THE BEST PERSONAL LAUNCH MONITORS OF 2019
Buyer's Guides

THE BEST PERSONAL LAUNCH MONITORS OF 2019

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THE BEST PERSONAL LAUNCH MONITORS OF 2019
SkyGolf SkyTrak
Rapsodo MLM
FlightScope Mevo
Voice Caddie SC300
Best Personal Launch Monitor
SkyGolf SkyTrak

Skytrak provides reliable numbers for significantly less than enterprise-class units. Graphics are excellent and the layout is intuitive. It costs quite a bit more than the other units we tested, but if your looking for an experience like what you’d get from a more expensive unit, it’s really your only option.

  • “Best Personal Launch Monitor 2019”
  • Best in Class Accuracy
  • Robust software package with Best in class for visuals
  • Easy to setup and use
  • Struggles in bright sunlight and with reflections outdoors
  • Far more functional indoors
  • Struggles to keep up with higher swing speed players
Best Outdoor Launch Monitor Under $500
Rapsodo MLM

The Rapsodo may be small but it packs a punch. Though it provides minimal data, what is does provide is generally accurate. It captures swing video and provides a shot tracer-like display of your shot. The data visualization package is excellent and individual sessions can be saved to the cloud.

  • “Best Outdoor Personal Launch Monitor Under $500”
  • Accurate with few exceptions
  • Shot tracer functionality
  • Easy to operate
  • Small and easily portable
  • For outdoor use only
  • Struggles with higher swing speed players
  • Provides limited data
  • Calibration can be frustrating
  • App is a battery killer
Best Indoor Launch Monitor Under $500
FlightScope Mevo

The FlightScope Mevo provides more metrics than comparably priced units. It’s equally adept in both indoor an outdoor environments, provides a robust set of value-added features and offers an interface that will feel familiar to users of more expensive units.

  • Best “Indoor Personal Launch Monitor Under $500”
  • Works well outdoors too
  • Simple and easy to operate
  • Requires metal stickers on balls for the most accurate results
  • Consistent measurements require a bit more effort during setup
  • Shot data is sometimes suspect and spin measurements are inconsistent
Voice Caddie SC300

For those who want a robust set of metrics SC300 provides more data points than most. Its voice mode will speak your numbers so you’re not constantly checking the screen. The optional app provides additional play modes which can make practice more fun.

  • User-friendly interface
  • Accurate ball speed
  • Long battery life
  • Provides more metrics than most other devices
  • Requires precise placement behind the ball for best results
  • Carry distance consistently suspect
  • Works better indoors than out

2019 PERSONAL LAUNCH MONITORS BUYERS GUIDE

Launch monitors are everywhere. They’re an integral part of nearly every club fitting and every teaching session. Club designers rely on them to validate their work, and there isn’t a driving range at PGA Tour event that isn’t lined from end to end with Foresight, Trackman, and Flightscope. Golf has become a data-driven game, and a good bit of that data comes from launch monitors. Given that many of the best players in the world use these devices to drive both equipment and on-course decisions, it’s understandable that average golfers would be hungry to do the same.

Here’s the rub. The gear the pros are using to scrutinize nearly every aspect of their swing and ball flight…depending on the model and the bundled features, a full complement of ball and clubhead data is going to set you back $12,000 to $25,000 – and that’s before we talk about things like software and maintenance contracts.

Most of us don’t have that kind of cash-on-hand, which is why there’s such intense curiosity around a growing number of what are called Portable or Personal Launch Monitors. The majority of these small, pocket-sized devices promise plenty of data for less than $500. We’re talking literal pennies on the dollar compared to their pro-level counterparts. By no small measure, they represent the holy grail for data-hungry average golfers. Real and reliable numbers just like the pros get for a price you can afford; that’s the dream and that’s the sell.

Too good to be true? Leaving some wiggle room for your expectations, probably.

We wanted to see how closely these affordable come to matching the output and accuracy of pro-level offerings. Prices for the devices we tested range from $369 at the entry-level to nearly $2000 for the prosumer (the middle ground between professional and consumer) grade SkyTrak. What became immediately apparent is that none of these devices match the volume of data provided by more expensive units. They measure significantly fewer metrics. None of the devices provide clubhead data, few attempts to provide spin numbers, and only SkyTrak provides dispersion data. Given the price points, none of this should be surprising.

Limited data might be fine for some, but what about accuracy? That proved to be a bit of a mixed bag as well – and that’s perhaps a generous characterization, though some do a significantly better job than others. The upside is that many of the devices we tested bundle additional features to elevate your experience beyond data collection and reading numbers off a screen. If you’re not entirely data-focused, there is some real fun to be had.

If you’re considering purchasing a personal launch monitor or want to see how these device measure-up, this guide is for you.

How We Test

We're here to help you find the perfect Personal Launch Monitor to fit your needs.

To do that, we put the leading devices in the category through a thorough and fully independent testing process that leaves no feature unexplored, no detail unchecked, and no stone unturned.

Our Metrics

To determine the accuracy and reliable of the data offered by the devices tested, we tested them side by side with an enterprise-class Foresight GCQuad launch monitor. Foresight is trusted by the R&D teams at every major golf equipment company and is renowned for the accuracy of the data it provides.

The metrics we consider when rating Personal Launch Monitors include Accuracy, Ease of Use, Portability, and Features.

Launch Monitor Technologies

Most, if not all, launch monitors available today are powered by one of two technologies: Radar or Cameras.

Radar

Radar-based systems use Doppler radar to follow the flight of the golf ball. Fundamentally, it’s a smaller version of the technology meteorologists use to track weather patterns. In simple terms, Doppler works by bouncing microwaves of an object – in this case, a golf ball. By continuously sending waves and receiving the reflections, Doppler-powered devices can track the movement of the ball through space.

Enterprise radar launch monitors like Trackman and FlightScope X3 feature larger Doppler radars, which are capable of tracking a golf ball over its entire flight. By comparison, less expensive consumer-grade units, like the ones tested here, have smaller Doppler units that lack the power to track the full flight of the golf ball. Even outdoors, the capability of consumer-grade radar systems to track a ball doesn’t match what you get using Trackman in limited flight mode.

