Skip to content
Golf reviewer Marc swinging at sunset on the golf range with the Swing Caddie SC4 behind him

Swing Caddie SC4 vs Garmin Approach R10: Which Golf Launch Monitor Provides the Best Value for You?

Both of these launch monitors have the potential to change your golf life for under $1,000! But which one's for you? Our golf reviewer, Marc, gives you an in-depth comparison in this 10-category showdown!

Any search for the best affordable golf launch monitor and simulator should definitely include the Garmin Approach R10 and the Swing Caddie SC4. Each of these is without question a candidate for the best product in the sub-$1,000 category.

And while our head-to-head comparison method has the Rapsodo MLM2PRO besting both the R10 and SC4, that doesn’t mean the Rapsodo is the right choice for you. The thing about these golf launch monitors is that while they all do a lot of things very similarly, they each do things that make them distinct from one another.

If I’m planning to use my golf launch monitor exclusively for indoor simulator use, while you’re planning to use yours only out at the driving range, should we both get the same product? Not necessarily.

And if I love to pour over as much data as I can get, while you just want fast and easy numbers with the minimal amount of technological interaction, are we each going to be happy with the exact same solution? Not likely.

The sample use case scenarios can go on and on. The point is that we’ve got three definitive options for the best golf launch monitor under $1,000 — the Rapsodo MLM2PRO, the Garmin Approach R10, and the Swing Caddie SC4 — and while all of them are great, they all are different.

We’ve already done the MLM2PRO vs. SC4 and MLM2PRO vs. R10 shootouts. Now, it’s time for the SC4 vs. R10 comparison.

I’ve extensively tested each of these products. I’ve used them indoors and outdoors, as a launch monitor and simulator, and I’m ready to share with you how I think they stack up against each other. As with our previous comparisons, I’ve rated both the SC4 and R10 on a scale of 0 through 5 in 10 different categories.

While I think the total score does have some value, I think the best use of this comparison for you is to find the categories that you envision as most relevant to how you’d use a golf launch monitor. Pay closest attention to those categories and scores. And if you come across a category that you don’t think applies to your most likely use cases, feel free to ignore it.

Should the Garmin Approach R10 or Swing Caddie SC4 be on your shortlist? Let’s find out! 

Golf Launch Monitor and Simulator Price 

Swing Caddie SC4 = 5; Garmin Approach R10 = 4

First things first: both of these products offer incredible value. Seriously! If I had told you five years ago that you could get a golf launch monitor that would be reliably accurate AND work with the leading third-party simulator software options for under $1,000, you’d have considered that a steal. Now, we’ve got three such options — the Garmin Approach R10, the Swing Caddie SC4, and the Rapsodo MLM2PRO. That’s nuts!

So, yes, we’re fortunate to have so many affordable choices. But there’s one that stands out as the most affordable, and that’s the Swing Caddie SC4. To think that you can get so much data and access to so many simulated golf courses for just $549.99 is borderline insane! Its highest score of 5 in this category is a no-brainer.

Right behind the SC4, is the $599.99 Garmin Approach R10. You might think that at only $50 more than the SC4, it deserves the same highest mark of 5. And you might be right. But I knocked the R10 down a peg because of the additional annual subscription cost you’re likely to have to pay. We’ll get to that more in a bit.

First Impressions Upon Unboxing

Swing Caddie SC4 = 3; Garmin Approach R10 = 4

The Garmin Approach R10 and Swing Caddie SC4 standing side-by-side

I think the Swing Caddie SC4’s packaging and presentation is… fine. It’s totally functional but not overly impressive. It’s almost like the packaging is communicating a vibe of, “Let’s skip all the useless crap and get this baby fired up so that we can start measuring golf shots.” As soon as you open the box, you’re greeted with the unit itself front and center. There’s not much else to see. Which would be totally cool with me, except for there is one pretty significant thing missing. Where the hell is the carrying case?! We’ll discuss this key omission more below. 

The Garmin Approach R10’s packaging is a bit more elegant than the SC4’s, at least to my eyes. It exudes just a bit more of a feeling of class and quality. I think the immediate impression for everyone is going to have something to do with how compact the R10 itself is. It really is just the size of a deck of cards. And the tripod to which it magnetically mounts is also tiny. Make no mistake, this diminutive size is a big positive. The unboxing left me with an excited anticipation to see if something this small really could deliver the goods.

Golf Launch Monitor Setup Process

Swing Caddie SC4 = 5; Garmin Approach R10 = 4

The Garmin Approach R10 and Swing Caddies SC4 launch monitors in their boxes side by side

It is no exaggeration to say that, beyond the time it takes to charge the unit and download the app, you could be up and running with either the Garmin Approach R10 or Swing Caddie SC4 in less than five minutes. I’m not kidding. Getting started with both of these golf launch monitors is unbelievably simple.

