Garmin Approach R10 Launch Monitor Review

50 Words or Less

The Garmin Approach R10 launch monitor is one of the most impressive pieces of golf technology that I’ve ever tested.  Easy to use, strong accuracy.  Simulation ability gives it immense longevity.  Works indoors and out.

Introduction

When you think of Garmin, you probably think of GPS watches or handheld units.  However, in the last couple months, all the buzz around Garmin is about their new Approach R10 launch monitor.  The reason for the immense hype is that it’s delivering things we’ve never seen before at the $600 price.  Is this little device the death of the multi-thousand dollar launch monitor?  Let’s find out.

Fair warning: there’s a lot to discuss here, so this review is going to be lengthy.

Set Up & Ease of Use

When you unbox the Garmin Approach R10, you’ll find the square black carrying case.  Unzipping that case reveals the Approach R10, tripod, charging cable, and the two pieces of the phone mount.  The Approach R10 charges with a basic mini USB cord.  Plug it in until the LED light is solid red, indicating a full charge.

The accessories for the Garmin R10 are sturdy and thoughtfully designed.  The tripod is magnetic and sets up extremely quickly.  Similarly, it takes only a few seconds to get your phone mounted to your golf bag so you can film your swing and check the launch monitor stats.

Setting up the Approach R10 is similar to most other radar-based launch monitors.  Garmin recommends that the device be six to eight feet behind the tee location.  Garmin also states that ball and club angles are measured relative to the target line, so you need to get the device aimed exactly at your target.  I’ll also note that, for indoor use, I was able to get consistent data with as little as six feet between the teeing area and the net.

I found the connectivity of the Approach R10 to be excellent.  With the Garmin app downloaded, I turned on the device, pushed a couple buttons in the app to link the device with the phone, and got to work.  The Garmin app does a wonderful job being easy to use without dumbing down the options.

Accuracy

The Garmin Approach puts out a tremendous amount of data.  The full list of metrics includes: club head speed, club face angle, club path angle, angle of attack, ball speed, launch angle, launch direction, spin axis, spin rate, apex height, smash factor, carry distance, total distance, and deviation (offline) distance.  The majority of those are measured by the radar, though spin, face angle, distance, and deviation are calculated based on the measured parameters.

Garmin’s published accuracy parameters are +/- 3 MPH for club speed, 1 MPH for ball speed, 1 degree for launch angle and launch direction, and 5 yards for carry distance.  These numbers are based on Garmin’s comparisons with Trackman.

In my testing, I found that the Approach R10 was well within those parameters the vast majority of the time.  Per Garmin, the accuracy parameters should hold up indoors and outdoors, though the R10 is expected to be more accurate outdoors because it can see the full flight.  I found this to be true – the R10 was often perfectly in line with a professional grade launch monitor outdoors.  Indoors, the accuracy was very acceptable, but it was perfect less frequently.

The one parameter that did get out of line occasionally was spin.  I found this to be more common with wedges and mishit shots – the R10 tended to report much higher spin numbers.  With the driver through the scoring irons, well struck shots were often within a couple hundred RPMs of a professional grade launch monitor.

One final note on accuracy is that it is difficult to aim such a small device with great precision.  As a result, you may see your club delivery and horizontal launch angles be “off” by a degree or two.  For example, if you’re aiming at a flag, but your R10 is aimed slightly left of the flag, a perfectly on-target shot might read as having a launch direction of 1 degree right.  My advice is to align yourself with the R10 as best you can and focus on creating consistent numbers rather than worrying that the numbers are “wrong.”

The bottom line is that the Approach R10 is accurate enough for the overwhelming majority of golfers.  If you’re a professional club fitter, of course you’re going to want perfect spin numbers.  If you’re a Tour Pro, it’s natural that you would want perfect accuracy when measuring your practice.  For the rest of us, it’s pretty hard to argue that the more than thirty times price difference between the R10 and a professional grade launch monitor is justified.

The App

A major part of the appeal of the Garmin Approach R10 is the fantastic Garmin Golf app.  The driving range feature, which most people will use the majority of the time for their practice, is amazing.  It allows you to look at your data in one of four ways: a range view, a club/impact view, every number (above, left), or three numbers (above, right).  What’s more, within each mode you can customize the data display to show the metrics that you care about.  I like this best in the range view where you can easily see the ball flight and check in on three metrics, say Carry Distance, Smash Factor, and Total Deviation.

