SkyTrak+ Moving the Launch Monitor Needle (In More Ways Than You Might Think)
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SkyTrak+ Moving the Launch Monitor Needle (In More Ways Than You Might Think)

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SkyTrak+ Moving the Launch Monitor Needle (In More Ways Than You Might Think)

Is a SkyTrak+ launch monitor on your Christmas list? 

Better check your naughty or nice status. Santa could have some tough decisions to make.

“We’re running a little short because we’ve sold way more than we forecasted for the holiday season,” says Nick Clearwater, GOLFTEC’s Vice-President of Instruction and one of the world’s top swing coaches.

“Our integrations into our facilities have slowed down so hopefully things are evening out on the inventory side. We know a lot of golfers are hoping a SkyTrak+ winds up under the Christmas tree.”

Can’t really blame them. 

The second-generation SkyTrak+ features a dual Doppler radar system packed with machine-learning algorithms that now deliver clubhead speed, club path, face angle and smash factor data.  The unit’s on-board camera system also got an upgrade for even better ball-tracking accuracy. 

Did we mention it remains affordable? SkyTrak+ comes with a performance level that rivals launch monitors at premium prices.

“Our goal is to bring the ability to practice, play and compete to golfers everywhere. We think SkyTrak+ will be a game changer,” says SkyTrak CEO,Jeff Foster. 

Did you know Santa has a history with SkyTrak?

The Original 

Launched more than a decade ago, the $1,995 commercial-quality, consumer-focused product stunned the launch monitor market with its slate of performance features that rivaled units five to 10 times its price.     

No wonder the original SkyTrak has sold more than 70,000 units worldwide. 

“Consumers like it because it’s reliable, repeatable and every time you turn it on the thing just works,” Clearwater says. “There are a bunch of reasons it’s the best-selling launch monitor ever made but when it first came out you just couldn’t get that level of quality for the price. Honestly, two grand was always a steal for the original.”

GOLFTEC Acquires SkyTrak

This deal was kind of a head-scratcher when it was announced in August 2022. How would these two well-known and respected brands integrate to benefit each other? 

“With this acquisition, we’re combining two companies that understand how data and personalized coaching can truly accelerate a person’s journey to better golf,” Joe Assell, GOLFTEC’s Co-founder and CEO, said at the time. “We’re excited about delivering an improvement experience that goes beyond the traditional GOLFTEC Training Bay and helps people improve with GOLFTEC anywhere.”

That’s all fine and good but something still didn’t add up. 

Despite record sales in 2021 and a long list of industry awards and brand accolades, SkyTrak was over a decade old.  The software? Even older. 

Cue the Second Generation

SkyTrak+
Still shots from Feb 2023 Commercial Shoot for ST+

SkyTrak+ launched in May 2023.    

Launch monitor chat rooms lit up about the second-generation product’s combined dual Doppler radar system and improved camera system for ball data. 

But the upgrades didn’t end there. 

Added to SkyTrak+ functionality:   

  • Camera system upgrade also improved outdoor performance off mats. 
  • New processor provided faster shot-to-show function.
  • 40% larger hitting area.
  • Access to over 100,000 courses using third-party course software companies. 
  • Updated Wi-Fi capabilities, USB-C charging and processor upgrade to integrate with more mobile devices and PCs. (This was a big one.)
  • Indoors or outdoors still no special golf balls or club face fiducials (stickers) required – as long as you hit off a mat. 

Price Increase Justified

Upgrading the internals meant a substantial price hike. After more than a decade, that was kind of expected.  

While a 33-percent rise may seem inordinately high to some, the value-added proposition from an enhanced SkyTrak+ user experience helped justify the cost increase.

“What we have now is a $2,995 device that gets you really good fidelity of the golf ball relative to GC Quad,” Clearwater explains. “We did a couple of independent studies to compare the ball data and those show that ours is pretty much indiscernible on quality between the two devices. 

“For us to be able to offer a good, accurate, dependable product at that price versus what you get at the top end with TrackMan outdoors or Foresight inside makes SkyTrak+ a great option for consumers who don’t want to spend $20,000 or more on a launch monitor.”

Putting SkyTrak+ to the Test

Indoor/Outdoor Photoshoot for SkyTrak+

GOLFTEC began internal testing of SkyTrak+ at some of its facilities in February.