But with the SC4, if you wanted to, you could reduce that less than five minutes to less than two minutes. And that’s because you don’t even need to interface with an app if you’d rather not. Because the SC4 includes a built-in display (the only product in this price class that does), you don’t need to pair it with a phone or tablet to see your numbers. You do have the option to use the app, and you’d want to do that if you planned to store your data or play simulated rounds. But the idea that you can just set this device down behind your golf ball, turn it on, and start getting numbers so fast and easily is absolutely awesome. For the right use case, there’s no beating the simplicity and convenience of the Swing Caddie SC4.

Portability

Swing Caddie SC4 = 2; Garmin Approach R10 = 3

Portability is my biggest gripe with both the SC4 and R10. The problem isn’t with the units themselves. As I said, the R10 is downright tiny. And the SC4 is plenty small and lightweight itself.

The issue is with transporting these beautiful golf launch monitors to and from the golf course or sim studio. For the R10, that job is way more cumbersome than it should be as the included carrying case is gigantic compared to the actual golf launch monitor. It takes something that could literally fit in your pants pocket and instead makes it so that it’s kind of a pain to fit it into your golf bag. I really don’t know why Garmin couldn’t have come up with a more compact carrying solution.

The Garmin Approach R10 in its open case with other accessories

But you know what? At least Garmin included a carrying case! Because Swing Caddie didn’t even bother. Ugh… It’s incredibly frustrating to me. Here you’ve got a gorgeous built-in display that quite clearly is going to be prone to scratches if it’s not protected. And yet you’re left with no way to protect it. I ended up using a microfiber towel to wrap the SC4 in before putting it in my golf bag. But that’s hardly an elegant solution.

You can buy an aftermarket case for $49.99, which is almost 10 percent of the device itself. Like I said: frustrating.

Golf Launch Monitor Data

Swing Caddie SC4 = 3; Garmin Approach R10 = 4

This is where the Swing Caddie SC4 can’t quite keep up with the Garmin Approach R10 or Rapsodo MLM2PRO. With the Swing Caddie, you only get:

  • Carry/Total distance
  • Swing speed
  • Ball speed
  • Smash factor
  • Apex
  • Launch angle
  • Launch direction
  • Spin rate

The Garmin, on the other hand, delivers:

  • Carry/Total distance
  • Total deviation (how far offline you hit it) measured in degrees
  • Total deviation measured in yards
  • Carry deviation in degrees
  • Carry deviation in yards
  • Club speed
  • Ball speed
  • Launch angle
  • Launch direction
  • Club face angle
  • Club path
  • Backspin
  • Sidespin
  • Spin axis
  • Spin rate
  • Face to path
  • Attack angle
  • Smash factor
  • Apex

That clubface data in particular that you get with the R10 is a big upgrade over the SC4.

Again, to see your numbers with the R10, you’ll need to interface with the app. The SC4, of course, gives you the option to get that data right on the device itself. So, you’re starting to see where these two products separate from each other. If you want basic numbers fast, the SC4 is the better option. But if you want more data, the R10 wins easily.

The only reason the R10 didn’t score a 5 here is that the Rapsodo MLM2PRO is that much more impressive in this category.

Outdoor Use

Swing Caddie SC4 = 4; Garmin Approach R10 = 5

Both devices excel in their setup simplicity, a characteristic that truly stands out during sessions at the driving range. The effortless process of getting ready to gather swing data is a benefit I can’t overstate.

Another thing that drives these scores up is that both of these launch monitors will easily read shots hit off of natural grass. Some units, like the SkyTrak+, only work reliably when hitting off of mats. That’s a big limiter for outdoor use.

The Swing Caddie merits a solid 4 in this category, even though it may not capture as extensive a range of data. The convenience of its integrated display elevates its rating to just short of perfect. But the limited data metrics keeps it from the coveted 5 rating.

The Garmin, on the other hand, is about as close to perfect for outdoor use as you can get. Yes, I wish the carrying case were smaller. But once you work through that, you’ve got what’s still a portable device that’s simple to set up and that gives you a ton of useful game-improvement information.

Perhaps the best thing about both of these launch monitors is that they just work so reliably. In the earliest days of the R10’s release, there were some issues with missed shots and dropped connections. But Garmin seems to have fixed those problems. Now, you’ve got a reliable workhorse that’s excellent for a driving range session.

Indoor Golf Launch Monitor and Simulator Use

Swing Caddie SC4 = 3; Garmin Approach R10 = 4

Golf reviewer Marc swinging on the range at sunset with the SC4 unit set up behind him

Both the Swing Caddie SC4 and Garmin Approach R10 suffer a slight deduction in their indoor performance ratings, mainly due to the necessity of setting up behind the ball, which requires substantial room depth of space that may be a luxury in some indoor settings. This score reflects that limitation.

That said, the Swing Caddie requires 2 feet less room depth than the Garmin. That could be the difference you need to achieve a successful indoor golf simulator setup. With the R10, you’re going to ideally want at least 16 feet. Maybe you’ve only got 14 feet of room depth. In that case, the SC4 is going to save the day.

The biggest knock for me on using the Swing Caddie indoors is that its accuracy with longer clubs is questionable. I had some pretty shaky results once I got above a 6 iron, and by the time I got to the driver, most of the data, especially spin rates, were definitely inaccurate.

