- Launch Monitor Technologies
- Launch Monitor Measurements
- Features/Number of Measurements
- Reviews of the 5 Best Golf Launch Monitors
Spending time hitting balls on the driving range will provide you with a rough estimate of the distance that you can achieve but your eyes cannot guarantee you accuracy especially when you are looking at distances over 100 yards. The range of distances that you can achieve with a club and the gap between clubs is just as important as specific distances.
Golf launch monitors are specially designed to track your shots and deliver instantaneous and detailed feedback of your shots. This will empower you to track the effect of any adjustment that you may choose to apply to your swing and can aid you in picking the most appropriate clubs for your swing.
One of the major benefits obtained from using launch monitors is that they give immediate feedback on the swing and the trajectory of the ball. Faults can be identified and worked on in one session.
With the progress made over the last decade, launch monitors have become smaller and can now even be used indoors to aid golfers in identifying swing faults and observe the outcome of small swing changes
Even though professional golfers are surrounded by teams of advisors and instructors, they still depend on golf monitors to furnish them with immediate feedback on their swing, ball trajectory, and ball contact to refine their game.
Professional golfers utilize top-end golf monitors but there is a wide diversity of alternatives accessible to the ordinary golfer that intends to enhance their skills.
Launch Monitor Technologies
The most frequently utilized categories of golf monitors available are firstly Doppler Radar Launch Monitors that are based on the scientific Doppler Effect principle and secondly the Photometric Launch Monitors which are camera-based and in-club technologies adding transmitters to the back of your grip. Each of these technologies has its pros and cons and your ultimate goal and training regimen will define which is the best application for you.
A Doppler radar uses the Doppler effect to remotely generate velocity data regarding items by bouncing a microwave signal off the target and evaluating how the object’s movement has changed the frequency of the returned signal. Doppler is the most widely used technology in launch monitors.
Photometric monitors use numerous tiny cameras with high-speed shutters to take multiple pictures in a split second to generate many measurements relating to the ball and clubhead. Sophisticated algorithms evaluate the array of pictures swiftly and convert them to data to transmit to the golfer.
It must be mentioned that photometric monitors are exceptionally precise in providing information related to the clubhead and ball contact but are not in a position to provide feedback on the actual ball flight.
In-club technologies track shots in real-time using exclusive software to link clubs to a phone via an app. Although they are not as precise in measurements as devices using Doppler technology, they are much simpler to set up and use.
The systems documents and transforms the data into numerical statistics to enable golfers to scrutinize their shots and illustrate the effect of any adjustments to their swing.
Launch Monitor Measurements
The more measurements offered by the launch monitor the more precise it becomes. The minimum requirements for a launch monitor to be considered acceptable are clubhead speed, carry distance and spin.
Carry distance is enormously valuable for fine-tuning your distance control per club. It is imperative that the launch monitor track data related to the clubhead as well as the ball at impact.
A good launch monitor will be able to track the following:
- Face Angle
- Club Path
- Clubhead Speed
- Attack Angle
- Swing Plane
- Swing Direction
- Dynamic Loft
- Spin Loft
- Ball Speed
- Smash Factor
- Launch Angle
- Launch Direction
- Ball flight
- Hang Time
- Spin Axis
- Spin Rate
- Carry distance
- Landing Angle
- Total distance
Features/Number of Measurements
It is not the number of features that make a launch monitor more sought after by golfers but the quality of the features that will enable golfers to make adjustments to their swing in their pursuit of excellence.
Accuracy is key with launch monitors since the information that is fed back to you will have a big part in how you play your shots on the course.
A launch monitor is expected to track the path of your ball from impact until it reaches the end of its journey. This will then enable you to look at the carry distance as well as the final distance and if there was any side spin effect on the ball flight. This will enable you to improve your accuracy linked to specific clubs.
The amount of spin imparted on the golf ball plays a significant role in the trajectory of the ball as well as the reaction on the green and therefore it is an enormously valuable measure to receive feedback from the launch monitor
Ease of use
Most golfers do not want to spend too much time setting up, taking down and calibrating the device. They want to hit golf shots and see what they can do to improve their swing, ball flight, and generate accuracy in their game. This device makes that possible. It is extremely fast and user-friendly.
Application and Database Usability
More sophisticated systems contain database trackers that drill down to the specific club level to ensure that the data presented to the golfer is clear and not mystifying.
