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Review: Game Golf

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Pros: Combines GPS and motion sensing technology to track every shot with minimal disruption to the flow of the game. Advanced data capture lets golfers learn the true distance and accuracy of each of their clubs to formulate a better tee-to-green strategy.

Cons: The device itself does not double as a rangefinder, requiring players to carry a separate product to identify the distance to the pin. Less avid golfers, the kind that play only a few rounds a season, can probably get by without Game Golf’s more advanced features. There are more affordable options for players who only care about their average score and putts per hole.

Bottom Line: When released earlier this year, the makers of Game Golf promised to revolutionize how golfers play, compete, socialize and improve their game. It’s safe to say they’ve kept that promise intact.

Overview

Introduced with great fanfare at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando this past January, Game Golf has been one of the lone bright spots in an otherwise abysmal year punctuated by store closings, employee layoffs and shrinking participation. If the sky is falling, as many industry experts proclaim, Game Golf hasn’t felt it. The product was sold out shortly after making its splashy debut.

Like other technology apps that have come before it, Game Golf records your rounds and analyzes your performance. But it does this with unparalleled ease and sophistication. The device itself, which is smaller than a deck of cards, clips to your belt. A set of durable tracking tags are attached to your clubs. When you’re ready to address your ball, touch the tag to the sensor on the device. You’ll hear a subtle beep and the device will gently vibrate indicating that it’s ready to track.

When your round is over, connect the device to your computer. Game Golf will transmit your data to its website where you can review your match. Like other pre-existing shot tracking systems, Game Golf will crunch your fairways hit, greens in regulation, average score and other standard insights. Where Game Golf truly separates itself from its competitors is through its ability to calculate the mean distance that you hit each club and the tendency you have to leave shots short, long, left or right of the flag. While Game Golf isn’t quite ready to tussle with the undisputed king of shot tracking systems – ShotLink – the margin of separation continues to shrink as the platform evolves.

Game Golf sells for $249 and does not include any annual subscription fees. The device can be bought online or through participating Apple stores.

Data and Accuracy

There are literarily hundreds of shot-tracking apps in the marketplace. And all of them are nearly identical in being able to track your FIRs, GIRs, putts per round, scoring average, etc. For a golfer who only plays a few times a year, this is plenty.

As for the avid golfer, the kind who can explain the difference between static and dynamic loft – you better bring the heat. This is the sort of player that will pour over results to help themselves identify what areas of their game fall short of levels attained by elite amateurs and pros.

One of the criticisms directed at Game Golf early on was that it didn’t make full use of its shot-tracking data collection. Yes, the system has always been able to measure and display shot distances, accurate to within five feet of the actual landing area. And it can’t be overstated how important it is to know how far you can actually hit your ball to lowering your score. But it’s also equally if not more important to be aware how well or poorly you’re controlling your shots as the distance to the hole increases.

The recently released Shot Performance Analysis feature is a breakthrough in advanced analytics allowing golfers to view their both their tee shot and approach shot accuracy. The new component displays a visual pattern of all your tee shots, mapping the distance each shot has travelled as well as the direction relative to the center of the fairway. On approach shots the flag becomes the target, allowing you to gauge your proximity to the hole using different clubs and from different distances.

Game Golf developed the Shot Performance Analysis component based on feedback collected from tens of thousands of avid golfers engaged with the platform, but it’s worth understanding how Columbia University Professor Mark Broadie’s research on golf shot performance has been equally influential.

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For those who not familiar with Professor Broadie, he developed the acclaimed Strokes Gained Putting statistic adopted by the PGA Tour. He has also theorized (and proved through quantitative analysis) that the quality of a golfer’s shots from outside of 100 yards have a greater bearing on score than the quality of shots around the green. Or to put it another way, an average golfer would gain about 9.3 shots per round having Tiger Woods hit all their shots over 100 yards out but only 2.2 shots with Woods doing all the putting.

“We believe Mark Broadie’s strokes gained analysis is truly transformative, and it has certainly influenced how we’ve designed our analysis features,” says James Wang, Vice President of Product at Active Mind Technology, the makers of Game Golf. “One example of this is how we created visualizations of shot dispersion and distance from off the tee; similarly for approach shots, we visually show shot dispersion from various distances and various lie types. The intent is to help users formulate better tee-to-green strategies armed with this data.”

Are you consistently slicing your driver, but hooking your 3-wood? If you lay up with an iron will the gain in accuracy at a loss of distance translate to a better score? The Analysis tab can help you identify patterns in your game and will ensure practice time is spent working on the right things to lower your score. You can also use this feature to test drive a new club and compare its on-course performance against your existing gamer. Savvy golfers and industry professionals will quickly realize the immense opportunity this tool has for improving the teaching and club-fitting experience.

Features and Usability

One of the best features of the Game Golf platform is the visual map overlay of your previously signed rounds. There’s nothing quite like being able to review a round of golf you’ve played hole-by-hole, seeing the flight of the ball superimposed against the course with club and distance information available at your fingertips. When combined with Game Golf’s other statistical tools, the visual map can help you ascertain some amazing discoveries about your playing ability – whether it’s on certain holes, certain golf courses or specific situations like those long carries over water where a 5-yard miscalculation can be the difference between being wet or staying dry.

Whether you access your Game Golf profile over the web from a desktop computer or through the mobile app, the visual map is rendered the same way. It’s worth noting that the map can be a bit sluggish when viewed from a mobile device but that’s a minor quibble.

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Another potentially great feature is the comparison tab where you can measure yourself against other golfers within the Game Golf community. For instance, you can compare the average length of your drives against Lee Westwood’s and feel wholly inadequate (unless of course you’re a member of GolfWRX). The tab lets you filter by all the usual stats (Fairway Accuracy, GIR, Scrambling, etc.) in addition to limiting the result set by a range of rounds or by golf course. It might be fun to see how your friends performed over the same period of time, but for the most part the comparison feature is still very primitive.

Future updates to the compare tab might allow a golfer playing to a 15 handicap index to measure themselves against the average single digit player based on a variety of criteria. “I don’t want to give too much detail here, but yes, this is something we’ve thought a lot about,” says Wang. “We know that more tools for comparison will add a lot of value for our users and help them even more in figuring out what areas of their game to focus on improving.”

In terms of statistics, Game Golf has just about everything covered. They have recently added sand save percentage, correcting a glaring oversight. Putting statistics themselves could use a pretty big overhaul, but Wang assures me that a future update will contain more detailed stats that are simple, intuitive and seamless.

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Active Mind Technology has tried to strike a balance between catering to the community’s desire to immerse themselves in advanced analytics while at the same time not neglecting simple, but critical usability enhancements such as improving the scorecard.

A new drop down menu allows a user to quickly access any hole and make edits. There’s also an overview screen where you can review your round at a glance, as well as add or remove putts directly instead of having to wade through each hole’s shot-by-shot view.

Having been able to try out the device over the past several months, I’ve only had one instance over the course of 18 rounds where a scorecard was botched while being uploaded to the site. And even then, the support team at Game Golf was able to recover my shot data within the same day.

Judging by what early adopters have reported, most of the problems with scorecards were due to rounds recorded at nine-hole courses. Platform updates have since resolved those issues and Game Golf is able to handle both 18 and nine-hole rounds, as well as partial rounds and situations requiring shotgun starts.

As far as the platform’s social sharing capabilities, they are adequate for now. Users can brag about their rounds through Facebook, Twitter or email without much fuss. Push notifications let you know when any of your followers have posted rounds of their own.

John McGuire, CEO of Active Mind Technology has often referred to the platform as having a “stickiness” factor, but the reality is that the individuals within the community are still very much disconnected from a broader and more engaging social experience.