One thing I’m not crazy about with the Garmin is that to get accurate spin rate numbers, you’ve got to use specialized, high-cost golf balls. And, unlike with the Rapsodo MLM2PRO, there are none included with the purchase of the R10.

Features

Swing Caddie SC4 = 5; Garmin Approach R10 = 3

Call me a sucker, but I’m just crazy about the built-in display feature of the Swing Caddie SC4. I just think it’s the ultimate in ease-of-use. If you just want to check your numbers quickly before a round, this is the device for that.

To me, the coolest affordable golf launch monitor features of 2023 are the built-in display on the SC4 and the two swing and impact vision cameras on the Rapsodo MLM2PRO

Another cool bonus feature with the SC4 is the lightweight remote control. So light that you can’t even feel it in your pocket while you swing. Now you can tell the unit when you’re changing clubs without having to bend over to make any adjustments on your launch monitor, phone, or tablet.

The Garmin Approach R10, by comparison, just feels light on extra bells and whistles. Don’t get me wrong: this thing is awesome. Just look at its scores in so many of the other categories. But on features, it just feels a little short. I do love the included phone mount, which allows you to clip your phone to something like your bag so that you can more easily look at your data and ball flight when in session.

I also like the “Ball Impact” screen that the Garmin app includes. It’s cool to be able to see a visual representation of your clubface at impact.

Golf Simulator Use

Swing Caddie SC4 = 2; Garmin Approach R10 = 5

The Garmin Approach R10 set up on a Titleist box in an indoor golf simulator

Pretty big disparity here. The Garmin Approach R10 offers more simulator software compatibility than any golf launch monitor under $1,000. The Swing Caddie SC4 offers the least.

The R10 gives you compatibility with E6 Connect, Awesome Golf, the Golf Club 2019, and Creative Golf 3D. That allows for a massive menu of simulated golf course choices. Just remember, any third-party simulator software package is going to require a subscription.

With the purchase of an R10, you get five free E6 courses, but they are limited to iOS-only use.

The SC4 is only compatible with E6 Connect. That is one of the best software providers, but having just one software match means that you have fewer golf courses from which to choose.

Another huge separator is that with the R10, you get access to video-game-like, animated simulated golf on pretty much every golf course in the world. It’s called Home Tee Hero, and it’s a ton of fun. The SC4 gives you no such options.

Annual Subscriptions

Swing Caddie SC4 = 5; Garmin Approach R10 = 3

The Swing Caddie scores max points here for the simple (and awesome) reason that there is no annual subscription. How refreshing!

Now, you can use the Garmin without paying for an annual subscription, but to access things like Home Tee Hero and to record and store video clips and get green contour data, you’ll have to pay $99 a year or $9.99 monthly for the Garmin Golf Membership. I think it’s likely that you’re going to want those things.

I don’t think the subscription cost for the R10 is a legitimate deterrent to buying this device. I still think it delivers excellent value. But the SC4 stands alone as the only option for completely avoiding an annual fee.

The Final Tally: Which Golf Launch Monitor Is the Best for You?

Adding up the scores in each of our 10 categories, we get a final result of:

Swing Caddie SC4: 37

Garmin Approach R10: 39

That’s awfully close, and I think it’s a fair representation of the difference between these two products. I do think that for most people, the Garmin Approach R10 is the better device but not by any kind of landslide.

The Swing Caddie SC4 has some limitations. It can’t quite compete with the R10 when it comes to overall data metrics, accuracy, and simulator software compatibility. Those are all definitely important factors in choosing the right golf launch monitor and simulator.

But they aren’t the only ones.

Price and ease of use will go a long way for a lot of people. As I’ve said, if you want to get your data fast and as simply as possible, you’re not going to find a golf launch monitor under $1,000 that’s as easy to use as the Swing Caddie SC4. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s also the least expensive of the worthwhile affordable golf launch monitors. Sure, you could find cheaper, but you’re going to be getting technology that’s far inferior to the SC4.

And don’t sleep on that two feet of room depth savings the SC4 delivers. That really could be the key to a successful simulator setup for many people.

The beauty of this decision is that you’re going to be thrilled with either one of these products. I honestly believe that. If you don’t already own a golf launch monitor, buying either the Swing Caddie SC4 or Garmin Approach R10 is going to completely change your golf life. These things are so much fun to use, and they can have a major impact on helping you play better.

About PlayBetter Golf Reviewer Marc Sheforgen

Marc Sheforgen is a golf writer whose passion for the game far exceeds his ability to play it well. Marc covers all things golf, from product reviews and equipment recommendations to event coverage and tournament analysis. When he’s not playing, watching, or writing about golf, he enjoys traveling (often golf-related), youth sports coaching, volunteering, and record collecting.

Previous article Find the Best Golf Launch Monitor & Simulator for Your Game with Jock from GolfBusters!
Next article Rapsodo MLM2PRO vs Garmin Approach R10: The Battle for Best Affordable Golf Launch Monitor