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Review: Bushnell Pro X7 and Tour Z6 Rangefinder Shootout

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Pros: E.S.P. 2 and new “JOLT” technologies offer faster, more accurate readings. Bushnell’s brighter screens, made possible with its Vivid Display Technology (VDT), makes it easier to read all the data.

Cons: These will speed up your pace of play, but the Pro X7 ($499, $599 with slope) and Tour Z6 ($399) cost as much as a new high-end driver.

Bottom Line: Bushnell continues to make it easy to justify buying a new rangefinder even if you already have one. The displays are brighter, the readings are faster and JOLT technology, which vibrates when a golfer locks onto a flag, removes doubt from the equation. The new carry cases also look and function better than previous models.

Overview

Bushnell has been the No. 1 rangefinder on the PGA Tour for more than 11 years. The Darrell Survey, one of the most respected research firms in golf for more than 75 years, confirmed that Bushnell rangefinders are used by more tour players and caddies than any other brand.

This review covers two of Bushnell’s premium rangefinders for 2014, the larger, more powerful Pro X7 rangefinder as well as the more compact Tour Z6.

The short story with these is that both of the rangefinders have brighter displays that make the numbers pop off the screen in bright red font. Then there’s Bushnell’s cool technology called JOLT, which sends vibrating bursts through the device when it locks on a flagstick. The speed of both units has also gotten a little faster. That might sound trivial, but those seconds add up when you’re checking your yardage 50 times per round.

Bushnell review

All of those cool new features come with a price, however. The Pro X7 sells for $499 ($599 if you purchase the slope version, which is not legal for tournament play), and the Tour Z6 sells for $399. After some rounds with them, however, I’m not interested in buying a Bushnell without the Vivid Display Technology (VDT) and JOLT.

bushnell comparison

As you can see in the table above, after the Tour Z6 golfers step down to the Tour V3 and Medalist models. Saving $100 and losing the better look and feel of the Pro X7 and Tour Z6 might be worth it to golfers looking to save money, but you also lose a little magnification as you step down in price. Like old smart phones, the old Bushnell rangefinder models will function just fine, but they’re not as fast or enjoyable to use as the latest models.

Bushnell Pro X7 ($499 to $599)

Bushnell pro x7 review

The Pro X7 is the most powerful laser rangefinder in the Bushnell family. This larger model is fine if you’re a cart golfer, but it could add some unneeded weight and heft if you’re hoofing it a lot. What is good about this model in a cart is if you place it on the seat between you and you playing partner, it’s heavy enough and has enough grip that it won’t rocket off the seat during a crazy turn. You will probably lose your partner before the Pro X7.

The handling area of the device is easy to grab and comfortable. The 7X zoom is one of my favorite features, and it’s definitely a bonus if you’re trying to zap a pin that is more than 200 yards away. Everything just seems so much closer with 7X optics.

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bushnell case golfbushnell golf 2014

The Pro X7 also has incredible ranging capability, from 5 to 550 yards for a flagstick. The PinSeeker with JOLT Technology is new for Bushnell’s flagship model, and along with the company’s E.S.P. 2 (Extreme Speed Precision) technology allows for lightning fast readings that are accurate up to 0.5 yards.

The Pro X7 Slope has all of the features of the Pro X7 plus a slope function that provides compensated distances for elevation changes. Be aware, however, that the Pro X7 is not legal for tournament play.

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Features

  • PinSeeker with JOLT Technology to zero in on the flag
  • Accurate to 1/2 yard
  • 5 yards-to-1 mile ranging performance (550+ yards to a flag)
  • E.S.P. 2 (Extreme. Speed. Precision.)
  • Vivid Display Technology (VDT) for all lighting conditions
  • 7X Magnification with HD Optics (objects appear 7X closer)
  • Slope Technology provides compensated distances for elevation changes
  • Posi-Thread™ Battery Door
  • Waterproof
  • 3-Volt 123 Battery and Premium Carry Case included
  • 2 Year Warranty

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://www.bushnellgolf.com/laser/prox7_se.aspx” oemtext=”Learn more from Bushnell” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HQE9DF6/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00HQE9DF6&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=HAK2VQSUA7QIAG2Z”]

Bushnell Tour Z6 ($399)

bushnell tour z6

The Tour Z6 is considerably smaller and lighter than the Pro X7, making it easy to use with one hand. Even with its smaller size, it almost has all the bells and whistles as its big brother. That’s why I call it the “players version.” And for walkers, the Tour Z6 can easily be clipped on to a stand bag with its cool grey and red case for easy access.

