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BUSHNELL NEO+ GOLF GPS WATCH REVIEW

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Editor Review by: Richard A 7/9/2012

Pros: Easy to setup, great quality, does what you want it to without hassle. Front/center/back of the green with a flick of the wrist. Nice.

Cons: If you dont wear a watch when you play golf then there is some getting used to. Could be a touch smaller.

Overall: You will not believe it until you see it. A very useful and functional rangefinder that is small enough to fit on your wrist during play. GolfWRX says this is a hit and rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Only rub many will have is the $199 price point.

______________________________________________

For us gearheads we love to have the next best thing. Here is something that you might want to consider. GolfWRX likes this Rangefinder Watch for a few reasons.

One is the speed of play advantages. You don’t have to do much to find the perfect distance for the par 3’s or approach shots. Simply get the ball and wait 2 seconds or so for the watch to catch up and there it is. The distance to center of the green. You can also have front and back on the same screen. No pacing off the yards or even grabbing the laser and holding it up to your eye for the 20,000 time this year. That get old after a while.

Secondly we love this for the ease of use. It was so easy to use a caveman could do it. The watch was 2 clicks from looking for a course near me after taking it out of the box. Press the menu button, then press “play golf” and a new window popped up and said “searching”. Took a minute and then all the courses near me all popped up. Select the one you want and the distance from you and the 1st hole flag is shown. If you start on #10 you have to change the hole to 10 and it takes over from there.

Sort of idiot proof in our test. Go from hole 10 to 11 and the watch knows what you doing and changes holes.

During the rounds I also laser’ed the flag many of times not trusting the distance. Every time we tested it was dead on. Now the drawback is the number isn’t on the spot. You get front, back and center of the green. You have to back a judgment call if the flag is forward or back from one of those numbers. Personally I like to know the exact yardage. I want to now if it is 167 vs the watch telling me it is 163 to center and I have to guess how far back from center it is. But I am particular and also don’t like change as much as my friends tell me I should.

According to Bushnell the watch allows golfers to play three rounds without recharging. Also you are out of GPS mode you can use it as a normal timepiece for over 12 months without recharging. Here is a rub for you. Want to recharge it? Have to use a USB to plug into a USB charger (computer, etc) to recharge. So if you are going on a golf trip bring something that has a USB on it. Slick way it recharges to save space. The clamp (see pic below) attaches easily and you know it is registered by a click you hear and feel upon pacing the clamp on the watch.

 

 

As I am writing this I have the watch activated and wearing it to the office. Nobody has said a thing because it looks like a modern sport watch.

Only thing I need to do now is get used to wearing this baby on the course. Should be to much of an issue. Bubba and Phil wear one right? This watch is surprisingly light weight. hard to tell it is on. The backside of the watch contours with my wrist making it very comfortable.

Gearheads a must. If you end up not liking it you can strap it to the bag or the cart and use it that way. Great gadget that works and looks great!

See Photos below

_________________________________________________________

Here is some information from a Bushnell Press Release:  With sky-rocketing demand for wrist-mounted devices, the NEO+ Golf GPS Rangefinder Watch is an easy-to-use GPS rangefinder, with instant measurements for golfers in a simple, lightweight form-factor.

“With the widespread acceptance of the original neo GPS, we wanted to provide consumers with another exceptional GPS option that would provide extra benefits at an affordable cost,” said Terry Mears, Product Director at Bushnell. “While we may be known for our dominant laser rangefinders, at Bushnell we pride ourselves on producing industry-leading products that will give golfers the ability to enhance their game. We know that the new neo+ watch will be extremely popular.”

The neo+ Golf GPS Watch is the latest product to join the Bushnell family of devices offering Distance Made Simple. The lightweight watch is simple to operate and comfortable to wear, giving golfer’s accurate front/back/center and shot distance measurements on 25,000 preloaded courses with no membership fees, more than has have ever been made available via GPS.

While other GPS watch devices run out of battery after just one round, the Bushnell neo+ Golf GPS Watch allows golfers to play three rounds or over 14 hours without needing a recharge. Additionally, when the product is functioning solely in watch mode, the battery can last over 12 months.

The neo+ Golf GPS Watch is capable of instantly recognizing courses and has an auto hole advance feature which automatically changes from one hole to the next. This great feature means that the golfer does not have to push another button for the rest of the round.