Another great feature is the video mode.  This is the fifth way you can use the Driving Range.  Set up your phone so that you can see your swing (the included clip is perfect for this) and get to work.  The app automatically clips the video so you only see the swing, not thirty seconds of waggles and rehearsals.  If you like seeing your swing on film, this feature alone is so good that it might make the R10 worth buying.

Golf Simulation

If everything that I’ve already detailed wasn’t enough, the Garmin Approach R10 also runs golf simulation.  There are two options: Home Tee Hero within the Garmin Golf app and TruGolf E6 Connect, a standalone simulation software.

I’m a huge fan of Home Tee Hero.  First, it includes every course that Garmin has mapped, so you’re never going to run out of options.  You can play everywhere from your local muni to Pebble Beach.  The graphics are a little cartoony (see above, left), but I actually prefer that – it’s a reminder that we’re playing a game and should be having fun.  They’re also very easy to see on your phone.  Additionally, I like the automated putting – inside a certain range gets you a one-putt, anywhere else on the green is two.

The other simulation option is TruGolf E6 Connect.  As you can see above, this provides much more realistic graphics and a much deeper experience.  I think this is more for the person who’s going to set up a projector or at least a large tablet to appreciate the graphics and options.

With either app, the simulation adds so much value to the Approach R10.  Hitting into a net with launch monitor data is great, but it has its limits unless you’re a true grinder.  Being able to pull up a course and hit a variety of different clubs and shots not only makes practice more fun, it makes it more game-like.

It should be noted that the simulation can add to the cost.  The Home Tee Hero simulation is free for the first month, then costs either $9.99/month or $99.99/year.  Buying the Garmin R10 Approach gives you access to five courses in TruGolf E6 Connect, but adding more courses or types of games costs more money.

Longevity

The Garmin Approach R10 checks every box for longevity.  It’s portable, easy to use, and a ton of fun.  While I think simulation is its secret weapon in terms of longevity, others are going to fall in love with the video mode.  The R10 has so much to offer that not only will it make your practice more meaningful, it will help you to practice more.

Another small point worth making is that this device has excellent battery life.  The fact that you don’t have to worry about charging it after every session makes it much easier to use.

Value

The Garmin Approach R10 retail for $599.  This is a unique price in the personal launch monitor space as there are currently several options at $500 then a large jump to more professional models around $2,000.

Comparing the R10 to any of the $500 launch monitors is a first round knockout in favor the R10 – none of the competitors offer the breadth of data or simulation.  To get a comparable amount of data, you need to jump to Mevo+ [review HERE] or SkyTrak [review HERE], both of which cost $2,000.  If that doesn’t make it clear, I’ll spell it out: the Garmin Approach R10 is an amazing value.

Please consider supporting Plugged In Golf by purchasing the Garmin R10 from our partner Play Better HERE

Conclusion

The Garmin Approach R10 launch monitor is one of the few much-hyped golf products that actually delivers well beyond the buzz.  Every time I used it, I came away more impressed and more excited about using it again.  Whether you’re a serious data nerd or someone looking for some golf simulation fun to get through the winter, the Approach R10 is perfect.

Buy the Garmin Approach R10 HERE

Visit Garmin Golf HERE

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Matt Saternus

Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Plugged In Golf. He's worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Matt lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

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30 Comments

  1. Matt, I have been waiting for your review on the Garmin Approach R10 with great anticipation. Your conclusions are exactly what I have hoped they would be. This device is a game changer. The first reasonably priced launch monitor with virtually no compromises. It obviates the lower cost devices, will force new devices to be created by the other manufacturers if they want to compete, and will continue to drive prices down, thanks to technology. PIG continues to be my first morning read, you have a great website.
    Mike

  2. Great review Matt! After reading this and the MGS review, where would you say the Garmin lies on the Toy (Like OptiShot) vs. Tool (GC Quad) spectrum? Some features / accuracy issues related to shot shape and ball speed on long clubs seem like potential deal breakers for someone looking for an accurate option, but for something to have fun with I could see it being a great value.