[youtube id=”tJC4FdlL7tQ?list=UUY6F_zF-zloprXeahcqOCvA” width=”620″ height=”360″]

Like to Pro X7, the Tour Z6 has JOLT Technology that provides the golfer with short vibrating bursts to reinforce that the laser has locked on the flag. How many times have you had to check your yardages two or three times to make sure you’re getting the yardage to the flag, not the trees behind the green? When you feel the vibrating pulses from JOLT, you’ll know you won’t need to laser the flag again.

The Tour Z6 also offers the super quick readings of the Pro X7 thanks to E.S.P. 2, as well as the super bright VDT display. While it’s also accurate to 0.5 yards, it has a 6X zoom and a range of 450 yards, making it slightly less powerful than the Pro X7.

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bushnell golf z62014 rangefinder review

Features

  • PinSeeker with JOLT Technology to zero in on the flag
  • Accurate to 1/2 yard
  • 5 yards-1,300 yards ranging performance (450+ yards to a flag)
  • Vivid Display Technology (VDT) for all lighting conditions
  • E.S.P. 2 (Extreme. Speed. Precision.)
  • 6X Magnification (objects appear 6X closer)
  • Adjustable diopter setting
  • Rubber armored metal housing
  • Posi-Thread™ Battery Door
  • Waterproof
  • 3-Volt CR2 Battery and Premium Carry Case included
  • 2 Year Warranty

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://www.bushnellgolf.com/laser/tourz6.aspx” oemtext=”Learn more from Bushnell” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HQE9DA6/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00HQE9DA6&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=HP3FJ3W4FCHIJU6A”]

The Takeaway

2014 golf rangefinder review

If you’re in the market for a new premium rangefinder, the Pro X7 and Tour Z6 are a good place to start. Size and weight will likely be the biggest consideration, but if cost is a concern golfers can’t go wrong with the smaller, lighter and $100-cheaper Tour Z6.

The Tour Z6, however, is not available in a slope version, which could be a selling point for the $599 Pro X7 Slope. That’s a lot to spend on a non-essential golf item, but what’s more important than accurate data in golf, a game of inches? For golfers who travel from course to course for tournaments, nothing is more powerful than figuring out how much uphill or downhill a shot might play in a practice round, even if you can’t use the device in a tournament.

I just called these rangefinders nonessential, but after you play with them for a few rounds you’ll be wondering why you ever played without them, even if you’re just upgrading to a new model like me. The speed, accuracy and brightness of their displays, paired with the instant feedback of JOLT, makes the Pro X7 and Tour Z6 two rangefinders that any golfer will be proud to own.

2014 bushnell golf review

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GolfWRX is the world's largest and best online golf community. Expert editorial reviews, breaking golf tour and industry news, what to play, how to play and where to play. GolfWRX surrounds consumers throughout the buying, learning and enrichment process from original photographic and video content, to peer to peer advice and camaraderie, to technical how-tos, and more. As the largest online golf community we continue to protect the purity of our members opinions and the platform to voice them. We want to protect the interests of golfers by providing an unbiased platform to feel proud to contribute to for years to come. You can follow GolfWRX on Twitter @GolfWRX and on Facebook.

29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. googlemail

    Dec 18, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    Amazing article i like it thanks for sharing it .

  2. TGG-Chris

    Aug 22, 2016 at 11:19 am

    Having tried both (and a ton of other rangefinders), I’m a huge fan of the X7 despite the size. Performance is outstanding and since I usually used two hands to stabilize smaller rangefinders, the bigger, heavier unit just makes it easier to shoot. Doesn’t hurt that it has crazy range, either.

  3. My Gun Safe Guide

    Apr 19, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    thank for the review and the informations.