The limited size of the radar unit is the reason why inexpensive units require the golfer to specify which club is being used. By designating a club, you’re letting the device know roughly where it needs to look for the ball. That ultimately serves to improve the accuracy and consistency of the readings and is why smaller units frequently miss shots that launch outside the normal window. It’s essential that golfers understand is that none of the consumer level radar units are capable of tracking anything close to the full flight of a typical golf shot.

With the exception of SkyTrak, all of the models we tested are radar-based.

Camera

As the category designation suggests, Camera-based launch monitors use an array of advanced high definition cameras to measure ball data at, and immediately following, impact. Because the flight of a golf ball is almost entirely determined at impact, camera-based systems can take what it measures – things like ball speed, launch angle, azimuth, and key spin metrics to calculate flight distance. While camera-based systems can’t measure the full flight of the golf ball, they typically provide more accurate axis tilt and spin measurements and are far more reliable in limited flight scenarios.

Depending on the quality of the cameras, some camera-based launch monitors can struggle under certain lighting conditions and in highly reflective environments.

Skytrak is the only camera-based system included in this test.

Rapsodo MLM - Best Outdoor Launch Monitor Under $500

Rapsodo MLM - Best Outdoor Launch Monitor Under $500

For those satisfied to know ball speed, launch angle, and carry distance, the Rapsodo MLM is as good as it gets outdoors for less than $500. The data it provides, while limited, is more accurate than most. It lacks some meaningful metrics like spin, and azimuth (also called horizontal launch angle), but its shot tracer feature can help you visualize shot shape/curvature which is as much as you can hope for when clubface and path info isn't available. The Rapsodo MLM doesn't work indoors, or with a net, so if you don't have wide-open spaces in front of you, you'll need to look elsewhere.

Features That Matter

Metrics: What data does the unit provide? While enterprise-class units provide an abundance of ball data (and many provide club data as well), personal launch monitors are limited in the data they provide. None provide head data natively, often swing speed measurements appear to be little more than educated guesses, and none provides the totality of information you get from professional-grade hardware. Determine what metrics you absolutely have to have, and then look for a device that provides them. Spoiler alert, you may not find one.

Accuracy: Just because a launch monitor spits out a number, doesn’t mean it’s accurate. Some units quietly acknowledge their shortcomings and avoid providing metrics they can’t reliably measure (for example, most units don’t offer backspin values). Others provide more data but do so at the risk of diminished accuracy. If the data isn’t both accurate and consistent, it’s virtually useless. Would you buy a calculator that’s only right some of the time?

Ease of Use: How easy is it to operate the launch monitor? Even the best launch monitors on the market need to be easy to use. For most of us, practice time is limited, and it shouldn’t be wasted trying to configure, connect, and use a device meant to help us improve faster. Some units require more precise placement at setup. Ask yourself if you’re willing to put in the extra effort to ensure the highest degree of accuracy possible.

Value-Added Functionality: While measuring the flight of the golf ball is the primary purpose for all of the units we tested, most offer some variety of additional functionality. Some units allow for simulator play, while others include features to record your swing, or leverage GPS functionality on the golf course. Others add elements of gamification like long drive contests and closest to the pin challenges. For some, these added features may be reason enough to buy a device, while others may find them compelling enough to choose one model over another.

Portability: Full-sized launch monitors like Foresight and Trackman are appreciably larger than consumer-grade units. If you’re spending more than $10,000 on a launch monitor, portability probably isn’t one of your primary concerns. For the average golfer who travels from home to the range and back again, a device that’s small enough to fit into your golf bag might be appealing. You should have no trouble finding a place to stash any of the sub-$500 models

Smartphone/Tablet Apps: While the Voice Caddie and Garmin offerings are entirely self-contained, the other devices we tested require an app to communicate with the launch monitor and relay data to the user. We found the applications to be generally easy to navigate and hassle-free. The Rapsodo MLM and Skytrak stand out for their simple and intuitive interface and layout though Rapsodo proved to be a battery killer when taking swing videos.

Personal Launch Monitor Features Chart 2019

ProductRangeMobile AppWeightOutdoor/IndoorsBattery life
FlightScope Mevo

Check Price
10-370 YDYes 7 ozIn + Out4 Hours
Garmin G80

Check Price
10-370 YDYes4 ozIn + Out15 Hours
Rapsodo

Check Price
10-370 YDYes (iOS only)9 ozOut4 Hours
SkyTrak

Check Price
10-370 YDYes1lbIn + Out5 Hours
Voice Caddie SC200

Check Price
30-320 YDNo7 ozIn + Out20 Hours
Voice Caddie SC300

Check Price
10-370 YDYes 1 lbIn + Out12 Hours

Buying Considerations

What’s Your Budget?

The price range for the units we tested is just under $400 to just under $2000. If you want enterprise-level accuracy and features (head data, for example), you’re looking at $7000+ for used Foresight GC2, and upwards of $25k for a brand new, fully-featured unit. That’s a massive difference, and so it’s plenty reasonable to wonder how much you should expect for pennies on the dollar.

Given where the technology stands today, a fully-featured launch monitor for only $500 is too much to reasonably expect. Most of the units we tested provide only a small subset of the data you’d get from an enterprise-class unit, and few provide that data reliably. Mostly, you should expect to get what you pay for.

Indoors, Outdoors, or Both?

If you’re going to use your launch monitor almost exclusively indoors, our first piece of advice would be to save your money for a SkyTrak. Consider buying used if you’re on a budget.

For those leaning towards using a more affordable radar-based indoors, make sure you have at least 8 feet of flight distance (plus the requisite about of room between the launch monitor and the hitting zone).

According to its manufacturer, the Rapsodo MLM isn’t suitable for use indoors or when hitting into a net. Outdoors, it was a standout for under $500.

