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Review: SkyTrak Personal Launch Monitor

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

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

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

Overview

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

SkyTrack Personal Launch Monitor

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

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

SkyTrak

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

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

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

Setup and Ease of Use

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

SkyTrak on iPad

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

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

SkyTrak Measured Data

Accuracy of the Data

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

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

Head-to-Head Testing

SkyTrak vs. Trackman Data

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

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

SkyTrak vs. Trackman Averages

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

Related: The Hottest Launch Monitors of 2017

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

3D Ball Flight Model

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

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

SkyTrak Range Testing

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

What you can do with the SkyTrak app

Practice Range

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

Basically, you have everything you need to practice effectively.

SkyTrack Driving Range

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

Challenges

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

SkyTrak Target Practice

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

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

Skills Assessment

SkyTrak Skills Assessment

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

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

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

SkyTrak Skills Assessment Tony

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

Bag Mapping

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

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

SkyTrak Bag Mapping

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

The Momentary Shot Delay

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

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

Simulation Packages

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

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

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

Bottom Line

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

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

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

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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

57 Comments

  1. Shawn Foley

    Sep 25, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    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. Emma green

    Jun 11, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    I’ve read that it doesn’t work for left handed golfers,do you know if this is correct.

    • James

      Jun 11, 2017 at 3:13 pm

      It works perfectly for left and right handed golfers.

  3. James

    Jun 11, 2017 at 9:25 am

    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!

  4. Steve Rawlinson

    Jun 10, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    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.

  5. Bert

    Jun 9, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    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.

  6. Minnesota Golfer

    Jun 9, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    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.

    • Kane Cochran

      Jun 9, 2017 at 4:12 pm

      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.

      • Minnesota golfer

        Jun 9, 2017 at 4:17 pm

        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?

    • gunmetal

      Jun 9, 2017 at 4:31 pm

      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.

  7. Sean M

    Jun 9, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    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.

    • Kane Cochran

      Jun 9, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      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.

  8. Seattle Golfer

    Jun 9, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Kane, serious question…is that your real name?

    • ChambersBunkers

      Jun 9, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      I have a brother named Kane. According to my Parents the name has Polynesian meaning for “stong man who can swim far.”

    • Kane Cochran

      Jun 9, 2017 at 2:26 pm

      Haha! It is. I think my father wanted me to get into acting and have a unique name or something. Instead, I build golf apps and get to review some of the best golf tech out there. Still works I think. Play well up in the PNW.

  9. larrybud

    Jun 9, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Kane, these comparisons, are they with just one swing with each club, or is it an overall average of a number of swings?

    • Kane Cochran

      Jun 9, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      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.

  10. Ryan McLin

    Jun 9, 2017 at 11:27 am

    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.

    • Kane Cochran

      Jun 9, 2017 at 11:47 am

      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.

      • Ryan McLin

        Jun 9, 2017 at 12:06 pm

        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.

        • Minnesota golfer

          Jun 9, 2017 at 12:08 pm

          Look at truestrike. The regular mat is too punishing on fat shots

  11. Davemac

    Jun 9, 2017 at 10:21 am

    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.

    • Kane Cochran

      Jun 9, 2017 at 10:32 am

      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.

      • Eric

        Jun 9, 2017 at 12:06 pm

        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.

        • Kane Cochran

          Jun 9, 2017 at 12:42 pm

          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.

          • Eric

            Jun 9, 2017 at 5:41 pm

            I have zero clue why I typed that last sentence, sorry Kane. It doesn’t even make sense to me. Thanks for the review.

        • Large chris

          Jun 9, 2017 at 1:02 pm

          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.

  12. DW

    Jun 9, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Looks like similar data to the more budget friendly Mevo from Flightscope. Meaningful performance improvements?

    • Kane Cochran

      Jun 9, 2017 at 10:11 am

      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.

  13. Rick

    Jun 9, 2017 at 9:58 am

    Hi Kane,
    Have you tested the skytrack out in normal sun conditions on a grass tee? Thank you for the thorough review.

    • Kane Cochran

      Jun 9, 2017 at 10:16 am

      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.

  14. Minnesota golfer

    Jun 9, 2017 at 9:53 am

    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.

    • Kane Cochran

      Jun 9, 2017 at 10:01 am

      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.

