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Review: Voice Caddie’s SC200 Portable Launch Monitor

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Pros: A hand-held doppler radar launch monitor for only $349.99, thousands less than leading models. Different game modes make practice more entertaining and possibly more worthwhile.

Cons: Accuracy is a concern. In our testing, the Swing Caddie 2 failed to capture reliable data more often than leading doppler radar launch monitors.

Who’s it for? Golfers who spend a lot of time at the range and want to spice up their practice sessions.

The Review

Much like the Swing Caddie 1 (SC100), which was the first-generation portable doppler radar device from Voice Caddie, the Swing Caddie 2 (SC200) provides carry, total yardage, swing speed, ball speed and smash factor. There are also multiple modes including:

  • Practice Mode: Allows you to select which club you’re hitting, and shows you data from the shot.
  • Target Mode: Set a target distance and hit 10 shots. The system scores your accuracy out of 10, and gives you a final score.
  • Approach Mode: The SC200 gives you random distances, and grades you out of 10 how close you were to the targets.

Usage

SwingCaddieGame

A shot of the SC200, 4-inch LCD screen after completing 10 shots on target mode

Transporting the product to and from the range is trivial. It measures 5.89 x 3.20 x 1.08 inches, and can fit in your front pocket, back pocket, golf bag, backpack, or whatever else you bring to the range with you. It’s about as lightweight as any smartphone, and only slightly bigger than an iPhone 6.

It also comes with four AAA batteries (it has about a 20-hour battery life) and a remote control, which is actually quite useful. I was skeptical about using the controller at all, but bending over every time you need to change modes gets old fast. Luckily the remote couldn’t be any easier to use.

Like a TV remote, the SC200’s remote comes with volume control for its new Voice Distance Output feature, but you may want to simply mute the system when at the range near others. Surely other golfers don’t want to hear a lady’s voice announcing your distances throughout the entire session, unless you derive joy from showboating a 300+ yard drive. You can also toggle easily between clubs, and even adjust the loft setting for each club for increased accuracy.

Does it work?

When asking whether it works or not, let’s first talk about what your expectations are for a portable doppler radar system that sells for $349.99. If you’re expecting a device that will replace your sessions on Trackman, hone yardages with each club and hope to test clubs or shafts using the SC200 you will be disappointed. But if you’re expecting a novelty-type item that yields yardage and swing speed and will make those hours at the range less monotonous, then this is perfect and may even surpass your expectations.

So now, is this device accurate enough to justify buying the SC200 instead of a new driver or a new set of wedges?

The SC200, on Voice Caddie’s website, advertises a +/- 3 percent tolerance in ball speed, and a +/- 5 percent tolerance on carry distance.

When taking the SC200 to an outdoor range I found the device to get yardages that were close enough, as the company advertises. I usually hit an 8-iron about 165 yards, and when I caught it solid, the SC200 gave me yardages of about 165 yards. It would never read something crazy like 190, or 120 on a well-struck shot. It was always in the expected wheelhouse.

With wedge shots I had a difficult time getting results to register, so it took some fiddling with where the device was placed in relation to the ball. Often it would take five or even 10 swings before I’d get one shot to capture. That’s pretty frustrating when you’re trying to play in one of the game modes where each shot matters. With the driver, it seemed fairly accurate on well-struck shots; usually registering around my average drive. But then I began testing the device out by hitting tops, skulls, big slices and big hooks on purpose. This is where the device struggled greatly. It would often read drastically off on carry distance and totals.

Like I said before, you have to lower your expectations with a sub-$500 launch monitor, or you will be disappointed. Remember, it’s not a $30,000 Trackman.

So the final verdict on accuracy is… well, I’m not entirely positive. It seems to get fairly close on occasions, and maybe even spot on sometimes. But it’s inconsistent, and can be wildly off the mark on drastic mishits.

Accuracy aside, it does have a serious cool factor. And with its new Voice Distance Output, it’s like throwing pitches with a baseball in your backyard and having a radar gun telling you how fast you threw it. Pretty awesome, right? And you can always set it up behind a par-5 tee box, or bring it to the range and have a competition between your friends to see who hits the longest drive. So there’s always that.

Here’s a simple guide to use when considering purchasing this product.

