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Review: Precision Pro Nexus rangefinder

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Pros: Weighs only 7.9 ounces. Its small frame (about the size of an iPhone 6) fits easily in the palm of your hand and is small enough to stuff in your pants pocket in-between shots. Golfers will like the device’s Dynamic Scanning Technology, which quickly obtains yardages for multiple targets with one press/hold of a button. Most of all, golfers will love the $199 price point.

Cons: Golfers who like their rangefinders to vibrate, jolt, dance or sing will be disappointed that the Nexus just provides distance. Some may find the viewing lens to be too small at 25 millimeters (about the diameter of a quarter).

Who’s it for? Anyone interested in obtaining precise distance to flags and hazards from a device that won’t break the bank.

The Review

Back in February, I had a conversation with World Golf Hall of Fame member Gary Player. In between stories about his brilliant playing career and his life-long pursuit of physical fitness and wellness, he bemoaned about today’s golfer being spoiled. He wasn’t referring to the small fortune found in the winner’s checks, but rather the difference in course conditions, advancements in equipment, convenience of travel, and of course, the traveling gyms. While 99 percent of us can’t relate to the “private jet” comments, we can concede that equipment specifically, has improved for the better.

Nexus_Rangefinder_back

Unlike Mr. Player’s era, we are fortunate to have an abundance of equipment choices, training aids, accessories and now technology-driven devices controlled by a phone. Perhaps the most significant contribution in today’s era is the laser rangefinder. Unlike a driver, a shiny new set of irons or a flashy putter, a rangefinder is a surefire piece of golf equipment that will deliver in the clutch in spite of your sweaty palms, beating heart or whatever quirk that interferes with a good result. Moreover, rangefinders promote smarter and faster play while simplifying club selection. These inherent benefits alone are reason for every golfer to employ a rangefinder during their round. I can only imagine Player’s reaction when it dawned on him that he didn’t have to locate a sprinkler head, and step off the distance like the old days. Distance at the palms of your hands!

Nexus_Rangefinder_in_hand_2

As this category continues to emerge, golfers are benefiting from a wider selection. While most golfers are familiar with Bushnell and Leupold, there is a strong possibility you have not heard of Precision Pro’s Nexus rangefinder. The company coins it the golf industry’s most advanced laser rangefinder under $200. A unit that packs many of the same bells and whistles as its higher-priced competition.

We recently had a chance to give it a proper field test:

The Specs

  • 400 yard range
  • Accurate +/- 1yard (1/10th yard measurements)
  • Advanced target lock
  • 6x magnification
  • Tournament legal
  • 1-year warranty
  • CR2 battery included
  • Soft Shell Case

Initial Reaction

Nexus_Rangefinder_iPhone

The Nexus Rangefinder is very sleek. From its outer casing, soft-coat material and green-nose plate, the device looks like the real deal. In addition to weighing next to nothing and easily fitting in the palm of a hand, the Nexus has only two buttons, giving it a solid approachability factor. As I stood on the range and quickly flipped the rangefinder up in the air like a pitcher would toss a Rosin bag, the device felt durable and capable of withstanding all the typical rigors on the golf course.

I peered through the lens and locked in on my first flag 100 yards away. One of the benefits the company touts is the Nexus’ ability to report distance 1/10th of a yard. My first official reading was 101.2. While 101.2 yards — compared to 101.8 yards — wouldn’t cause me to tweak my club selection, I felt a sense of comfort in getting THE EXACT yardage.

Nexus_Rangefinder_front

Next, I tested the range of the device, which is capable of hitting targets 400 yards away. I locked in at a pin 248 yards away. Then I panned over to a nearby stake in the ground and obtained a 252.5 reading. Farther back was a flagstick being used by the golfers on the opposite driving range. The Nexus read 336.3. There is no problem hitting various distances, which is an absolute MUST to be in the rangefinder conversation.

Ease of use

If you are easily intimated by buttons and levers, then you will love the Nexus, which has just two buttons. The green “on” button is easily identifiable and is the one used to acquire the desired target. The black button, located an inch above the green button, is the “mode” button which includes Advanced Target Lock and Dynamic Scanning. The Advanced Target Lock Function (standard mode) scans both the background and the target. It eliminates the background yardages and locks in on the flag to provide an accurate distance.

Nexus_Rangefinder_top

Maybe the most subtle highlight of the Nexus is the deliberate nature in which it acquires the flag. Often times, golfers say (I hear this all the time) “my hands are too shaky to use one of those things.” The Nexus laser hits the flag several times while simultaneously scanning the background behind the target to not only ensure accuracy, but to compensate for the golfer who doesn’t have sniper-like precision.

