)!
On the flip side, the Garmin:
-- does NOT require a subscription;
-- provides a touch screen (no confusing manual buttons that do different functions at different times);
-- holds THOUSANDS of courses across the US;
-- shows the ENTIRE hole from tee to green with bunkers, hazards, and distances clearly marked;
-- has a COLOR display;
-- allows me to target specific locations through the fairway, with distance to the target from my current location and remaining distance to the green from the target.
Both units were basically equivalent in the following ways, both good and bad:
-- display shape of green;
-- display front, center, and back green distances;
-- allow movement of pin location for more accurate estimate to pin itself;
-- last about 2 complete rounds using AA rechargeable batteries;
-- allow measuring of shot distance;
-- do not display trees or other obstacles;
-- do not display elevation changes.
I am incredibly satisfied with my initial experiences with the Garmin Approach this weekend. I'll be using it on many more outings this summer and fall, but I especially look forward to visiting more new courses. Now that I'm no longer restricted to 10 courses in memory at a time, I can pick up and go anywhere on a whim, and with the great top-down view of the entire hole from tee to green I'll know exactly where to aim and what club to hit, as if I've visited the course dozens of times before.
A few other notes:
-- I did not use the scorekeeping function--I prefer to use a real scorecard to track some stats.
-- Need to change batteries in the middle of a round? The unit will remember what "page" you were on and return you to it.
-- Manually navigating the holes when previewing a course is a bit awkward--there are "next" and "previous" buttons on the page, but no way to jump from, say, the 1st hole to the 14th without pressing the "next" button 13 times. I think Garmin could improve this by popping up a menu if the user were to press and hold the "next" button for example. This would also be a big help if the course you're visiting decides to flip the front 9 to the back 9, so you can start on the right hole.
-- In the Settings page, the unit lets you enter what type of batteries you're using, e.g. alkaline, NiMH rechargeable, etc. Curious...
-- When previewing a course, go to the "about course" (hole number) button to see the address and phone number of the course, convenient for making your tee time!
-- The ability to target anywhere on or about the fairway is EXCELLENT! Most GPSRs just give you the distance to the green (front/center/back), but that does you no good if you've got a tree or other obstacle in the way. Knowing what the distance is to any part of the hole can really save your bacon when you find yourself blocked and need to get back to the fairway.
-- The map will zoom in automatically as you are playing the hole, showing your current position (a golf ball) and the remaining fairway to the green, so you are not stuck with a view of the entire hole as you approach the green.
Update note: Today (4/26) I downloaded Garmins latest course database to the device and now all my courses are available.
Update (7/1/09). Tried Lithium AA batteries from Energizer, after 4 rounds the indicator still shows 3/4 power left. Also, the latest database has 9400 courses!