If you’re splitting time between indoor and outdoor use, Flightscope’s Mevo, while not perfect, can handle either environment, the option to use metal dots can improve tracking a bit, and the video features are well executed.

Business, Practice, or Fun?

If you’re a club-fitter or teaching professional looking to leverage data to increase sales and add value for your customers, the hard truth is that none of these low price radar-based units will suit your needs. Skytrak does offer some fitting capabilities, and the bag mapping feature (also available in the Rapsodo MLM) is impressive. You should, however, also consider that an ever-increasing number of fitters and teachers are leveraging clubhead data. Frankly, it probably doesn’t make sense to spend upwards of $2,000 to be behind the industry curve.

For recreational golfers looking to measure their distances, some of the $500 radar units do a reasonably good job, though accuracy often comes at the expense of more data. At the $500 price point, the most accurate unit we tested provides fewer metrics than most.

If you’re data-obsessed to the point that you want to know precise ball speed, launch angle the degree, and your spin numbers within a couple of hundred RPM (give or take), $500 isn’t going to get you everything you want. Skytrak comes the closest to an enterprise experience, and the simulator component makes it the best option for fun as well. It lacks clubhead data, and it’s pricey by comparison, but, for indoor use, it’s head and shoulders above anything else priced below $5000.

For the golfer who less obsessed with data and just looking to have a good time with their friends, units that offer games like closest to the pin or long drive challenge may offer the most bang for the buck. Mevo, Rapsodo, SkyTrak, and Voice Caddie all include a selection of games that extend the capabilities of the device beyond just capturing data.

Before you buy, make sure you fully understand what you’re looking for and what each device can offer.

The Extra Mile

For many, $500 is a considerable amount of money, so it’s reasonable to try and squeeze every bit of value out of your purchase. To that end, many of the devices provide what I suppose should call bonus features above and beyond what we’ve already discussed.

Rapsodo also encourages you to show off your swing by publishing it on their Explore page for everyone to marvel at your distances.

Mevo offers tools to analyze your swing, displays data in a table similar to what you’d get with an enterprise model, allows you to toss bad shots, and stores your data in the cloud (Rapsodo also stores session data online).

For roughly 4x the money, SkyTrak provides the most robust set of features. On top of the closest to the pin, longest drive, and bag mapping functions, SkyTrak features a treasure trove of add-ons that enhance the ownership experience. You can play famous courses, kill zombies, and even improve your cardiovascular health with its fitness mode.

Range Balls or Real Balls?

Another hard truth; if you’re planning on collecting data while banging limited flight, beat to hell, or otherwise nondescript range balls, you’re not only wasting your time, you’re wasting money. If getting data with the ball you play is impossible, you should at least try and get data from a ball that’s similar to the ball you play. Failing that, make sure you’re using the same ball. That shouldn’t be too hard in indoor environments or hitting nets, but understand that if one ball you’re hitting isn’t like the next, there’s not much to be learned from whatever numbers appear on the screen from shot to shot.

If a literal mixed bag of range balls is your typical use-case, and you’re looking for more than just a good time, it probably makes sense to save your money.

Flightscope Mevo - Best Indoor Launch Monitor Under $500

Flightscope Mevo - Best Indoor Launch Monitor Under $500

The most versatile of the sub-$500 launch monitors tested, FlightScope's Mevo is small but captures a wide range of data. The intuitive app allows you to take swing videos while overlaying the data for each shot for side by side comparison. Shot data is stored in the cloud so you can track your progress from swing to swing and session to session. Mevo isn't perfect, and for the most accurate data, you need to place stickers on each ball. That's not realistic on a public driving range, but if you split time between the range and hitting indoors (or into nets), Mevo is your best bet for $500.

Metrics Offered

All of the devices we tested provide Ball Speed and Carry Distance. Other metrics produced by each unit are detailed in the chart below.

Metrics Offered

ProductClub SpeedLaunch AngleSide AngleSpinSide SpinLanding AngleCarryTotal
Voice Caddie SC300

Check Price
YesYesNoYes/With AppNoNoYesYes
Voice Caddie SC200

Check Price
YesYesNoNoNoNoYesYes
Garmin G80

Check Price
YesNoNoNoNoNoYesYes
FlightScope Mevo

Check Price
YesYesNoYesNoNoYesNo
Rapsodo

Check Price
NoYesNoNoNoNoYesNo
SkyTrak

Check Price
YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes

EXPERT TIP - On A Budget?

In 2020 we're starting to see a successful personal launch monitor take it's shape and for $500 you can reasonably expect some of these devices to give you information to help you in your game. The Rapsodo was more than 90% accurate on all data sets, with the exception of spin.

More Tips (If You Still Want to Buy)

  • Some of the launch monitors tested work better indoors, while others work better (or exclusively) outdoors. Before you purchase a launch monitor, make sure you know where you’re going to use it.
  • If you’re only going to hit a few dozen balls at a time, battery life may not be relevant. For longer sessions, especially when leveraging video features, battery drain can be an issue. Plan accordingly.
  • Launch monitors are a part of nearly every fitting experience, but don’t expect to fit yourself with a consumer-grade unit. They’re not consistent enough and don’t provide the data necessary to be used in a fitting scenario.
  • In the launch monitor category, you get what you pay for. While some of the models we tested do a reasonably good job measuring ball speed and launch angle, real spin measurements, which are a key component of dispersion and distance metrics, come at a cost. That cost is significantly more than $500.

Personal Launch Monitor Rankings

ProductAccuracyEase of UseFeaturesPortabilityTotal
SkyTrak

Check Price
1st5th1st6th89
Rapsodo

Check Price
2nd5th3rd3rd81
FlightScope Mevo

Check Price
3rd4th3rd1st80.5
Voice Caddie SC300

Check Price
4th1st5th5th78
Voice Caddie SC200

Check Price
5th1st6th3rd77
Garmin G80

Check Price
6th3rd2nd1st71

FAQ?

Q: What’s the difference between a personal launch monitor and what my fitter or coach uses? 