  4. Dylan

    Mar 29, 2016 at 4:49 am

    I discovered the watch type of measuring device was not accurate on 4 holes at the club I normally play. Not surprising, these are the holes I constantly came up short on approaches. Previously owned a different type laser range finder and could not hold it steady enough to lock on the flag, hence the watch. This Bushnell is extremely fast. I have been very satisfied with all aspects of the operation. The group I play with are asking me for distances and all of them have their own devices. Thanks.

  5. Richard

    Mar 23, 2016 at 3:55 am

    Very useful information! But I have a question: how many times have you seen guys fumbling with these and slowing down instead of speeding up? Thank you for letting us know!

    • Brian

      Apr 22, 2016 at 9:25 am

      It’s much quicker than watching a guy walk around the fairway, looking for a marked sprinkler head.

  6. John

    Mar 23, 2016 at 3:53 am

    Very useful information! But I have a question: Can you use bushnell pro x7 slope in competition with slope switched off? Thank you for letting us know!

  7. Rubin Mark

    Sep 19, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    I personally have used Laser Link Golf products for the last decade. If I were a first time rangefinder buy I would strongly consider Laser Link Golf rangefinders.

  8. Max Peterson

    Nov 5, 2014 at 11:44 am

    I used Tour V3 Edition Standard for two years, and now I need to have a device with slope to practice with my wife so I decided to choose X7

  9. John

    Aug 6, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Great scopes customer service is 1985 bad. When you need a repair you send it in and eventually the send you a postcard, not an email, a postcard. Telling you the work is done. You then have to call them to make a payment as they don’t have a way to make it on line. After you sit on hold for 30 minutes, you pay and it will take almost 10 days to 2 weeks to get the unit back because when they fix it to when they ship it is 4 days. Great device, but next time I will buy someone elses. I wasn’t able to use it almost all summer.

  10. Razmik

    May 26, 2014 at 6:49 am

    Can you use bushnell pro x7 slope in competition with slope switched off?

  11. Ice Man

    Apr 25, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    I personally have used Laser Link Golf products for the last decade. I started with the QuickShot model that reads right to the flag stick (off the prism) and that is all most golfers need. That unit has really made my rounds more enjoyable with faster and more accurate play. I have recently purchased their XL1000 unit which is a very good for the $299 price. This is a magnification unit and a first for Laser Link Golf. The first round with it at Grande Cypress in Orlando produced my friends first hole in one, needles to say he went and purchased on that evening. If I were a first time rangefinder buy I would strongly consider Laser Link Golf rangefinders.

  12. B.Boston

    Apr 24, 2014 at 11:32 am

    I checked out the z6 but ended up going with the Leupold GX-3i2. Couldn’t be happier. The GX felt better in my hands and I was concerned about battery life on the z6. I like the prisim lock on the Leupold, and don’t find not having the little flag icon for pinseeker an issue. If you use scan mode and sweet across the stick its immediately clear what your yardage is!

    Realistically, you probably would do no wrong with either. It also helped I got a great deal on the GX.

  13. Tony

    Apr 22, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    I just bought the Pro X7 and have 4 rounds under the belt.
    Amazing clarity and precision!

  14. sam

    Apr 12, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Can I say “Paid Product Endorsement”?! Leupold quality blows this out of the water.

  15. Don

    Apr 12, 2014 at 10:44 am

    I’m ready to buy my first range finder. I wish this review would have compared all the latest range finders. I can’t find a good article/comparison to save my life. Now I’m just more confused!????

  16. Billy

    Apr 12, 2014 at 3:55 am

    I like my Callaway Nikon better.

  17. Christian Furu

    Apr 11, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    I’m doing a review on Z6 and V3. I’ve let 25 golfers try both. Everyone prefered the V3. It actually performs better in low light.

    I was sure the red sight would be better but it’s actually too bright. Even at the lowest setting I could see all the symbols in the display. The image of the course is also darker than in the V3. I’ve owned a GX3i. The red sight in Leupold is superior to Bushnells.

    Most testers also prefered the larger size of the V3. It was easier to hold steady while aiming.

