Garmin helps you to preview 1000s of courses across the country! You can use the Garmin to determine the distance to the middle of the left bend. You Just touch the screen and pinpoint a spot. The Garmin does everything but hit the ball, that part is still left for you to do. It is the perfect aide for course management, and it can save you several strokes. You never need to visit the course before

There are few competitors for Garmin, but they are severely lacking in many ways because they:

— require an annual subscription to download courses;
— only have 10 courses in memory at a time, so I would have to connect to my computer and download courses if venturing out of my “home” area;
— only show distances to a handful of landmarks, e.g. bunker, end-of-fairway, water hazard, etc.;
— have a monochrome LCD;

On the flip side, the Garmin:

— does NOT require a subscription;
— provides a touch screen (no confusing manual buttons that do different functions at different times);
— holds THOUSANDS of courses across the US;
— shows the ENTIRE hole from tee to green with bunkers, hazards, and distances clearly marked;
— has a COLOR display;
— allows me to target specific locations through the fairway, with distance to the target from my current location and remaining distance to the green from the target.

Both units were basically equivalent in the following ways, both good and bad:

— display shape of green;
— display front, center, and back green distances;
— allow movement of pin location for more accurate estimate to pin itself;
— last about 2 complete rounds using AA rechargeable batteries;
— allow measuring of shot distance;
— do not display trees or other obstacles;
— do not display elevation changes.

You will be incredibly satisfied with my initial experiences with the Garmin Approach. You can use it on many more outings & new courses. No longer you need to be restricted to 10 courses in memory at a time, you can pick up and go anywhere on a whim, and with the great top-down view of the entire hole from tee to green you will know exactly where to aim and what club to hit.

A few other notes:

— You need not use the scorekeeping function – you can use a real scorecard to track some stats.
— Need to change batteries in the middle of a round? The unit will remember what “page” you were on and return you to it.
— Manually navigating the holes when previewing a course is a bit awkward–there are “next” and “previous” buttons on the page, but no way to jump from, say, the 1st hole to the 14th without pressing the “next” button 13 times. Garmin could improve this by popping up a menu if the user were to press and hold the “next” button for example. This would also be a big help if the course you’re visiting decides to flip the front 9 to the back 9, so you can start on the right hole.
— In the Settings page, the unit lets you enter what type of batteries you’re using, e.g. alkaline, NiMH rechargeable, etc. Curious…
— When previewing a course, go to the “about course” (hole number) button to see the address and phone number of the course, convenient for making your tee time!
— The ability to target anywhere on or about the fairway is EXCELLENT! Most GPSRs just give you the distance to the green (front/center/back), but that does you no good if you’ve got a tree or other obstacle in the way. Knowing what the distance is to any part of the hole can really save your bacon when you find yourself blocked and need to get back to the fairway.
— The map will zoom in automatically as you are playing the hole, showing your current position (a golf ball) and the remaining fairway to the green, so you are not stuck with a view of the entire hole as you approach the green.