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Review: TomTom Golfer 2 GPS Watch

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Pros: The TomTom Golfer 2 watch does three important things: provides yardages, keeps score, and tells time/date. The first two are particular to golfers and it displays these simply and well. As for the third, it’s a sleek-looking watch that would be fashionable for various occasions.

Cons: Its watch-sized face may be a bit cumbersome during a backswing. If it is, simply attach it to your bag or put it in the golf cart. The automatic shot detection, based on movements of your wrist, can pick up practice swings and add those to your score (although there is a fix for this!).

Who’s It For: The TomTom Golfer 2 is for the golfer who prefers to not point and shoot a laser rangefinder. It’s also for those who want to keep score/stats digitally and transfer them via app to tablet, phone or computer.

Overview

First things first; let’s wear this! The TomTom Golfer 2 has a major face plate and minor toggle button, anchored in a plastic case. On the bottom of the case is the charge plate, where you dock the USB charger. The entire plastic case is set into a rubber wristband, highlighted by a metal, tri-fold sizer with 9 wrist-thickness settings. The watch is easily adjusted to fit a variety of wrist sizes, though. Two buttons, squeezed simultaneously, release the tri-fold sizer for simplified on-off of the watch. Wearing this watch couldn’t be easier or more comfortable.

GOLFER2_BLACK_BackAngle_S (Small)

Next, let’s use this! The TomTom Golfer 2 has a toggle button that serves as the bridge for all your tasks. You have access to a number of screens, some of which provide data and others that allow you to log each shot you take. Since I preferred to hold the Golfer 2, rather than wear it, I used my thumb to move from screen to screen. If you’re wearing the watch, it’s easier to use your index finger to cycle through the options. Either way, it’s easy to do.

GOLFER2_BLACK_Front_DISTANCE_S (Small)

Finally, let’s sync this! The TomTom MySports app allows you to sync the watch with your phone, tablet or computer, then transfer each round’s data (score, greens in regulation, putts) between devices. After setting up an account at the TomTom site, the bluetooth connection is seamless and nearly instantaneous. For number crunchers and data junkies, you’ll have all the information you need to review your round and plan your practice.

The Review

When you arrive at your golf course, the TomTom Golfer 2 locks onto the layout and welcomes you to the first hole. From there, it’s in your hands and up to you. Toggle to the right and you’ll see the first set of readings: yardages to the front, middle, and rear of the green. Unless you’re on a par-3, you need more than this. A second bump to the right brings up a screen with yardages to hazards on the course. These include bunkers, creeks and other water elements. If you’re interested in yardages to every potential feature on a golf course, here’s where a rangefinder offers just a bit more than the watch… assuming you lock in on the proper target.

At this secondary point, toggle up or down to bring up six additional screens. One is a close-up of the green, another tells you yardage to the green, a third tells you how many calories you’ve burned — Nos. 4 and 5 give you time of day and time of round, and the last tells you how many shots you’ve taken on the hole (and can log putts separately!). As mentioned in the Cons section, the TomTom Golfer 2 is susceptible to picking up practice swings and recording them as strokes. If you want to use the device for accurate scoring, I’d suggest attaching it to your bag (when walking) or leaving it in the cart (if riding). I played a tournament recently and used a push cart for all 36 holes over two days. I secured the TomTom Golfer 2 to my bag strap and used it for yardages on every hole.

GOLFER2_BLACK_Right_HAZARDS (Small)

After the round, as you parse your data, the MySports app allows you to zero in on an overhead shot of the course and review your round. If you find that the score needs proper editing, you may do so within the app, adjusting numbers of putts and strokes accordingly. Rounds may be deleted with a leftward swipe of the finger.

TomTom’s first venture into the golf watch market was the original TomTom Golfer. Available in two versions, the original offered many of the features found in model 2.0. The upgrades include automatic shot detection, shot history analysis, and the automatic scorecard. The premium edition of the original watch costs the same as the TomTom Golfer 2, with the hand-crafted italian leather band, ball marker and cart bag mount unique to the premium edition.