A: The short answer is several thousand bucks and a whole lot of accuracy. Enterprise-class launch monitors like Foresight and Trackman provide a significantly higher degree of accuracy and considerably more data points. This isn’t a case of paying a lot to get a little bit more. The differences are massive, which is what you should expect, given that most of these personal launch monitors cost less than 3% of what professional-grade gear sells for.

Q: What data can I get from a personal launch monitor?

A: Every model provides a slightly different dataset. All of them will give you ball speed and an estimated carry distance. Pricier units often provide additional data like launch angle and backspin. Some take a stab at head data like clubhead speed and attack angle. Few (if any) provide offline or dispersion numbers, and frankly, most spin numbers from small devices shouldn’t be entirely trusted. You need to decide if just the basics are good enough, or if you want as much data as possible – even if it isn’t entirely reliable.

Q: What is Smash Factor?

A: Smash factor is a common club performance metric. Several of the devices we tested provide this value (with varying degrees of accuracy). The Smash Factor formula is simple. It’s ball speed /clubhead speed (ball speed divided by head speed). The theoretical (and reasonable limit) for Smash Factor is 1.5 (maximum efficiency). When a device doesn’t accurately measure ball speed, head speed, or both, Smash Factor becomes meaningless. Anything above 1.45 with a driver is excellent, while anything much above 1.5 typically means either actual ball speed was slower than measured or club speed was faster than measured.

Q: Are all personal launch monitors accurate?

A: To put it bluntly, No. In fact, most aren’t. Skytrak is just short of excellent indoors, has a robust software package, and comes the closest to the enterprise units. It also costs 4x as much as the next highest-priced units tested. That said, sunlight and reflections cause issues outdoors; it struggles to keep up with high swing speed golfers, and doesn’t provide head data. The Rapsodo MLM is reasonably accurate, but it works outdoors only, and provide an extremely narrow set of data. Mevo works similarly both indoor and out, but misreads aren’t uncommon. To get pro-level metrics, reliability, and accuracy, you’ll need to spend thousands more.

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      Frank

      4 years ago

      I don’t have space inside for a launch monitor but I do have a net in my back yard. Is there a launch monitor that can be used outdoors while hitting into a net?

      Reply

      Gary

      4 years ago

      I would check out the £200 PRGR, £300 Swing Caddie SC200, £450 Swing Caddie SC300 and the £1800 Mevo Plus. Depends what your budget and requirements are. We have the amazing PRGR – check out the YT reviews from MrShortGame

      Reply

      GNC

      4 years ago

      Curious to know if the R Motion simulator can be used as a launch monitor when hitting into a net outside. It is supposed to provide dispersion data which is what most of the cheaper launch monitors are lacking.

      Reply

      Chad

      4 years ago

      It does not, but supposedly indoor / net use is coming at some point in the future via a software update.

      Reply

      Victor

      4 years ago

      Is swing tracking device, which attaches to your club, more accurate than launch monitor?

      Reply

      HAC

      4 years ago

      Just got a infomercial for a PRGR Pocket Launch Monitor from “Haney University” for $200. Seems like a great price – IF IT WORKS WELL. Has anyone tried this or know anything about it?

      Thanks for any help.

      Reply

      Wayne

      4 years ago

      I too am curious about the PRGR. I know it doesn’t measure as many different aspects… but it is also consider less expensive… and there are some decent reviews out there…. Would love (Adam ??) MyGolfSpy’s review though !

      Reply

      loni

      4 years ago

      RAPSODO is outdoor on the range, what about into a net?

      Reply

      Brad

      4 years ago

      The biggest issue with these outdoor monitors isn’t even the actual monitor itself. It is RANGE BALLS. Unless you are rich enough to hit brand new ProV1s at the range, then what is the point. You could have Trackman or GC Quad at the range and even those numbers are going to be off because you are using RANGE BALLS! So, unless you have an area where you can hit your own shag bag of the ball you are going to play, then don’t waste your money on any of these. If you are using it for indoor use, then that is where you can at least start judging how much accuracy you want.

      Reply

      Shawn

      4 years ago

      No mevo+? Is it that bad?

      Reply

      Dave T

      4 years ago

      This study pre-dated Mevo+

      Reply

      Robin T.

      4 years ago

      It struggled at 150+ mph. They have fixed this in the recent 3.4.1 update to become more accurate.

      Reply

      Kevin R

      4 years ago

      I have a little different take on this and I realize I am a little late to the comment party so few will see this. The real question not discussed much here is why are you using these things? I have used the ES-14, the SC200, SC 300, and a few others relatively extensively. I have compared them side to side with a flightscope and have been surprised at how close they are. Having said that, they are not accurate enough for club fitting. So if your criteria is accuracy alone you will be disappointed. What are they useful for? They are excellent for judging clubs. They can absolutely tell you if you are hitting a PXG 311 farther than a Callaway CF16 or vice versa. So club comparisons are great uses. The most important use is swing change comparisons. If I slow my backswing down and come more from the inside, do I hit it farther or the same? This is what I use it for mostly. OK, how am I hitting it today? What tweak gives me the best bang for the buck? Am I fitting it flush? How many yards do I lose if I hit it on the toe with this club vs that club? In other words, the units are invaluable for making comparisons between swings, equipment, technique, and mental adjustments. What if I do this? What if I change this? And isn’t that what we all LOVE to do? My favorite thing is to put someone on the launch monitor and show them with real data that swinging slower can give them more yards. We all know it to be true that better contact equals better distance but there is nothing like seeing in data.. That is the true power of these devices, not whether you can accurately dial in your eight iron to two yards. Leave that to the Flighscope.

      Reply

      Dave

      4 years ago

      Love your thoughts and it is exactly what I want to use it for. Based on your experience which one would you recommend. I would the flight tracker and even simulator golf but that is for the more expensive models.

