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At the beginning of this summer, I emailed this list asking about personal launch monitors and golf simulator setups. I got an overwhelming number of responses and what I thought would be a 2 week research period turned into a 5 month deep dive into the wonderful world of personal launch monitor and golf simulator setups.
I've tested several devices at this point, but so far, the one that has stood out the most is the Garmin Approach R10. For $600, this thing can be used outdoors as a practice companion, alongside your DIY garage net, or even in your brand-new basement golf simulator space. It's compatible with just about every simulation software (E6 Connect, Awesome Golf, TGC 2019) and really packs a punch for the price.
In today's issue of The Saturday Golfer, I'm going to share my favorite features of the R10 and give you an idea what all this hype is about when it comes to personal launch monitors.
In the last 5 years, the price floor for a quality DIY home golf simulator setup has gone from $20k+ to just over $1,000. To say this space has become more accessible to the average golfer is a huge understatement.
And one reason why the Garmin Approach R10 generated so much hype when it was launched in Aug 2021 is because unlike many of its predecessors that only tracked vertical shot data (carry distance) or required specific software to run, the R10 unlocked the door entirely with two huge features:
- It can track both vertical and lateral shot data (distance + shot shape) which means...
- It can run on any simulation software (think E6 Connect, TGC 2019, Awesome Golf)
While you'll need a sizeable space to make this thing work, it has unlocked the idea of an "affordable home golf simulator" which had never been done before.
Here's a truth that you probably don't want to hear—most golfers stink at practicing effectively at the driving range. Whether they're practicing the wrong things, practicing the right things wrong, or not sure what to practice, it's usually not helping their score.
One of the things I deeply care about at The DIY Golfer is helping golfers make the most out of their limited practice time. I've written extensively about how "feel is not real", getting your swing on video, and using drills to improve your game.
When I was developing my game, I spent a lot of time at the driving range on artificial mats. And I had two problems:
- I often couldn't tell whether I struck the ball solid or not since the mats were so forgiving.
- I rarely could tell how far my shots were actually going since my range didn't have enough distance targets
Without these two pieces of information, I often felt like I was getting worse at the range.
But after my testing, I found the Garmin Approach R10 to be most accurate on mats at the range. And because of this, I think it can be an excellent practice companion.
Imagine this practice session:
- Hit a golf shot
- Listen as your iPhone reads your carry distance out loud to you
- After the session, export your data and get an average distance for every club in your bag along with your shot patterns
To some degree, I feel envious of all the new golfers today having all this game improvement tech at their fingertips. "Back in my day..." (sorry, not sorry), I hit thousands of golf balls with no more than a guess of how far I was hitting them and what my common shot patterns were.
If you have young kids that you want to share this amazing game with, the Garmin Approach R10 (or any personal launch monitor) is the answer.
For just $10/month, the Garmin Golf App has "Home Tee Hero" which is Garmin's spin on golf simulation software. It has over 42,000 golf courses, which means... Basically every course on planet earth. You can add up to 4 players and turn your range session into an interactive competition!
It is literally a portable golf simulator.
It has more of a "cartoon" feel than the more realistic simulation softwares (E6 Connect), but has a clean gameplay experience—perfect for a head-to-head match against your junior (or senior!) golfer. Here's what it looks like:
While I personally prefer something more realistic like E6 Connect, the fact that this simulation software is built-in to the Garmin Golf App is ridiculously cool.
Whether it's the Garmin R10, an alternative like the Rapsodo MLM2 Pro, or an upgrade like the Mevo Plus, I hope this has been an eye-opening introduction to what's possible these days!
And with that, I'll see ya next week.
Hit 'em straight!