Platform Availability

Game Golf is compatible with Microsoft Windows and Apple operating systems. I have had the opportunity to run Game Golf on my MacBook Pro as well as on a laptop running Windows 8. The software runs flawlessly on Apple but has crashed on occasion on Windows. Even when it runs smoothly, data transfers with the Windows app can be a little slow.

Game Golf’s online media hub, which lets users view their rounds and stats, can be accessed through a web browser or iPhone app. Beta testing for devices running Android was recently completed and the app is now available for download from the Google Play store.

Hardware

The Game Golf device is sturdy, compact and weather resistant. The device can store up to nine rounds of golf and go about 10 hours or 36 holes before needing to be charged. When charging, a user can either plug in the device to their computer using the provided USB cable or they can connect the cable directly into an iPhone wall charger.

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Setting up the device itself is pretty straightforward. Register a profile on the Game Golf website and download the appropriate software for your computer. Plug in the device to your computer so that it can be recognized. At the same time, remove the tags from the packaging and screw them into the grips on your golf clubs. Once your online profile is setup you’ll be prompted to identify the make and model of each club you’re tagging.

Once you’re out on the course, turn the device on. Game Golf will automatically discover your location, usually within five minutes. A set of indicator lights will notify you when it’s ready to go. Since releasing the product in January, Game Golf has done an outstanding job mapping courses. As you would expect, the United States has the most coverage (over 18,000 identified so far). International courses are also well represented – a list that includes more than 3,000 in the United Kingdom and 1,700 in Australia alone.

Some golfers have wondered why the device doesn’t double as a GPS range finder or provide instant statistical feedback and analysis as you progress through your round of golf. The makers of Game Golf wanted to ensure that their product would conform to USGA rules for tournament use – which it does. From a more practical standpoint, everyone from Bob Rotella to Gary Player believe that having too much information at your fingertips not only affects the pace of the game but can actually wreck a golfer’s score.

Takeaway

So is Game Golf a slam-dunk decision for each and every golfer?

With the exception of a casual player who rarely tees it up outside of a summer scramble tournament, the answer is a resounding yes. The ability to accurately track your shot distances and analyze your misses is a must-have feature for anyone who takes their game seriously and wants to improve their performance.

It isn’t simply a matter of putting meaningful data into the hands of recreational players – other technology vendors will come along with their own take on stats. Game Golf has succeeded because it has taken an idea — tracking your score — and made it inherently simple. And like other award-winning products we see in other sectors, once we start using them we often wonder what we did without them.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://www.gamegolf.com/home/en-us/?v=c3c317896ea1dba” oemtext=”Learn more from Game Golf” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JDZWQZK/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00JDZWQZK&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=PQNPGIPR62PDLODC”]

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Rusty Cage is a contributing writer for GolfWRX, one of the leading publications online for news, information and resources for the connected golfer. His articles have covered a broad spectrum of topics - equipment and apparel reviews, interviews with industry leaders, analysis of the pro game, and everything in between. Rusty's path into golf has been an unusual one. He took up the game in his late thirties, as suggested by his wife, who thought it might be a good way for her husband to grow closer to her father. The plan worked out a little too well. As his attraction to the game grew, so did his desire to take up writing again after what amounted to 15-year hiatus from sports journalism dating back to college. In spite of spending over a dozen years working in the technology sector as a backend programmer in New York City, Rusty saw an opportunity with GolfWRX and ran with it. A graduate from Boston University with a Bachelor's in journalism, Rusty's long term aspirations are to become one of the game's leading writers, rising to the standard set by modern-day legends like George Peper, Mark Frost and Dan Jenkins. GolfWRX Writer of the Month: August 2014 Fairway Executive Podcast Interview http://golfindustrytrainingassociation.com/17-rusty-cage-golf-writer (During this interview I discuss how golf industry professionals can leverage emerging technologies to connect with their audience.)

56 Comments

56 Comments

  1. Pingback: Golf WRX Agrees: GAME GOLF Lives Up to the Hype! – Game Golf

  2. RK Kliebenstein

    Dec 5, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Purchased Gamegolf with great excitement only to find out it does not work unless you can devote a USB port to it. The device has a technical glitch and does not work with hubs (even powered). I will be taking it back.
    Hopefully more thought will be in the next version and they will fix the issue. Also, Gamegolf never warned this is a problem, which makes me believe there are other skeletons in the closet they do not disclose. It is a shame they are not more forthright with consumers.

    • CL

      Jan 25, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      You go around everywhere and leave the same negative feedback about how it doesn’t with with a hub. Who doesn’t have a usb port they can’t use fir this? I don’t know many people that even use hubs. This isn’t a deal breaker. Review the product. Maybe it’s your hub. Did you try with a different hub? Did you contact support? Did you at least try to give the product a chance bypassing the hub?

    • tiger168

      Jan 5, 2016 at 1:21 am

      This is a terrible feedback, as an avid golfer, you always find a way to make things work as golf is a life long game with life long journey to imporve upon yourself. It is a game you against yourself, and looks like you loose just on merit of given an unfair feedback on a product that has nothing to do with the product itself.

      Game Golf cerrtinal isn’t perfect, but, not becuase of a reason of an UDB port versus a USB hub. USB hub is an after market product, who knows what haecking is going on in the cheap unit? If you have a UDB hub built-in with the motherboard, you won’t have this problem.

      Do us (readers) a favor, review and feedback the product, a real review, instead of blaming something irrelevant, and sounds like you didn’t even try to find out why or even an attempt to resolve such issue.

      Please don’t waste our (readers) time in the future.

    • damann

      Mar 9, 2016 at 11:50 pm

      I am just curious as to whether or not you have any idea on how to get rounds to upload that are still stored in pending folders on your computer after encountering this glitch. I did not know about it until it was too late, and the rounds are no longer on the device, but rather in temporary folders in the .gamegolf directory. How do I get them onto the site now?

  3. Jason

    Oct 26, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    I’ve never left a product review on GolfWRX, but felt the need to do so, after using Game Golf for two months. I was hesitant to drop the $ on it, but I’m happy to say that it has exceeded my expectations. I recently moved to Denver after playing golf for years at sea-level, and was having a very difficult time figuring out my new distances because of the altitude. This device has actually lowered my handicap from about a 5 to a 2 because I’m making better club selections based on the data I review after each round. Sure, I forget to tag the club on several shots per round, but it’s easy to add them in after the round when I’m looking at the stats. Before I had the device, I would enjoy thinking about my different shots after a round, but now I actually get to see them again on the screen with the cool graphics. Lastly, because I usually play at twilight, I often only get in 6 or 8 holes at a time. I was thrilled that Game Golf can record everything, even if it’s not a full 9 or 18 holes, and will gather every stat just the same. I don’t work for the company, or have any vested interest in them. But, this is a terrific product.

    • Al

      May 6, 2015 at 8:34 pm

      Thinking about buying this product…Can someone tell me how you set where the hole actually is? I would think the application would need to know that since one of the stats should be how far from the hole all shots are. So if the green is 100 feet long and the pin is in the back, how does it know verses the pin in the front?

      • Mike Jarrett

        May 16, 2015 at 5:28 am

        You can’t , but if you record the putts it is fairly good as it knows where you are on the green.

  4. Tim Green

    Sep 20, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Hi, can this be used with android or only Iphones?