      Reply

      Kevin R

      4 years ago

      Hey Dave,
      I think the Es-14 and the Sc200 & 300 all do a good job. The Es-14 is rather big and bulky and its placement is to the side and IN FRONT of the ball. That was disastrous when I let my wife use it. One shank and it is toast. Having the ball position behind your club path is better. The 300 is best for most data. But again, I’m not using this for club fitting. Just swing and club tweaking. To tell you the truth I am now very fond of the PRGR device. It is small and extremely portable so always in my golf bag. No nonsense device with just Swing speed and carry distance. Also much less expensive. When I want more data, I switch to the sc300. Hope that helps.

      Gary

      4 years ago

      Totally agree – also useful to test for any gapping issues in the bag

      Reply

      Jul

      5 years ago

      I have my Skytrack for 2 years now and have a simulation package. I mostly practice and appreciate having it for winter indoor training. Setup includes Skytrack, gaming laptop, net (screen) projector full mat all for around 5K. Worth every $. Combining this with lessons is perfect.

      Reply

      Harry

      5 years ago

      My local course just added Top Tracer Range and assume it is at least as accurate as the personal monitors which makes them a waste of money unless you only want to use the monitor inside. They did not increase the price for a bucket of balls after adding Top Tracer.. Also understand that range balls won’t be as consistent or carry as far as my ball.

      Reply

      Scott

      4 years ago

      The range near me did the same but they doubled the price of the balls when you use Top Tracer ($36 for a large bucket) which makes it unusable for me. Sounds like your range went the other way and is probably getting better results.

      Reply

      Harry

      4 years ago

      $9 for a large bucket so only problem is that I may have to wait for a bay to open.

      Chuck

      4 years ago

      That sounds ridiculous. That’s just greedy. We got a store called Carl’s Golfland nearby. It’s a great golf store. They have a range out back with Trackman radar. The balls cost the same. The trackman app and using it on the range are all free. Their range is full nonstop basically.

      Oswaldo Michelena

      5 years ago

      What do you consider high swing speed? A lot of them struggle with high swing speed, is it above 110, 115 or 120?

      Reply

      Tony Orre

      5 years ago

      Just my few cents to the discussion.

      I just had an opportunity to measure my Garmin G80 against Trackman (indoor hall, range balls).

      Swing speed and ball speed were on average within 1 mph, and no significant outliers as worse was less than 2 mph. We tested with i7, Titleist i3 driving iron and driver.

      When we set-up the G80, we did notice that if the ball is too close to the G80, the accuracy gets much worse.

      I would very much like to see the data of MGS test.

      Reply

      Paul Hoskins

      4 years ago

      I too have a Garmin G80 and as a hybrid, GPS/launch monitor all in one I think it’s the best value for money on the market.

      Reply

      Parker Smith

      4 years ago

      How does the G80 perform on the course with the garmin golf app? Does it shot track or keep stats? Also, if you wanted to know the average distance of a club. Does it do that for you? Or do you have to manually track the distances and the find the average? Thanks

      Peter G.

      5 years ago

      Well done article, but how were these monitors tested? Against each other? Were they tested vs a GC Quad or Trackman? How different were the numbers between them? I feel a more extensive test needs to be run to see how accurate these monitors are compared to GC Quad or Trackman or any device that is on the elite level. I personally have the SC200 & 300 and did teste vs a Trackman indoors and they were very similar, but as we all know numbers can be skewed indoors. I have always found the SC’s to be within a yard or two from 250 and in, but over that the difference in carry can be about +/- 10 to 15 yards more than what my eye has seen outdoors on the range. We al know that range balls are not the best product to use when using launch monitors, but we weekenders use what we can get. Like MGS, indoors I only use my ball, ProV1X, and gives a better spectrum keeping the variables the same as opposed to who knows what is in a range ball. I think I speak for us all seeing if we can dig deeper into this because I feel the data with clubs is greater and more extensive that what we have seen here, and drivers now cost as much as one of these so more information before making such a costly purchase would be helpful. Cheers!

      Reply

      Richard

      5 years ago

      With the skytrak, you also have to pay subscriptions for their different packages.

      Reply

      I hate GET LESSONS

      5 years ago

      Guys, nice test. But “get lessons”? Come on…

      If you want to spend $500, maybe the better option is to RENT a trackman, or pay for TIME on a trackman so you can then get the numbers you need, more accurately, and not buy a crappy device. I have a Mevo. It’s ok, but it’s not as helpful as I’d hoped.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      5 years ago

      I suppose I get your point, but once you’re into a rental scenario, which is likely to have longer-lasting value; playing around with a Trackman, or spending time with a qualified teaching professional.

      And really, there’s a good chance that your teacher is going to have a Foresight or a Trackman, or an high-end Flightscope.

      Classic two birds, one stone kind of thing.

      Reply

      Andrew Han

      5 years ago

      Also, just like you did with the Mevo review, will you overlay the variance to GCQuad? Did you also use GCQuad for outdoor testing as well? There was no mention of another system used, but wouldn’t you want to use a trackman / flightscope for outdoor testing, unless the weather wasn’t hairy and the barometer on GC is accurate.

      Reply

      Andrew Han

      5 years ago

      Scratch that. The placement of the radar would be a hindrance plus the budget ones are limited fight.

      Reply

      Andrew Han

      5 years ago

      You have to correct the mobile os for mevo. It supports both Android and iOS. I have had the mevo app on my Samsung for about two years now.. The website states it supports two. Just letting you know, just in case someone is interested but got turned off because of mobile compatibility issue.

      Reply

      golfraven

      5 years ago

      I am mote concerned with the accuracy of your data than that of my VC SC300. Bit of a shame tbh.

      Reply

      richard higgins

      5 years ago

      Why wasn’t the Ernest Sports ES 14 evaluated. I bought one and am very pleased. Just want to know how it stacks up against the others. I believe I paid $300.00 for it at the PGA show in Orlando, FL

      Reply

      BettiBoop

      5 years ago

      Your chart says SkyTrak doesn’t provide landing angle. That is incorrect. It absolutely provides descent/landing angle…I’ve got scores of data sheets I could show you. I think you need to correct your chart.

