Garmin Approach G12 Review

Garmin Approach G12 Review
The Garmin Approach G12 tells me that it’s 105 to the center of the green on the thirteenth at Washtenaw Golf Club.

Garmin Approach G12 Review

Garmin Approach G12 GPS
Grade: A
Teacher’s Comments: A really well-thought-out golf GPS device.

On Amazon

The Garmin Approach G12 does so many things right that it is hard to know where to begin singing its praises.

The size and shape of a small pocket watch, the G12 is easy to hold in your hand and tuck away in a pocket. It is 45.8mm across, 51mm from top to bottom (the lanyard slot takes up the extra room, and just 12.4mm thick (1.8″x2.0″x0.5″)

The G12 weighs a mere 25.1 grams (0.9 oz).

When the Approach G12 is in my pocket (or in a watch pocket, where it fits perfectly), I hardly notice its presence. The device has a slot at the top for a lanyard (although I can’t imagine wearing it around my neck), and a built-in belt clip if you don’t want to keep digging for it in your pocket.

I have a lanyard on it because it makes it easier to pull out of my pocket.

Garmin Approach G12 Review

Even though the G12 is small, the numbers on its screen are large and easy to read. The screen is 23mm x 23mm, with a resolution of 176×176 pixels. I can easily see my yardages without resorting to my reading glasses (which is more than I can say about a couple of other GPS units I own).

Getting old sucks.

Garmin Approach G12 Review

The Approach G12’s screen is a reflective black-and-white, which is bright even though it is not backlit. I have found the screen as easy to read on a sunny day as on a cloudy one.

Navigation on the Approach G12 is done via four buttons on the sides. There are up-and-down arrows, a selection/ok button, and a “back” button.

Scrolling through the screens via the side buttons brings up yardages to the front, middle and back of the green (the default screen), to bunkers and other hazards, and to layups and doglegs.

In addition, the Approach G12 will display a green view on which you can set manual pin positions.

The Approach G12 really has all the information you should need to accurately play most courses. I can, however, envision being on an unfamiliar and difficult course where you might want an aerial image of a fairway that some much more expensive golf GPS units offer.

The scorekeeping function is easy to use. When activated (you have the option to not turn it on), the scoring menu pops up shortly after arriving at the green, with par as the default score. The up-and-down buttons on the side can be used to adjust. The device will also let you track fairways hit and putts.

All of this data can be automatically sent via Bluetooth to the Garmin Golf App on your phone. There, you can review your scores and stats (strokes, putts per round, greens and fairways hit). The app also will keep a handicap for you (unofficial).

The Approach G12 comes preloaded with 42,000 courses, and there’s no subscription requirement. The course list is periodically updated via the Garmin App. I checked the list of courses and the only one I found that wasn’t on the list was American Dunes in Michigan, which just opened this season. (ok. I was deliberately trying to find one that wasn’t on the list).

An extra feature of the G12 that I appreciate is the ability to measure a shot. From your starting location, press the OK button, scroll down to “Measure Shot” and select OK again. The distance updates as you walk and when you arrive at the ball’s new location, it will tell you how far it travelled from the point where you selected “Measure Shot.”

Other well-thought-out features:

  • At the end of nine holes, a menu pops up asking if you want to continue the round. That makes it easy to “just play nine.”
  • After the round, you can select “Scorecard” from the menu and go through each of the holes, editing as necessary.
  • While the device automatically moves from hole to hole, you can go into the menu to select a particular one. I’ve found this useful on those rounds where, for various reasons, I’ve had to skip a hole, or have started on a hole other than the first or tenth.
  • You can set up the G12 with the screen upside down. That way, if it’s clipped to your belt, the numbers can be easily read without taking it off. That feature also allows you to choose whether the up/down buttons are on the left or right.

Battery life on the Approach G12 is exceptional. Garmin says that the rechargeable batteries will last more through than 30 hours of play. I have absolutely no reason to doubt that

Finally, the device is very water resistant. It has an IPX7 water rating.

All that said, the one thing I wish that the Approach G12 had a way for the G12 to be able to track steps data for Garmin’s Connect fitness ecosystem. I own several of Garmin’s fitness trackers and use Garmin Connect extensively.

I also think it would be nice if the belt clip could be easily removed.

Other than that, the Approach G12 is an exceptionally well-thought-out and designed device.

Highly recommended.

The Garmin Approach G12 Review was first published on GolfBlogger.Com on June 22, 2021.

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