Skip to content Skip to footer

Review: The Complete List of Garmin Approach G12 Features

What is a Garmin Approach G12 Golf GPS?

Garmin Approach G12 is one of the best golf GPS devices on the market. It is loaded with great features, and it’s affordable too.

The Garmin Approach G12 Golf GPS is a belt clip style device with features to help golfers improve their game. The handheld GPS tracks your distance and elevation, among other stats, which can be very helpful for golfers who are unsure about their yardage or want to track their progress over time.

Garmin Approach G12 – A Detailed Description of Each Feature

For being such a compact device, the Garmin Approach G12 packs a surprising punch with its features. With this in mind, I wanted to break the conversation around features into two categories: game-oriented features and additional features that I believe still should be highlighted.

Game-Oriented Features

42,000+ Course Preloaded

While the G12 can load courses nearby via GPS location, the ability to quickly select an option from a preloaded list is very convenient. I am sure that we have all, from time-to-time experience a delay at the beginning of a round while we are waiting for GPS location to be found. This issue has been addressed and makes the entire process very simple, especially if you didn’t turn on your GPS unit until standing over your ball in the fairway.

Accuracy Is Paramount

Garmin has long been associated with precision, and the Approach G12 does not disappoint. The device offers standard front/middle/back distances from the green but doesn’t stop there. Golfers can cycle through other distance data for each hole, such as the front and back distance of hazards, doglegs, and layups. Whether you are in the teeing area or lining up an approach shot, you will have accurate and crucial information in the palm of your hand. The G12 also features “big numbers mode,” using all of the screen to provide front, middle, and back distances at a glance.

Approach Like Never Before!

The G12 offers a fantastic “green view” feature that allows the golfer to see the accurate representation of the green on the device. Seeing the layout of green can help with your aim and give you a little more feedback about the space you are working with. While on green view, you can drag and drop the pin location to several predetermined areas on the screen to take your distance numbers to the next level.


Keep score is as simple as ever. Just as you would record your score on the card with your pencil, the G12 offers a digital scorecard that allows you to enter your strokes after each hole. This feature eliminates the need to store scorecards to keep track of progress and reduces the time needed at the end of the front nine, and back nine adding up your scores.

Additional features that make the G12 powerful

The Garmin Golf App

Integrating the Garmin App and their devices helps take your game to new levels. With a membership to the app, Garmin significantly upgrades your play. Access to leaderboards to compete with anyone playing the same course as you. If you are playing solo, you can play a competitive round with any scores recorded that day on the course via the leaderboard and tournaments.

The app also offers insight into your game, with advanced data tracking when partnered with the Approach CT10 club tracking tags and strokes gained data when entered manually. However, the membership feature that everyone raves about with the Garmin App is the green contour heat maps. This allows you to take your approach shots to the next level with an advanced view of the green shape and elevation changes.

Device Talking Points

It is hard to overlook some basic features, but I think they are essential to speak to. The device offers a 30-hour battery when in GPS mode, which is more than enough for a recreational golfer who may have forgotten to charge it after their last round. Garmin has also ensured an IPX7 water rating so you can play in the elements without worrying about keeping the device under an umbrella.

You also may like Garmin’s top selling Lightweight GPS Golf Watch, Approach S10

My experience using the Garmin Approach G12 Handheld Golf GPS

The device setup and charging are pretty straightforward. You power it on, follow a few prompts, and start your round. I think the simplicity of the Approach G12 is genuinely where the mass appeal to the average golfer comes into play. If you are out for a leisurely round of golf with your friends, this offers a standalone option that is up and running fast.

Once you play, you have a few options: let the device provide your standard distances around the green or use the up and down buttons to cycle through various lengths of importance. The device is constructed well. I know this because as soon as I got out of the clubhouse, the door hit my device, sending it tumbling down a flight of concrete stairs. Much to my surprise, there was not a mark to find.

To offer additional perspective, I had two people of different ages use the product and myself for a full round. The first was my 8-year-old boy, who loved the large numbers and knew how far he was from the green. While he is not to the point where anything outside of 100 yards matters on club choice, he was able to use the device intuitively.

Funny story, I was once golfing with a few of my buddies about a year ago. After he took his swing with his wedge near the green, he was confident that he had struck a rock that fell near the green, several feet away from his golf ball. I went over to pick up the rock and throw it into the woods, as I found out that this was a Garmin G10 handheld GPS that had been buried in the mud and dirt for who knows how long. I was sure the device was broken, so I tossed it to him and went on with round.

About a month later, he picked me up to golf and saw it sitting in his cup holder in the truck. When I asked him about it, he said I could take it because he never took it to the clubhouse and was going to throw it away because it was not a local course to attempt to drop it off later. We laughed again about the wedge shot that dislodged it from the earth. 

I went online and purchased a replacement charge online, and when it arrived, the G10 started up. I used it for a bit, then gave it to the little man to use on the course when we played. Much like the G12, he loved it. He even left in a pair of shorts at one point that went through the washer and dryer, and crazily enough, it still worked.

Pretty impressive stuff, but back to the subject at hand.

The second person was my 50-year-old friend, who plays a few times per month. He is very much a person that doesn’t use technology while on the golf course and is still shaping his golf swing, having only played for one year. With that in mind, he could rely on the information that the device offered fluently for 18 holes. I explained how to use it and let him do his thing, touching back on it after the round. He stated the device was beneficial and easy to use, considering he had not used anything similar to this device before that day.

For a more experienced golfer, the scorecard and strokes gained data collected are fantastic and can certainly help your golf game grow. Adding the Garmin App Membership and the Approach CT10 club tracker is the absolute game changer, taking the experience to another level for all extremely ambitious golfers.

I believe it is fair that Garmin has created a device with Approach G12 that offers golfers of all levels opportunities to gain insight from every round played. Whether it’s a deep dive into the course you are playing, understanding your game better, or simply searching for the middle of the green at any given point, the Garmin Approach G12 is up to the task.

Looking for a deal? You may want to check out the Swami Kiss Golf GPS Rangefinder – Handheld Golf GPS rangefinder