Reasons to buy the product

  • You’re a range rat, and want something to break up the monotony of practicing for hours on end.
  • You have a net in your backyard and can’t see ball flight, but want feedback on your shots.
  • You don’t have a range with targets, or simply practice in an open field.
  • You like to have swing-speed competitions with your buddies.
  • You want to look techy on the range and impress friends or range-goers.
  • You like cool stuff.

Reasons why you shouldn’t buy the product

  • You’re a club fitter, and you plan to use this product to fit golfers or yourself.
  • You’re a competitive golfer and want to hone distances using this feedback as your guideline.
  • You’re testing equipment and are deciding between club heads or shafts.
  • You rarely go to the range and prefer to play golf instead.
  • Spending $349.99 dollars on this product prevents you from getting lessons, playing golf or buying needed golf equipment.

The Takeaway

For $349.99, the SC200 may just be worth the price. It’s easily portable, accurate enough, provides serious entertainment value into practice and competition with your friends, and it’s just plain cool. How many other people at the range will have a voice telling them how far they just hit the ball?

The SC200 might be something you’ll want to splurge on. If it’s not in your budget, however, take a pass and get some lessons, a laser rangefinder, a new driver, or just use that money on green fees instead.

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Andrew Tursky is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX. He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Jay

    Mar 6, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    I have one of these, and the review is spot on. It’s probably slightly more accurate than I was expecting, actually. You really need to pay close attention to the angle of the device and make sure it’s on a flat surface, especially hitting drivers/woods. When it’s angled, you’ll get some crazy swing speed/ball speed differences with the driver – like 122 mph club speed and only 160 ball speed. Once I straightened it out, it went back to reading about what I expected.

  2. Reginald Ridley

    Feb 8, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    These machines do pretty much what it is designed to do it is an alternative who can afford a $30.,000 trackman unless you are a big manufacturer of clubs i believe the Track Man is an expensive mans toy., the price to purchase one is ludicrous.,

  3. Blue

    Oct 17, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    I have this model, and have used it all summer. Overall I like it. It does have problems. There are better reviews for it out there too. I use it into a net in my yard and have taken it to the range. I find it accurate with (9I-4I) and with the driver. Getting wedge numbers to work can be frustrating. Usually, I get good numbers w/the PW but the SW and gap don’t register more often than not. My guess is because the ball launches too high too fast to measure ball speed. It also calculates smash factor and I find it to be pretty accurate measuring SF too (I compare w/contact tape). And for whatever reason it frequently doesn’t measure my 4wood and 3 hybrid accurately. Often both of these clubs will have a swing speed 5-8mph higher than my driver.
    It is good for measuring swing speed and SF. If you’re outside and the device is in the sun your carry numbers may be higher due to the monitor thinking the temperature is hotter than it really is. Overall, I think it’s nice to have if you have a backyard or indoor practice area.

  4. tlmck

    Sep 26, 2016 at 4:37 am

    They should give up on the Doppler and hook up with someone like GoPro to make an affordable camera based system like GC2.

  5. S Smith

    Sep 25, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    OK so you want a review on how the monitor works. I was out yesterday afternoon. I try to go out every other day whether to play or practice. As you know, my hips are bad and will need hip replacement surgery in a couple of years. So what does this mean? its hard to use your legs when hitting the ball. Again the driver. While still fresh (as possible) I hit maybe twenty or thirty drivers. I hit more of these because I can use my driver on eight or ten holes on my home course and the first shot is the most important as its sets up the shots for each of these holes. I was stuck on about 235 which is not bad. I noticed that as I became tired my legs were not in the swing and I was deteriorating to about 205 to 210 (so says the monitor). Interestingly my swing does not go below about 90 mph which is not bad for an arm swing. The monitor lets me know this. Smash factor varies but by experimenting with the machine I’ve noticed if I tee the ball lower and more forward, the smash factor increases into the 1.30- 1.40 range. If I consciously use my right hand I can increase this further but this affects my swing. So I hit about 110 balls and was ready to quit. I hate to leave when I’m not hitting well so I shagged some more balls and this time started to get my lower body into it by squatting a bit on the backswing. Allowing a more fuller turn. It was working with the irons so I uped the ante with the driver. I positioned the SC200 about 36 inches behind me and took a practice swing. I then proceeded to make an actual swing with a slight squat on the backswing. It felt real good. But without the machine, how do you know how good it was. You need to know this to try to repeat it. Its far to subjective without it. I looked at the swing caddy and wow its said 245. My best of the day by ten yards. It was directionally a good swing too. So I am keeping this swing in mind for Monday at my home course and will try to repeat it. The beauty of it is that it is small and can be taken to range (indoor and outdoor as well as the course!). You know very well you can only do this on a very limited basis with an actual trackman and that is to the driving range. Now the best combo is the Sc200 and the decals you place on the face of the driver which show how close to the sweet spot you are. This should maximize things. If you could hit the driver close to the center you’d probably get a smash factor of 1.45 and the Sc200 will tell you this. Stupidly I gave up on the decals when I went outdoors, I should never have done this and will start using them again with the Sc200. There is a downside to the Sc200. You become consciously aware of it and try to maximize distance at the expense of accuracy and you must be aware of this at all times. Nonetheless its a god send for most of us. The days of a little more of this and a little more of that and long gone. You have to be able to quantify the results to make meaningful improvement and then take it from there. The Sc200 is a good start.

