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 Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team while earning 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

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  1. 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. 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. 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. 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.

  5. 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.

    • 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

  6. 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

      • 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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).

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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