Key Feature

Nexus_Rangefinder_in_hand

The feature that is really intriguing is the Dynamic Scanning technology (D.S.T.), which allows the user to press/hold the green button and scan multiple targets to see distance readings instantly. For instance, on a par-3, switch the Nexus to D.S.T., hold the green button to retrieve the distance to the pin and then scan around the green to see distance to hazards, cart paths, etc. I can admit firsthand, this is an addictive mode, and one users may favor over the standard mode, especially on approach shots.

So Why Nexus?

The team at Precision Pro is adamant that consumers won’t find another rangefinder with the same technology for under $200. Moreover, the Cincinnati-based company wants to earn a reputation for having superb customer service, a small touch often over-looked in a business’ quest to reach the top. It is likely that a call from a customer will be fielded by one of the owners of the company. For any reason if the product has an issue, the company says a new unit is sent out that same day.

The Takeaway

Nexus_Rangefinder_case_1

While it may not shake or provide a slope reading, the Nexus meets all of the necessary qualifications to be the rangefinder of choice for golfers of any level. It’s stylish, durable and its small size is a convenience around the golf course. With only two buttons, the Nexus won’t intimidate, yet its Advanced Target Lock and Dynamic Scanning functions provide the appropriate amount of sophistication desired by the most astute gearhead.

Currently available in stores for under $200, the company has firmly put its competition on notice with the arrival of the Nexus.

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46 Comments

46 Comments

  1. Joe Carrow

    Jul 23, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Though I am using Pro X7 but interested to know is there any update version of this Rangefinder?

  2. Jonah Mytro

    Nov 18, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Precision Pro is offering a $30 mail in rebate on the Nexus Rangefinder through 12/31/2016. Order online or at an authorized retailer. https://www.precisionprogolf.com/products/nexus-laser-rangefinder

  3. Dave R

    Sep 19, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    Just bought one so nice glad I read the reviews on this one

  4. Tom G

    Jul 4, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    I bought this, played in a few tournaments and the yardage is way off, spent the extra $100 for a quality V#… wish I would have…

    • Jonah Mytro

      Jul 4, 2016 at 10:45 pm

      Tom,

      Each Nexus Rangefinder is checked to be +/- 1 yard compared to a Bushnell and Leupold models. If you had an issue with yardage, you may have been in the wrong mode (scanning vs target lock). We are happy to exchange the Nexus Rangefinder to make sure the yardages are accurate. We know how important accuracy is and we will work to make sure you have a great experience with our Nexus Rangefinder.

      Please contact our team at help@precisionprogolf.com or call our 800# for support.
      888-568-6770 ext 2

  5. Jonah Mytro

    Apr 12, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Precision Pro Golf has launched a $30 mail in rebate program from April 1-May 30 2016. Order the Nexus online or at a participating retailer and get a $30 mail in rebate coupon. Details at: http://get.precisionprogolf.com/nexus-laser-rangefinder/

  6. “We tested the Precision Pro Golf nexus laser rangefinder side by side against an industry leading rangefinder and found it as accurate and as easy to use vs. the competitor. The price at $199 makes it an unbeatable product.”

    John Dunigan Golf Academy
    2015 PGA Philadelphia Section Teacher of the Year

  7. We tested the Precision Pro Golf nexus laser rangefinder side by side against an industry leading rangefinder and found it as accurate and as easy to use vs. the competitor. The price at $199 makes it an unbeatable product. (March 2016)

    John Dunigan Golf Academy
    2015 PGA Philadelphia Section Teacher of the Year

  8. Matt

    Feb 29, 2016 at 11:09 am

    I saw the Nexus Rangefinder in a retail store and took a I took a flyer on this product because I think the usual brands of rangefinders are way overpriced. Nexus Rangefinder has been a great product. Its easy to lock on to target even with my normally shaky hands.

  9. Dan C

    Jan 22, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    Precision Golf has awesome customer service and support. The reviewer’s comment that you will get a call from one of the owner’s is true. I had questions about operating my new NEXUS rangefinder and I got an email response from one of the owners who was available to assist me. His explanation and assistance in operating my NEXUS helped me understand how to properly us my NEXUS. I am looking forward to using it on the course when the weather gets warmer. Bottomline, I know I would not get this type of personal attention from Bushnell or Leupold. Thank you Precision Golf for your outstsnding customer service.

  10. KGoodwin

    Jan 21, 2016 at 10:18 am

    The Nexus Rangefinder does a great job for a reasonable price. I am very pleased with this product.

  11. Kevin Bostwick

    Jan 17, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    I have to say, this product works nicely but there are some huge QC problems. My first one from Amazon had black string or lint, behind the lens. Returned it and was sent a new one. The new one also has some sort of debris behind the lens. For 200 bucks that shouldn’t be happening. I am pretty disappointed and have wasted to much time to bother with them anymore. Ill return this and purchase something else.