    But there are downsides to the V3. It has a tendency to “over-jolt”. The Z6 seems to be more reliable when using Jolt. And the Z6 is waterproof, V3 is not.

    V3 performs better in low light because of image quality, but is not waterproof.
    The red sight in Z6 isn’t perfect but it is waterproof and Jolt seems to be more reliable.
    A combination of both would be perfect.

    The X7 is a completely meaningless. I turned down an opportunity to test it for a longer period of time. Overpriced and overspeced for normal people. Maybe cyborgs can use it? Cyborgs with big hands……..

  18. TheLegend

    Apr 11, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Dont buy this crap. Saved yourself for buying this crap. Do your self a favor and buy a leopold. Its a way better ranger that for sure.

    • TheLegend

      Apr 11, 2014 at 12:41 pm

      They wont compare this to a leupold cuz they dont wanna look silly. I have had all the rangers and this site for some reason only favors the crap bush product. I cant figure out why? Leupold is a way better product. This is not a review Its a sham. It really makes me question weather or not WRX is legitimate.

    • Golfraven

      Apr 11, 2014 at 5:05 pm

      I agree here. Early last year I likely would have bought the Bushnell but hesitated. Now I have the latest Leopold GX-4i² and more than pleased with it. It does not get any better. Top button is easy to press mot like the tour Z6

  19. Mike

    Apr 11, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    I would have like to have seen a comparison between these models and their previous version.

  20. Mat

    Apr 11, 2014 at 10:50 am

    This hardly seems like a review. It read like an ad being passed off as a review. I’m sure the products are good, but why go about giving a 5-star review without comparing them against a competitor? If you aren’t reviewing this against a Leupold, what’s the point? Which is better, the Z6 or the GX-3i? Why or why not? Which acquires faster, and which was more accurate? You brought up pace… how many times have you seen guys fumbling with these and slowing down instead of speeding up?

    Sorry, I could have gone to Bushnell.com if I wanted propaganda.

    • TheLegend

      Apr 11, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      Well said!

    • Rancho Bob

      Apr 11, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      Yep, you nailed it. This isn’t a review. It’s an advertisement.

      I’ve got an older Bushnell and love it, but cannot imagine why I would step up to a new one and certainly not at that price.

      “Ooooooh. I can laser something a mile away.”
      “Ooooooh. This one is accurate to 18 inches, not just 36 inches. Like I’m that accurate on a 30 foot putt, never mind a 170 yard approach shot.”

  21. LorenRobertsFan

    Apr 11, 2014 at 10:48 am

    I think the Tour V3 does just as good a job as these at a lower price. Do you really need a mile of ranging performance or yardages half a yard more accurate?

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Apr 11, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      It’s not so much about the range as it is the brightness of the display, the confidence the JOLT technology creates and the ease of use. We’ll be reviewing the Leupold products at a later date.

      • Golfraven

        Apr 11, 2014 at 5:11 pm

        Bring on the comparison between those two makes and rhis shall be a real test.

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Accessory Reviews

I tried the great Golfboarding experiment… here’s how it went

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Corica Park Golf Course is not exactly the first place you’d expect to find one of the most experimental sports movements sweeping the nation. Sitting on a pristine swath of land along the southern rim of Alameda Island, deep in the heart of the San Francisco Bay, the course’s municipal roots and no-frills clubhouse give it an unpretentious air that seems to fit better with Sam Snead’s style of play than, say, Rickie Fowler’s.

Yet here I am, one perfectly sunny morning on a recent Saturday in December planning to try something that is about as unconventional as it gets for a 90-year-old golf course.

It’s called Golfboarding, and it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: an amalgam of golf and skateboarding, or maybe surfing. The brainchild of surfing legend Laird Hamilton — who can be assumed to have mastered, and has clearly grown bored of, all normal sports — Golfboarding is catching on at courses throughout the country, from local municipal courses like Corica Park to luxury country clubs like Cog Hill and TPC Las Colinas. Since winning Innovation Of the Year at the PGA Merchandising Show in 2014, Golfboards can now be found at 250 courses and have powered nearly a million rounds of golf already. Corica Park currently owns eight of them.