      • Minnesota golfer

        Jun 9, 2017 at 10:09 am

        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.

        • Kane Cochran

          Jun 9, 2017 at 10:17 am

          It sounds like you’ve spent a ton of time with SkyTrak, so I’ll be curious to hear your results next time to practice. Thanks for sharing your feedback!

          • Minnesota golfer

            Jun 9, 2017 at 10:34 am

            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.

  15. Brian

    Jun 9, 2017 at 9:49 am

    Pairing this up with zepp for club path stats seems to be a perfect combo, no?

    • Kane Cochran

      Jun 9, 2017 at 9:52 am

      Yep it could work nicely, Brian. I’ve got a Swingbyte and have used it in combination as well which provided some nice data.

      • Duke

        Jun 12, 2017 at 1:00 pm

        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.

  16. Minnesota golfer

    Jun 9, 2017 at 9:35 am

    Kane,

    Do you see the side spin number is generally larger/exaggerated than in TrackMan? Thanks.

    • Kane Cochran

      Jun 9, 2017 at 9:43 am

      It is hard to say because I don’t have the formula used to convert Trackman’s Spin Axis to SkyTrak’s Side Spin. I tried to approximate it, but wasn’t accurate enough to publish. What I can say is that the numbers themselves lined up at least. Here is data from their robot testing and SkyTrak did a conversion using the same formula they use in the app: http://www.skytrakgolf.com/about-skytrak/product-comparison

  17. Minnesota Golfer

    Jun 9, 2017 at 9:28 am

    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.

  18. Kyle

    Jun 9, 2017 at 9:21 am

    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.

  19. Dan

    Jun 9, 2017 at 9:14 am

    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.

    • Kane Cochran

      Jun 9, 2017 at 9:30 am

      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.

  20. Minnesota golfer

    Jun 9, 2017 at 9:13 am

    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.

    • Kane Cochran

      Jun 9, 2017 at 9:34 am

      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.

  21. KC

    Jun 9, 2017 at 8:40 am

    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.

  22. C

    Jun 9, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Do you need to use specially marked golf balls?

    • KC

      Jun 9, 2017 at 8:42 am

      Nope. I use regular Srixon balls with mine and have never had any issues with the device picking up the ball and reporting accurate data.

      • Kane Cochran

        Jun 9, 2017 at 9:37 am

        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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Sunfish, well known for its stylish headcover designs, is offering up free Tartan-style headcovers to five GolfWRX Members. All you have to do to apply is become a GolfWRX member, if you’re not already, and then reply in the forum thread with your favorite the Tartan pattern.

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The five winners will receive a free headcover in the pattern that they select. Winners will be selected on Friday, so don’t wait.

Click here to enter into the giveaway and pick your favorite style.

Reminder: Commenting on this post WILL NOT enter you into the giveaway.

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Accessory Reviews

Review: Golf Simulator Software for SkyTrak

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SkyTrak is a personal launch monitor packed with impressive features and accuracy. It sells for $1995, and is aimed at golfers looking for a high-quality, personal launch monitor and golf simulator. I’ve recently hit more than 1,000 golf balls on SkyTrak and tested it head-to-head against Trackman to find out if it truly is as good as it sounds.

Spoiler alert: It is. You can read the full review here.

In writing my SkyTrak review, I felt that I could better serve the GolfWRX Community and the greater golf world with an additional SkyTrak review that focused specifically on SkyTrak’s golf simulation partners. This… is that review.

Golf Simulation Partners

Out of the box, SkyTrak comes with an impressive driving range app, which golfers looking to hone and refine their swing will really appreciate. But one of the ways SkyTrak differentiates itself from other launch monitors, especially lower-priced ones, is by integrating with five leading golf simulation software packages.

This is where SkyTrak starts to widen its appeal. Serious golfers will enjoy playing a full round, but you can also get casual golfers involved. My wife and kids will enjoy playing a round of golf, and I won’t have to worry about holding up the group behind me. As my kids get older, having a simulator at home will be invaluable, allowing them practice at any time… assuming they want to play golf, of course.

SkyTrak Simulation Partners

Data Provided to Each Software

SkyTrak provides each simulation partner with the exact same, five directly measured data points which include: ball speed, launch angle, backspin, side spin and side angle. Each software applies their own ball flight model. For that reason, I did see differences in the ball flight and data displayed.