      Reply

      P.J.

      5 years ago

      Some important information for me is the visual element and the interfaces available. Meaning, the ‘Driving Range’ option for the SkyTrak is awesome, I spend most of my time in this mode. But, I’d like to see the statistics/information if any of the others offer a visual image of your shot, plus can you use these on the golf course simulator software like The Golf Club 2019 or E6 Golf, etc?
      The SkyTrak offering side-spin really helps me know/see when I’m hitting fades, hooks, slices, etc.

      Reply

      Will

      5 years ago

      The article is wellwritten & provides insights to the devices shown. Where is golf played – outdoors; therefore you’re only kidding yourself if you think hitting inside on a monitor compares with hitting the ball outdoors. Isn’t the average swing speed for a 7 iron about 75-85mph? For that kind of $$$ they want for these units, you can p/u a nice used set of irons/Driver (your choice), put some stickers on the face of the clubs and see where you are striking it. Then download a Golf. GPS App. to your phone & go hit ’em – all without launch monitor bs and maybe really improve your game. Doing this & your ahead already, being outdoors playing golf…

      Reply

      Deacon

      5 years ago

      I noticed you gave the Garmin g80 your lowest ranking of the six units tested. However, your discussion failed to even mention. I purchased it because it doubled as a range finder. I agree that it’s accuracy as a launch monitor is suspect. Can you give specifics that led you to rank it last?

      Reply

      Peter H

      5 years ago

      Exactly. It seems the Garmin was hardly mentioned. It is even entirely left out of the first chart at the top of the page. What was good/bad about it?

      Reply

      daviddvm

      5 years ago

      Thanks guys for the great information. I’ve been very tempted to buy one of these units but I’m glad I didn’t. I’ll keep using the data from my Arrcos for analytics and save my money for the future improved personal launch monitors.

      Reply

      Les Coles

      5 years ago

      Thanks for the testing. I have been waiting at watching for sometime for your results to come out. My question is, do all units measure in metres as well as yards or only in yards?

      Reply

      Darren

      5 years ago

      what about Ernest Sports models and PRGR? Did they decline to participate or was it a budget thing?

      Reply

      Dave

      5 years ago

      Does anyone have experience with the Rapsodo R-Motion? It seems to use a swing analyzer to create an artificial launch monitor.

      Reply

      Ben S

      5 years ago

      Good review of what I’d call the absolute bottom rung of golf sim’s. I’d call these fancy games at best because without accuracy maybe just buy a PS4 or Wii or PS3 with motion controllers LOL. For some reason people either think 500 for a launch monitor or 25K LOL folks there is an inbetween! Jesus christ.
      So we’ve got the ProTee base pack with everything you need aside from hitting bay and matt – $5,000
      ES 14 pro – $495 – should’ve been included for sure since its actually sub 500!
      ES16 Tour Launch monitor – 2,500 – should’ve been included in the test compared to skytrack. They state: The ES16 Tour is the best golf launch monitor under $4,000 featuring full data for game improvement and golf simulation!

      I honestly believe the middle ground is where it is at – still very expensive at roughly $3,000 – 8,000 – but accurate. Then there’s high end which in this article is being treated as the next step up from $500 which is $16 – 50K LOL which is new car money – millionaires only, etc.
      So I get there’s some that are out of reach for everyone, then there is this test which included the absolute bottom basement for launch montiors – I call them expensive toys. Then the middle ground – $2,500 – 8K for a full blown simulator experience with courses, launch angle, spin rate, carry roll, club data path, etc. Seems like ProTee is the absolute best. Slightly used versions with all 150K courses, all software, cameras, hitting bay, netting, impact screen, all sensors, hitting mat, LITERALLY EVERYTHING YOU NEED INCLUDING THE COMPUTER WITH ALL SOFTWARE LOADED UP AND READY IS $8,500 – I know its expensive but it is 1/4 of the price you are referring to as the next step up – meaning that is not the next step. At best comparing skytrack to trackman is a giant leap from sea level to mount everest. LOL.
      So I’d love to see a ‘mid range’ test of some more expensive systems – which would either require these companies give them to you/loan them or you’d have to buy them and I get it, you don’t want to spend 30k on buying 6 different mid level launch monitors/simulators but I believe at that mid price point is where most of us want to be in terms of accuracy, data, etc. I know for sure I don’t have GD 8K laying around but if I saved for 2-3 years I could absolutely have that much. Never in my life would I be able to save/spend 25K – 50K on a full blown sim with GC quad or something. LOL.

      So to reiterate –
      low budget/game/not accurate at all: $500 – 2k
      Mid level – accuracy nearing top shelf at 1/4 the cost: 2,500 – 8K
      High level – tiger woods would be fine having this in his home: 25 – 50K.

      Rate some of those mid grade systems. :)

      Reply

      P.J.

      5 years ago

      The SkyTrak option is NOTHING like an ‘fancy game”‘, as you put it. Have you even tried one?!? I’ve used the Wii option for golf and there’s no comparison at all. For me, the SkyTrak sets itself apart by providing side-spin data, which can absolutely help you with your practice sessions.
      I had friends over, who are single digit handicapper’s, we ran through several of the closest to the pin competitions at varying distances. My friends and I can feel when we hit a bad shot and pretty often know what it’s going to do. The SkyTrak absolutely emulates the hits and misses very accurately.

      Reply

      Marshall

      5 years ago

      Great comment. Thanks for all of the additional info. I am with you, a “mid-range” test would be great.

      For my use case of practicing indoors during the winter months, I’d much rather bite the bullet/save longer and get something fairly accurate in the 2,500+ range than spend the 1,500 (still a chunk of change) and get something that was just okay accuracy-wise.

      Reply

      Marshall

      5 years ago

      Great comment. Thanks for all of the additional info. I am with you, a “mid-range” test would be great.

      For my use case of practicing indoors during the winter months, I’d much rather bite the bullet/save longer and get something fairly accurate in the 2,500+ range than spend the 1,500 (still a chunk of change) and get something that was just okay accuracy-wise.