Product features include:

  • Front/Center/Back distances with large, easy-read numbers
  • Shot distance calculator
  • Non-golf features, including watch, odometer, timer and alarm
  • Over 14 hours battery life in GPS mode
  • Over months battery life in Watch mode
  • 25,000 preloaded courses
  • No membership fees
  • Waterproof to a depth of 30m

The NEO+ Golf GPS Watch will be available at Bushnell retailers nationwide beginning in May, with a retail price of $199.95.

 

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89 Comments

89 Comments

  1. Joe Carrow

    Apr 25, 2017 at 11:25 am

    Since 2012 the things changes a lot’s, nowadays if you are looking for Bushnell GPS watch then I would like to remind you that it’s not only the GPS watch brand in the market there are lots of GPS watch which also fine like Callaway GPSy Golf GPS Watch. Whatever if you decided to buy one of Bushnell watch then you can check out Bushnell Neo Ion it’s fine.

  2. Kyle @ TGG

    Dec 17, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    The Bushnell line has progressed a lot since coming out with this model. If you’re interested in a Bushnell GPS watch you should consider the NEO-ion or the NEO XS models.

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  35. Mary Lou valente

    Jun 24, 2015 at 11:05 am

    I broke my charger where can I get one?

    • Chris Block

      Jun 26, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      I have the same problem….can’t find one anywhere

  36. Ray

    Apr 10, 2015 at 6:03 am

    I love this watch because it is easy to program.

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  39. Darren

    Mar 16, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Tried cotton ball and rubbing alcohol and it worked!

  40. Darren

    Mar 15, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Also having problems charging watch. Great when it works, but seems to be getting harder and harder to get contacts to connect and charge battery. Anyone have ideas?

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  42. Rich Griffith

    Oct 1, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    This watch is junk. It has a know major problem (actually 2). First, it fails to charge after 20-30 uses. The contacts erode and will not connect to charge the watch after use. I have returned it to Bushnell and the “fixed” it – it worked 1 time. This watch will not charge and the yardages is consistently off from what other rangefinders show and what course markers show – almost every time. The difference for me was usually arond 10 yards. This is a junk product and Bushnell can’t fix it….run away!! Buy a different brand!!!!!

    • Brian Valente

      Oct 15, 2014 at 1:36 pm

      I lost my charger “ages” ago so the watch is redundant – Sell me yours if you are interested ???

      Brian UK

  43. psykolog århus

    Sep 21, 2014 at 10:57 am

    What really can rin a vurlnerable relationship is stinky feet.

  44. Ted

    Aug 2, 2014 at 9:18 am

    I have had my watch less than a year. I|t stopped hole advancing this spring and since then it has had trouble finding my home course. Anyone know a fix or do |I have to make a new purchase?

  45. Roger H Panton

    Mar 24, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    I have had one for over a year and I am very pleased with it. I have used it in Spain, the UK and California. I have differed with others about distances by a small margin occasionally, but if you use your clubs according to YOUR measurements, things will be fine.

  46. Proof of Concept

    Jan 9, 2014 at 2:39 am

    Thank you for other sorts of wonderful post. The place more may possibly anybody get that variety of information in that best way of writing? I’ve a presentation pursuing week, using this program . at the look for these facts.

  47. Revie

    Dec 9, 2013 at 5:29 am

    Does anybody know if the watch has golf courses preloaded in the Philippines?

  48. Jim Goldamer

    Aug 25, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    What doesn’t seem to be covered off here is what happens when the unit doesn’t work. From my recent experience, Bushnell’s repair and customer service cannot be beat. If they cannot fix your unit they send you a new one… no questions asked.. it just shows up at your door… and quickly. Bushnell ROCKS!!

  49. Bjørn

    Aug 8, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    bought this watch, registered and downloaded according to instructions, tbut it seesm like their system doesnt support apple mac systems, only windows. Any tips how to solve this problem, I am playing in norway, and went to a pretty big golf course yesterday to test the watch, and the watch said “No local courses found”. Irritating

  50. Steve

    Aug 6, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina, how do you install the courses in your zone?
    Are a web page o something to consult?