    • T

      Sep 26, 2016 at 2:32 am

      Try hitting some wedges on grass and tell us what you find

  6. S Smith

    Sep 24, 2016 at 11:22 am

    I don’t think you had a chance to play around with it for a while which you need to do. Its accurate enough as compared to trackman on an apples to apples basis. The real strength is when you are out at the outdoor range or at the course. First you have to get a read on your approximate distances and just as importantly the ball speed and interpolated smash factor for each club. The driver is a good first choice. Once you get a feel for the above, hit a series of balls to warm up. NOW. When you hit a real good shot. STOP. You will be able to quantify how good it really was using the above factors. NOW. Think about what you did differently to make the shot better and then try to replicate. I notice that for every 1/4 of an inch I am off from the sweet spot. Slightly above center on the driver you will lose approximately 10-15 yards. More importantly, recent studies I have seen on Science Daily.com have shown that we operate basically subconsciously. What does this mean when we golf? It means that we are constantly making little subconscious adjustments when we are on the course. We are not consciously aware we are making these adjustments! Really! So when you hit a good drive on the range (and you will immediately know by reviewing the data from the SC 200 you will be able to quantify how good it was since merely looking downrange just doesn’t do it) and if you now stop and think about the subconscious adjustment or adjustments that went into the good drive you will know what they are (any good golfer will immediately be aware) and then you can try to replicate them. It works. I have added about 20 yards to my average drive doing this. Over time I have found that I cant make my backswing slow enough (to sequence properly) and I can’t coil enough (to store energy). I now have a swing I can go back to when things go south. Oh yes, I have also found that conversely I tend to get too quick (don’t we all) and this is where my problems appear!! I am 67 years old, have two arthritic hips and am recovering from a broken ankle. My results Average drive abouty 225. Average swing speed about 92 miles an hour. Why don’t you try this and get back to me.

    • Mof

      Sep 24, 2016 at 12:56 pm

      Nah. I consciously make DECISIONS for every shot the way I want to hit them, therefore I know the results from making those conscious decisions. I don’t think you mean to say you let yourself operate subconsciously, instead, I think you mean to say that you work instinctively, based on experiential conscious decisions based on what you learned from everything that led up to this current shot.
      But what does that have to do with this machine? How about giving a review of the actual machine itself a bit more in detail as to why you think it’s good or bad. Not why your swing has improved from practicing to hit the middle of the face properly

  7. Bull

    Sep 23, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    Where’s Mark Crossfield to do this review for us, a bit more practically, than this biased bull

  8. Jim

    Sep 23, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    meh – I wouldn’t go that far, he did make sure to state what it wasn’t.

    but, having purchased & used pretty much every LM system since late 90’s – including FliteScope(s) (best before Tman) Tman is the best ever, and the one to beat. With that said, an inexpensive but (more) accurate Ernest unit would be great. If they get it CLOSER to Tman (driver especially) and keep it under a grand, I know I’d grab it…can’t afford another Tman for ‘kickin around’ – or letting a student borrow for a round and see what happens with them in the field

    • desmond

      Sep 23, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      Haven’t seen any decent reviews of the Earnest for less expensive units.