The life of a USB charge of the TomTom Golfer 2 will depend on how often you consult and manipulate the device during a round of golf. If you wear it as a watch most days, your battery life will be measured in weeks. If you undertake a great deal of input and output of data, you will find yourself charging every 48 to 72 hours.

The Takeaway

GOLFER2_BLACK_ FrontAngle_GREENVIEW_L (Small)

The TomTom Golfer 2 lists for $249 on the company website. If you like the look of the watch, you’re halfway to the purchase. The watch face is attractive, and reads time and date easily. As for the real reason behind the purchase, the distance measurements are very accurate (I tested them against my rangefinder and various course markings and they were spot on) and give you readings above and beyond front, center, and back of green. If you’re over the point-and-shoot of a laser rangefinder and want something easier to use, this device delivers what it promises. If the price is right, the TomTom Golfer 2 is yours.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”https://www.tomtom.com/en_gb/sports/golf/products/golfer-gps-watch/golfer-2-black-large/” oemtext=”Buy Here” amazonlink=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01EZV36MS/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=golfwrxcom-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B01EZV36MS&linkId=d4c9a0865a3dab240dca2d8f33c1fee3″]

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Kyle @ TGG

    Dec 17, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    The TomTom is a pretty good product, but there are a lot of options out there these days. I think the Garmin X40 would be a good option if you are concerned about the watch impeding your golf swing.

  2. Egor

    Aug 11, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    I’ve never used a golf watch. I don’t quite understand the purpose of them anymore, but I also can’t stand anything other than a glove on my hands/wrist – I even store my wedding band in the bag during the round.

    This is only my 3rd season playing so I’m a bit of the newer generation of golfer, but for me, a range finder and knowing the pin position for the day is enough to make a decision on club selection. Golf specific GPS watches have always seemed a bit gimmicky to me, but i know there are a lot of seasoned players who jumped on board and love them.

    For me, I like Arccos. I now know my distances and can see where I need to practice in order to shave strokes off my round. I already (like most people) have a smart phone I carry with me so for about the same cost of a GPS watch, I got a system that arguably has more benefit for my game. The only time(s) I need a distance that a laser finder can’t help with is distance to the trouble or a bunker in which case I usually pull my phone out of my pocket and use the Arccos app to find that info.

    Do you see golf specific GPS watches for $250 sticking around long term or do you think they will be replaced by smart phone + watch?

  3. Jimmy Walker

    Aug 5, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    You said I wouldn’t win?

    • Ronald Montesano

      Aug 6, 2016 at 5:10 pm

      Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha HA HA HA

      You’re not the real Jimmy Walker. He has my digits and would text me to romper huevos.

  4. 8thehardway

    Aug 5, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    This review is a gem – a perfect combination of overview, how-to and user impressions augmented by straightforward, relevant photos and writing that reflects a rare ability to personalize notable aspects of ownership.

    I’m good with my laser but gave this a second read just to enjoy your structure, editing and presentation – thanks for an exemplary experience.

  5. Jackster

    Aug 5, 2016 at 11:30 am

    Agree with Birdy, i have a Busnell Neo and Leopold 3. Would love to know exact distance of each shot taken. Would certainly help in your course management and club selection. Nice lookin’ watch!

    • Ronald Montesano

      Aug 5, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      Jackster,

      I don’t understand how a shot I hit in the past will help me with my club selection in the future. I want to know what’s in front of me. Can you elaborate on why I’m unenlightened? It seems to be an interesting premise.

      RM

  6. birdy

    Aug 4, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    review says this watch may be bit cumbersome……why? is this because you don’t like wearing a watch while playing golf……or is this watch larger than other similar watches recently released. it it cumbersome while a certain other watch isn’t, or do you just prefer not wearing a watch. if you’re going to write a review, this info would help.

    • Ronald Montesano

      Aug 4, 2016 at 8:25 pm

      Yes to all of the above. It’s personal, right? To me, it could be cumbersome. I prefer it on the bag. I can’t speak for your or anyone else’s personal preferences, so I won’t include it in the review.