  5. dude

    Sep 1, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    I have used this for 6 rounds and love it. I love technology and this does not disappoint. For me it is great to see what I need to work on to prepare for the next tournament. I am not a pro, but like to play in a lot of state events. It is easy to adjust a round or shots after the round. The best thing I have found out about this is that I completely forget about my score during the round. I remember where I hit the ball when I get done, but it really helps to take your mind of score. I highly recommend and it appears they are updating all the time. I take the distance avg with a grain of salt, but I think it is relatively close to normal. The more shots I hit and rounds I log will work my avg. club distances out.

    • John B

      Sep 8, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      Completely agree, I think the system is fantastic to be honest. I’ve been using it for the past 3 months and have already dropped 5 strokes. For what it does, it does it beautifully and is very easy to use. The tag and go comes second nature to me now and has actually helped me improve my game can use it as performance trigger to get me in the zone before each shot. These guys also listen to their customers and are constantly improving the entire system so I’m giving them a huge thumbs up for that. The amount of time and effort it has saved me by providing quality stats. I was never a stats nut but now I am and when you look at the value it has brought to my game it’s a no brainer.

      The Challenges feature they just released is another major break through, I had my brother in London and my Dad back in France all out competing against me yesterday in our own private GIR challenge. So much phone and the fact I on gives me an extra bit of pocket change this week 🙂

  6. Splitter

    Aug 28, 2014 at 5:14 am

    Reply to Rob:

    For some reason the software will not let me reply to you.

    Thanks for posting the link. It was nice to see what is on the back end. Since this is about GG, I don’t want to do the same link to my fav and be labled a spammer, or worse, get into a Gui pissing match, but I will say that * IMHO* the stats I get immediately after the round and on the web are more detailed.

    For example:

    Same overview shot style screen. I.e lines on the fairway from shot to landding.
    ALL tracked yardage vs. average yardage
    Score comparo between this round and average round
    Average score per hole for round vs. average
    Average puts per GIR & hole (misses) vs. average
    GIR round vs. average
    Drive results for round vs. average ( straight, left, right, fat, thin)
    Scramble chances, successes vs. average
    Sand saves
    Penalties
    Etc…

    That said ANYONE can take the data we are giving to the system and spit it back out. It’s literally just a good geek and programmer picking the right data to analyse and deliver in an easy to use way.

    The key as you noted is ease of use. It may have been hard once, but I hit three buttons.. Start, club, stop. That’s the Beauty of software. They can fix it quickly and cheaply. 🙂

    Which is why I want to see these guys fix the data gathering. It needs to be TOTALLY transparent to the user. That’s what people are not getting. The tags and box are going to kill them when we people understand that it’s easy to fix the gathering with three button pushes. BUT, I HAVE to push the buttons (easy or not). I don’t really want to, but want to do that more than carry a box and attach things to my clubs. GG could fix that!

    These guys could do that because they are already in the HW biz . But they are talking about software?!?! This battle won’t be won in software, but in the HW gathering devices..

    What happens when someone uses the same software on my phone ( or watch) but puts a passive RFID sticker on my clubs that speaks to my phone via a Bluetooth portal on my bag.

    I’m just not seeing that GG gets that. And that is the future of their company, NOT software.

    But I am happy you are liking the device and appreciate the link.

  7. JF8

    Aug 21, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Can someone who owns this explain how the distance data works?

    My concern with the device is when you play different types of shots with each club …. knock downs, cuts and draws etc

    How can it give you an accurate average distance? Is there an easy way to differentiate between the types of shots your hitting? e.g. manually tagging them when the device is connected to a computer?

    • Rusty Cage

      Aug 21, 2014 at 12:14 pm

      JF8,

      Straight from Game Golf’s support staff:

      Thank you for reaching out to us at GAME GOLF! Right now, our system takes a median distance, so shots that are not hit full will cause little to no effect on your club performance data. That being said, our next feature we will be releasing will allow you to set a minimum distance for each club which will allow us to only calculate the yardages hit over X yards into your club performance section. This feature will provide even more accurate figures than we currently present.

      • JF8

        Aug 22, 2014 at 6:29 am

        Thanks for that…. based upon their response…. I think i’ll just stick to working yardages out using a launch monitor!

        • Rhett

          Aug 28, 2014 at 8:29 pm

          According to a new piece they just put in the club performance section of your profile Distance Averages are calculated as approximately 90% of your shots for each club. After 2 rounds you will notice outliers being eliminated from your club performance, this includes chips and any punch shot that isn’t flushed close to your full distance.

          Obviously the more rounds and shots you put into the system the more precise data you will get out of it. It has worked great for me, I’ve been playing the same distances since high school and realized my real on-course yardage is about 4 yards shorter with my mid irons to wedges than the yardage I associated each club with in my head.

          The result, more greens hit and lower scores, makes the game much easier 🙂

  8. Splitter

    Aug 21, 2014 at 4:36 am

    Isn’t this the second front page review / preview on this? C’mon golfWRX! It reads like an ad to boot. 🙁

    I REALLY like what they are claiming to do behind the scenes, but I tend to judge technology on how well it does the table stakes stuff. If the “easy” isn’t there, why should I trust the tough data?

    And, to be clear, I love companies like this. We need guys doing these things. But, IMHO, these guys will be dead within 24 months if they don’t find an easier, less intrusive way of gathering the data.

    So… I’m not buying ease of use or value vs. current gear for the high $$$ just yet.

    My inexpensive phone GPS app already does this with scorecard & GPS too. And although I usually only look at the occasional distance if things are wonkey that day, you can look at the stats real time. Oh.. And I can see my buddies as well. The line about not looking during a round is PURE marketing.

    Within a year any decent gps watch or phone GPS will do this. Strike, record, stop. It’s not rocket science.

    Since any dope can take big data and make it readable, GGs only advantage is in making the hardware SUPER EASY. And, IMHO it needs work. Work that, like some of their software issues, no one seems to want to acknowledge. I’ve watched dozens of great tech companies drink their own kool aid, not recognize their *real* issues and sink because of it.

    Would LOVE to be proven wrong, but their startup strategy has not been impressive and I’m not dumping $250 on a company that may or may not exist in a year.

    • Mike Connolly

      Aug 21, 2014 at 1:30 pm

      GMAC, Jim Furyk, Lee Westwood, US Golf Channel and the PGA of America to name but a few are behind this product. The line about not looking at your phone during a round is not a marketing gimmick. If there is any interaction with your phone on the course (i.e.) then it would not be permissible under the rules of golf. For GAME GOLF there is no interaction with your phone on purpose during play – as such the US PGA and British PGA have approved this device to be used in tournament play. Otherwise it would not be allowed.

      That is part of the problem with your phone or any other device at the moment.

      You mention software issues and their start-up strategy is not impressive. How impressive do you want a start up to actually be? I have already named out the list of backers/fans of this product and even Obama was out wearing it last week. http://www.golfwrx.com/238475/spotted-president-obama-uses-game-golf/

      You must know some awesome start-ups that could beat the collection of folks this company has behind them.

      Its very annoying when people comment on devices when it is pretty obvious they haven’t even used it. This is new, innovative and instead of trolling the company you should be impressed that they are trying to do to move Golf forward.

      Every month they are releasing new software enhancements and features which adds to this product – they are actively listening to user requests and actually doing something about them. Since I bought the device they have done a new release of the software each month. Pretty damn awesome if you ask me!

      Adios.

      • Splitter

        Aug 22, 2014 at 12:22 am

        Maybe you should re-read the positive comments in my post. You know, the parts where I say ” I love companies like this, we need guys doing these things” and “I really like what they are claiming to do” or “I would love to be proven wrong”.

        I know, it’s easier to find something to argue about instead of understand the written post.