      Reply

      John

      5 years ago

      I would think twice before buying the Protee setup. I went that route & it was the most frustrating piece of garbage I ever wasted money on in my life. Never worked correctly. Continually misread shots & if you need help the company is based in the Netherlands which makes support difficult if you live somewhere far away.

      Reply

      David

      5 years ago

      In a year or two these will look like toys. You have to figure that into your cost equations. Is it worth the money for a year or two of use before they get outdated with newer, much better equipment.

      Reply

      Todd

      4 years ago

      Thank you for this information which is timely given current affairs.

      It seems to me that all of these units lack ball flight information which is pointless to me. I know how far I can hit my irons. I am more curious where my ball is going when hitting into my backyard net.

      Maybe your next article can be a quarantine/lockdown survival guide where you can recommend setups to practice and improve during this time.

      Reply

      MIGregB

      5 years ago

      For whatever it’s worth, SkyTrak has a $300 off sale going on right now. Still out of my price range, but better.

      Reply

      Tom

      5 years ago

      Would you guys ever consider putting together a chart with the average deviation for each offered measurement when compared with the GC Quad? I trust you accuracy rankings, but I’d like to know exactly how far off some of these can be.

      Reply

      Sandstream

      5 years ago

      I would also like to see that!

      Reply

      Jim

      5 years ago

      Me too. I’d really like to understand how “inaccurate” each unit is. Thanks.

      Reply

      968Cab

      5 years ago

      I did side-by-side simultaneous testing at my fitter’s studio….using his Trackman and my SkyTrak. +/-3-5 yards on carry, +/- 500rpm backspin. Side spin and ball/club speeds were nearly identical. For me (8-10 Hdcp) it’s plenty accurate enough, and a steal relative to the price. I use my SkyTrak as a range and to drive a simulator. On a popular golf simulator website, I’ve posted spreadsheet type data.

      FWIW, I just bought a SC300 for use outside at my range. I’ve set it up in my sim room and compared to SkyTrak…again, basically identical data readings, so by extension close to Trackman at $500

      I think this article provides a good breakdown of what’s available, but SEVERELY undersells the accuracy of the data. And I’ve proven the veracity of the data with my own swing and eyes.

      I’m a happy owner of 2 of the test subjects, and I still haven’t spent as much as a used GC2.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      5 years ago

      Have you considered that 500 can be anywhere from 20%-30% of the total spin with a driver and would still be considered significant with any other club in the bag? If you truly believe these smaller devices are accurate-enough, than by all means, buy and enjoy.

      While perhaps dated, the best analogous question I’ve come up with is this:

      Would you buy a calculator that was completely incapable of doing addition and rarely solved multiplication problems correctly – and there was no way to know when it was wrong? What’s a few hundred here or there, I suppose.

      968Cab

      5 years ago

      When the PGA Professional club fitter is looking for +/- 500 as a spin target to declare a shaft appropriate, isn’t the same tolerance good enough for a PML?

      A few hundred here or there? Oh, you mean like the latest game changing driver that you *might* use 14 times in 72 shots? What’s $499, no big deal?

      Bottom line, no recreational player (consumer) needs the calculator capable of accuracy to 3 decimal places—especially at 5-10 times the cost!!—when the rest of that sector of the golf world measures in feet or yards of tolerance.

      Erik J. Barzeski

      5 years ago

      My testing (50+ hours with just the SkyTrak, 100+ with the Mevo) do not at all support the “SkyTrak is pretty accurate” claim. It’s a decent sim machine (once you spend another $2k on a PC, The Golf Club, etc.) and the yearly subscription can run $200 alone…

      I have several students who can’t even hit shots on SkyTrak (higher swing speed students), even when they’re hitting 8-irons. Every now and then shots on the SkyTrak will just go 30° to the right, even though the shot was straight. It often reports smash factors of 1.45 or so with higher a well-struck wedge and the smash factor is a complete guess. It likely only takes a few photos and to expect it to get the spin axis, etc. accurate to within a degree is folly.

      For my money (and I have not yet tested the Rapsodo, but will be soon), the Mevo is the clear winner. $500, just as accurate, no subscription, works indoor and out, is portable as heck, doesn’t really need the stickers (they can help but aren’t needed in my testing). Yes, it occasionally gives you a weird number, but you can greatly minimize those if you’re careful about putting it level with the ball and farther back, and when you do get an occasional odd number, you can pretty easily know to throw it out. And it gives fewer weird results than SkyTrak, in my testing.

      In sims, putting is atrocious on the SkyTrak. But if you’re “putting” in a sim using the device, you’ve already chosen wrong. They’re almost all horrible, and some of that is on the sim software itself.

      Reply

      Geoff

      4 years ago

      Hi. Did you test the Rapsodo as a comparison to the Mevo? I’ve been saving up for a SkyTrak as I made the decision this was the best option, but now I’m considering the rapsodo or mevo as a much cheaper option! What about the newer Mevo+? Cheers.

      Reply

      Mark

      5 years ago

      Voice Caddy SC300 says it measures launch angle and has it on the display but your chart says it doesn’t?

      Reply

      Tony

      5 years ago

      One discrepancy on the grid above…. Skytrak does provide landing angle. I use that information regularly on my SkyTrak. It’s labeled as Decent/Deg and provided in degrees… which is the same as landing angle.

      Reply

      BettiBoop

      5 years ago

      100% accurate. I posted the same thing. Not sure why they think it doesn’t provide landing angle. I look at that on my SkyTrak every single time I use it. Hopefully they correct the chart.

      Reply

      Bob

      5 years ago

      You should check the price of SkyTrac on amazon. $1695.00

      Reply

      Shawn

      5 years ago

      Yes this is for their holiday sale, normal retail price is $1995 I believe.

      Reply

      cody reeder

      5 years ago

      Great article. the only thing that I wished I could see is the comparisons vs GCquad. I am guessing that would just be tedious and really not prove anything more than what you stated. I would just like to see percentages of accurate or inaccurate.