      • birdy

        Aug 5, 2016 at 10:34 am

        i get that you don’t like wearing a watch….then why write a review on the watch if you already have bias against them. the watches comfort should be based on comparing it to wearing other watches. more comfortable, less comfortable. simply calling it cumbersome knowing you hate wearing gps watches to begin with tells me absolutely nothing about this watches comfort level.

        if i’m a food reviewer and absolutely can’t stand sushi, do you think those who like sushi really want to read a review that i give on sushi? then in the review saying it consists of rice and raw fish. no kidding.

        just saying when doing an equipment review….especially a watch, its all relative. only way to really get a proper review is to review based on what it does and doesn’t do compared to other watches. have you used the other watches? if so, is this tom tom better or worse than a garmin x40, s20, bushnell ion, etc?

        • Ronald Montesano

          Aug 5, 2016 at 2:56 pm

          You are embellishing and extrapolating from my use of the “a bit cumbersome.” You cannot remove “a bit” and use “cumbersome” as a stand-alone quote. To say that a reviewer “hates wearing GPS watches” is not gleanable from a reviewer that prefers the watch on the bag.

          I know many people who remove all jewelry when golfing. If you can eliminate the motion of shooting (and sometimes, with a scope, you shoot the wrong target and get an erroneous reading) and simply look at an accurate, GPS watch face, it shouldn’t matter whether it is on your wrist or on the bag.

          • birdy

            Aug 5, 2016 at 4:07 pm

            i get all this. a ‘bit cumbersome’ happy? this tells us nothing. what does this mean. would you describe every gps watch this way, or only this watch? there is a big difference between these two questions. i could care less whether you wear on wrist or bag. but when giving a review it should be done relative to other similar products.

            • Ronald Montesano

              Aug 6, 2016 at 5:16 pm

              I haven’t reviewed every GPS watch. I’ve reviewed this one. We don’t have access to every comparable product line from every company at every moment.

  7. birdy

    Aug 4, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    not a bad review…..but seems liek most all watches out recently of coming out do very similar things. it would be much more beneficial to point out what other watches do better than this one and what this watch does better than others.

    just from looking at the picture it looks like it gives you the distance of the previous shot automatically. this is a plus, yet never mentioned in the review. other watches require you to”track” the shot clicking at time of shot and again at your ball.

    you could probably cut and paste 85% of this review to any watch released in last year two.

    • Ronald Montesano

      Aug 4, 2016 at 8:27 pm

      I’m curious. Why is the distance of the previous shot important? It’s not to me, but if it is to others, I would love to know the rationale. Thanks for your comments.

      • birdy

        Aug 5, 2016 at 10:22 am

        really? why does most every watch track shot distances. because golfers like to know actual yards they hit a shot.

        if i tee off with 4 iron on par 4 i’d like to know exact distance i hit it for future reference. and lets be honest….how many golfers over estimate their distance from the tee. wouldn’t it be nice to look down and see the exact yards you hit your drive. not 300…but really 281. goflers want to know how far they hit their tee shots whether its a drive they just bombed or a long iron on a hole they want to lay up on.

        • Ronald Montesano

          Aug 5, 2016 at 2:57 pm

          That is an excellent explanation for your posit. I appreciate your elaboration. It is information like that, from knowledgeable viewers/readers, that enhances this website.

          RM

          • birdy

            Aug 5, 2016 at 4:11 pm

            look, i’m not trying to be mean….but your profile says you coach golf. you really couldn’t come up with why someone might need to know how far their previous shot went?

            • Ronald Montesano

              Aug 6, 2016 at 5:14 pm

              Correct. I coach golf. High school girls and boys in separate seasons.

              I’ve never known a tournament golfer to say “wow, I hit that XXX yards” over “OK, Fluff, what do we have left to the flag.” If a person is a stats muncher, sure, she/he would need to know distance of previous shot. I’m not and I’ve never been. If kids get to D1 and want to worry about it, fantastic. I don’t think that 95% of golfers care to know how far their last shot went.

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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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