        Blind loyalty only goes so far. If they are willing to listen, *real* feedback is important. “Obama uses it, so it’s good enough for me!”, not so much. That’s naive, serves no purpose in moving the company forward and may even hurt them.

        I don’t suppose you understand the complete contradiction of saying “it is very annoying when people comment on devices when it is pretty obvious they haven’t even used it”… Right along with “This looks even better than I thought it was”. “My wife doesn’t know it, but I might treat myself to a birthday present this month.” I’d humbly suggest you be annoyed with yourself.

        In the meantime, when the product does what *I* want from it, I’ll buy it. But for now, like it or not, I get to have an opinion and NOT buy based in what I’ve seen.

        Uhhh.. Adios to you too?

        • Jeremy

          Aug 23, 2014 at 12:50 am

          Check and mate, sir.

          • Rob

            Aug 25, 2014 at 2:00 pm

            I have this device. I’ve owned it for a while now. I saw it in an Apple store in London and just thought wow!

            However a month or so later I was tempted to return it as I didn’t really see the point, until last month. They released the analysis functionality that’s an eye opener!

            Anyway I have previously used the iPhone apps that you mention. The whole process of tagging your shot is simply hold the butt of the club to your belt, it beeps you take your shot. The iPhone app method was just toooo instrusive having to click through different clubs click at the start click at the end, select another club etc etc.
            You also get evidence to back up your bragging rights in the 19th hole 🙂

            There’s one of my better rounds if you are interested in seeing how the web site looks:

            http://www.gamegolf.com/round/67716

            Rob

    • tiger168

      Jan 5, 2016 at 2:00 am

      Let me see…

      we dump more than $250 on a golf club that might not work for us, ALL THE TIME! Every year! Those investment do not improve my scores! This is a “tool”, that actually has the potential to improve my score. If you think course management improve your score more than your new clubs, this tool manages your club selections and distance management, arguably a more effective next step in course management. (Does this sound better than their BS marketing?? LOL)

      Investors/institutions dump money on ventures that fails all the time, statistically, only less than 6% of venture capital funded company survives, that is, including companies sold or merged prior IPO. This country thrives on start-up of every kind, garage based or not, big or small, no one say which model is the best. When crow funding just came out, everyone was laughing, but, they stop laughing when the first company was funded where no VC will ever invest and the company took off became part of the history.

      Of those successfully funded technology companies, their technology, usually do not have the “best” technology , as they have often had to acquire patents and rights or steal others to be successful. Apple does it all the time with a superior legal staff. Other companies follow suit.

      Good products doesn’t mean the product will be around forever, even if the company is still around, a la, MOTOACTV. I still use it, many people still use it, the product has been discontinued for years and the company, Motorola, has since change owner multiple times, a la, Google, and now Lenovo. I have yet to seen a similar product beating it straight out until recently few came close, and Apple watch is a joke!

      Marketing is just that, marketing. You don’t have to believe it, but, someone, somehow, the consumer needs to be informed. It is what it is. But, most of the consumers, especially golfers, are not your average Joe. Ok, I will just say it, golfers are the smartest consumers around, they are not stupid or impulse buyers , and they are not like those gadgets or electronic products buyers. So there goes that!

      If the existing GPS apps can do what it does, how come they have not done it? I will tell you this, these cheap GPS apps product are the ones that is not going to be around, with your logic, this will be ultimate conclusion, isn’t it? But, you still choose to use it, I take? So you want “free” or “cheap” no brainer product to use. Yet, you complained about a better throughout, company with vision and strategy with long term goals? What’s the logic behind that?

      When and if these “free” and “cheap” app company decided to take on GG, they are late to the market, they will have to come up with better BS marketing, which you wouldn’t approve anyway, right??

      I applause for GG’s efforts and willingness to take the risk to come to market with a good product, the qualities are there, you can see it, the design show well thought out process, I will not be shy to wear a nice designed product on my bell, I have seen far worst products click to the best, this one, is not bad at all.

      The App is of course a constant improvement item. And it is easy to update since it is in all the app stores. There are no issues because the app can only get better. And features can only get richer. I would hope it will eventually show me my tempo, swing action, simulation, swing speed, additional sensors, etc.. who knows. I can see a “platform” product, not just a single one. I love the concept and after considering and monitoring for 6 months, I am now a proud owner.

  9. Tyler

    Aug 14, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    I don’t understand the “it’s hard to use”, or “the software is difficult”. Those that think that, have you used it for more than a handful of rounds? I am not on their staff or trying to push the product, but I want people thinking about buying it to understand it is extremely easy to use from the time you take it out of the box up to submitting your “signed card”.

    It takes me a whole 10 minutes after a round to plug in my device to charge, upload my round, edit my round (which is extremely easy), sign the round, and review each hole and the stats from the round to look for improvement and tendencies.

    Bottom line this product is non-intrusive during play, a great way to develop a pre-shot routine (if you dont already have one), easy to upload stats post round, and a lot of fun to analyze after getting 5-10+ rounds uploaded.

    In regards to accuracy:
    If you want it to be accurate to the half yard you are out of luck, but since I use a gps during round for yardages I can easily adjust post round if game golf picked up an incorrect location. Once again, this is easy!

    • joesixpack

      Aug 17, 2014 at 10:56 pm

      Totally disagree. I forgot to tap multiple times every round, found myself going backwards to the spot where I last hit so I could make up for a tap, etc.

      Using the software to recreate missed shots was buggy and tedious.

      Plugging in the device after the round to download the data reminded me of my palm pilot from 1997. Why isn’t this thing wireless? It feels like totally antiquated technology to me.

      • tiger168

        Jan 5, 2016 at 2:15 am

        If you don’t remember where your shot landed, of course, you will have problem making edits after the round. If you know where to run back to re-tag, then you already know where your shot landed and can be easily edit it on the phone or computer after the round. Tee shots are even easier to edit. It is not recreating with buggy data. The stats are meant to be average to begin with, what did you expect? you can’t shoot on your intended/targeted distance and direction most of the time anyways. It just sounded like you don’t want to do a little bit more work to obtain the desired result. Just like people don’t practice shots and expect miracle results when they go on a course to play and complained why this game is so hard.

        to Tag is a must, not because it cannot use wireless, as the GG live are using Bluetooth already, it is wireless when it is needed it. To tag is a must, because the club doesn’t know where you are, whether you are standing on top of your ball, or just looking out somewhere or staring at a poisonous snake or plants. To tag is absolutely logical.

  10. AB

    Aug 14, 2014 at 10:07 am

    I have a question about the device that you put on the belt..
    DOes this not interfere with your downswing. I try to keep my right forearm close to the right thigh to come from the inside I feel like I will \hit the device if I put in on my belt.

    • Rusty Cage

      Aug 14, 2014 at 10:33 am

      AB,

      The device is pretty small and shouldn’t interfere with your downswing. However, as a right-handed player, I have decided to clip the sensor against my left hip so that I don’t even have to think about the possibility of brushing against it as I swing down.

      • Rob

        Aug 25, 2014 at 2:02 pm

        I knocked mine off the other day, I now wear it on the left side of my belt 🙂

  11. marcel

    Aug 14, 2014 at 12:09 am

    just another excuse not to see your local Golf Pro to fix your swing!!!

    • Mike Connolly

      Aug 14, 2014 at 7:37 am

      You have missed one of the major selling points of this device. You can allow your local golf pro to view your stats at any time. Obviously over time they will help build a clearer picture of what aspects of your game needs work. Your local golf pro or whoever your instructor is (can be based anywhere in the world) can provide feedback and exercises/drills for you to work on to improve your game.

      This device will provide added value for you and your coach not the other way around.