The man in pro shop gets a twinkle in his eyes when our foursome tells him we’d like to take them out. “Have you ridden them before?” he asks. When we admit that we are uninitiated, he grins and tells us we’re in for a treat.

But first, we need to sign a waiver and watch a seven-minute instructional video. A slow, lawyerly voice reads off pedantic warnings like “Stepping on the golfboard should be done slowly and carefully” and “Always hold onto the handlebars when the board is in motion.” When it cautions us to “operate the board a safe distance from all…other golfboarders,” we exchange glances, knowing that one of us will more than likely break this rule later on.

Then we venture outside, where one of the clubhouse attendants shows us the ropes. The controls are pretty simple. One switch sends it forward or in reverse, another toggles between low and high gear. To make it go, there’s a throttle on the thumb of the handle. The attendant explains that the only thing we have to worry about is our clubs banging against our knuckles.

“Don’t be afraid to really lean into the turns,” he offers. “You pretty much can’t roll it over.”

“That sounds like a challenge,” I joke. No one laughs.

On a test spin through the parking lot, the Golfboard feels strong and sturdy, even when I shift around on it. It starts and stops smoothly with only the slightest of jerks. In low gear its top speed is about 5 mph, so even at full throttle it never feels out of control.

The only challenge, as far as I can tell, is getting it to turn. For some reason, I’d expected the handlebar to offer at least some degree of steering, but it is purely for balance. The thing has the Ackerman angle of a Mack Truck, and you really do have to lean into the turns to get it to respond. For someone who is not particularly adept at either surfing or skateboarding, this comes a little unnaturally. I have to do a number of three-point turns in order to get back to where I started and make my way over to the first tee box.

We tee off and climb on. The fairway is flat and wide, and we shift into high gear as we speed off toward our balls. The engine had produced just the faintest of whirrs as it accelerated, but it is practically soundless as the board rolls along at full speed. The motor nevertheless feels surprisingly powerful under my feet (the drivetrain is literally located directly underneath the deck) as the board maintains a smooth, steady pace of 10 mph — about the same as a golf cart. I try making a couple of S curves like I’d seen in the video and realize that high-speed turning will take a little practice for me to get right, but that it doesn’t seem overly difficult.

Indeed, within a few holes I might as well be Laird himself, “surfing the earth” from shot to shot. I am able to hold the handlebar and lean way out, getting the board to turn, if not quite sharply, then at least closer to that of a large moving van than a full-sized semi. I take the hills aggressively (although the automatic speed control on the drivetrain enables it to keep a steady pace both up and down any hills, so this isn’t exactly dangerous), and I speed throughout the course like Mario Andretti on the freeway (the company claims increased pace-of-play as one of the Golfboard’s primary benefits, but on a Saturday in the Bay Area, it is impossible avoid a five-hour round anyway.)

Gliding along, my feet a few inches above the grass, the wind in my face as the fairways unfurl below my feet, it is easy to see Golfboards as the next evolution in mankind’s mastery of wheels; the same instincts to overcome inertia that brought us bicycles, rollerblades, scooters, skateboards, and more recent inventions such as Segways, Hoverboards and Onewheels are clearly manifest in Golfboards as well. They might not offer quite the same thrill as storming down a snowy mountainside or catching a giant wave, but they are definitely more fun than your standard golf cart.

Yet, there are obvious downsides as well. The attendant’s warning notwithstanding, my knuckles are in fact battered and sore by the time we make the turn, and even though I rearrange all my clubs into the front slots of my bag, they still rap my knuckles every time I hit a bump. Speaking of which, the board’s shock absorber system leaves something to be desired, as the ride is so bumpy that near the end I start to feel as if I’ve had my insides rattled. Then there is the unforgivable fact of its missing a cup holder for my beer.

But these are mere design flaws that might easily be fixed in the next generation of Golfboards. (A knuckle shield is a must!) My larger problem with Golfboards is what they do to the game itself. When walking or riding a traditional cart, the moments in between shots are a time to plan your next shot, or to chat about your last shot, or to simply find your zen out there among the trees and the birds and the spaciousness of the course. Instead, my focus is on staying upright.