      Reply

      JohnSmalls

      5 years ago

      When it comes to accuracy; how close are the top 3 units when individually compared to GCQuad?

      Reply

      cody

      5 years ago

      Yeah, It could be a pretty simple chart. GCquad gave us these numbers. the next gave us these, and then these etc down the line. It would also be a pretty simple way to show what info was available with which device.

      I understand it can be tedious to compile the info into a spread sheet though and understand maybe why they didnt do it. Still a great article.

      Reply

      TenBuck

      5 years ago

      I would have been nice to see some comparative data between the units. In this test we have no data to look at other than the rankings.

      Reply

      Aaron

      5 years ago

      I second Brandon’s comment about when the Skytrak accuracy drops off for high swing speed players using this piece of equipment. I’ve used it indoors to test before buying and felt with my swing speeds, especially with metal woods, it’s accuracy lagged compared with when I was swinging irons and wedges.

      Reply

      enoughtrumpspam

      5 years ago

      You really need to put “IOS ONLY” as a con and talk about it more in your article. You all realize Android is the most used mobile operating system in the world and the US right? You’re misleading people by not highlighting the major CON that the app is iOS only and you NEED to use a phone in order to use the device at all.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      5 years ago

      We’ll update the chart, it’s important info. That said, the argument that Andriod is the most-used and therefore… (whatever ever comes next) is fundamentally flawed. Talk to anyone involved in the development of these and other devices (same issues with the swing analyzers that were the rage several years ago). Android isn’t really a single OS. You’re literally designing for hundreds of variations that sometimes share little more than a name, and while that’s not much of an issue when everything runs locally on the phone, it’s a nightmare when external communication is in play.

      I talked to the guys behind the Skypro analyzer several years ago, and the explanation was basically that for iOS, at any given time there are 8 or so variations in play. With Android, it’s hundreds.

      When Android apps are available, they often aren’t as fully-featured (the consequence of having to make everything work across all variations).

      The bottom line is this, if you plan on using any external or sensor-driven device to improve your golf game, there are few exceptions where you don’t need an iphone.

      Reply

      Bob Pegram

      5 years ago

      This illustrates that while flexibility is good in general, for some specific applications, it can be a huge detriment. Android is a form of Linux which has huge amounts of flexibility on regular computers as well – and both the operating system and programs are free. Linux is a form of UNIX as is the Mac operating system and iOS. I am surprised there are so many versions of iOS.

      Jacob McCain

      5 years ago

      That’s just wrong. I have used my SkyTrak on iOS, Windows, and Android devices (although Android devices are more spotty in connecting). Easiest method is with Windows. Now if you want to play WGC with SkyTrak that is iOS only, but it sucks and is so not worth it. Do yourself a favor and just get TGC.

      Reply

      Eric

      5 years ago

      Does anyone have experience combining launch monitors and swing analyzers? I am thinking of using MEVO with something like a ZEP to get a more detailed picture.

      Reply

      TrueGolferNorth

      5 years ago

      Great reviews! But I would say SkyTrak is a level up in price ad well as in features. Are you planning to do a comparison test for upscale launch monitors including TrackMan, GC Quad and Flight Scope?

      Reply

      DaveMac

      5 years ago

      I have mentioned this before but it is worth pointing out again. Spytrak needs a yearly subscription to become useful.
      It still (as far as I am aware) retains subscription authentication within the Skytrak unit, this means you need to switch the unit on simply to review your stored data on your tablet or computer.
      The subscription authentication can cause issues when you are away from an internet connection.

      Reply

      Tony

      5 years ago

      The Skytrak is useful without the subscription, but the $99/year fee is worth it to store your data, and the additional features like bag mapping, extra shot tracers, etc… agree though, that $99/yr should be factored into your decisions if looking to purchase.

      Reply

      DaveMac

      5 years ago

      Tony, thanks for the reply, although I respectfully disagree with your assertion that Skytrak is useful without subscription.
      Only shot data is available and nothing from any session can be saved for future review.
      I bought a Skytrak when it was originally released but returned it under the 30 day return guarantee because of these issues. I bought a FlightScope Xi instead, although it lacks launch angle and spin (a mevo sore point) I have been much happier with its performance. I will say I use the unit almost exclusively outdoors the area where Skytrak is weakest.

      Dustin

      5 years ago

      Great article and info! Understand the numbers will never be as good as a trackman or QCquad, but would you trust Skytrak for bag mapping or wedge gapping? Would plan on using indoors. with same balls I normally game. Thanks

      Reply

      TrueGolferNorth

      5 years ago

      “ Understand the numbers will never be as good as a trackman or QCquad,“ This statement is not true. Indoors SkyTrak is more accurate for longer clubs eg driver and 3w than TrackMan. TrackMan still struggles when non centered hits which are norms for most amateur golfers.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      5 years ago

      I’m not sure I would agree with this (at least not to the extent I did a few years ago). Trackman has gotten significantly better at tracking balls indoors (likely correlates with the release of impact mapping). Can’t speak to the latest Flightscope enterprise models.

      TrueGolfer

      5 years ago

      Tony,

      I have been using both TrackMan and SkyTrak side by side in my facility. The only reason that I stick to SkyTrak is that TrackMan does not interpret the ball flight correctly for toe or heel hits. Whenever the ball flights of SkyTrak and TrackMan match, I normally can safely conclude it’s center of club face hit; most time it matches how I feel. It is amazing how SkyTrak can do considering the price point.

      Rob

      5 years ago

      Might be worth mentioning that the Rapsodo only works with IOS right now. The website says Android is coming but they don’t say when.

      Reply

      Brandon

      5 years ago

      What speeds are we talking about where Skytrak accuracy starts to drop? 110mph? or even higher.

      Reply

      Ben

      5 years ago

      Yeah. I was curious about the same question.

      Reply

      Tanner Jacobs

      4 years ago

      I am curious about what is considered high swing speed as well. I am about 113mph average.

      Reply

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