    • Kevin Bostwick

      Jan 18, 2016 at 11:26 am

      Just an update, I was emailed by Precision and they have offered to replace my device, rather than Amazon. They will check the lens before shipping. Great service and with that I will recommend them as a less expensive range finder to friends and colleagues.

      • jonah mytro

        Jan 18, 2016 at 12:48 pm

        Kevin,

        I am glad our team was able to work with you to get this issue resolved. Typically there the debris or lint on the lens can be removed using a soft cloth but when the lens is scratched, we will replace the unit as it is still under our warranty.

        Thanks

        Jonah Mytro
        Precision Pro Golf
        Co-founder

    • Kevin

      Feb 23, 2016 at 3:33 pm

      I wanted to leave an updated review on the unit, as I have now used it for over a month. My replacement unit came in and it was pristine, I am thinking maybe it was just a batch issue with my Amazon seller. Anyways, onto the Rangefinder. This thing is fast, I love being able to just point, shoot and get a reading. I also have a bushnell, but when comparing the two I felt the nexus was faster. Readings were similar between the two. The feature I like the most, is the ability to scan and hit multiple targets without really any delay, it makes hitting those bunkers and anything surrounding the green pretty darn easy. The case they provide you with is nice and you also get a lens cloth. For the price, I dont really see anything that can beat it and have already recommended it to my playing partners. Solid product with great customer service.

  12. seth b

    Jan 1, 2016 at 6:49 am

    Anyone else having issues with the yardages consistently being a couple yards shorter than other brands? (i.e bushnell, leupold, etc) I thought I had bought a defective unit however the company sent me a new one and it is the exact same. I put it up against my playing partners lasers they all had the same yardage and my nexus was consistently 3 yards or so shorter every time. Anyone else experience this?

    • jonah mytro

      Jan 1, 2016 at 12:47 pm

      Seth

      We test our yardages in our factory and warehouse before shipping out. We also test out with some other larger brand models as well. Laser rangefinders can become miscalibrated based a number of factors however we stand behind the distance measurements on all of our products.
      Feel free to contact our team at help at precisionprogolf.com.

      Thanks

      Jonah Mytro
      Precision pro golf

      • seth b

        Jan 2, 2016 at 2:29 pm

        Jonah thanks for the reply, I think you have a wonderful product, how do I go about recalibrating the unit?

        • jonah mytro

          Jan 21, 2016 at 10:15 am

          Seth

          Recalibrating the laser has to occur in our factory and takes 2-3 weeks to complete.

          Thanks

      • seth b

        Jan 19, 2016 at 1:06 pm

        The product is not up the standards of other high end range finders such as bushnell, leupold etc. My first unit wsa 3-4 yards short every time compared to every other range finder I could get my hands on. They all produced the same yardage each time with the nexus a few yards short every time. I gave the product to a few pros and mini tour players and caddies to test and they all said the same thing the yardages are way off. I thought maybe I had a defective unit but the replacement they sent had the same issues. I bought this product brand new on the internet in a sealed box however the company would not issue a refund

  13. MP-4

    Dec 21, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    How does the Precision Pro Nexus compare to the Leupold Pincaddie 2 and the Nikon Coolshot 20?

    • Jonah Mytro

      Dec 22, 2015 at 8:58 pm

      Besides the price, the Nexus rangefinder has an advanced target lock mode to eliminate background images. It also has the scanning mode to scan multiple objects quickly (bunkers, dog legs, etc). We calculate the yardage in 1/10th yard vs. full yard (Leupold and Nikon) and the Nexus has a ergonomical design and soft-coating for superior feel. We also offer a 30-day money back guarantee. If you use the Nexus and are not happy with the performance, send it to us for a full refund.

      Thanks

      Jonah Mytro
      Precision Pro Golf

      • MP-4

        Dec 24, 2015 at 1:44 am

        Great, thanks for the info!

      • Scott

        Mar 15, 2016 at 10:36 am

        Jonah, what is the difference between the Nexus and the V400 you have?

  14. kn

    Dec 18, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    I’m glad to see the price per unit coming down a bit, although this is a stripped laser rangefinder. Nothing about whether or not it’s water/rain repellent. Does golf merchandise always have to come in neon or lime green? Is there a run on that color in the last 5 years? Gawd awful. How ’bout just nice black or blue?

    • Jonah m

      Dec 18, 2015 at 9:20 pm

      The nexus rangefinder is water resistant but not water proof. We chose the green nose plate color since it is one of our accent colors of the Precision Pro brand. The green nose plate stands out when being used on the course as other players can easily recognize it based on the nose color. Some golfers may not love the green lime nose plate but its definitely a unique color.

