Pros: Highly accurate data, portable, easy to use, and integrated with some of the best golf simulation software on the market.

Cons: Slight delay between contact and seeing the ball flight. Only tracks the golf ball, and not your club path.

Bottom line: Impressive features, accuracy and price make SkyTrak attractive to a whole new segment of golfers who aren’t in the market for professional launch monitors, but are looking for a high-quality, personal launch monitor and golf simulator.

Overview

If you’ve watched golf on TV in the past year or so, you’ve probably seen Hank Haney talking about SkyTrak, a personal launch monitor that provides accurate shot data and the ability to play full rounds of golf on some of the world’s best courses. To find out if SkyTrak truly is as good as it sounds, I’ve hit over a thousand golf balls, played rounds of golf on every simulation package, and tested SkyTrak head-to-head with Trackman.

SkyTrack Personal Launch Monitor

SkyTrak is a photometric launch monitor, which means it uses high speed cameras to capture a series of images of the golf ball for a few feet right after impact. Ball speed, launch angle, backspin, side spin and side angle are directly measured, and other data points such as carry and total distance are estimated. SkyTrak then creates a realistic, 3D ball flight model (more on this later), which I’ve found to be extremely accurate. It only needs a few feet to capture the images, which means you can use SkyTrak anywhere you can swing a golf club, both indoors and outdoors.

At 7-inches tall and less than 2 pounds, SkyTrak is small enough to fit in a golf bag when heading to the range. It connects wirelessly to your PC or iPad without requiring a WiFi network. And if you’re worried about hitting a hosel rocket and smashing your launch monitor, you can get a protective case.

SkyTrak

The SkyTrak app supports iOS and Windows. Sadly, Mac desktop or laptop users are out of luck. The company is currently working to officially release the SkyTrak app for Android, but a release date has not been provided. Check out the full specs here.

SkyTrak starts at $1,995, but you can often find it offered for $300 off. In addition to purchasing the launch monitor, SkyTrak has three yearly plans:

  • Basic: Limited access to the driving range app and is included at no charge. Included with purchase.
  • Game Improvement: Access to all the features of the app as well as integration with the company’s simulation partners. $99.95 per year.
  • Play & Improve: You get everything with the Play & Improve Plan, including full access to World Golf Tour simulator. 199.95 per year.

Setup and Ease of Use

One area where SkyTrak really shines is how simple and intuitive it is to use. Once the launch monitor was charged, it took me about 2 minutes from start to finish to get connected.

SkyTrak on iPad

The entire application is straightforward and simple to use. Nothing in the app seems like an afterthought. Big icons and visuals make it easy to select what you want to do, even outside with the glare of sunlight bouncing off your iPad. The data points are huge, allowing you to quickly scan the screen as you’re practicing.

The designers didn’t attempt to make the SkyTrak range “feel” like a photo-realistic simulation, and I couldn’t be happier with that decision. When I’m practicing, I want the application to be responsive and accurately display the ball flight and data. While I like that some of the other simulators have a practice area, I will primarily use the SkyTrak range.

SkyTrak Measured Data

Accuracy of the Data

Before we get too deep into the review, I’m pretty sure many of you are wondering, “Great, but is it accurate?” To answer that question, I tested SkyTrak outside on the range and head-to-head against Trackman.

SkyTrak has completed independent robot testing at Golf Laboratories, but I wanted to do my own testing against Trackman. SkyTrack is photo-based and Trackman is radar-based, so there will be variation in the data, but Trackman is the gold standard and I was curious how they stacked up. I headed to BridgeMill Golf Academy and worked with Tom Losinger, Director of Golf Instruction, who ran the head-to-head test.

Head-to-Head Testing

SkyTrak vs. Trackman Data

Before we got started, I set the wind speed, direction, humidity and temperature to the weather at the time in an attempt to normalize the data in the SkyTrak app as much as possible.

On average, SkyTrak was within about 2 percent of what Trackman reported, which I would say is really good. SkyTrak under-reported every metric except spin rate and launch angle. Spin rate is one metric likely more accurate than Trackman because it is directly captured by camera and analyzed.

SkyTrak vs. Trackman Averages

The largest deviation was total yardage, off by 6 percent, with the driver showing the biggest difference. Unfortunately, this is an area that is hard to match up the range conditions to the conditions in SkyTrak, which will impact this number. Carry distance was within 3 percent, which is more inline with my expectations. I should note that SkyTrak’s robot testing against Trackman showed significantly closer carry and total distance data.