  51. Bill Merlin

    Aug 3, 2013 at 11:51 am

    I like the GPS it works well. The fact that is a watch means I won’t leave it in the golf cart. i mhave two questions, how do you replace the battery when it’s life runs out and can it be updated to show hazards. Let me know

  52. edgar d

    May 17, 2013 at 11:06 am

    I have used the watch for several games now and I’ve had no problems. As for charging the battery, I tried using the iphone 4S wall charger and it seems to work.I like it so much that I bought one for a friend too.

  53. lakay

    May 10, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Watch did not advance on several holes at my local course. This has happened on 3 different occasions. Am returning device today.

    • Ron

      May 24, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      My watch was working fine. But, I played 3 times at my local course this week, and my watch did not move from hole to hole half of the times. I emailed a tech a Bushnell with this problem, and they told me to contact IGOLF. Also, Bushnell promotes that you can play 10 to 14 hours without a recharge. Mine will only last 6 to 8 hours. If I try to get 2 rounds in, I will most certainly not have enough juice to finish.

  54. Donnie

    May 10, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    I recently was in Costa del golf and played so popular courses but was very disappointed the watch did not pick them up! I will be get rid and looking for something that does the job! DO NOT BUY THE NEO!

  55. Doug G

    Apr 29, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Great GPS unit, I have used it at several courses in NY and FL with no problems. I like the fact that I can charge it in my car on the way to the course with a power inverter. Not great as a watch though.

  56. Frank J. Richardson

    Apr 4, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    I like the concept. But I think maybe I have a loose battery as it goes blank, and sometimes doesn’t advance to the next hole. Also a challenge to charge at times do to the connection. I’m thinking salt from ones skin plugs up the connection holes on the watch??? But it’s still under warranty, so wish me luck.

    • Bob Gould

      Apr 15, 2014 at 8:03 am

      I love the watch, however, all of a sudden it will not show the charge signal. I have put it into the proper holes and if I move it around it will show the charge sign but will not stay on the charge mode.

      • Ron

        May 24, 2014 at 2:37 pm

        Mine does exactly the same thing.

      • Richard C

        Jul 21, 2014 at 6:30 pm

        Get a cotton swab….dip it it Rubbing Alcohol and clean the terminals on the watch and on the connector.

        Did that with mine.
        Works like a charm!!

        • Rich Griffith

          Oct 1, 2014 at 9:19 pm

          didn’t work for me…it’s a known problem

  57. R Pruneau

    Feb 15, 2013 at 6:11 am

    If no USB available in Scotland is there a way of recharging the watch?

    Is it compatible with Apple product? (The Bushnell watch)

    Thank you.

    • Brian Valente

      Oct 15, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      Where did you think Scotland was ?? Yes they do have electricity and computers. Still a great deal of horses and carts about !!

  58. tom

    Feb 10, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Have had the golf watch for a month and used it about a half-dozen times—fails to advance from one hole to the next. I have to manually advance 90% of the time. Bulky and does not perform as well as my wife’s Garmin. Plan to return it.

  59. John

    Dec 9, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Just got mine. Have to wait until next month’s trip to Florida to try it out. Very excited though. Should be quicker than getting out the laser…accurate enough for me on my approach shots. Love to play fast and anything that can speed my play helps. Now if I could just get the groups in front of me to think the same way…

    • paul

      Jul 15, 2015 at 3:00 am

      yes you can use it in Thailand, im using it right now without any complaints, but please download the courses as you want to play first then just enjoy it.

  60. Terje Stokke

    Dec 6, 2012 at 8:30 am

    I want to know if I can use this GPS Thailand?

    • Revie

      Dec 9, 2013 at 5:27 am

      Am planning to buy this gadget and using it in the Philippines. Please let me know if you got an answer as to whether the gadget will work in Thailand. Wonder if it will work in the Philippines.

  61. Norm

    Nov 22, 2012 at 11:56 am

    I registered the watch, but when I went to update to .o3 version it would not update. It keeps saying that there are compatibility problems. How do you fix that.

  62. John Mahoney

    Nov 17, 2012 at 1:32 am

    You should check to see if your watch is a .03 or .04 model.
    I unknowingly bought a .01 model. When it cam time to sync the watch (which quits working after 180 days), I found that I couldn’t because I have a MAC computer. I now have a very expensive plastic watch that doesn’t recognize daylight savings time.

    • Judes

      May 4, 2013 at 4:35 am

      How about asking a friend if you can use their computer John?

