Garmin saw the opportunity in the mid late 2000’s to take advantage of the increased use of both rangefinders, measuring devices and cart GPS systems in order to provide a small portable option for golfers. They now offer golfers everything from watches to handheld GPS to swing sensors and last of all a rangefinder.
Garmin - Brief History
Although the company was founded and is headquartered in Kansas, USA, the company incorporated in 2010 in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. Their main business is in the United States, but Garmin is a brand familiar to almost anyone and their business is fairly evenly split around the world.
The entire golf specific range is called the Approach series and their most popular devices are the GPS Watch. They are termed the S10, S20, S60 and S60 Premium Edition. These also range in price quite substantially with the S10 being cheapest to the S60 Premium Edition being almost three times the price.
Each of the watches is exceptionally accurate and to start off the S10 is lightweight and comfortable with over 41 000 courses pre-loaded around the world. You can keep score on your watch and also check a summary of time of round, distance played etc. The battery lasts up to 12 hours and is great value for money.
The S20 obviously carries all these features, but also auto records shot summaries and distances helping reduce your score over time. The battery in the S20 lasts up to 15 hours.
The S60 has a larger touch screen with enhanced AutoShot game tracking and records shot distances for better post game analysis. The only difference between the S60 and S60 Premium Edition is the bezel is ceramic rather than polymer and the band is leather opposed to silicone.
The X Range is a slimmer version of the S Watch series and is made up of two models being the X10 and X40. Again very similar to the S Watches in terms of measurements, battery life and being preloaded with 40,000 courses, but one nice feature is vibrating smart notifications for incoming phone calls or messages when out on the course.
Next up is the TruSwing that is a training aid using golf sensor metrics to see how your swing mechanics affect ball flight and shot result. These include primary swing aspects of swing tempo, speed, club path measurements and angles of attack in particular. What’s best of all is just how lightweight it is and fits unobtrusively below the grip on your club.
The G8, G10 and G30 make up the handheld GPS devices and a couple of nice features are present. PinPointer tells you exactly where the pin is located even if you can’t see it, an integrated slope measurement adjusting distances according to height above or below flag and larger colour touch screens that are tough and durable.
Lastly is their Z 80 Rangefinder which is impressive. A full colour 2 dimensional course view mapping is integrated in the viewfinder display it also displays a detailed green view with overlay of the front and back information as soon as you lock the flag.
It is quoted as being one of the most accurate distance measurements which is accurate to within 10″ of the flag up to 350 yards.
They are indeed a massive business with the overall company doing in excess of $3 Billion in turnover annually so it’s easy to understand why golfers trust their product and support them as well as they do. They are accurate, robust, well designed and offer world class technology.