      • Jim

        Sep 24, 2016 at 12:09 am

        THANK YOU …unfortunately me neither…but, hadn’t looked this year – which is why I brought it up. He had reviewed it a year + ago, and the cat I spoke with was pretty confident it would continue to be refined. Something within a degree or two for driver launch & even 500 rpm would be great for less than a grand…I’d buy it and like I said even let students take it on course and track 18 tee shots – if nothing else that round.
        Suppose it depends on Ernest – what they’re willing to spend and then sell it for.

        There’s an ad running on TV here from a home heating oil company (new hi- efficency burners/cleaner ‘oil’ etc) VERY good tag line “we want to sell LESS oil to MORE people.

        whoever – comes up with one that’s pretty close & keeps the price 999 or LESS will sell a boatload.

  9. Robert

    Sep 23, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Don’t waste your money guys! Come on now!

  10. John O

    Sep 23, 2016 at 11:41 am

    I have one of these and it works well and is fairly accurate on decently hit shots, especially mid distances. If you mishit a low missile, it will oversestimate your distance on the basis of ballspeed. The big variation of height possible on wedge shots detracts from its accuracy and usefulness on short shots. Pros have compared it to Trackman across a range of clubs (correctly selecting the club on both devices!) and found it fairly accurate. It has preset club names (e.g. W3, U4, I7, PW, SW) that you select to match the club you are hitting (there’s no LW). Someone dug out the fixed lofts (they are not user amendable) that SwingCaddie has in mind for each of these clubs, and they are not as they should be on the long clubs. But plainly they are consistent from one day to the next and work out well enough. The device and the display are rudimentary and there’s only a thin bag but no case. But, basically, yes, the radar tells you how far and fast you hit each club.

  11. Sander Roest

    Sep 23, 2016 at 11:09 am

    The SC200 is not a launch monitor. All it measures is ball speed. The displayed yardages are calculated based on a preset loft value for each club. Important factors that contribute to accurate yardages, like launch angle, backspin and launch direction are not measured, and thus the calculated yardages are just guesswork. Better buy a Swing Speed Radar for $100.

    • desmond

      Sep 23, 2016 at 4:24 pm

      SSR is not a solution either – for the price, it’s okay. This does a bit more.

  12. Jim

    Sep 23, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Doesn’t sound like anything I’d recommend to any students. However, that Ernest Sport ‘personal’ launch monitor that was around $700 (I know: twice the price) did give spin & launch angle. I made big tech investments @ 2014 Orlando show – upgradeable platforms & software for the next decade. I was going to grab that Ernest monitor to use during on course playing lessons but when speaking with a (very honest) engineer in their booth he told me frankly (1st gen) it wasn’t “quite as accurate as they want” and hinted it would get better (3-4 degree launch angle dif. from Tman is unacceptable for drivers)
    Almost 3 years later, I think your readers (I know I would) would love an unbiased new review. If they’ve refined those numbers and it’s still < $999.00, I think it would be a HUGE hit

  13. John O

    Sep 23, 2016 at 11:01 am

    I agree. The photo makes no sense. If the Trackman data is for a drive (230yds) or wood, then the SwingCaddie isn’t going to give good matching data if he failed to change the selected club on the SwingCaddie which under the 188yds still says I7 (i.e. a 7 iron, like he was hitting earlier).

  14. Michael C

    Sep 23, 2016 at 10:40 am

    What Greg C said. He nailed it.

  15. Mike

    Sep 23, 2016 at 9:00 am

    If you cannot measure spin or launch angle, you cannot calculate carry. This device is worthless for that. If you want to measure ball speed, this could work for that but beware anytime a device is using user entry for loft as their basis for estimating launch angle.

  16. desmond

    Sep 23, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Have an SC200 and use it outside – after the first 2 times of use, I have no issues with shot registering. It misses a shot once in a while. I use range balls to measure most of the time, and don’t expect accuracy – I mean, 235 carry at 90 Swingspeed is overdoing it, but may be within error margin. But that’s with range balls. I will take it on the course soon with real balls when it’s not busy to compare shafts and irons. I look at smash factor and swingspeed – those seem accurate. Fun tool.

    • desmond

      Sep 23, 2016 at 11:10 am

      Ballspeed is nice to have as well as adjusting loft to all of your clubs. Also adjust for barometric pressure and temperature.

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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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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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