In this review, we’ll take a look at the Garmin Approach R10 portable golf launch monitor & simulator.
The R10 has already made big waves in the industry — many people consider it to have revolutionized golf tech like the SkyTrak did back in 2014.
Released in 2021, the R10 was the first launch monitor to measure detailed club path parameters that you could previously only get in $1800+ units. It was also the first launch monitor in its price range to have golf simulation capabilities.
In this Garmin Approach R10 review, I’ll take an in-depth look at the launch monitor. I’ll look not only at how well it measures ball and swing data, but also at its usability, golf simulation features, and how it stacks up against similarly priced products.
How does the R10 perform? How does it compare to other sub-$2000 launch monitors like the SkyTrak and Rapsodo MLM? Is it worth getting if you’re looking for a portable golf launch monitor?
Here’s what I’m going to be covering in the review:
- What is the Garmin Approach R10?
- Setting Up & Using The R10
- Data Parameters & Accuracy
- Golf Simulation
- Other Features
- Where To Buy The R10
- Frequently Asked Questions
Ready to try the Garmin Approach R10 right now? Click the button below or scroll down to the bottom of my review to see my final verdict!
What is the Garmin Approach R10?
You probably know Garmin as the company behind many of the best golf GPS units on the market. And although they’ve come out with models like the G80 that have integrated club and ball tracking, they never actually had a dedicated launch monitor offering.
That is, until now. Garmin has thrown its hat into the launch monitor and golf simulator ring with a bombshell of an offer, the R10.
The R10, at its core, is a launch monitor that tracks various club and ball data parameters so that you can improve your swing consistency. It describes itself as “a portable launch monitor that brings the course to you”.
But the R10 does much more than just track shot metrics. Not only does it measure data points that you could previously only access with higher-end launch monitors like the SkyTrak and Mevo+, but it can also record video clips of each shot and provide golf simulation with Home Tee Hero and E6 CONNECT.
This is the R10’s biggest selling point. Never before have you been able to get this level of data measurement and golf simulation for less than $1000.
The portable R10 is designed to be easy to move from the home to the driving range, and it’s held with a convenient magnetic tripod mount. A smartphone and the Garmin Golf App are required to use it.
Setting Up & Using The R10
The first thing you should do is familiarize yourself with the R10 unit.
The front side of the R10 has the logo and one LED that indicates the status of the unit. This will let you know whether or not the R10 is ready to take a shot. White, green, purple, red or blue lights may be displayed.
The back of the device contains the USB port with weather cap, alignment line, power button, and battery status LED indicator. Solid red here indicates that the battery is fully charged.
Note: The R10 uses a built-in lithium-ion battery that should last around ten hours on a full charge. Ensure that the LED indicator on the unit is not rapidly flashing red (indicates low battery) before first use.
Basic setup is straightforward and requires these steps:
1. Install the Garmin Golf App and pair your smartphone.
Then, bring your phone near the R10 unit and press the power button to turn on the R10.
The R10 will automatically enter pairing mode, indicated by a solid blue LED light. Go to the settings in the Garmin Golf App, add the new device, and follow the on-screen instructions.
2. Install the tripod mount.
The included tripod stand is secured to the R10 unit magnetically — be careful when the magnet in the stand is near electronic devices such as computers and tablets.
The tripod mount can only be installed one way. Insert the top part (with the Garmin Logo) into the back of the R10 unit, and then open the three tripod legs so that they are fully extended.
3. Prepare to hit a shot.
First, place your ball in the tee area. If playing indoors, ensure that it’s at least eight feet away from the net.
Then place the R10, mounted on the tripod stand, 6-8 feet behind the tee location and orient it so that the front of the R10 is facing the ball. If using a mat, make sure the bottom edge of the R10 sits at a higher level.
Next, make sure the R10 is positioned such that the red alignment line is aligned with the location of the ball and with the intended target line. You can use a golf club or alignment stick to check this.
The tee location can be safely shifted up to one foot on either side of the target line if necessary. Note that incorrect positioning will negatively impact the ability of the R10 to provide accurate measurements.
Once the positioning is taken care of, press the button to turn on the R10, start a game mode in the Garmin Golf app on your phone, wait for the LED indicator to start flashing green, and hit your shot.
- the battery can be charged in a standard wall outlet or on a computer USB port
- you can use the included phone mount to attach your phone to your golf bag for easy viewing
- before an extended period of non-use, make sure the R10 has at least 50% battery charge
- always protect the USB port with the weather cap
- the R10 should be stored in a cool, dry place
For more detailed setup instructions, information, and tips, consult the Garmin Approach R10 owner’s manual.