Quick Overview: Our Top Picks for Best Golf Launch Monitors
|Rapsodo MLM Launch Monitor||
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|Mevo Flightscope Launch Monitor||
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|Skytrak Golf Launch Monitor||
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|Voice Caddie SC200 Plus||
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Reviews of the 5 Best Golf Launch Monitors
1. Rapsodo MLM Launch Monitor
- Simple switching between clubs through the Smart club identification system
- Phone fits in the cradle designed on the launch monitor
- Video recording provides immediate video replays for invaluable feedback
- Utilizes your smartphone camera
- No Launch Monitor needed as it can run on your computer
- Attaches to your golf clubs
- Share your shots on social media
- Fewer measurements than comparable launch monitors
- Not appropriate for indoor training
The Rapsodo MLM launch monitor is one of the most unique and innovative launch monitors to be released in the recent past.
It can be described as an in-club technology launch monitor as the device clips to your golf club and via a connection to your smartphone that easily fits into a cradle within the launch monitor base.
The launch monitor records visuals of your shots for easier viewing of the shot in graphic motion. It provides valuable data regarding the shot statistics together with a full visual recording that is available immediately.
The system uses the GPS on your smartphone to calculate the landing spot of the ball based on the data gathered from the shot. The system is easy to set up and to use provided you have a smartphone handy.
In the times of instant gratification, it not only provides you with instant feedback but will furthermore allow you to share your shots immediately on social media and send the visual recording to selected people. Furthermore, the videos can be stored in a library for future reference and viewing.
The system contains a club recognition system that can identify the club that is in use and then switch seamlessly when you decide to use a different club to practice with
The software provides access to 15 award-winning courses and an array of games that will provide hours of fun for you and your friends.
The battery will last for roughly 4 hours hence it can be used on the driving range or any other place where you feel you can hit some balls.
It has 4 hours of battery life, meaning that it’s also useful to take out onto the course as well as on the driving range. We’re still baffled as to how affordable the device is. It’s a fantastic alternative to SkyTrak and Launch Monitors in general.
2. Mevo Flightscope Launch Monitor
- Flight tracker on an easy to use an app
- Portable and easy to pop up anywhere on the course or indoors
- Accurate downrange tracking for ultimate shot following
- Includes E6 Golf Simulation Software
- Video Analysis
- Capable of measuring 16 different data points.
- Great both Indoor and Outdoor
- Modern design
- User-friendly interface
- Lacks some of the functionality of comparable launch monitors
Here are a few of the key features. The Mevo+ is capable of accurately measuring 16 ball and swing metrics such as:
- Club speed
- Ball speed,
- Carry distance
- Total distance
- Launch angle
- Spin rate
- Club Path
- Smash Factor
The Mevo Flightscope is a compact and portable launch monitor utilizing the much-vaunted 3D doppler technology that makes it practical for golfers from all skill levels at a very inexpensive price.
The tracking technology monitors the path of your shot through the use of technology that is trusted by tour professionals and industry-leading game-improvement features.
It includes enhanced features to track every possible statistic of ball flight including the spin rate and carry distance.
The Mevo Flightscope is simple to set up and can be fully set up and ready for action within a few minutes. The tripod shape will enable you to set it up almost anywhere even if the surface is slightly uneven. It is possible to use this on the course as well provided it doesn’t slow your group down too much especially in light of the complaints regarding slow play in general.
The launch monitor is equally easy to use indoors or outdoors, and the compact size will enable you to take it everywhere with you.
The E6 Connect Golf Simulation Software is preloaded on the Mevo Flightscope although only a limited version and not the full version of the software. The software enables you to utilize the Flightscope as a simulator in addition to the launch monitor functions and there are no subscription costs associated with it.
The tracking database stores the information gathered from previous sessions for comparison to view the improvements made over time. As the data is stored for every club that you have used before you can retrieve the information for every club.
3. SkyTrak Golf Launch Monitor
- Easy to use
- Very Accurate
- Amazingly detailed software
- Almost lifelike graphics
- Can operate in limited space
- Downrange accuracy has been raised as a concern by some
- Regular calibration may be needed
The SkyTrak provides the following feedback for every shot taken:
- Carry distance
- Total distance
- Launch angle
- Side angle
- Ball speed
- Clubhead speed
Whenever the subject of launch monitors is debated one of the first names to enter the debate is the SkyTrak launch monitor. Not that there is much to debate as this unit is streets ahead of the competition and the general consensus is that SkyTrak has delivered one of the most sought after and technologically superior products to date.
This is a lightweight and compact device that is flexible enough for indoor and outdoor use and works without internet connectivity. The setup is simple and intuitive and can be completed within a couple of minutes to optimize your time hitting balls.
A feature that enhances the stature of the SkyTrak is its ability to link to some of the highest-rated software in the launch monitor space.
Users are able to set some factors to emulate windy conditions and temperature to establish the influence of these conditions on the trajectory and distance that the ball travels.
The SkyTrak makes use of Photometric technology by employing a succession of tiny cameras that transmits a copious number of pictures as the clubhead interacts with the ball sending it into flight and is accurate to within 2 yards at the end-point. Every shot is tracked and stored in the database for future reference and continuous improvement.
