The Garmin Approach G3 is a slightly-smaller version of the tremendously popular Approach G5. The G5 has been a favorite around these parts for over a year now, so I was curious to see how it’s mid-range younger brother would stack up. In the end I came across quite impressed. While it lacks a few of the extra features of the G5, it performs similarly during game action, with a simple interface and a solid build. It is a worthy alternative to not only the G5, but to SkyCaddie’s line of products as well.
Garmin Approach G3 GPS
Fits In Your Pocket
The main difference you will notice between the two Garmins is that the Approach G3 is a bit smaller. It’s not a dramatic difference, but you will find that it slips into a pocket easier than the G5. Garmin managed to take about a half inch off the previous unit’s length and about a tenth of an inch off its width. This does mean, however, that the G3’s touchscreen is a bit smaller, with a 2.6″ diagonal compared with the the G5’s 3″ monitor.
I know a lot of my buddies will find the smaller size more appealing as it makes it easier to carry around, but I did find myself missing the larger, higher resolution screen of the G5 after awhile. Still, the Approach G3’s touchscreen is very responsive and operates as well as the larger G5. If portability is important than you are likely to be quite happy with the G3.
No Extra Fees
The Approach G3’s most obvious competitor is the SkyCaddie SG5. While the SG5 may be a bit less expensive up front (it currently retails for around $200), it requires an annual membership fee ranging from $30 to $60 per year depending on the geographic location of the courses you play. The Approach G3, like the G5, has no additional fees. With your purchase you receive maps to over 16,000 courses across the US and Canada without ever having to pay an additional fee. When new courses are added you can download them free of charge. So don’t forget to factor subscription fees into the equation as you compare prices.
Another thing I liked about the Garmin Approach G3 is that the measurements came out to be very accurate. One thing I like to do when evaluating golf GPS systems is to stand at the 100 yard marker and check and see if the unit spits out a 100 yard measurement. Each time I tried this with the G3 I got a measurement of either 100 or 101, which is superb.
- Unit comes with a belt clip, USB cable and manual
- Estimated 15-hour battery life with two AA batteries
- Green view lets you zoom in on the green for a closer look
- Shot tracking feature keeps track of shot distances
- Basic scorekeeping feature for up to four players
Now some of you may be wondering how the G3 and G5 differ besides the smaller size of the G3. There is one feature that didn’t make it over to the Approach G3. The G3 does not come with stat tracking software to track things like fairways hit, putts per round and average distance for individual clubs. For this you will want to go with the G5.
That said, the Garmin Approach G3 is one of the top golf GPS units in its class. While I love my G5, those looking to save a few bucks–or those shopping for a gift for a casual or semi-regular golfer–will be well satisfied with the Approach G3.