Behind the scenes, the company’s teaching quality team had collaborated with SkyTrak engineers on software applications tailored specifically to GOLFTEC coaches. Everyone involved wanted feedback. 

The survey results were telling. 

More than seven out of 10 coaches “strongly preferred” SkyTrak+ over what they’d been using. 

“A lot of that was driven by the hardware because it’s really good but the software capability and all the things that can be done to make custom environments for people while sharing data back and forth between our systems is pretty powerful integration,” Clearwater says.

Taking SkyTrak+ LIVE 

GOLFTEC couldn’t ignore the obvious. 

SkyTrak+ was designed and marketed to be a consumer-specific launch monitor (just like the original SkyTrak) but bringing it in-house to GOLFTEC locations was practical on multiple levels.

Especially as a marketing initiative.  

That the worldwide leader in golf instruction could trust an affordable consumer launch monitor—even one it now owned—to be the performance conduit between coaches and students at its facilities was a strong validation of the quality of the product and the accuracy of the data. 

“We could have kept rolling right along with our Foresight GC2s in our hitting bays. We’d been using those products forever,” Clearwater says. “We came to realize that if it was just like GC2, why not make the change? If people who teach two million lessons a year trust SkyTrak+ it has to be pretty good.”

Ownership Has Its Advantages

Acquiring SkyTrak meant GOLFTEC also took ownership of the software. What that meant was the creation of unique eco-systems to help its coaches make the learning environment more fun for students.

“Something simple like putting objects up and in the way to practice a specific skill—curving a ball around a tree or flighting shots underneath a branch—that kind of freedom was never available to us in the past,” says Clearwater. 

“Now that we have vertical integration of a really good launch monitor and the software is ours, we can do a lot of cool things.”

Other cool things included a “Shot Optimizer” feature. It uses red and green boxes to indicate when shots are struck at optimum range levels. 

“Shot Score” was another neat feature. Bank enough shots with a specific club and SkyTrak+ provides a performance assessment. 

There’s also a wedge matrix, practice randomizer, bag mapping and a skills assessment.

“The software development team is really the power we have over some competition,” Clearwater says. “We have seven golf teachers here with me and all they do is teach golf on LMs. We have people dedicated to this on the SkyTrak side. 

“Between the two groups coming together with all that shared brain power, we have some pretty robust and aggressive plans to make software so compelling it will resonate with consumers.”

Unpacking Improvement Over Time

SkyTrak’s ability to build custom environments for people to play and practice on and share data back and forth seamlessly between its systems is a powerful integration tool for consumers and coaches. 

And there’s room for it to grow. 

Up next for the SkyTrak research team is to address improvement over time, something Clearwater says has not been very well displayed or thought out in the launch monitor category.

“If you finish a session on Foresight or TrackMan, you get a data table of all the shots you hit but you might not know what to do with that data without a lot of expertise or moving that spreadsheet into an Excel spreadsheet and trying to look for standard deviations or patterns of shots you hit. 

“We’re going to automate that experience with SkyTrak+ so at the end of your session you get that same list of shots but we’re going to tell you what they mean to you. And depending on what type of golfer you are or the type of golfer you want to be, we want to add this as a golf education piece and help people get better.”

Wrapping Up (SkyTrak+) 

GOLFTEC is doing its best to keep up with the SkyTrak+ holiday demand.

“We have golf teachers over at our warehouse packaging up boxes and sending them out. It’s been pretty crazy the last six weeks or so,” laughs Clearwater. 

That loops back to price. 

Before departing for his next lesson appointment, the award-winning swing coach offered one final thought on SkyTrak+.

“No launch monitor is perfect at any price point. Including ours. But if you’re a coach who values the data and hasn’t felt like he or she has had the opportunity because you’ve been priced out of a product that covers it all, that’s not the case any longer. 

“If you’re a consumer using it at home, SkyTrak+ is everything you want. It’s reliable, affordable and gives you great fidelity of accuracy of data. As a company, the goal is simple: take those three points and point people towards better.” 

Editor’s Note: This article was written in partnership with SkyTrak.

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Rick Young

Rick Young

Rick Young

MyGolfSpy contributor Rick Young believes golf has far more interesting stories outside the ropes than inside; that a beautiful set of forged irons is good for the golfing soul (even if they're hard to hit) and that the World Golf Hall of Fame is missing a dozen worthy golf industry icons who deserve an honored place in St. Augustine, FLA. Born and raised in Woodstock, Ontario, Young is currently President of the Golf Journalists Association of Canada....and trying hard not to be impeached.