    • Matt Saternus

      Jim,

      On your spectrum, it’s A LOT closer to Tool than Toy. As I said in the review, it’s more than accurate enough for 99% of golfers and applications. If the price difference doesn’t matter, then by all means get the Quad, but if value has any relevance, it’s hard to argue that a Trackman is 30+ times better.

      -Matt

      • Thanks for the insight. I agree 100% on the value – no way it’s worth 30x more for at least most of the measurements. I find the shot shape issue that’s been discussed interesting, though. It’s almost more of a pass/fail to me – either it’s accurate on that measure or it’s not. If it is, then it’s worth every penny, if it’s not, then any dollar amount is too much, etc. The quad is definitely out of the price range, just curious between this an Skytrak or the future GC3/Bushnell coming soon. We’ll see! Thanks again.

      • Stephen Gulbrandsen

        Good morning, Matt,

        Great review as I become accustomed to! This looks like a great purchase, but wondered if you tried it with Android or IOS or both. Would love to use it with my android tablet.
        Thanks,
        Steve

  3. Matt,
    Thanks for the great review as always – a quick question on the accuracy point. I’m a frequent reader and know the data shown on the screenshots is not indicative of your game (based on other data screen shots). Would this suggest accuracy was an issue? Is there something going on with the screenshots we should be aware of (sorry if I’m missing something here)? This is super intriguing and your review is very helpful (as always)…similar to the comment above, PIG has become a regular morning read!

    Thanks!
    Ryan

  4. Matt! Hi thanks for the review. I had heard some mixed reviews and I always appreciate your take. Question: I thought I had heard that the E6 takes the measured numbers and uses its own algorithm to show ball flight, and might show a note or less exaggerated shape than Home Tee Hero or the plain Garmin Driving Range. Do you know if that’s the case?

  5. Great review. Seems like this could be a great , does the software integrate with on course gps for club recommendations based on data saved?

  6. 6 feet behind is a deal breaker.

  7. Great review – a lot of good information ! Two questions:
    1. is the video that is recorded delayed or do you have to go to the phone and hit rewind/play to see your swing?
    2. Do you know if I can connect two devices to the app? I would like to have the phone record my swing and an iPad right next to me so I can see the number?

    thank you !

    • Matt Saternus

      Luis,

      1) The video of your swing will play on a loop until you hit another shot. You don’t need to touch anything.
      2) I don’t believe that you can connect two devices to the app at the same time.

      -Matt

  8. Jeff Hemphill

    Hi Matt,
    Could the R10 be taken to the course to follow a tee shot?

    Thanks
    Jeff

  9. Matt,

    Thanks for all you and your team do for us golf addicts!

    I just pre-ordered the device through the link above.

    Thanks again!

  10. Hi Matt,

    Thank you for the awesome review! Quick question, if you do not purchase the e6 and only use the home tee hero, can that be displayed in a landscape ratio? Rather than just portrait? Trying to use the r10 with a impact screen and projector, and it would look odd on a wide screen if it can only be displayed in a skinny, tall format. Thank you.

  11. Geoffrey James Baker

    Hi Matt,

    looks like buying the Mevo in May was a bad decision!

    Great review!

  12. Always look forward to your reviews!
    Quick question, have you noticed or heard of any issues with the unit out in the sun/heat? This was my deal breaker with the Rapsodo and wasn’t sure if this had any flaw with heating up like that?

    • Matt Saternus

      Tom,

      I have not had any issues, but A) I spend very little time on forums/discussion boards where users might discuss that kind of thing and B) the weather in Chicago has been beautiful lately, so there hasn’t been any real chance of it getting baked during my testing.

      Best,

      Matt

  13. Can you do speed training on the R10

  14. Like the review – very informative and complete. I am currently shopping personal/portable monitors in this price range. I tried an SC300 and sent it back due to inconsistent capture and accuracy. I have read your reviews on the prgr, sc2oo and the R-10. Given your experience which is the better unit, R10, Rapsodo, SC 200 or PRGR. I prefer the video capture so the SC200 and PRGR are at the bottom of the list but I include them for accuracy purposes. Thanks for any input you provide.

    • Matt Saternus

      Steve,

      The R10 is not really comparable to the other three devices you mention – it does far more. If you have the budget for the R10, I would recommend buying that.

      -Matt

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