      Again if its good enough for Obama its good enough for me : -)

    • Rob

      Aug 25, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      Completely the opposite!

      I take this to my Golf Pro so that he can see where I’m going wrong. We have an hour on Bunker shots and 50 Yard pitches planned for Tuesday.

  12. AOK

    Aug 13, 2014 at 6:58 am

    This is a great system – so easy to use on the golfcourse – just a matter of tapping the sensor to the little console, and then play your shot! The Shot Performance Analysis is unreal – the data that is obtained is very comprehensive and so much can be learned about the shots you take – not just distance!

    They are releasing cool features every few weeks – from what I have read online, there are more to be released in the next few months. The fact that the system is constantly being improved is only a good thing.

    I havent had any reason to contact their customer service in the 3 months that I have had it, but from other reviews I have read elsewhere there have been no issues in that regard.

    All in all – a great system. For the price its a no brainer!! Would highly recommend.

  13. Pingback: Review: Game Golf | Spacetimeandi.com

  14. C Webb

    Aug 12, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    I’ve now logged 37 rounds on my GameGolf device and love it. Real useful data I share with my coach to work on the weaker parts of my game. You get charts with your progress over time to see how you are improving (or not improving). I got to compare data from my previous 910D3 driver against my new i25 to see differences. It gives me a great idea of how far I hit my irons in different wind conditions, or when I hit draws or fades. I also enjoy going over the pro’s practice rounds before their tournaments (Westwood, GMac, Furyk, Lydia Ko have all logged rounds @ Firestone, TPC Sawgrass, Bay Hill even the Par 3 Course at Augusta National). Another thing I value is being able to review my rounds at courses I don’t play that often… to understand where I got more room or less room on certain holes etc…. overall great product, I recommend it.

    • antonio

      Aug 13, 2014 at 4:46 am

      I agree it is a great and very useful product but have not been able to get as much info as you mention. How can you compare previous driver performance vs current one? How can you asses your club distances considering wind conditions?
      Thanks

  15. Philip

    Aug 12, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    I have been using the Game Golf system for a few months now and love it. It is basically Strava for Golf, and it makes tracking my game a piece of cake. There is a lot to be said for just tagging and going, and it’s super simple to use. Once I get back, it’s pretty straightforward to download the game and check out my scores. It has been scarily accurate on the GPS readings. Really useful to compare to my friend’s scores, and it always makes my buddies want to go out and buy one. Battery life is good enough for a few games, but I hear that they are making improvements and the next version will be a even better. I’m a fan.

  16. Mike Connolly

    Aug 12, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    This looks even better than what I thought it was. I have a friend who has it and loves it. The only feedback he mentioned that they are doing software updates each month i.e. rolling out more and more features. He was delighted with the initial purchase but thinks it is an unreal piece of kit now. My wife Geraldine doesn’t know it yet but I might treat myself with a birthday present this month 🙂

  17. ParHunter

    Aug 12, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    I had the GameGolf device and I thought it is a great concept but I had to return it as I got too many off-readings. Sometimes the location was off by up to 30 yards. Enough to make you question the data you get.
    Has anyone else had similar problems? I am still hoping it was just a dodgy device. I would get one again if I am sure it is more accurate (inside 5 feet as claimed in the article).

    • joesixpack

      Aug 21, 2014 at 8:10 am

      Yep. I hit a par three in one. I was about 3 feet from the edge of the green. When I plugged in my device and downloaded my data, it showed me as about 25 yards off the back of the green. They must have used cheap, low quality GPS units.

      And if I’m going to carry a GPS unit on my belt, why wouldn’t it show me distances to the green like a skycaddie? That couldn’t cost much more to incorporate. This thing costs $250 but they didn’t want to add a $5 LCD display?

      • tiger168

        Jan 5, 2016 at 2:36 am

        Because it will require more electronic circuitry, more battery or bigger battery. I don’t think they are using cheap GPS chips, as they are commodities now and there is no $$$ big enough differential for GG to choose a “cheap” GPS chip. And you don’t even know what chip they are using.

        GPS gadget like Skycaddie also make mistakes from time to time. Some yardage on course can different up to 10-30- yards when I use those Skycaddie like gadgets.

        GPS software is also open source standard, GPS location are basically triangulating via multiple satellites. Except, tri meaning 3, GPS uses up to 12 satellites to calculate location data. But, it requires more time. If you are a fast player like John Daly, Brandt Sneadeker, Ricke Fowler, Jhonny Vegas, Brian Davis… you might want to slow down a bit since the best GPS calculation result in any gadget will take up to 30 seconds to sync. The longer you can wait the more accurate the GPS result will be. 30 second maximum, after that, the GPS stop calculating, that is in most of the open source GPS software. But, if you move around (take a step or 2) and not standing still, the GPS is constantly recalculating, calculation does not drain that much battery, but, waiting for GPS satellite does.

        The fact that GG unit can last 10 hours, basically 2 rounds in one day, is well thought out and quite a nice piece of equipment for that size and weight ratio.

        Yes, it will have issues from time to time and my points are it is no worst then your other GPS gadgets.

        I would say, create a pre-shot routine and incorporate some of these points, you will receive better results.

        Also, GPS satellite for commercial use are not perfect either, unless you are using the military GPS specs and military grade chips. You can’t get/buy them on any consumer gadgets.

  18. Richard Youden

    Aug 12, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    Does anyone have one of these? Do you have to wear that ‘tag’ on your belt or can you attach it to your golf bag? Thats the only thing I don’t like the look of with this system…

    • Mike Connolly

      Aug 12, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      My friend attaches it to his golf bag although most use it (and is recommended I think) on their belt.

    • ForgedIron

      Aug 13, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      Tagging the club is what tells the device where you are hitting the shot from. If your bag is on a golf cart during 25yds from where the ball is actually being played from, the data is useless. I thought it would be disruptive, made it a part of my pre-shot routing by tagging as I step in.

    • joesixpack

      Aug 14, 2014 at 8:26 am

      How would you tag putts? You would have to do it after you finish putting and get back to your bag (if you remember to do so). If this thing does any putting analysis (and I dont think it does — as I recall it just assumes that the pin is in the center of the green if you 1-putt), the data would be meaningless because it would think you putted from wherever your bag is.

    • tiger168

      Jan 5, 2016 at 3:23 am

      I wear the “device” not the “tag” on my belt. Some of my friend just leave it in their pocket, because their outfit color does not go with “red”. What doesn’t go with red? LOL.

      Few of my friend wear at the back of the belt above their pocket, so they don’t even see it or worry about it. They got so used to it for tagging, as I thought it might be a challenge, but they did it with ease. I guess, I was thinking too much.

      Tagging give you data such as where your shot landed and where your next shot is starting from. It has to be near the ball for tagging so the whole system works accurately. It trains discipline, commitment and focus. Because when I lack anyone of those, I will forget to tag.

      It is interesting that shot I tag, tents to be better shots then those I rush and forget to tag. Maybe GG should have a statistical report on shots recorded automatically, versus edited. LOL…

  19. MJ

    Aug 12, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Seriously thinking about pulling the trigger on one of these for a try. This looks like very valuable information.

  20. dot dot

    Aug 12, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    another 4+ star review. The GWRX review streak remains intact.

    • Jeremy

      Aug 12, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      Yup, and despite every other review I’ve seen, WRX considers it 2/10 from utter perfection. What a joke.

    • smokeandmirrors

      Aug 12, 2014 at 8:45 pm

      Seriously, There are pages and pages of reviews on Game Golf talking about how difficult the back end software is to use. Many, Many people were disappointed and sent their product back.

