Two years ago, Garmin decided to expand its line of golf distance-measurement products, branching out from the GPS units for which they're known into hybrid-style units combining GPS- and laser-based measurement.
Now, the company is out with the update to their initial release, with the Approach Z82 being billed as significantly more accurate with a new display.
When the user turns on the unit, the GPS locates where the golfer is and prompts the golfer to pick the course and start their round. As a golfer looks through the improved viewfinder -- designed to make it easier for those wearing glasses -- they will see two views: the Green View, which will show front/middle/back yardages from the GPS, as well the actual and plays-like yardage and slope from the laser reading. (The plays-like yardage and slope can be disabled to comply with tournament rules, with a light to indicate compliance.) The company claims the Approach Z82 is accurate within 10 inches on any pin inside 450 yards, and the unit vibrates when it locks on to a pin.
To the left is the two-dimensional CourseView overlay, which shows an overhead view of the green, with all hazards available. Using Hazard View, golfers can scroll through layups and hazards on the hole to know short and clear distances, even if the viewfinder cannot spot them. If the user links their phone to the Approach Z82, they can also get wind speed and direction readings displayed on the device.
There's also an improved range-sweeping function to get distances to myriad objects in the viewfinder's range. For blind shots, the PinPointer feature will point the golfer in the right direction of the putting surface.
The unit, when paired with the Garmin Golf app, can be tracked down if lost.
The Garmin Approach Z82 isn't cheap, but it does have a ton of features that could prove it the best of both worlds. It's available now for $600.