Down the stretch, I start to fade. The muscles in my core have endured a pretty serious workout, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to muster the strength for my golf swing. It is no coincidence that my game starts to unravel, and I am on the way to one of my worst rounds in recent memory.

Walking off the 18th green, our foursome agrees that the Golfboards were fun — definitely worth trying — but that we probably wouldn’t ride them again. Call me a purist, but as someone lacking Laird Hamilton’s physical gifts, I’m happy to stick to just one sport at a time.

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Accessory Reviews

Review: The QOD Electric Caddy

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If you want an electric golf caddy that doesn’t require that you wear a sensor or carry a remote — one that will be reliable and allow you to focus on your game, and not your cart — then the Australian-manufactured QOD is worth checking out.

The QOD (an acronym for Quality of Design and a nod to its four wheels) is powered by a 14.4-volt lithium battery, good for 36 holes or more on a single charge. It has nine different speeds (with the fastest settings moving closer to jogging velocity) so the QOD can handle your ideal pace, whether that be a casual stroll or a more rapid clip around the course.

The QOD is also built to last. Its injection-molded, aircraft-grade aluminum frame has no welded joints. Steel bolts and locking teeth take care of the hinging points. The battery and frame are both guaranteed for three full years. If you need a new battery after the three-year window, the folks at QOD will replace it at cost.

Its front-wheel suspension gives the QOD a smooth ride down the fairway, and the trolley is easy to navigate with a gentle nudge here and there. The QOD is always in free-wheel mode, so it is smooth and easy to maneuver manually in tight spaces and around the green.

The caddy also features three timed interval modes for situations where you might wish to send it up ahead on its own: when helping a friend find a lost ball or when you will be exiting on the far side of the green after putting, for example. The clip below includes a look at the caddy in timed mode.

When folded, the QOD measures a mere 17-inches wide, 15-inches deep and 12-inches tall.

Another area where the QOD excels is in its small size and portability. When folded, it measures a mere 17-inches wide, 15-inches deep and 12-inches tall, making it the smallest electric caddy on the market.

Folks Down Under have been enjoying the QOD for some time, but it wasn’t until a few years ago when Malachi McGlone was looking for a way to continue walking the course without putting undue strain on an injured wrist that the QOD found U.S. fairways. After first becoming a satisfied customer, McGlone convinced CEO Collin Hiss, who developed the product and oversees its production in Australia, to allow him to distribute and service the QOD here in the states.

The QOD has no self-balancing gyroscope, bluetooth sensor or remote control. Bells and whistles just aren’t its thing — though it does have a USB port for cell phone charging that can come in handy. However, if you are looking for a no-fuss workhorse to move your bag down the fairway, the QOD should be on your radar.

The 2018 model has begun shipping and will be on sale at $1,299 for a limited time. It normally retails at $1,499.

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Accessory Reviews

Review: FlightScope Mevo

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In 100 Words

The Mevo is a useful practice tool for amateur golfers and represents a step forward from previous offerings on the market. It allows golfers to practice indoors or outdoors and provides club speed, ball speed, smash factor, launch angle, spin rate, carry distance and flight time.

It also has a video capture mode that will overlay swing videos with the swing data of a specific swing. It is limited in its capabilities and its accuracy, though, which golfers should expect at this price point. All in all, it’s well worth the $499 price tag if you understand what you’re getting.

The Full Review

The FlightScope Mevo is a launch monitor powered by 3D Doppler radar. With a retail price of $499, it is obviously aimed to reach the end consumer as opposed to PGA professionals and club fitters.

The Mevo device itself is tiny. Like, really tiny. It measures 3.5-inches wide, 2.8-inches tall and 1.2-inches deep. In terms of everyday products, it’s roughly the size of an Altoids tin. It’s very easy to find room for it in your golf bag, and the vast majority of people at the range you may be practicing at won’t even notice it’s there. Apart from the Mevo itself, in the box you get a quick start guide, a charging cable, a carrying pouch, and some metallic stickers… more on those later. It has a rechargeable internal battery that reaches a full charge in about two hours and lasts for about four hours when fully charged.