      How does this get a 96% approval rating.

      Caveat Emptor….

      • Mike Connolly

        Aug 13, 2014 at 5:33 pm

        There are pages and pages of people also commenting on how good it is. Barack Obama just used it on vacation so it can’t be half bad :-)!

        • SBoss

          Aug 13, 2014 at 11:45 pm

          Obama using something is not a good reason to consider it. In fact, many golfers don’t exactly care for Mr. Obama and would likely shy away from products that he uses….

          And hacks aren’t the people driving engagement in golf equipment.

        • RJ

          Sep 16, 2014 at 8:42 pm

          If Obama uses this, it must be really easy to use.. Foolproof!

      • bradford

        Dec 1, 2014 at 9:29 am

        Pages and pages? Sounds like someone is making up stories, I’ll need actual information here…

        Back End software? Again, this is pucky. You have no idea what that even means do you? Are you seriously saying the developers of this product have been on the web complaining about how difficult the HMI integration is?

        Please feel free to post your experience, but to simply make shit up is just stupid.

    • ParHunter

      Aug 13, 2014 at 4:54 am

      Yes giving it 5 stars for accuracy is a joke.

      I think the scale here doesn’t go from 0 to 5 but only from 4.5 to 5

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Accessory Reviews

Choose Your Tartan: Enter now to win a Sunfish Tartan headcover

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Sunfish, well known for its stylish headcover designs, is offering up free Tartan-style headcovers to five GolfWRX Members. All you have to do to apply is become a GolfWRX member, if you’re not already, and then reply in the forum thread with your favorite the Tartan pattern.

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The five winners will receive a free headcover in the pattern that they select. Winners will be selected on Friday, so don’t wait.

Click here to enter into the giveaway and pick your favorite style.

Reminder: Commenting on this post WILL NOT enter you into the giveaway.

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Review: Golf Simulator Software for SkyTrak

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SkyTrak is a personal launch monitor packed with impressive features and accuracy. It sells for $1995, and is aimed at golfers looking for a high-quality, personal launch monitor and golf simulator. I’ve recently hit more than 1,000 golf balls on SkyTrak and tested it head-to-head against Trackman to find out if it truly is as good as it sounds.

Spoiler alert: It is. You can read the full review here.

In writing my SkyTrak review, I felt that I could better serve the GolfWRX Community and the greater golf world with an additional SkyTrak review that focused specifically on SkyTrak’s golf simulation partners. This… is that review.

Golf Simulation Partners

Out of the box, SkyTrak comes with an impressive driving range app, which golfers looking to hone and refine their swing will really appreciate. But one of the ways SkyTrak differentiates itself from other launch monitors, especially lower-priced ones, is by integrating with five leading golf simulation software packages.

This is where SkyTrak starts to widen its appeal. Serious golfers will enjoy playing a full round, but you can also get casual golfers involved. My wife and kids will enjoy playing a round of golf, and I won’t have to worry about holding up the group behind me. As my kids get older, having a simulator at home will be invaluable, allowing them practice at any time… assuming they want to play golf, of course.

SkyTrak Simulation Partners

Data Provided to Each Software

SkyTrak provides each simulation partner with the exact same, five directly measured data points which include: ball speed, launch angle, backspin, side spin and side angle. Each software applies their own ball flight model. For that reason, I did see differences in the ball flight and data displayed.

WGT (World Golf Tour)

Almost every golfer with a mobile phone or a Facebook profile has played or heard of WGT (World Golf Tour). The same game that has been played on mobile phones for years can now be played with SkyTrak. The most obvious difference is the visuals. Their patented, photo-realistic imagery and terrain mapping has created some of the most realistic course simulation available. What’s more interesting is that WGT is included at no additional cost when you purchase the $199.95 per year SkyTrak plan. This is great news for people interested in playing full courses, but not yet ready to commit to another simulator package.

There are 10 full courses that can be played. They include St. Andrews, Chambers Bay, Bandon Dunes and others. Closest-to-the-pin challenges can be played on 18 total courses.

Ball Flight and Data

The ball flight model is very accurate and similar to what I see in the SkyTrak app. It also calculates my wedge shots correctly, which is typically a slight fade that I cannot seem to fix. Total distance is a bit strong, with some clubs flying an average of five yards farther than normal.

Course Accuracy and Visuals

It is hard to beat the photo-realistic visuals of WGT. It took me a minute to get used to them after playing rounds on the other simulators, but the courses look amazing, especially on a large projector screen. With the combination of the photos and terrain mapping, these courses are spot-on representations of their real-life counterparts.

WGT SkyTrak Partner

Depth of Included Courses and Quality of Gameplay

I wish there were more courses, but WGT is continuing to add to its roster and I value the realism of the courses it has. I would rather higher quality courses over quantity. They also have some “Best Of” bundles, like playing the Best of Bandon Par 3s, which is a lot of fun.

The gameplay is solid, although the options are limited. You don’t have a lot of fancy camera angles or the ability to view a replay of your shot. In fact, some of the starting camera angles aren’t even from the player’s point of view, which is a little weird and hard to get used to. The SkyTrak data presented has everything you would want, except carry distance. The interface is clean and easy to use.

Reliability of the Software

Although the specs say an iPad is required (and preferred if you’re not using a projector), I didn’t experience any issues connecting to either my iPad or my iPhone 6s.

Cost

Included with SkyTrak’s Play & Improve Package

Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf

I want to love Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf, and I almost do. The main game includes really nice, quality courses, and you can purchase add-ons such as Muirfield Village or PGA National for $5.95. Additionally, its Course Forge Software, which is the same software used by Jack Nicklaus Golf course designers, can be used by anyone to create an unlimited number of courses that you can download and play.

You can adjust almost any setting you can imagine, from camera angles that allow you to walk freely around the golf course to video and audio settings that adjust everything from the sky effects to the way the grass looks. This is critical to helping dial in the settings to maximize gameplay for your specific PC setup.

Ball Flight and Data

The ball flight was similar to what I saw on the SkyTrak range, but the distances were consistently a bit shorter. There is a good chance I could mess around with the various settings and get the numbers to match up, but out of the box, I felt like the distances were slightly shorter across the board.

Course Accuracy and Visuals

I really like the quality of the courses. There is an almost unlimited combination of settings you can use to dial in the visuals to create a very realistic experience. The real courses I downloaded look, appear and play very accurately. The textures of the tee boxes and greens are very realistic.

Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf SkyTrak Partner

Depth of Included Courses and Quality of Gameplay

The included courses are a mix of fictional, user-created courses, and real courses with fake names. For example, you can play Florida Glades, which is actually modeled after TPC Sawgrass. I played Muirfield Village while watching coverage of the Memorial last weekend, which was fun.

With the exception of the occasionally shorter distances, the gameplay is excellent. Shots on the fairways and into the greens follow the real-life contours of the course. Just check out the video above to see what I mean.

The game really shines with the smooth camera movements and replay options. I love being able to watch each shot from the player point of view, but also angles like the spectator view. It feels just like TV and is a lot of fun to see my shots from different angles.

Reliability of the Software

This is where Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf falls short, at least for me. During testing, I was never able to get through an entire round without the simulator connection crashing, which meant that SkyTrak was no longer connected to the simulator software. This is an issue with Perfect Golf reported by others, too. As of June 1st, the company provided an update that has solved this issue for me, and I can now get through a full round, but it is something to keep in mind.

Cost

Multiple packages starting at $99.95 per year for the driving range package. It’s $199.95 per year for the simulation package, and $249.95 per year for everything including the ability to play user-created courses or compete in online tournaments.