Data Parameters & Accuracy
For starters, the Approach R10 measures seven data parameters directly:
- Ball speed: the speed of the ball immediately after impact.
- Club head speed: the speed of the club head at impact.
- Launch angle: of the ball relative to the ground.
- Launch direction: right or left of the target.
- Club path: the direction the club is moving at impact.
- Angle of attack: the vertical angle the club head is moving at impact.
- Backswing & downswing times: accuracy of 0.05 seconds.
The R10 derives several other metrics through calculations:
- spin rate
- spin axis
- club face angle
- observed ball flight range
The Garmin Golf app also displays the following metrics:
- total distance
- carry distance
- smash factor
- apex height
- swing tempo
But of course, everyone wants to know about accuracy. It doesn’t matter how many parameters there are: if the measurements are way off, it doesn’t do you any good.
Just how accurate is the R10? After extensive testing, I can definitively say that the accuracy is within range of the $2000 “next-level” launch monitors like the SkyTrak and Mevo+, particularly outdoors where the radar technology can really shine.
For practical purposes, when it comes to distance, you can assume that the R10 would be off by a few yards at worst. Indoors, however, I find that distance readings can be off by quite a bit.
When it comes to other metrics, Garmin gives the accuracies as:
The margin or error for club data does seem to be on the high side. The path and face angles, in particular, could give readings that are substantially different from reality.
All things considered, the R10 does an amazing job for a $600 unit, but it’s reasonable to say that the accuracy isn’t quite as reliable as more expensive units. But for many golfers, it’s something they can accept given the very affordable price point.
In any case, the Approach R10 has been lauded by pretty much every major golf publication and critic in the industry, and that should tell you something.
One of the things that really sets the Approach R10 apart from other launch monitors in its price range is its support for golf simulation.
With the R10, there are currently three ways to get a virtual golf simulator experience:
1. Use the driving range.
Through the Garmin Golf app, you can access the Driving Range Mode which simulates your shot on a virtual driving range and provides the full set of data metrics after every shot.
You can do other things in Driving Range Mode, including:
- use your phone’s camera to record swings during a range session (Swing Capture)
- view driving range session statistics for each shot and club
- view advanced swing metrics
2. Play on Home Tee Hero.
Home Tee Hero is a golf simulation software solution that requires an active Garmin Golf Premium Subscription costing $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year.
Home Tee Hero contains over 42,000 courses for you to play (with up to four players), from local courses around you to the world’s most prestigious courses.
The graphics of Home Tee Hero are quite cartoonish, but the recreations are impressively accurate for something so compact.
Note that you can try out a Garmin Golf membership and enjoy all the benefits that come with it for free for 30 days. Another one of these benefits is being able to participate in weekly tournaments with other golfers around the world.
3. Use the E6 CONNECT software.
If you want a more realistic simulation environment than what Home Tee Hero has to offer, the R10 is also compatible with the powerful, world-renowned E6 CONNECT software.
E6 CONNECT is highly customizable and has some of the most photo-realistic graphics on the market. It offers various course simulations, minigames, training aids, tournaments, multiplayer formats, and more.
A separate subscription will need to be purchased in order to use E6 CONNECT on PC or iOS devices. It’s not cheap, but the R10 does come bundled with a basic subscription to E6 CONNECT that allows you to play five courses.
You will need to connect your mobile device (with the Garmin Golf app installed) to the E6 CONNECT desktop application or mobile app before you can play the software.
Thanks to the power of the Garmin Golf app (which, by the way, has very high ratings, which is frankly very difficult to achieve with phone apps), the Approach R10 can do more than just measure swing parameters and provide a golf simulation experience.
With the R10, you can set up your phone’s camera behind the hitting area and capture video of your shot. Your stats including ball speed, carry distance and total distance are overlaid on top of each clip. The club you were using is also specified.
Each clip can be paused and skipped to different points as desired. And with a Garmin Golf Premium Subscription, you can store these video clips in the cloud for convenient access.
Note that unlike the Rapsodo MLM, the R10’s video capture feature does not have a shot tracer.
Closely tying in with video capture is the ability to monitor how each club is performing during a driving range session.
When viewing your club performance, you get:
- a top-down dispersion map of all your shots
- your total shot count
- the number of shots hit with each club
- the max, min, and average distances for each club
- average carry distances for each club
This feature will really help you understand your numbers. In fact, if you’re using the R10, I would recommend hitting at least ten shots with each club in your bag so that you learn your average distances and can make better club selection choices during rounds.
Tournaments & Sharing
Another thing the Garmin Golf app allows you to do is upload scorecards and review stats & leaderboards.
You can view global weekly leaderboards for any of the 42,000+ courses contained in Home Tee Hero and view stats in real time.
