If you have a Garmin Approach R10 (or if you plan on getting one while they are on sale), there’s a good chance that you’ll want to use it at least part of the time as a golf simulator. And for much of the game, the Garmin R10 is actually pretty great at that. With it working on major software platforms like GSPro, E6 Connect, TGC 2019, and Garmin’s own Home Tee Hero, there are ton of options for how you can leverage this little launch monitor to dive into some seriously-fun screen golf.
But there are a couple things that the Garmin R10 either can’t do or is pretty poor at: short chips and putting. Out of the box, you need to know that putting isn’t even an option with this launch monitor. Being a single-radar unit, that’s no real surprise and Garmin is quite clear about this from the get-go. If you want to be able to putt at all in golf simulation software, this is not the device for you.
Then there’s short chipping. While I can give the R10 a pass for not having putting as an option (every simulator software out there has at least one option for auto-gimmies on the green), situations where you need to get a short chip to register and simply can’t get pretty aggravating pretty fast. And if you find yourself in a green-side situation where a little 3-4 yard chip is necessary, you may have to try 20-30 times to get the R10 to read that shot. That’s not an exaggeration.
What is going on with chipping on the Garmin R10?
The problem lies in the way the Garmin Approach R10 readies itself for input. To avoid picking up every little movement and thinking its a shot (a characteristic that would make it nearly impossible to every get anything registered at all), the R10 needs a swift movement of a club-sized object moving in its general direction before shot measurements actually begin. A.K.A – a backswing.
That means your tiny chip shot motion likely isn’t enough to get the R10 in a spot to even measure your shot. But even if you make a quick move right before your swing to wake the device and then try your shot, anything short of 3 yards or so is going to be tough to measure. With the Garmin R10 having a slight upward tilt in the tripod, low shots like small chips and putts simply aren’t *cough* on its radar (see what I did there with my golf nerd joke??).
Combining these two attributes, you can quickly see why very-short chip shots are never going to measure correctly on the R10 without some adjustments by Garmin itself. My suggestion? If the launch monitor could work with the software or somehow go into a sort of chipping mode, perhaps a more finely-tuned algorithm could run when you are near the green to pick up on smaller, more delicate shots.
But that’s only a thought. While Garmin may implement something like this down the road a bit, I’d say its more likely that we see some hardware upgrades to mitigate this in a follow-up device some time in the future. We’ve already seen evidence of the Rapsodo MLM2Pro being able to pick up very small, very delicate chips, and I’d wager much of that is due to the inclusion of the high frame-rate camera that device is packing.
For now – and maybe for the forseeable future – if you own or plan to buy the Garmin Approach R10, you need to just know that these tiny chips are largely out of the question. For what its worth, when we’ve used it for full rounds of play, the completely unreadable chips don’t happen that often. As long as your backswing is fast enough, it generally gets the ball flight. So, in the end, if you want to get the Garmin R10 or have one already, stick those greens or miss them far enough out that you need more than a 3 yard shot to save your par.