TruGolf E6

TruGolf E6 feels and plays like the most solid of all the simulator options. Each of the 87 total courses are mapped using precise terrain and course data, and you can tell they spent a lot of time making each course feel as realistic and accurate as possible.

The app has numerous settings to control time of day, wind, lighting, camera angles and more. Course elevation is accurate, and factored into the ball flight. The base software includes a driving range with target practice, chipping area, and a putting area.

Ball Flight and Data

The ball flight, carry and total distance are almost identical to what I see in the SkyTrak app.

Course Accuracy and Visuals

The quality of each course is impressive. Fairways and greens are responsive and variable, mimicking the actual terrain of the course. The textures, shadows, and lighting are realistic. And the camera movements to follow the ball or during replays are natural. The overall graphics are not quite as good as Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf or The Golf Club, but still very solid.

TruGolf E6 SkyTrak Partner

Depth of Included Courses and Quality of Gameplay

The main package includes 15 championship courses, including Pinehurst  No. 2, Bay Hill, Gleneagles and others. You can also buy seven other packs of courses, each for a one-time fee.

The actual gameplay is very realistic. The standard camera angles feel like I am watching a shot from my actual point of view, but I can also watch the replay from various other camera angles. Putting is realistic, even if I haven’t yet mastered putting on SkyTrak. And if you’re looking to practice a specific hole on a course, you can choose to play only that hole.

Reliability of the Software

Rock solid. Throughout my entire testing, I never had any software issues.

Cost

$299 per year in addition to the SkyTrak Game Improvement Package. Additional course packs can be purchased for $240-500 each.

The Golf Club Game

There is so much to like about The Golf Club.  The graphics are quite possibly the best of any of the simulators (up to 4K Ultra HD) and allow you to move around the course in real-time. There are 100,000+ high definition courses, you can create your own courses, and TGC has live tournaments. There is even an announcer who gives you the play-by-play.

Ball Flight and Data

Just like TruGolf E6, the ball flight model and key data points are very similar to what I see on the SkyTrak range. I have noticed some deviation, more total distance for example, but for the most part, the results are very similar and accurate.

Course Accuracy and Visuals

I can’t deny having access to 100k+ courses isn’t a strength, but it is also a weakness. You will never get bored if you own this software, but if you like playing realistic golf courses, it can be difficult to navigate. With so many “Augusta National” or “St. Andrews” courses listed, it is hard to find one to play that truly feels realistic. I selected an “Augusta National Sunday Pin Position” course and saw white-capped mountains in the distance teeing off No. 1. There certainly aren’t mountains around Augusta.

The Golf Club SkyTrak Partner

I’ll say it again, the HD visuals are outstanding, especially if your system can max out the settings.

Depth of Included Courses and Quality of Gameplay

You’ve got access to a ton of courses for free, which will be  huge for many people. The gameplay is also excellent, with realistic bounces and rolls on the fairways and greens. The rough and sand are penalizing, and putting and chipping around the green is accurate.

Reliability of the Software

I have had some minor connectivity issues with TGC. But other than that, the rest of the software has worked great.

Cost

$479/year or a one-time fee of $895.

Creative Golf 3D

Creative Golf 3D, the newest integration with SkyTrak, offers some unique twists on the traditional simulators by focusing more on entertainment than pure simulation. Sure, there is a range and you can play up to 100 courses located in Europe, but more importantly, you have access to 20 different entertainment-focused games including island targets, mini-golf, and abandoned factory demolition.

I can see playing mini-golf with my kids even before sticking them on the SkyTrak range. Fun is the real power of Creative Golf 3D, and yet another way that SkyTrak differentiates itself from other launch monitors or simulators on the market.

Ball Flight and Data

The ball flight and data matches up nicely with the SkyTrak ball flight model. I haven’t noticed any issues with distances or other data points not lining up.

Course Accuracy and Visuals

All the courses are based on real elevation and satellite data, which is evident when you play a round. While I’ve never played golf in Europe, I love watching the European Tour partly because they play courses in beautiful parts of the world. Creative Golf 3D captures that beauty by focusing only on courses throughout Europe.

creativegolf_image

The reason I would buy Creative Golf over the others is not for the course play; it’s for the entertainment options. I really enjoy hitting knock down wedges to smash windows of an abandoned building and playing mini-golf in Europe.

Depth of Included Courses and Quality of Gameplay

The base package includes five courses. You can buy add-on packages for $99 per package (one-time fee) and get access to up to 100 courses. I enjoy hitting shots with snow-capped mountains in the background and the standard camera angles and replay are smooth. The visuals are good, don’t get me wrong, but they feel a little more like a computer game than an actual simulation compared to the other software options.

Reliability of the Software

So far, so good. I haven’t experienced any issues with connectivity to this point.

Cost

$199.95 per year or a one-time fee of $499.95. I like that Creative Golf 3D offers a one-time fee. For those of us who plan to have this simulator for many years, it makes a lot of sense. You can also buy additional course packs for $99.95/one time.

Bottom Line

If I had to choose my favorites so far, one would be Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf for the overall high quality of courses and smooth, realistic gameplay. I also will keep Creative Golf 3D on hand for entertainment options like mini-golf to play with my kids and friends.

But the good news is all of SkyTrak’s five simulation software partners offer high-quality gameplay, realistic and accurate 3D ball flight, and the ability to play 18 holes anytime, anywhere, on some of the best courses around the world.

Further Reading: A Review of the SkyTrak Personal Launch Monitor

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Accessory Reviews

Review: SkyTrak Personal Launch Monitor

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Pros: Highly accurate data, portable, easy to use, and integrated with some of the best golf simulation software on the market.

Cons: Slight delay between contact and seeing the ball flight. Only tracks the golf ball, and not your club path.

Bottom line: Impressive features, accuracy and price make SkyTrak attractive to a whole new segment of golfers who aren’t in the market for professional launch monitors, but are looking for a high-quality, personal launch monitor and golf simulator.

Overview

If you’ve watched golf on TV in the past year or so, you’ve probably seen Hank Haney talking about SkyTrak, a personal launch monitor that provides accurate shot data and the ability to play full rounds of golf on some of the world’s best courses. To find out if SkyTrak truly is as good as it sounds, I’ve hit over a thousand golf balls, played rounds of golf on every simulation package, and tested SkyTrak head-to-head with Trackman.

SkyTrack Personal Launch Monitor

SkyTrak is a photometric launch monitor, which means it uses high speed cameras to capture a series of images of the golf ball for a few feet right after impact. Ball speed, launch angle, backspin, side spin and side angle are directly measured, and other data points such as carry and total distance are estimated. SkyTrak then creates a realistic, 3D ball flight model (more on this later), which I’ve found to be extremely accurate. It only needs a few feet to capture the images, which means you can use SkyTrak anywhere you can swing a golf club, both indoors and outdoors.

At 7-inches tall and less than 2 pounds, SkyTrak is small enough to fit in a golf bag when heading to the range. It connects wirelessly to your PC or iPad without requiring a WiFi network. And if you’re worried about hitting a hosel rocket and smashing your launch monitor, you can get a protective case.

SkyTrak

The SkyTrak app supports iOS and Windows. Sadly, Mac desktop or laptop users are out of luck. The company is currently working to officially release the SkyTrak app for Android, but a release date has not been provided. Check out the full specs here.

SkyTrak starts at $1,995, but you can often find it offered for $300 off. In addition to purchasing the launch monitor, SkyTrak has three yearly plans:

  • Basic: Limited access to the driving range app and is included at no charge. Included with purchase.
  • Game Improvement: Access to all the features of the app as well as integration with the company’s simulation partners. $99.95 per year.
  • Play & Improve: You get everything with the Play & Improve Plan, including full access to World Golf Tour simulator. 199.95 per year.

