Garmin is one of the leaders in premium GPS technology. Their lineup of golf watches is the best on the market in my opinion, particularly the Approach S60. Recently, they announced that they were entering the shot tracking market with their Approach CT10.
While this space has become crowded over the past few years with companies like GAME GOLF, Arccos, and Shot Scope - Garmin's angle is that they have a system that is compatible with two of their bestselling watches. Recently I got a chance to test out the Approach CT10 with their S60 GPS watch on the course.
Whenever I evaluate a shot tracking product there are three areas that I believe are most important:
- Ease of use - does it interfere with your round, or integrate seamlessly?
- Accuracy - will it accurately detect your shots, or will you have to spend time editing mistakes afterward?
- Quality of data - are your stats presented intuitively, or are golfers left puzzled by the data?
I believe the CT10 performed well on all three of these criteria, and I'll explore them in more detail in this review. Additionally, I'll discuss whether or not it makes sense to purchase Garmin's system based on your performance and budget needs.
Installation and Use
Like other shot tracker systems, the Garmin Approach CT10 require you to install trackers at the top of your grips.
They're a little larger than the other systems I have used, but don't add any noticeable weight to the golf club. When I first started using them, the club actually appeared a little longer, but after a short time, it was not very noticeable. Not every golfer will react the same to their size, but it is something you should know.
Pairing the sensors is a breeze with the S60 watch. Once you're finished, all you have to do to get started with your round is turn your watch on and select the course you are going to play.
During the round, the system itself is very passive since it does not require manual tagging before each shot. When you pull your club out of your bag, it usually takes a few seconds for the watch to register what club you are using. Once it does, it will display your typical yardages as well as your tendencies off the tee (right or left). This info may be useful to you at the moment, but if it isn't you can use your watch's functionality as you usually would.
If you're standing in the same spot and take practice swings, the sensor will determine which swing was the actual shot and only record it once. The only potential hiccups occur when you take out more than one club at once, which can happen several times a round. Sometimes it can recognize the wrong club, but this can be edited afterward.
The watch will automatically record your score, but I found tracking to be more accurate when you confirm your score (and total putts) at the end of each hole. Overall, I did not find the process too different than Shot Scope, which is another shot tracking system that does not require tagging.
Overall, I found the Garmin CT10 Approach to be very capable of tracking my shots. Once you are finished with your round, you upload it through the Garmin Golf app either via your phone or on your computer.
No matter what shot tracking system you are using, you should expect to spend 5-10 minutes reviewing your round afterward. I think this is a great exercise in general because it forces you to go through all of your shots and review what went well and what didn't. On top of that, you are able to edit any small errors that might have occurred.
Here is an image of a top-level view of a round. You can edit scores and stats easily from this view:
I wouldn't expect perfection out of the Garmin CT10, but in my testing, I did not see too many errors. There were a few instances where it recorded a shot that didn't occur, the wrong club, or missing the score for a hole. It was very easy to edit any of these mistakes, and I would suggest doing them soon after your round so the information is fresh in your mind.
You have the option to view each hole in detail and make any necessary edits:
Compared to the Shot Scope V2, I would say the Garmin CT10 was slightly prone to making more errors, but not by much. Tracking your game without having to manually tag shots is a much easier process overall, and I think both of these systems do a great job.
Quality of Performance Data
It should go without saying that you want a shot tracking system to be hassle-free on the golf course. However, I believe the most important feature is how the data is presented to the end user. The whole point of tracking your shots is to shed more light into your golf game and see where you can improve.
Garmin's competitors do an excellent job of this. GAME GOLF, Shot Scope, and Arccos have built very robust online dashboards that are intuitive and provide a wealth of insight into your golf game.
Garmin has done a very good job in this area, but the system is more of a "top level" view of your game rather than a deep dive.
You'll have to play several rounds before you start to see any meaningful insights, but I think Garmin does provide plenty of useful information. In fact, for golfers who are looking for simplified data, it might be more appropriate for you.
You'll see a basic dashboard that shows you how you compare to golfers at a similar level in your driving, approach shots, wedge play, and putting. Additionally, you can get more information on each category.
For example, on tee shots, you can see your typical distances, how many fairways you are hitting, and your miss tendencies.
On approach shots, you can see how often you are hitting greens, and more importantly, where you are missing them.
Lastly, you'll be given a similar view for your chip shots to see how often you are getting up and down for par.
I actually like how they present the putting performance by simplifying how many putts you are taking on short, medium, or longer putts (although I would like to define what those lengths are).
One major feature I think they are missing is displaying your average club distances. They present this information to you on the course, but I also believe it should be on the online dashboard.
Overall, I was very impressed with their stat-tracking portal. While it's not as advanced as some of their competition, I don't think most golfers need to go too crazy with analysis. Sometimes simple is good, and in this case, if that's what you're looking for I think you will be more than happy with the insights it provides.
There are a few issues that you should be aware of in terms of budget. Since this system can only be used with a Garmin Approach S20 or Approach S60 watch, it bumps up the cost. Right now the CT10 retails for $299, and the S20 watch is around $200 while the S60 is usually priced at $399 or below. That brings the total cost up to well over $500.
Shot Scope V2 is the most comparable system since it provides a tag-free experience, a GPS watch, and sensors. Right now it only costs $249.
GAME GOLF sells their system for under $100, but it requires manual tagging before shots and does not offer GPS distance capabilities. Lastly, Arccos charges $249 for their system but requires you to keep your phone in your pocket to accurately track GPS data.
I think the CT10 would be a tough sell for people who don't currently own the S20 or S60 watches. Granted, they are excellent GPS watches, and in my opinion the best on the market right now, but you can't ignore the overall cost.
If you currently own the compatible watches from Garmin, I think this stat-tracking system can be a big winner for you. If you're in the market for a shot tracking system, it could be cost-prohibitive to entertain buying both the watch and tracking system combined based on your budget.
Overall, I think Garmin did a great job with their Approach CT10 shot tracking system. It's easy to use, very accurate at tracking your shots and provides useful data insights for your golf game.