WGT (World Golf Tour)

Almost every golfer with a mobile phone or a Facebook profile has played or heard of WGT (World Golf Tour). The same game that has been played on mobile phones for years can now be played with SkyTrak. The most obvious difference is the visuals. Their patented, photo-realistic imagery and terrain mapping has created some of the most realistic course simulation available. What’s more interesting is that WGT is included at no additional cost when you purchase the $199.95 per year SkyTrak plan. This is great news for people interested in playing full courses, but not yet ready to commit to another simulator package.

There are 10 full courses that can be played. They include St. Andrews, Chambers Bay, Bandon Dunes and others. Closest-to-the-pin challenges can be played on 18 total courses.

Ball Flight and Data

The ball flight model is very accurate and similar to what I see in the SkyTrak app. It also calculates my wedge shots correctly, which is typically a slight fade that I cannot seem to fix. Total distance is a bit strong, with some clubs flying an average of five yards farther than normal.

Course Accuracy and Visuals

It is hard to beat the photo-realistic visuals of WGT. It took me a minute to get used to them after playing rounds on the other simulators, but the courses look amazing, especially on a large projector screen. With the combination of the photos and terrain mapping, these courses are spot-on representations of their real-life counterparts.

WGT SkyTrak Partner

Depth of Included Courses and Quality of Gameplay

I wish there were more courses, but WGT is continuing to add to its roster and I value the realism of the courses it has. I would rather higher quality courses over quantity. They also have some “Best Of” bundles, like playing the Best of Bandon Par 3s, which is a lot of fun.

The gameplay is solid, although the options are limited. You don’t have a lot of fancy camera angles or the ability to view a replay of your shot. In fact, some of the starting camera angles aren’t even from the player’s point of view, which is a little weird and hard to get used to. The SkyTrak data presented has everything you would want, except carry distance. The interface is clean and easy to use.

Reliability of the Software

Although the specs say an iPad is required (and preferred if you’re not using a projector), I didn’t experience any issues connecting to either my iPad or my iPhone 6s.

Cost

Included with SkyTrak’s Play & Improve Package

Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf

I want to love Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf, and I almost do. The main game includes really nice, quality courses, and you can purchase add-ons such as Muirfield Village or PGA National for $5.95. Additionally, its Course Forge Software, which is the same software used by Jack Nicklaus Golf course designers, can be used by anyone to create an unlimited number of courses that you can download and play.

You can adjust almost any setting you can imagine, from camera angles that allow you to walk freely around the golf course to video and audio settings that adjust everything from the sky effects to the way the grass looks. This is critical to helping dial in the settings to maximize gameplay for your specific PC setup.

Ball Flight and Data

The ball flight was similar to what I saw on the SkyTrak range, but the distances were consistently a bit shorter. There is a good chance I could mess around with the various settings and get the numbers to match up, but out of the box, I felt like the distances were slightly shorter across the board.

Course Accuracy and Visuals

I really like the quality of the courses. There is an almost unlimited combination of settings you can use to dial in the visuals to create a very realistic experience. The real courses I downloaded look, appear and play very accurately. The textures of the tee boxes and greens are very realistic.

Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf SkyTrak Partner

Depth of Included Courses and Quality of Gameplay

The included courses are a mix of fictional, user-created courses, and real courses with fake names. For example, you can play Florida Glades, which is actually modeled after TPC Sawgrass. I played Muirfield Village while watching coverage of the Memorial last weekend, which was fun.

With the exception of the occasionally shorter distances, the gameplay is excellent. Shots on the fairways and into the greens follow the real-life contours of the course. Just check out the video above to see what I mean.

The game really shines with the smooth camera movements and replay options. I love being able to watch each shot from the player point of view, but also angles like the spectator view. It feels just like TV and is a lot of fun to see my shots from different angles.

Reliability of the Software

This is where Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf falls short, at least for me. During testing, I was never able to get through an entire round without the simulator connection crashing, which meant that SkyTrak was no longer connected to the simulator software. This is an issue with Perfect Golf reported by others, too. As of June 1st, the company provided an update that has solved this issue for me, and I can now get through a full round, but it is something to keep in mind.