As far as software goes, the Mevo pairs with the Mevo Golf app on your iOS or Android device. The app is free to download and does not require any subscription fees (unless you want to store and view videos of your swing online as opposed to using the memory on your device). The app is very easy to use even for those who aren’t tech savvy. Make sure you’re using the most current version of the firmware for the best results, though (I did experience some glitches at first until I did so). The settings menu does have an option to manually force firmware writing, but updates should happen automatically when you start using the device.

Moving through the menus, beginning sessions, editing shots (good for adding notes on things like strike location or wind) are all very easy. Video mode did give me fits the first time I used it, though, as it was impossible to maintain my connection between my phone and the Mevo while having the phone in the right location to capture video properly. The only way I could achieve this was by setting the Mevo as far back from strike location as the device would allow. Just something to keep in mind if you find you’re having troubles with video mode.

Screenshot of video capture mode with the FlightScope Mevo

Using the Mevo

When setting up the Mevo, it needs to be placed between 4-7 feet behind the golf ball, level with the playing surface and pointed down the target line. The distance you place the Mevo behind the ball does need to be entered into the settings menu before starting your session. While we’re on that subject, before hitting balls, you do need to select between indoor, outdoor, and pitching (ball flight less than 20 yards) modes, input your altitude and select video or data mode depending on if you want to pair your data with videos of each swing or just see the data by itself. You can also edit the available clubs to be monitored, as you will have to tell the Mevo which club you’re using at any point in time to get the best results. Once you get that far, you’re pretty much off to the races.

Testing the Mevo

I tested the FlightScope Mevo with Brad Bachand at Man O’ War Golf Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Brad is a member of the PGA and has received numerous awards for golf instruction and club fitting. I wanted to put the Mevo against the best device FlightScope has to offer and, luckily, Brad does use his $15,000 FlightScope X3 daily. We had both the FlightScope Mevo and Brad’s FlightScope X3 set up simultaneously, so the numbers gathered from the two devices were generated from the exact same strikes. Brad also set up the two devices and did all of the ball striking just to maximize our chances for success.

The day of our outdoor session was roughly 22 degrees Fahrenheit. There was some wind on that day (mostly right to left), but it wasn’t a major factor. Our setup is pictured below.

Outdoor testing setup with FlightScope X3 (foreground) and Mevo

The results of our outdoor testing are shown below. The testing was conducted with range balls, and we did use the metallic stickers. The range balls used across all the testing were all consistently the same brand. Man O’ War buys all new range balls once a year and these had been used all throughout 2017.  The 2018 batch had not yet been purchased at the time that testing was conducted.

Raw outdoor data captured with range balls including metallic stickers. Mevo data (blue) and X3 data (orange) were both generated from the same exact shots.

You’ll notice some peculiar data in the sand wedge spin category. To be honest, I don’t fully know what contributed to the X3 measuring such low values. While the Mevo’s sand wedge spin numbers seem more believable, you could visibly see that the X3 was much more accurate on carry distance. Below is a quick summary of the percent differences between each of the parameters as presented by the Mevo and the X3 in our outdoor session when separated out for each club. As previously mentioned, though, take sand wedge spin with a grain of salt.

Table showing the percent difference of each parameter between Mevo and X3 grouped by club (outdoor testing).

The first thing we noticed was that the Mevo displays its numbers while the golf ball is still in midair, so it was clear that it wasn’t watching the golf ball the entire time like the X3. According to the Mevo website, carry distance, height and flight time are all calculated while club speed, ball speed, launch angle and spin rate are measured. As for the accuracy of the measured parameters, the Mevo’s strength is ball speed. The accuracy of the other measured ball parameters (launch angle and spin rate) is questionable depending on certain factors (quality of strike, moisture on the clubface and ball, quality of ball, etc). I would say it ranges between “good” or “very good” and “disappointing” with most strikes being categorized as “just okay.”

As for the calculated parameters of carry distance, height and time, those vary a decent amount. Obviously, when the measurements of the three inputs become less accurate, the three outputs will become less accurate as a result. Furthermore, according to FlightScope, the Mevo’s calculations are not accounting for things like temperature, humidity, and wind. The company has also stated, though, that future updates will likely adjust for these parameters by using location services through the app.