Setup and Ease of Use

One area where SkyTrak really shines is how simple and intuitive it is to use. Once the launch monitor was charged, it took me about 2 minutes from start to finish to get connected.

SkyTrak on iPad

The entire application is straightforward and simple to use. Nothing in the app seems like an afterthought. Big icons and visuals make it easy to select what you want to do, even outside with the glare of sunlight bouncing off your iPad. The data points are huge, allowing you to quickly scan the screen as you’re practicing.

The designers didn’t attempt to make the SkyTrak range “feel” like a photo-realistic simulation, and I couldn’t be happier with that decision. When I’m practicing, I want the application to be responsive and accurately display the ball flight and data. While I like that some of the other simulators have a practice area, I will primarily use the SkyTrak range.

SkyTrak Measured Data

Accuracy of the Data

Before we get too deep into the review, I’m pretty sure many of you are wondering, “Great, but is it accurate?” To answer that question, I tested SkyTrak outside on the range and head-to-head against Trackman.

SkyTrak has completed independent robot testing at Golf Laboratories, but I wanted to do my own testing against Trackman. SkyTrack is photo-based and Trackman is radar-based, so there will be variation in the data, but Trackman is the gold standard and I was curious how they stacked up. I headed to BridgeMill Golf Academy and worked with Tom Losinger, Director of Golf Instruction, who ran the head-to-head test.

Head-to-Head Testing

SkyTrak vs. Trackman Data

Before we got started, I set the wind speed, direction, humidity and temperature to the weather at the time in an attempt to normalize the data in the SkyTrak app as much as possible.

On average, SkyTrak was within about 2 percent of what Trackman reported, which I would say is really good. SkyTrak under-reported every metric except spin rate and launch angle. Spin rate is one metric likely more accurate than Trackman because it is directly captured by camera and analyzed.

SkyTrak vs. Trackman Averages

The largest deviation was total yardage, off by 6 percent, with the driver showing the biggest difference. Unfortunately, this is an area that is hard to match up the range conditions to the conditions in SkyTrak, which will impact this number. Carry distance was within 3 percent, which is more inline with my expectations. I should note that SkyTrak’s robot testing against Trackman showed significantly closer carry and total distance data.

Related: The Hottest Launch Monitors of 2017

Like other photo-based launch monitors, SkyTrak only captures the ball flight. Clubhead speed is an approximation, and I’ve found it to be more inaccurate than accurate, especially with the wedges. If you need club data, you will likely need to invest in a more expensive, commercial-grade launch monitor.

3D Ball Flight Model

In addition to the actual data from Trackman, I also hit a lot of balls on the range focusing on how my real ball flight and distance match up to the 3D ball flight.

While SkyTrak is only a couple years old, the team behind SkyTrak has been refining, testing and improving their 3D ball flight model for over a decade. I can say without hesitation that it’s an impressive model. The video above shows a side-by-side video of an 8-iron on the range compared to the 3D-generated ball flight presented by SkyTrak. I landed my shot just short and right of the target.

SkyTrak Range Testing

There have been a few times during testing, mostly with my wedges, where the ball flight did not perfectly match the real flight. But the vast majority of the time, it was spot on. I even spent time intentionally hitting the dreaded, um, sh**k, which SkyTrak picked up perfectly.

What you can do with the SkyTrak app

Practice Range

I have spent the most time using the SkyTrak practice range, even using it to test eight of this season’s newest golf balls. The range is laid out with big data points and simple controls. You can adjust the target distance, set parameters such as wind, humidity and elevation, switch between the range and data views, and also see your shot history.

Basically, you have everything you need to practice effectively.

SkyTrack Driving Range

You can also choose from a number of different camera angles to view your shots live and in replay. SkyTrak recently added the ability to offset the camera angle, which is a much needed feature for people hitting into projector screens where space is limited and they aren’t able to line up in the center of the screen.

Challenges

Challenges are a lot of fun, especially with other people. You can do a closest-to-the-pin challenge, target practice, and surely a favorite of many people, a long-drive competition.

SkyTrak Target Practice

For each challenge, you have various settings, such as target distance and the number of shots for each person. All the same data points available on the range are available during the challenges.

I like the Target Practice a lot. It simulates some of the real-world pressure you might feel to hit a good shot. Instead of just a distance from the target, you get a score of 0-100, which helps to show how accurate you are with each club.

Skills Assessment

SkyTrak Skills Assessment

The Skills Assessment and Bag Mapping (see below) are two fairly new features that users are really excited about. If you’ve ever run through a Trackman Combine, the Skills Assessment will seem very familiar.

You set up the number of clubs you want to hit and the target distance. I like being able to specify the clubs and distance instead of being forced to hit to a specific yardage. I ran my father-in-law, Tony, through the skills assessment and was able to focus in on the distances specific to his game.

Setting up the assessment only takes a couple minutes. Then you’re guided through each club and all the data is stored. At the end of the assessment, you get a very detailed printout that shows your dispersion, accuracy, shot tendency and handicap for each club as well as an overall SkyTrak Handicap. This data is incredible.

SkyTrak Skills Assessment Tony

On the course, Tony’s miss is left and short. During the assessment, his miss was left and short. Not only that, his SkyTrak Handicap came out to be 22.5. Tony currently plays to a 23.

Bag Mapping

Similar to the Skills Assessment in terms of data and the final report, the Bag Mapping feature walks you through your entire bag to help you understand your carry distance, tendency, shot shape, and gapping between clubs.

This is great for any golfer, even if you think you know what your distances are with each club. But many golfers simply don’t have a good understanding of their carry distances, and this feature will help.

SkyTrak Bag Mapping

I’ve done an entire bag map, but recently ran through it again focusing only on my wedges. Lately, I’ve felt like my gaps aren’t correct and sure enough, they aren’t. Now I have the data I need, and can focus my practice, and possibly make some club changes, using the results.

The Momentary Shot Delay

One of the most frequent, negative comments I’ve read from golfers about SkyTrak is the 2-3 second, shot-to-show delay. You hit a shot and instead of instantly showing up on the screen flying down the fairway, there is a momentary delay while SkyTrak calculates the ball flight.

I’ll admit I was also disappointed at first, too, but I got over that pretty quickly. In fact, I use the brief pause to guess what the shot will do based purely on feel. Will it be short, long, push, pull, fade or draw? This weakness was easily turned into a strength, and I don’t think this reason alone should make anyone overlook SkyTrak.

Simulation Packages

Accurate data and the ability to hone your swing on a practice range in your own home is reason enough to buy a personal launch monitor, but SkyTrak also integrates with five leading simulation software partners, allowing you to play thousands of different courses around the world.

World Golf Tour(WGT), probably the most well-known mobile golf game, is included with the Play & Improve package. You can also choose from The Golf Club Game, Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf, TruGolf E6, and Creative Golf 3D.

I’ve spent time playing and practicing with each of SkyTrak’s simulation software partners.  You can read my thoughts here.

Bottom Line

I couldn’t be more impressed with this launch monitor. The shortcomings — a momentary delay after impact before the shot registers and the lack of club data — are worthwhile tradeoffs to get access to a launch monitor and simulator for under $2,000.

Personally, I will be using SkyTrak for serious game improvement and practice, as well as for fun. I have no doubt it will have a positive impact on my golf game going forward. The accuracy of the data, simplicity of use, and the depth of simulation partners, make SkyTrak one of the best golf technology products I’ve reviewed.

Further Reading: We Review of the Golf Simulator Software for SkyTrak

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