Related: The Hottest Launch Monitors of 2017

Like other photo-based launch monitors, SkyTrak only captures the ball flight. Clubhead speed is an approximation, and I’ve found it to be more inaccurate than accurate, especially with the wedges. If you need club data, you will likely need to invest in a more expensive, commercial-grade launch monitor.

3D Ball Flight Model

In addition to the actual data from Trackman, I also hit a lot of balls on the range focusing on how my real ball flight and distance match up to the 3D ball flight.

While SkyTrak is only a couple years old, the team behind SkyTrak has been refining, testing and improving their 3D ball flight model for over a decade. I can say without hesitation that it’s an impressive model. The video above shows a side-by-side video of an 8-iron on the range compared to the 3D-generated ball flight presented by SkyTrak. I landed my shot just short and right of the target.

SkyTrak Range Testing

There have been a few times during testing, mostly with my wedges, where the ball flight did not perfectly match the real flight. But the vast majority of the time, it was spot on. I even spent time intentionally hitting the dreaded, um, sh**k, which SkyTrak picked up perfectly.

What you can do with the SkyTrak app

Practice Range

I have spent the most time using the SkyTrak practice range, even using it to test eight of this season’s newest golf balls. The range is laid out with big data points and simple controls. You can adjust the target distance, set parameters such as wind, humidity and elevation, switch between the range and data views, and also see your shot history.

Basically, you have everything you need to practice effectively.

SkyTrack Driving Range

You can also choose from a number of different camera angles to view your shots live and in replay. SkyTrak recently added the ability to offset the camera angle, which is a much needed feature for people hitting into projector screens where space is limited and they aren’t able to line up in the center of the screen.

Challenges

Challenges are a lot of fun, especially with other people. You can do a closest-to-the-pin challenge, target practice, and surely a favorite of many people, a long-drive competition.

SkyTrak Target Practice

For each challenge, you have various settings, such as target distance and the number of shots for each person. All the same data points available on the range are available during the challenges.

I like the Target Practice a lot. It simulates some of the real-world pressure you might feel to hit a good shot. Instead of just a distance from the target, you get a score of 0-100, which helps to show how accurate you are with each club.

Skills Assessment

SkyTrak Skills Assessment

The Skills Assessment and Bag Mapping (see below) are two fairly new features that users are really excited about. If you’ve ever run through a Trackman Combine, the Skills Assessment will seem very familiar.

You set up the number of clubs you want to hit and the target distance. I like being able to specify the clubs and distance instead of being forced to hit to a specific yardage. I ran my father-in-law, Tony, through the skills assessment and was able to focus in on the distances specific to his game.

Setting up the assessment only takes a couple minutes. Then you’re guided through each club and all the data is stored. At the end of the assessment, you get a very detailed printout that shows your dispersion, accuracy, shot tendency and handicap for each club as well as an overall SkyTrak Handicap. This data is incredible.

SkyTrak Skills Assessment Tony

On the course, Tony’s miss is left and short. During the assessment, his miss was left and short. Not only that, his SkyTrak Handicap came out to be 22.5. Tony currently plays to a 23.

Bag Mapping

Similar to the Skills Assessment in terms of data and the final report, the Bag Mapping feature walks you through your entire bag to help you understand your carry distance, tendency, shot shape, and gapping between clubs.

This is great for any golfer, even if you think you know what your distances are with each club. But many golfers simply don’t have a good understanding of their carry distances, and this feature will help.

SkyTrak Bag Mapping

I’ve done an entire bag map, but recently ran through it again focusing only on my wedges. Lately, I’ve felt like my gaps aren’t correct and sure enough, they aren’t. Now I have the data I need, and can focus my practice, and possibly make some club changes, using the results.

The Momentary Shot Delay

One of the most frequent, negative comments I’ve read from golfers about SkyTrak is the 2-3 second, shot-to-show delay. You hit a shot and instead of instantly showing up on the screen flying down the fairway, there is a momentary delay while SkyTrak calculates the ball flight.

I’ll admit I was also disappointed at first, too, but I got over that pretty quickly. In fact, I use the brief pause to guess what the shot will do based purely on feel. Will it be short, long, push, pull, fade or draw? This weakness was easily turned into a strength, and I don’t think this reason alone should make anyone overlook SkyTrak.

Simulation Packages

Accurate data and the ability to hone your swing on a practice range in your own home is reason enough to buy a personal launch monitor, but SkyTrak also integrates with five leading simulation software partners, allowing you to play thousands of different courses around the world.

World Golf Tour(WGT), probably the most well-known mobile golf game, is included with the Play & Improve package. You can also choose from The Golf Club Game, Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf, TruGolf E6, and Creative Golf 3D.