The software is unbelievably detailed and produces visuals comparable to the best gaming graphics available.
The SkyTrak is tremendously accurate and versatile and can be used either indoors or outdoors. Golfers are able to set weather conditions and obtain feedback from an astounding graphic interface. It will be extremely difficult for competitors to compete with the SkyTrak
The SC200 is a pocket-sized launch monitor that is approximately the size of a large smartphone with a basic design. The device utilizes the highly preferred Doppler technology and will measure and provide feedback on the basics of your swing and call contact.
This means that you may miss out on some features that are available on the top-end launch monitors, but it is accurate in the information that it provides you. This will be an incredibly good unit to evaluate if you will benefit from owning a launch monitor without breaking the bank.
The setup process is simple and extremely quick. simply turn on the unit, wait a few seconds while it calibrates, and you can start hitting balls.
There is a remote control supplied to enable you to change the club that you are using without having to make the adjustments on the device.
The data provided by the SC200 is simple to read and analyze, and it is read out to you so you do not even have to bend down to see the information. It is a simple yet accurate launch monitor that will get your clubs dialed in at precise distances to allow you to set a range for every club in your bag. This will lead to more precise golf on the course and lower scores.
Being basic in design the data that is provided is quite limited but extremely accurate. The lack of top-end functionality should not be a major issue for golfers who are looking to acquire their first launch monitor.
The voice feature will read out your results to enable you to concentrate on hitting shots and not reading statistics after every shot.
There are three modes available for use
- Practice Mode – provides information regarding the shot distance finder, your swing speed, the ball speed, the smash factor, and last but not least the time you have been practicing and the number of shots that you have hit.
- Target Mode –this will aid you in achieving accuracy by setting the distance that you are expecting the ball to travel and then hitting your shot. The monitor will then allow you to hit 10 shots and score each shot out of a possible 10.
- Approach Mode – in this mode the monitor selects random distances for you and then scores each shot out of a possible 10. This will sharpen your distance control and club distances.
The SC200 PLUS gives you the following data for each shot:
- Carry Distance,
- Swing Speed,
- Ball Speed, and
- Smash Factor
This unit is ideal for sharpening your accuracy with your wedge and short game. It will provide verbal feedback on all shots, so you won’t be out there guessing what the outcome of your shots is.
At the price, this is a very remarkably accurate launch monitor that certainly deserves a mention in any review.
The ES12 utilizes a design that is compact and portable and comes in a bright blue box. Using Doppler technology to provide accurate data regarding every shot.
The layout is uncomplicated with only 2 buttons to concern yourself about. The first button to power it on and the second to switch between clubs. The ES12 setup process is also uncomplicated and you should be ready to start hitting balls within a couple of minutes from starting the setup process.
When using the ES12 for the first time it has to be paired to a Bluetooth capable mobile device running iOS or Android. Once linked, the system needs to be activated via the supplied activation code to enable all of the great functions available on the app. This is a quick and seamless process that should be completed within a couple of minutes.
Power is provided by a 9-volt battery placed in the back of the launch monitor and an optional charging pack complete with rechargeable batteries is available.
The pair of kickstands that can be released from the cover to hold the ES12 in position. The 45-degree kickstand for exceptionally high shots and the 60-degree kickstand for most other shots.
The recommended position for the placement of the unit is 14 inches laterally away from the ball and 14 inches downrange. The club being used will affect the positioning of the launch monitor and the high lofted clubs sending the ball into the stratosphere will require the monitor to be closer to the ball.
When starting your session or changing clubs you have to set the launch monitor up for the club being used. This will allow the ES12 to build a database of the data related to the club.
Data is sent from the launch monitor to the app on the mobile device and feedback will be provided about the club in play, ball speed and carry distance in an easy-to-read grid on the display after every shot or even verbally.
In addition to displaying the raw data on the display, the ES12 will assist in analyzing the raw data and provide trends for every club that it has stored data on.
The ES12 is an easy to use launch monitor that will provide ample data and analysis aiding rapid improvement in your golf swing and dialing distances for every club. Feedback on the display and the verbal option makes it an easy device to use.
Golf is a game of precision and practice. However, practicing without knowing the outcome of every shot and the effect of small swing changes have on the trajectory of the ball and what happens on impact could delay improvement considerably.
We have reviewed several launch monitors varying in price and functionality from entry-level bargain basement prices to top of the range professional-grade launch monitors.
Based on the value that you get for the price and not purely the functionality available we have selected the SkyTrak as the best value for the money launch monitor.
It provides nearly all the functionality that you would require to improve your game without leaving you short of money to go and practice at the driving range.
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Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.