Garmin Approach R10 Review
Garmin R10 Launch Monitor
Teacher’s Comments: A marvelous piece of golf tech. Highly recommended.
The Garmin R10 is one of the best pieces of golf tech I have ever tested. It is easy to set up, easy to use and offers a ton of actionable data.
Consisting of a small black box that contains the sensors and a separate, detachable tripod, the R10 connects to an Android or iPhone to display images and data.
The R10 uses the Garmin Golf app, which is part of the larger Garmin golf- and-exercise tracking ecosystem. Thus, it played nice with my Garmin Vivosmart 4 and Vivoactive 3. Indeed, the Garmin Golf software can be accessed through my usual Garmin Connect app.
I’ll put in a general plug for Garmin products here. I own a few other Garmin devices: A Vivosmart 4, a Vivoactive 3, a Vivomove HR and an Approach G12 golf GPS rangefinder. All are terrific devices that I use daily. The Approach G12 is my go-to device for the course. It does everything it needs to, and nothing it doesn’t (Amazon Link for many of the Garmin exercise devices).
I wear the Garmin devices every day to track my steps and other fitness metrics. I typically put in 8,000 steps just walking around my classroom. Add in the 10 or so thousand I put in on a round after work and I do a lot of walking.
The Garmin Connect app also interfaces with the MyFitness Pal app, so I can keep track of calories, and nutrient metrics.
Sorry for the digression. Back to the Approach R10.
At first, I thought I would test the R10 Launch Monitor on the range at Washtenaw Golf Club, but the course has limited flight balls. They work just fine for practice (I didn’t realize they were limited flight until I asked. When warming up, I only pay attention to direction.) A consultation with Garmin tech confirmed that using limited flight balls would cause the data to skew.
That was fine. I hate driving ranges anyway. Arthritis in my hands is aggravated by impact on the mats.
Instead, I have taken carrying the Garmin R10 around in my bag. It is very small and lightweight (that’s important because I am a walker), fitting neatly into one of the pockets. When I get to a tee where I have a bit of a break between me and the group behind, I set it up and hit a few extra balls (This happens quite often, since I generally play as a single) to see how changes in things such as setup and backswing length affect the metrics.
A pause like this is possible only because the R10 is so quick to set up and connect. I can do it in thirty seconds. It is just a matter of turning it on, opening the phone app and waiting a few seconds while the Approach R10 magically connects. The legs magnetically snap into place. I put it two strides behind the ball and I’m good to go.
The R10 will even resume the previous session when it connects again.
The Garmin R10 app tracks a dozen key metrics, including backspin, sidespin, face to path, launch direction, club path, club face deviation, attack angle, launch angle, total distance, carry distance and deviation.
In the “Training Mode,” the app collects data on every shot and shows the distance and dispersion on a chart. That’s the mode I use.
A feature that I have used only once is the ability to record swing video. Stats can be overlaid on each shot’s video for more detailed analysis.
I frankly don’t want to see my over-the-top chicken wing. Feeling it is more than enough humiliation. I can, however, see how a player dedicated to shaving a few more strokes off their handicap would want to do this.
Handily, the R10 package comes with a clip for attaching your smartphone to your bag for video recording.
If you want to gamify your practice, the app has a premium membership that lets Approach R10 owners use the R10 as a golf simulator. Some 42,000 worldwide courses are apparently on the app.
That makes sense because that’s the same number of courses they’ve got stored in their GPS devices.
I’ve been wondering if I can figure out a way to connect my phone to the projector in my classroom so I can practice after school — and maybe even play some different courses. My classroom is the only room I have available with a ceiling high enough to take a full swing. Even my garage won’t do (I live in an old house).
For even more accuracy, particularly indoors, Garmin has partnered with Titleist to utilize the ball company’s Pro V1 and Pro V1x RCT golf balls. RCT stands for Radar Capture Technology which is optimized for indoor spin capture. Using that ball, the Approach R10 can offer up to 30 times more accurate spin reading and a 50% increase in carry distance accuracy.
The device and its app are continually being updated. Other recent features in the Garmin Approach R10 app include:
- Updated Driving Ranges – The Approach R10 has been updated with new preloaded driving ranges to help practice a wider range of shots.
- Landscape Mode – View shots in a first-person perspective in landscape mode; perfect for users who want to project their simulation onto a screen.
- Environmental Settings – Golfers can better control the environment with new settings to account for weather conditions that affect the ball flight calculation.
- Home Tee Hero – With an active Garmin Golf™ app membership, players can utilize the Home Tee Hero golf simulatorto master and enjoy 42,000 golf courses worldwide.
- E6 Connect – Utilize the E6 Connect’s library of content (sold separately) to easily play photorealistic courses at any time.
- Awesome Golf – Play and compete with friends and family with an Awesome Golf subscription (sold separately).
- TGC 2019 – Play 150,000+ predesigned courses or create your own challenging course with TGC 2019 golf simulator software (sold separately).
- PinSeeker App – Compete for cash prizes and enjoy online closest-to-the-pin tournament play with the PinSeeker App.
The device comes with a nice padded zip box that has foam inserts to hold the device securely. I find it all fits neatly in the lined pocket of my golf bag, though. It strikes me as being quite sturdy, so I’m not worried about a little jostling.
For ease of setup, ease of use and wealth of data, I think it would be difficult to top the Garmin Approach R10. If you are looking for a gift for the golfer in your life, this is it: something every golfer can use that will both be fun and improve their game.