      Thanks

      Jonah Mytro
      Precision Pro Golf

  15. Chuck Zirkle

    Dec 17, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    I currently play the Bushnell Tour Z6 Rangefinder and love the features of this product. Quick response and the optics are over the top. Not a fan of an rangefinder that has the slope feature. Not USGA approved. Was able to pick mine up under $300 brand new and have not looked back. Good luck with your new product but a lesser priced product is not always the answer.

    • Jonah m

      Dec 18, 2015 at 9:31 pm

      The Nexus was built to compete with a $299 rangefinder in terms of specs optics and performance. We have set the price correctly to capitalize on the price gap in the laser and gps market.

      Anyone who purchases the Nexus will be extremely happy.

      Thanks

      Jonah Mytro
      PRECISION PRO GOlF

  16. Chris

    Dec 17, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Please explain to me the purpose of having a range finder give you measurements in anything other than whole numbers that has a tolerance of +/- 1yard. If the tolerance is +/- 1 yard the decimal point has no meaning. Other than that, I personally use a Nikon Coolshot that cost the same and love it.

    • Cliff

      Dec 18, 2015 at 8:26 am

      Accuracy and repeatablity. More than likely a device that only showed whole numbers would have an accuracy of +/-2 yards.

      • Chris

        Dec 19, 2015 at 10:39 am

        They can program the device to display any number they want regardless of the tolerance. They could simply truncate the decimal. Programming wise this is very simple to do.

        • Cliff

          Dec 23, 2015 at 11:04 am

          Good point! I didn’t realize rounding up or down was so difficult for people.

  17. John Grossi

    Dec 16, 2015 at 9:16 am

    Very impressive sounding unit. I am still using a Bushnell yardagepro 1500???. Got it maybe 15 years ago. I have created a list so when it finally gives up, I can get a new unit. This has moved to the top of that list

    • jonah mytro

      Dec 17, 2015 at 10:18 am

      John,

      I think you will be very impressed with the optics, accuracy and design of the NEXUS rangefinder. We built a product that competes with any $299 (Bushnell/Leupold) model.

      Thanks

      Jonah Mytro
      Precision Pro Golf

  18. Ben

    Dec 16, 2015 at 8:23 am

    Very nice! Currently using a bushnell. Any plans on coming up with a slope version? I’d be all over it!

    • jonah mytro

      Dec 17, 2015 at 10:16 am

      Ben,

      No plans for a slope model since its maybe 5% of the market and its not USGA legal.

      Thanks

      Jonah Mytro
      Precision Pro Golf

      • ParHunter

        Dec 19, 2015 at 3:22 am

        You should check the USGA/R&A rules changes for 2016. Devices with slope can be used if slope is switched off during round and not used.

        • Jonah Mytro

          Jul 16, 2016 at 11:20 pm

          You are correct, the USGA changed their rules and you may want to be on the lookout for some new products from Precision Pro Golf in the coming months…

  19. Joey Dirte

    Dec 15, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    How long does the battery last? A CR2 is small and seems like it will eat power within a round or two?
    My Bushnell rangefinder uses a 9v battery and last for months playing every weekend…that is a factor to consider when purchasing rangefinders

    • Cliff

      Dec 15, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      It should last months…maybe 2 batteries a year.

    • jonah mytro

      Dec 15, 2015 at 7:32 pm

      The Nexus rangefinder takes the CR2 battery and they typically last 5,000 shots (or about 1 year if you play once a week. The Nexus has a 10 second auto shut off so it turns off to conserve the battery.

      Thanks

      Jonah Mytro
      Precision Pro Golf

    • nunya

      Dec 15, 2015 at 8:44 pm

      I use a Callaway (nikon) xhot range finder. It uses a cr2 battery and I have replaced it once. I bought it used June of 2014 and replaced the battery in april or so of this year. I play golf multiple times a week and the battery lasts forever compared to the 9volt in my bros bushnell

  20. Displayname

    Dec 15, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Awesome intro story, and sharp looking device. I’d love to see a comparison vs the Bushnell Medalist. At $50 less, with significantly more features, this could really shake things up!

    • jonah mytro

      Dec 15, 2015 at 7:34 pm

      The Medallist from Bushnell has a 4x magnification and a slow laser speed. The Nexus was built to compete with the v3 ($299 price) from Bushnell (with a 6x magnification and advanced target lock system) and when we do our testing, we use the Bushnell v3 to gauge performance, accuracy, and laser speed.

      Thanks

      Jonah Mytro
      Precision Pro Golf

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Accessory Reviews

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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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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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