You can also create your own tournaments and invite your friends to compete.
The Approach R10 launch monitor unit itself costs $599.99 USD at release. This includes the R10, tripod stand, phone mount, carrying case, and Micro USB cable.
The companion Garmin Golf app, which is required to use the R10, is free. However, Garmin offers a membership for the app, exclusive for R10 users, that costs $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year. The membership gives you:
- access to Home Tee Hero golf simulation
- weekly tournaments
- the ability to store video clips in the cloud
A 30-day free trial for the Garmin Golf membership is available, which I think is a very generous amount of time to try it out.
As for the E6 CONNECT software, it’s quite expensive. A basic 1-year subscription costs $300, an expanded 1-year subscription costs $600, and a permanent license costs $2,500.
E6 CONNECT is very high-quality software, but you’ll have to determine if you have the budget for it or not. The majority of R10 customers will likely find the simulation capabilities of Home Tee Hero sufficient.
Where To Buy The Approach R10 Online
You can choose any of these vendors based on your preferences. They all have excellent support teams that will help you with any questions or concerns you may have.
If you’re looking for a discount on a used R10, you may be able to find a good deal on eBay.
Another thing that’s worth considering if you plan to use the R10 indoors is a good net and hitting mat setup. You can even take it to the next level and have a full simulator screen & enclosure, with the Garmin Golf app or E6 desktop software connected to a projector.
The vendors I mentioned above have everything you need in that regard, and they’re likely going to be putting together Approach R10 simulator packages if they haven’t already.
The buttons below all open in new tabs, so go ahead and click on all of them to compare.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can the Garmin Golf app be viewed on a larger display?
Yes, and there are two elements to this.
The first is viewing your smartphone’s Garmin Golf app image on a larger tablet. Android-to-Android or iPhone-to-iPad mirroring, with technologies like AirPlay or Screen Share, makes this possible.
Using the screen mirroring function on your smartphone, you can also mirror the Garmin Golf app to a compatible smart TV.
Is Garmin updating the Approach R10?
Absolutely. Their 3.30 update, for example, improved club path and angle of attack estimations outdoors, indoor launch angle, outdoor side spin estimation, and adjacent shot rejection outside the hitting area.
Firmware updates for the R10 should be installed using Garmin Express, which is an exclusive application designed to manage Garmin devices. A PC or Mac is needed to install Garmin Express.
Why are my data readings way off?
With the R10, you will very rarely have situations where a data point here or there is a little wonky. This is normal and to be expected for a sub-$1000 launch monitor. There are many variables at play, and sometimes they don’t all line up perfectly.
But beyond this, inaccurate readings are most likely due to incorrect alignment. As I mentioned in the Setup section above, the red line on the top of the device should be aligned with the ball and the target line.
To avoid confusion if you’re hitting draws and fades, the target line is the straight line from the ball to your intended target.
One of the best ways to check your alignment is to hit a short, straight shot with a wedge, and compare the ball flight to what is displayed in the Garmin Golf app. If the R10 is facing too far in one direction, the simulated launch will tend to be too far in the other direction.
For a portable $600 unit, there’s really no other way to put it: the Garmin Approach R10 launch monitor is fantastic.
Not only does it measure an impressive amount of data points that you would normally only get at the $2000 SkyTrak/Mevo+ level and above, but it’s the only launch monitor I know of under $1000 that has golf simulation capability.
That doesn’t mean the R10 is better than these systems. Assuming you were financially indifferent to spending $2000 or spending $600, I would still go for the $2000 system (SkyTrak for indoors or Mevo+ for outdoors) because you’ll get more reliability and more direct measurements.
But if you want to stay at that three-figure price level, the R10 is definitely what you should go for except in one case: when you need shot tracing for your recorded swings. In that case, you should look at the Rapsodo MLM, although you’ll currently need an iOS device for that.
Moreover, if you have an even tighter budget of $500 or less and still want spin measurements, you should look at the FlightScope Mevo which is usable with both Android and iOS devices.
The Approach R10 is simply a beast given its price. For the most part it has excellent accuracy, and although there is room for improvement in a few areas including indoor performance, I’m confident that Garmin will build on the R10 with updates for years to come.
Thanks for reading my Garmin Approach R10 review. Are you interested in the R10? Have you tried it already? What’s your experience? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Garmin Approach R10 Launch Monitor
- Accuracy is mostly on par with the SkyTrak and Mevo+
- Readings on shots from 30-100 yards are spot on
- Great golf simulation for under $1000
- Measures a ton of data parameters
- Hard to find better value at this price point
- Tends to be a little less accurate indoors
- Doesn't react well to certain pre-shot routines
- Lack of putting functionality