I’ve spent time playing and practicing with each of SkyTrak’s simulation software partners.  You can read my thoughts here.

Bottom Line

I couldn’t be more impressed with this launch monitor. The shortcomings — a momentary delay after impact before the shot registers and the lack of club data — are worthwhile tradeoffs to get access to a launch monitor and simulator for under $2,000.

Personally, I will be using SkyTrak for serious game improvement and practice, as well as for fun. I have no doubt it will have a positive impact on my golf game going forward. The accuracy of the data, simplicity of use, and the depth of simulation partners, make SkyTrak one of the best golf technology products I’ve reviewed.

Further Reading: We Review of the Golf Simulator Software for SkyTrak

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When he is not obsessing about his golf game, Kane heads up an innovation lab responsible for driving innovative digital product development for Fortune 500 companies. He is also the co-founder of RoundShout and creator of Ranger GPS, the free iOS GPS app for the driving range.

On a quest to become a scratch golfer, Kane writes about his progress (for better or worse) at kanecochran.com and contributes golf technology-focused articles on GolfWRX.com.

57 COMMENTS

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  1. Thanks for the review! SkyTrak Launch Monitors have truly proven to revolutionize this industry in the last few years by providing tremendous consumer affordability and excellent value. The accuracy is unmatched for a launch monitor in this price range. If your viewers are looking for more information, feel free to take a look at rainorshinegolf.com.

  2. Your results echo my own:
    https://exploringimpact.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/skytrak-vs-trackman-part-1.html

    I think the ST is an amazing piece of golf technology; easily the best I have ever purchased and I have learned many things I couldn’t have done without it (or a TM etc).

    A huge positive that you didnt mention is how responsive Rapsodo/Skygolf are in terms of supporting and developing the product. They actively participate on forums and as a result the product is continually evolving/improving…

    My only negative is actually against myself. The convenience of being able to do unlimited practise at home means it is easy to become injured due to overuse. I am still trying to find the right balance in this area; just because you can practise like a tour pro doesnt mean you should!

  3. I’ve had a skytrak for 18 months and for the money it’s fantastic. I also use a GC2 at least twice a month at a club so I have a goo comparison. The skytrak is very accurate. It fails to read shots slightly more often than the GC2, particularly bump and run shots. It has no HMT equivalent. But for a third of the price it’s amazing value.

  4. For me I never want to hit off mats. It provides false results of striking the ball compared to having to play the ball off grass. Off mats, I get elbow, back and shoulder pain.

    Enjoyed the article and the particulars how these different systems work.

  5. After looking at the data closely again, I am questioning (curious, surprised) about the difference in distance between SkyTrak and Trackman. Based on the other comparison tests I saw elsewhere, there SHOULD NOT be such a big variation. A couple of yards at most, certainly not to the scale of 10+ or even 20+ yards. Are you sure that it is an apple to apple comparison with all variables removed?
    Thanks.

    • I cannot say all variables were removed with absolute certainty. During the test, I attempted to line up conditions to actual weather, range conditions and altitude at the time as best I could, but there is a chance that the settings in SkyTrak or even Trackman for that matter, were not as dialed in as they could’ve been. Even though our intention was for as close, accurate and unbiased a test as possible. My data for those points was off by a much larger margin than SkyTrak’s own independent robot testing.

      • What balls were used during the head to head test, range balls or premium balls? TrackMan can normalize range balls to premium balls but SkyTrak cannot. Is this the difference?

    • The problem is that they are two completely different systems and even though Kane did as good of a job as he could to get them close, there’s no way to compare a photometric system vs a radar system in an apples to apples way. With Radar the system tracks the ball the entire way, which means wind, air temp, and elevation play a massive role on the data that is being produced if done outdoors. Photometric just gives you what happens right at impact thereby eliminating all of the other stuff. Where this was an outdoor test, I’m not surprised at all to see those differences.

  6. Kane, Thanks for the review. I am very interested in personal launch monitors as I am a big numbers guy.

    My questions is: how does it do when testing different clubs against each other. I would mostly be using it to test the numbers on a driver with 2 different shafts or things like that. So, I am less concerned with accuracy compared to other monitors and more concerned with the consistency of the numbers it produces.

    For example, If I test a driver on trackman and one shaft produces a spin rate 300 RPM less than another, do you think that same drop in spin rate would be shown in the SkyTrak data as well? Or, if one driver has ball speeds 2 mph faster than another on trackman, will the skytrack also reflect that increase? I know the exact rates may not be the same, but with the change in numbers be similar enough to reliably pull conclusions from?