Rick Young

Rick Young

Rick Young

Rick Young

Rick Young

Rick Young

Rick Young

Rick Young





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      Ned

      4 months ago

      Use mine indoors and my wife and I love it. Play 4-5 courses a week really enjoy it and our game has improved can’t ask for more.

      Reply

      WYBob

      4 months ago

      “Indoors or outdoors still no special golf balls or club face fiducials (stickers) required – as long as you hit off a mat.” So, what do you do if you want to hit off grass (i.e. Range/Practice Area)? I rarely hit off mats outdoors. Thanks…

      Reply

      Lynn

      4 months ago

      mu question as well… no answers?
      I do not use a mat on the outdoor range

      Reply

      CryptoDog

      4 months ago

      Ugh. Golftec. The biggest scam racket in golf, ever. They act like the tech is what will solve golf swings for people but it’s just a scam. All they care about helping absolute hackers may be hit a few shots straight and in turn that shows they can improve their score by 10, making them think the hacks are improving their game to the point that they’d be good enough to compete on Tour some point in the future LMAO
      They found a niche to scam people of their money with their gab, and they ran with it and made millions so they continue to rake it in from clueless innocent hackers who have no idea. But if you walked in and asked them to teach you so you can swing like Dustin Johnson or Bryson or Furyk, they won’t and can’t, and they won’t explain to you how their golf clubs are in the equipment, even though Golftec does “fittings” they won’t build a copy set of Bryson’s it’s hilarious
      What a joke
      And now they have this machine from SkyTrak to try to convince their students to buy it for their home so they can make even more money lolololol
      Has nothing to do with improving your game

      Reply

      Josh

      4 months ago

      I’d ask who pissed in your cheerios, but your choice of username says enough…

      Reply

      CryptoDog

      4 months ago

      I wouldn’t know what that would taste like but I guess you do? lmao

      Peejer

      4 months ago

      Clearly you have never gone to GolfTec or used a launch monitor. I have done both. I was a 26 handicap, took lessons at a different company and dropped to a 12. I remained at a 12 for a few years. Then went to GolfTec for lessons to see if I could still improve. After working with them on a 5-lesson package, I dropped down to a 6.6 handicap. They definitely helped me refine my swing and learn more about what I did to cause errant shots, so I rarely hit two bad shots in a row and gave me the ability to fix my own swing mid-round. My dig on GolfTec is they are pretty pricey, but I can’t argue with the results. As far as SkyTrak goes – I had the original for 5 years, and bought the upgraded one earlier this year. It’s amazing and I would do it all over again in a moment. I have the SkyTrak+ set-up in my garage, hit into an enclosure with video projection. Whether working on my swing, or playing 18 with my buddies, it’s keeps my swing grooved, especially in the Colorado winters. I absolutely recommend the SkyTrak+ and if you need that extra help figuring out your swing, the data and technology that GolfTec provides is second to none.

      Reply

      Jason S

      4 months ago

      How do you not add AoA into the new device?! I don’t get it. That’s an extremely important stat for coaches and fitters and for accuracy in simulated rounds. I need to know if I’m hitting up with an iron or down with a driver. For $3k, that needs to be part of the info gathered. For the same price, I’d go Mevo+ w/ both software package add-ons. I’ll get even more data and all the stats I need. Or, I can go a few bucks more with the BLP for all the stats plus stuff that’s missing with Skytrak+ and we know its accuracy indoor and out like the Mevo+. I really gave it a thought and wanted it to work, until I saw that simple stat missing. Other people may not care, and that’s fine. But with my swing changes, AoA is an extremely important stat to watch.

      Reply

      glen o

      4 months ago

      Really? That is quite odd. Does it give you a spin loft and dynamic loft? If so it can be given from the subtraction of the two. Maybe is a software thing. I dont have the unit myself.

      Reply

      Ned

      4 months ago

      From a user at reddit forum “BLP bad readings
      I finally got my BLP set up in the garage and was getting really inaccurate numbers. I’m a 10 handicap and was getting readings of 112 yard flushed 7 irons and 120-130 yard 6 irons. I’ve noticed that my mat does move a bit after a few swings.” so there’s no prefect LM out there.

      Reply

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