Now, let’s talk about those metallic stickers. According to the quick start guide, the Mevo needs a sticker on every golf ball you hit, and before you hit each ball, the ball needs to be placed such that the sticker is facing the target. It goes without saying that it doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun to spend time putting those stickers on every ball, let alone balls that will never come back to you if you’re at a public driving range. Obviously, people are going to want to avoid using the stickers if they can, so do they really matter? Below is a table of data showing the percent difference between the Mevo’s data and the X3’s data of what we collected outdoors with a driver and range balls with and without the use of the stickers.

Table showing how the percent difference of each parameter changes between Mevo and X3 when you use the metallic stickers and when you don’t

The FlightScope website says that the metallic stickers “are needed in order for the Mevo to accurately measure ball spin.” We observed pretty much the same as shown in the table above. The website also states they are working on alternative solutions to stickers (possibly a metallic sharpie), which I think is wise.

Another thing we thought would be worth testing is the impact of different golf balls. Below is a table of data showing the percent difference between the Mevo’s data and the X3’s data of what we collected outdoors with a driver and range balls as compared to Pro V1’s. All of this data was collected using the metallic stickers.

Table showing how the percent difference of each parameter changes between Mevo and X3 when you switch from range balls to Pro V1’s

As shown above, the data gets much closer virtually across the board when you use better quality golf balls. Just something else to keep in mind when using the Mevo.

Indoor testing requires 8 feet of ball flight (impact zone to hitting net), which was no problem for us. Our setup is pictured below. All of the indoor testing was conducted with Titleist Pro V1 golf balls using the metallic stickers.

Indoor testing setup with FlightScope X3 (foreground) and Mevo

The results of our indoor session are shown below.

Raw indoor data captured with Pro V1’s including metallic stickers. Mevo data (blue) and X3 data (orange) were both generated from the same exact shots.

Below is a quick summary of the percent differences between each of the parameters as presented by the Mevo and the X3 in our indoor session when separated out for each club.

Table showing the percent difference of each parameter between Mevo and X3 grouped by club (indoor testing)

On the whole, the data got much closer together between the two devices in our indoor session. I would think a lot of that can be attributed to the use of quality golf balls and to removing outdoor factors like wind and temperature (tying into my previous comment above).

As far as overall observations between all sessions, the most striking thing was that the Mevo consistently gets more accurate when you hit really good, straight shots. When you hit bad shots, or if you hit a fade or a draw, it gets less and less accurate.

The last parameter to address is club speed, which came in around 5 percent different on average between the Mevo and X3 based on all of the shots recorded. The Mevo was most accurate with the driver at 2.1 percent different from the X3 over all strikes and it was the least accurate with sand wedge by far. Obviously, smash factor accuracy will follow club speed for the most part since ball speed is quite accurate. Over every shot we observed, the percent difference on ball speed was 1.2 percent on average between the Mevo and the X3. Again, the Mevo was least accurate with sand wedges. If I remove all sand wedge shots from the data, the average percent difference changes from 1.2 percent to 0.7 percent, which is very, very respectable.

When it comes to the different clubs used, the Mevo was by far most accurate with mid irons. I confirmed this with on-course testing on a relatively flat 170-yard par-3 as well. Carry distances in that case were within 1-2 yards on most shots (mostly related to quality of strike). With the driver, the Mevo was reasonably close, but I would also describe it as generous. It almost always missed by telling me that launch angle was higher, spin rate was lower and carry distance was farther than the X3. Generally speaking, the Mevo overestimated our driver carries by about 5 percent. Lastly, the Mevo really did not like sand wedges at all. Especially considering those shots were short enough that you could visibly see how far off the Mevo was with its carry distance. Being 10 yards off on a 90 yard shot was disappointing.

Conclusion

The Mevo is a really good product if you understand what you’re getting when you buy it. Although the data isn’t good enough for a PGA professional, it’s still a useful tool that gives amateurs reasonable feedback while practicing. It’s also a fair amount more accurate than similar products in its price range, and I think it could become even better with firmware updates as Flightscope improves upon its product.

This is a much welcomed and very promising step forward in consumer launch monitors, and the Mevo is definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for one.

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