    Thank you for your time.

    • This is a good question, Sean. During testing I compared 8 golf balls head-to-head (with the same clubs, a wedge, 6i, driver) and was able to notice differences in spin, ball speed, and other data points like launch angle – even between the same family of tour balls like B330 and B330S. I’m not going to go so far as to say you can professionally fit clubs with SkyTrak. But the variation in data is very apparent. The two numbers you referenced, spin rate and ball speed are both directly measured by ST, which also leads to more potential accuracy. You should be able to make conclusions from the data. Hope that helps.

    • The head-to-head Trackman data is an average of numerous swings with each club and not just a single shot. We ran through the clubs in one session, but grouped the test into multiple rounds of 3 shots for each club to minimize the effects of fatigue. Since we’re comparing actual data and mishits are still something valid to compare, fatigue is less important, but it is the way I always test so I figured why change.

  7. I have been practicing with the SkyTrak for a few months now and I recommend the iPad Pro. The faster processor will calculate the ball flight information usually within 2-3 seconds. I use the SkyTrak and the iPad in network mode on my house Wifi and it saves the data to the SkyGolf account. The balls I hit with are the Titleist ProV1 and the Callaway Chromesoft with the Truvis red marks. I have no problem with the camera reading the ball but it is best not to have direct sunlight into the lenses.
    I really love the bag mapping and skills assessment portions of the home practice as it has really helped me dial in my club distances with performance balls. I have always enjoyed hitting at the course ranges; however, hitting with those old yellow range balls tend to reduce flight by as much as 30%. Hitting in the driveway into the net really has improved my game. The one drawback I am encountering is the back pains after hitting a few fat shots off the mat. I suspect it is the hard concrete underneath even though the mat is a few inches thick. It is starting to make me dread hitting at home and I am considering buying a thicker rubber floor mat to fit underneath to provide some extra cushion. The one positive is that it is teaching me to sweep the ball and not hit down on it.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Ryan! Out of curiosity, what kind of mat are you using? I’ve used the Country Club Elite for the past 6 years and the first 4 were off concrete in my garage hitting an insane amount of balls and always felt pretty good even after long sessions. But if you’re a big digger, not sure any of them will really keep you pain-free. Note: I haven’t officially reviewed CCE, just happens to be what I use.

      • Hi Kane, so I bought a cheap mat off of Amazon and I am paying the price for it with my body unfortunately. I bought the 48″ X 60″ XL SuperMat Tee Golf Turf for $160 and after looking at the specs it is only 1.25″ thick. I think I will take a better look at mats and get a higher quality one. The 5×5 Country Club Elite mat for $499 looks about right if it will save my back and chiropractor costs on my 40 year old body.

  8. Kane, you forgot to highlight three important additional facts. First, Skytrak doesn’t save any data or allow range, skills or bag mapping, without buying an ongoing subscription. The way this is implemented is a pain as well, for example, you need to switch on the Skytrak to confirm your subscription, just to view your data on your tablet.

    Second, in the USA Skytrak is sold with a 6 month warranty! You can pay for extended cover, unsurprisingly. We get a bit more protection here in Europe.

    Finally, you need to factor in the cost of the hard case, it sits very close to the line of fire.

    It’s a great product but Skycaddie’s desire to continually take more money from the owner, make it less attractive, than the purchase price suggests.

    • Hey Dave, thanks for the info on the differences in warranty between Europe vs USA, I didn’t realize that. I did mention that there are 3 yearly packages to choose from and the base package is limited. When you buy the unit access to the practice range is included, but like you said most of the features are locked. Like you, I like all-inclusive pricing, but it is hard to find these days.

      • You really need to state that this is NOT MEANT FOR USE ON GRASS. It’s horribly inaccurate bc of the red dot that is projected on the ground which indicates where you place the ball. It confuses the software if the red dot is uneven like on blades of grass, it’s practically worthless in fact.

        This is a limited launch monitor that is only meant for mats, and more of a simulator than a launch monitor anyway. The Mevo is an actual launch monitor with gimped data output.

        It’s really suspicious that you wouldn’t even mention this.

        • Hey Eric – Sorry you feel its suspicious that I didn’t mention hitting off grass. Photometric launch monitors in general all all plagued by the same issues off grass for one reason or another. Not mentioning it was simply an oversight on my part. But you’re right, if golfers don’t want the simulation, or primarily hit off grass and do not need the flexibility to hit in tight spaces, then the Mevo and other radar-based systems are likely better than SkyTrack.

