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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

Review: FlightScope Mevo

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In 100 Words

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

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

The Full Review

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

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

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

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

Screenshot of video capture mode with the FlightScope Mevo

Using the Mevo

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

Testing the Mevo

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

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

Outdoor testing setup with FlightScope X3 (foreground) and Mevo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indoor testing setup with FlightScope X3 (foreground) and Mevo

The results of our indoor session are shown below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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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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