  63. Choupique

    Oct 9, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Ordered my Bushnell Neo+ watch today and can’t wait for it to arrive. I have the standard edition Neo+ with a cart mount that has proved to be very useful everywhere I’ve played from Texas to Florida. Only problem is when a course is wet and it is “Cart Path Only”.
    Front, back and center green is good enough for me (18 handicap), which I needed a GPS more accurate. 🙂

  64. watches golf

    Aug 15, 2012 at 5:58 am

    Hopefully assuming I don’t take it off ,won’t lose it on course.
    Only issue is it’s sometimes a pain to line up recharger and I don’t get the 14 supposed hours of course time, but really not bad at all.

  65. watches golf

    Aug 15, 2012 at 5:45 am

    good GPS
    and goof golf tools

  66. Rob Perry

    Aug 9, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    I bought one and took it back to switch to the Garmin. I bought it because it had better battery life and a better looking screen than the S1. Plus the box and Bushnells website said it worked with a Mac. After Calls with Bushnell and iGolf customer service what I was told was that it “would” be Mac compatible but that they haven’t finished the software yet. I wasted 3 hours on this. The final straw was that it kept changing time by an hour as it went in and out of daylight savings time. Very irritating. Even after updating the firmware. Sorry, too buggy.

  67. Shep

    Aug 8, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Never thought I needed a GPS/Rangerfinder playing same track 25 years and didn,t want to have something I would end up leaving in cart.
    The Neo+ watch has speeded up my play in that everything I hit doesn’t always end up in fairway near markers,LOL. Really like knowing front and back yardages for better club selection. Hopefully assuming I don’t take it off ,won’t lose it on course.
    Only issue is it’s sometimes a pain to line up recharger and I don’t get the 14 supposed hours of course time, but really not bad at all.
    Wife plays more than I and takes it as serious if not more so than I as verified by here many trophies, so I just got her one also.

  68. rick

    Jul 30, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Does anyone know if this has the option to measure the hazards?

  69. Ron C

    Jul 18, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    I have used mine extensively. Easy to set up easy to use and very accurate. Best addition to my golf game in some time. Can’t even tell I am wearing a watch! Battery holds up well…worth every penny.

  70. Hank

    Jul 15, 2012 at 1:09 am

    Have heard the strap is mickey mouse and watch falls off easily, both on wrist and bag.
    Too bad as its a perfect idea for when the extremely rare chance occurs that your not in the middle of the fairway or do not have clear line of site.
    Give up Starbucks for a month and the watch is free.

  71. Walden

    Jul 14, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Cons: you look like a dork.

    Seriously, courses are marked and you can get a yardage book. When you need to wear something on your wrist to gauge if you are between 163 or 164 yards you should either be on tour with a caddy or getting your head checked.

    Pro: the people selling these get one more consumer product to sell you.

    • Dan

      May 25, 2013 at 1:08 pm

      Gosh you must be perfect and have great vision, something some of us don’t have. Our course also doesn’t have a yardage book and if you’re off line a “gadget” to help speed up play is ideal.

    • dannygre

      May 28, 2013 at 3:14 pm

      First of all, it doesn’t give yardage to the pin just front, middle, and back and that’s all the info most golfers need. You might think you can hit it to a specific yardage but you’re kidding yourself. Ever wonder what the yardage is from the rough or the next fairway- well this gives it to you. In my book that speeds up play and you aren’t the dork hitting it in the creek because you guessed wrong.

    • pablo

      Jun 14, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      i have another brand gps watch and i dropped 3 strokes off my game starting the very first time i used it. fast and accurate (i checked against my laser), and there is nothing like always knowing exactly how far you are.

  72. irving lane

    Jul 13, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    I spent over 30 minutes trying to register my product. I am not acomputer person. I bought the neo watch but I should have signed up in a computer class. I bought the product for golf but it looks like I will need to take it back. Too difficult for me to charge the battery and register.

  73. Troy

    Jul 12, 2012 at 10:07 am

    You want to speed up play on tour, let players or caddies wear these. Knowing your front middle and back would reduce the amount of time it takes to calculate it every hole.

  74. pablo

    Jul 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    smaller and cheaper than the motoactiv golf…hmmmm

  75. Dufner

    Jul 10, 2012 at 12:44 am

    cool…been sporting this in practice rounds.

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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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Accessory Reviews

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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