What’s new? How much does it cost? And how does it perform? Nicola Slater brings you the low down on the Garmin R10 Approach….
The Garmin R10 Approach is one of the leading portable launch monitors on the market. Coming in at around the £500 mark, you get a lot of tech for your money. I put it to the test to see how it performed.
Garmin Approach R10 Launch Monitor review: NCG Summary
Ridiculously easy to set up, it is literally plug and play. Extremely good when using a premium golf ball especially indoors or in a net. Very portable and not intrusive or showy at the range. Surprising amount of club and ball data which is great feedback for working on swing changes. Like all Garmin stuff it looks cool, if that is possible for a launch monitor.
- Extremely accurate
- Covers all club and ball data
- Very portable and comes with handy tripod
- Syncs with Garmin app
- Incredibly easy to set up
- No ball normalisation
Garmin Approach R10
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When you think of launch monitors, the most common ones tend to be Trackman or GC Quads. These products are portable yet are often fairly big and heavy. On top of the size, you would be looking to pay thousands for those devices, with the latest Trackman 4 new costing just over £17,000.
Clearly, this isn’t in budget for the vast majority of golfers, and while not everyone needs or wants to have numerical feedback when playing or practising, there are still loads of golfers who do. The Garmin Approach R10 fills the gap in the market as it offers a more affordable launch monitor option. So what does a £500 launch monitor give you?
The Garmin Approach R10 came packaged in a hard shell black case that had a zip fastening on the surround. Whilst this case is quite a bit bigger than the actual device, it still fits in the side pocket of my golf bag, making it easy to transport. This is already a win against many larger brands products.
Inside of the case, the Approach R10 launch monitor came packaged up in foam with a separate slot for the tripod. Opposite this sits a handy little pouch that stores multiple accessories.
Taking the Garmin R10 out of the case for the first time, I couldn’t believe just how small it was! I also couldn’t believe how something containing so much tech was so small. The tripod in the case is folded out to allow it to stand and magnetically attached to the small cut-out section on the back of the R10.
The Approach R10 also came with a phone mount, which is very handy for filming your swing, especially with some of the features the device offers. Don’t underestimate how useful this is. It can be clipped to loads of things at the range, which makes accessing the data you are generating a load easier.
One other relief is the standard charger fitting. A lot of Garmin watches are bespoke fittings which is mega annoying when you lose one. The R10 uses a USB micro charger which is a pretty standard charger in most households and can be picked up in many different shops, which is good news for the disorganised.
To operate the R10 you need a device such as a phone or tablet that can display the information that is generated as there is nothing shown on screen. This is then displayed on the Garmin Golf app. You will need to create an account if you don’t already have one so that your data can be saved after use. Your devices will need to be paired via Bluetooth when placed in connecting mode. This was a very straightforward process where you simply connect the two and you’re good to go. Also, once the devices are paired there is no need to re-pair them as they will automatically connect.
The Garmin Approach R10 launch monitor only has one button that controls all features such as turning on and off and a longer press helps with the pairing process.
The app has many different scenes and features. I found myself sticking to the driving range mode and in the screen that purely displays numbers as that was all I really needed the R10 for. For a little device, it gives you way more data than I was expecting. Carry distance, total distance, ball speed, club head speed, I guess are to be expected but the R10 also tracked club path, face to path, launch direction, club face angle, attack angle, launch angle and spin axis. I would say these are hugely helpful metrics for what is essentially a gadget to enhance practice. A huge win at this price point.
One small detail that I liked on the R10 was the small red line on the top. I found this really useful when setting it up, and getting the device lined up with my target.
The elephant in the room with all launch monitors is the ball. The type of ball you use has such a huge impact on performance, and therefore data readings it is often frustrating when trying to use a launch monitor for gapping or wedge yardages. You never quite trust the data. The Approach R10 does not like non-premium balls and has no normalisation settings, so I think range session yardages and ball data should be viewed with suspicion, it is at its best with a premium ball. This does not detract from its very accurate club data, which from a practice point of view, is hugely instructive.
One of my favourite features of the Garmin Approach R10 is the automatic swing recording. I often practice alone, and so when I record my swing I have to go set my phone up, press record, go hit the shot, and then go stop the video. With the R10 auto swing recording feature, the device recognises when you’ve taken a swing and records it alongside the shot data. In the app, you can view the matching shot and swing, allowing you to see exactly what created the numbers.
When unboxing, I mention my query about the stability of the tripod. I only tested it where it was stood on the grass and at times in quite a strong breeze but it remained in place. On the odd occasion that something did get in the way of the R10 such as a leaf, it would produce a notification on my phone screen to alert me of this.
In terms of battery life, Garmin states that it should last up to ten hours. I used it for around four practice sessions of between an hour and a half to two hours. It did still have around ten percent left, but I decided to charge it up ready to be used again. As there isn’t any form of display on the R10 itself you can find the battery life percentage on the Garmin app.
Whilst the battery life of the actual Garmin R10 was fairly strong, I did find that it drained the battery life of my phone which I used to run the app. If you are only taking one device with you to a practice session, this is something to consider, perhaps take a portable charger with you.
The R10 doesn’t have to be all about standing on a practice ground for hours working on your swing. It has over 42,000 virtual golf courses that you can play using the app. You and up to three of your friends can use this feature. The best thing about this is that the R10 can be used indoors and so you don’t need to spend thousands to create your own golf simulator.
Overall, this is still a pretty sizeable investment for many people; however it’s a great addition to any player’s practice sessions. The fact that its pocket size means that you can slip it in your bag easily and could even take it out on the course if you wanted, be it not during a Saturday medal.
Garmin Approach R10 review: The Details
More information: Garmin
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