Garmin Approach G12: An Accurate Golf GPS Device
These days there are countless ways to get distances on a golf course.
You can use a rangefinder…
You can use a golf watch…
You can use an app.
And you can use a good old-fashioned, standalone golf GPS.
And that is what we’re talking about today with our review of the Garmin Approach G12 GPS device.
There are a handful of brands out there that have built such a strong reputation over decades of product creation, that you just kind of know something is going to be good when you buy it.
When it comes to GPS? Garmin might be the most well-known player in the game.
They’ve been doing consumer-level GPS devices longer than just about anyone.
So let’s just cut to the chase, is the Approach G12 a good product?
Yep. Absolutely. It works as advertised, and is exactly what you’d expect from a company like Garmin.
So if you think this is the product for you, it probably is. Go pick it up.
First Impressions of the Garmin Approach G12
As with other Garmin products I’ve reviewed, the packaging and presentation is very well done. It’s not over the top beautiful like an Apple product, but it’s befitting a Garmin product and gives you a good feeling when you get your hands on it.
One immediate thing I noticed and is something I’ve commented on with Garmin’s watches, is the charger.
Rather than using a USB-C connection, it uses a proprietary charger. As someone who perpetually loses things, this is something I’d like to see changed in newer models.
If you lose the cord you’re kind of screwed. And if you normally charge it at home, forget to charge it, and show up at the course, there’s no way to quickly plug it in.
That being said, this could very well just be a “me” issue, and isn’t reflective of the product itself.
The G12 is small, but sturdy. It easily fits in your pocket or on your belt without getting in the way. Were it to fall a few feet off a cart while on the course, I wouldn’t be overly concerned about it causing major damage to it.
I think the black color looks great, and the screen is visible and a decent size despite the device being in a small profile.
Garmin Approach G12 Performance
On the course, as you might guess, I found the G12 to perform exactly as advertised.
It gave accurate distances to the green that were right in line with what I got from my rangefinder.
One nice feature was being able to set different pin locations to get more accurate distances. It’s a little time-consuming, but if a pin sheet is available taking a couple minutes to set the pins ahead of time will make your round even more frictionless on the course.
Scorecard functionality also worked as expected, but is not something I’d personally use this for.
The Approach G12 is a great compliment to the Garmin ecosystem as well. I haven’t tested them, but this device is compatible with their CT10 club sensors. It also pairs with the Garmin Golf smartphone app.
So if you’re looking for additional functionality beyond just what is offered on the GPS, you’ve got some options.
Aside from the charger, my only other complaint is well, not actually a complaint anymore.
Considering the attached clip, many people I imagine will use this on their belt loop. I had issues figuring out how to invert the display, so I could easily see distances just by looking down.
A quick Google search tells me, I’m just an idiot, and it’s actually very easy to do in the settings 🙂
Final Thoughts on the Garmin Approach G12
If you’re in the market for this type of device? It’s accurate, easy to use, and does exactly what you’d expect it to do.
I think my issue with it, is I’m not entirely sure who it’s for.
The G12 is basically the Garmin Approach S12 watch, just without the watch component. I personally find a watch to be more convenient to use, and I really enjoyed my time with the Approach S42 – which is a step up in features from this.
If you predominantly ride in a cart and want a golf GPS, then I think the Bushnell Phantom 2 will be more convenient. Simply because it has such a large display and you can leave it clipped to the cart for quick distances.
But if you don’t mind clipping a GPS to your belt, or simply keeping it in your pocket or golf bag for access when you need it? Then the G12 is fantastic.
That said, if you love the features of this device, but want to make it a little more convenient, I’d take a look at the Garmin S12 as well.
And if you’re looking for a Garmin device to help you during your practice sessions, I’d highly recommend taking a look at the Garmin Approach R10.
Want an accurate golf GPS that doesn't take up much space and isn't a watch? The Approach G12 may be exactly what you've been looking for.