        • I lolled at “really suspicious….”
          Kennedy assasanation was “really suspicious”. Trump election was “really suspicious”. Not this review, get a grip.
          And trackman, flightscope, gc2 etc have all been less than perfect off grass as well, getting confused by divots flying up. Slightly suspicious that you don’t mention this.

    • I haven’t reviewed the Mevo so I can’t speak directly about the two. Similar data, but different in what it directly captures and how it captures it. Mevo is radar-based vs SkyTrak’s photometric, so you will need more space to use the Mevo. Everything I’ve read, Mevo will be an excellent product, but someone else might be able to provide a more direct comparison for you.

    • Glad you found the review useful and thorough, thank you, Rick. I tested mostly off mats, but definitely in direct sunlight. Biggest issue is seeing the laser dot in the sun. I hit some off grass, but the results are mixed. All photometric launch monitors will have issues accurately capturing and analyzing the images because of the turf spray. But off mats, in the sun, it worked great.

  9. Again excellent and informative review. I want to add my opinion on the cons. I don’t much display delay with a new iPad Pro. I don’t really think the lack of real/measured club data is a con, because it’s simply a feature that SkyTrak does not provide. The real con in my opinion is it’s hard to pick up readings in outdoor settings under direct sun light. It limits the use pretty much to indoors at least in my experience.

    • Thanks for the positive comments on the review. Interesting that you saw issues with the ball being picked up outside. I found it hard to see the laser dot in the light, so I had to hold my hand up to block the sun to see it. But every shot was picked up. The issue with outside – and this is for all photometric launch monitors – is hitting off grass. The turf spray can mess up the ability to analyze the images. So unless you’re a picker, that definitely limits the outdoor practice to mats.

      • You are right – I tested by hitting from real grass. I did not hit from mat. Now I see what you do I will definitely try hitting from mat for my next outdoor session.

          • Definitely. Yes I spent at least one hour every day on SkyTrak. For me it’s much more productive and efficient than practicing outdoors in the drive range. For every shot I immediately see things I would see in the range and, more importantly, things I cannot see in the range with bare eyes, namingly spin rate, launch angle, side angle and side spin. This is tremendous feedback. For me SkyTrak is the best thing for me golf wise. I would spend much more than $2k for it.

      • I think for many of us interested in the SkyTrak this would be an awesome follow up as the zepp and both versions of the swingbyte are under $200 which doesn’t seem like it would be much of a stretch as an add on; especially if the info provided improved the experience.

  10. For the above question from Dan (I don’t know how to reply in line): “How accurate is it (ball flight, distance, direction) on bad shots? If you hit a pull hook, does it reflect the same thing on the 3D model? Your example looked like a pretty good shot, hence the question.” – I would say SkyTrak definitely capture bad shots. It is accurate when I compare with my visual observation. However, the consensus from a few users is that it tend to exaggerate the left and right curves. For example, a left miss of 10 yards in real life would display as 15 yards on Skytrak.

  11. It seems like it would be very easy for SkyTrak to offer a separate swing speed radar that would integrate with their unit to offer a true smash factor. The simple, clubhead only radar from Sport Sensors is like $120, and from there it would be just a software matter.

  12. How accurate is it (ball flight, distance, direction) on bad shots? If you hit a pull hook, does it reflect the same thing on the 3D model? Your example looked like a pretty good shot, hence the question.

    • This is where SkyTrak is more accurate than lower priced launch monitors. Since it directly tracks spin and direction, I found the models to be really accurate on wild shots, too. The same range session as in the video, I tried to hit some wild hooks and slices. It picked them all up nicely.

  13. I saw the short delays last year when I used an iPad mini and an iPad Air. I switched to a new iPad Pro early this year, the delay has been significantly reduced! I would say I don’t feel any delay at all now. Much more pleasant experience.

    • I totally agree with you, if you’re using newer or more powerful PCs or iPads that the processing time will be reduced down to just a second or so. In addition, it is a much shorter delay than earlier versions of SkyTrak.

  14. I’ve had SkyTrak for over a year now and 100% agree with this review. Very impressive set up for under $2K. I set up a hitting bay in my garage, which I use nearly every evening during the winter months or when it’s raining and I can’t get on the range/course.

      • I agree with KC, you can use any golf balls you want. It is recommended that you line up the logo or alignment mark of the golf ball with the unit, but it is not required.

        Also, I’ve tested distance balls and tour balls to see how the numbers line up. Very solid representation of the difference in spin especially, but also distance and other non-obvious points such as peak height.

        For fun, I ran my father-in-law through a range ball vs. better-ball test to prove to him that playing crappy balls you find in the woods wont help your game!

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