Cost

Multiple packages starting at $99.95 per year for the driving range package. It’s $199.95 per year for the simulation package, and $249.95 per year for everything including the ability to play user-created courses or compete in online tournaments.

TruGolf E6

TruGolf E6 feels and plays like the most solid of all the simulator options. Each of the 87 total courses are mapped using precise terrain and course data, and you can tell they spent a lot of time making each course feel as realistic and accurate as possible.

The app has numerous settings to control time of day, wind, lighting, camera angles and more. Course elevation is accurate, and factored into the ball flight. The base software includes a driving range with target practice, chipping area, and a putting area.

Ball Flight and Data

The ball flight, carry and total distance are almost identical to what I see in the SkyTrak app.

Course Accuracy and Visuals

The quality of each course is impressive. Fairways and greens are responsive and variable, mimicking the actual terrain of the course. The textures, shadows, and lighting are realistic. And the camera movements to follow the ball or during replays are natural. The overall graphics are not quite as good as Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf or The Golf Club, but still very solid.

TruGolf E6 SkyTrak Partner

Depth of Included Courses and Quality of Gameplay

The main package includes 15 championship courses, including Pinehurst  No. 2, Bay Hill, Gleneagles and others. You can also buy seven other packs of courses, each for a one-time fee.

The actual gameplay is very realistic. The standard camera angles feel like I am watching a shot from my actual point of view, but I can also watch the replay from various other camera angles. Putting is realistic, even if I haven’t yet mastered putting on SkyTrak. And if you’re looking to practice a specific hole on a course, you can choose to play only that hole.

Reliability of the Software

Rock solid. Throughout my entire testing, I never had any software issues.

Cost

$299 per year in addition to the SkyTrak Game Improvement Package. Additional course packs can be purchased for $240-500 each.

The Golf Club Game

There is so much to like about The Golf Club.  The graphics are quite possibly the best of any of the simulators (up to 4K Ultra HD) and allow you to move around the course in real-time. There are 100,000+ high definition courses, you can create your own courses, and TGC has live tournaments. There is even an announcer who gives you the play-by-play.

Ball Flight and Data

Just like TruGolf E6, the ball flight model and key data points are very similar to what I see on the SkyTrak range. I have noticed some deviation, more total distance for example, but for the most part, the results are very similar and accurate.

Course Accuracy and Visuals

I can’t deny having access to 100k+ courses isn’t a strength, but it is also a weakness. You will never get bored if you own this software, but if you like playing realistic golf courses, it can be difficult to navigate. With so many “Augusta National” or “St. Andrews” courses listed, it is hard to find one to play that truly feels realistic. I selected an “Augusta National Sunday Pin Position” course and saw white-capped mountains in the distance teeing off No. 1. There certainly aren’t mountains around Augusta.

The Golf Club SkyTrak Partner

I’ll say it again, the HD visuals are outstanding, especially if your system can max out the settings.

Depth of Included Courses and Quality of Gameplay

You’ve got access to a ton of courses for free, which will be  huge for many people. The gameplay is also excellent, with realistic bounces and rolls on the fairways and greens. The rough and sand are penalizing, and putting and chipping around the green is accurate.

Reliability of the Software

I have had some minor connectivity issues with TGC. But other than that, the rest of the software has worked great.

Cost

$479/year or a one-time fee of $895.

Creative Golf 3D

Creative Golf 3D, the newest integration with SkyTrak, offers some unique twists on the traditional simulators by focusing more on entertainment than pure simulation. Sure, there is a range and you can play up to 100 courses located in Europe, but more importantly, you have access to 20 different entertainment-focused games including island targets, mini-golf, and abandoned factory demolition.

I can see playing mini-golf with my kids even before sticking them on the SkyTrak range. Fun is the real power of Creative Golf 3D, and yet another way that SkyTrak differentiates itself from other launch monitors or simulators on the market.

Ball Flight and Data

The ball flight and data matches up nicely with the SkyTrak ball flight model. I haven’t noticed any issues with distances or other data points not lining up.

Course Accuracy and Visuals

All the courses are based on real elevation and satellite data, which is evident when you play a round. While I’ve never played golf in Europe, I love watching the European Tour partly because they play courses in beautiful parts of the world. Creative Golf 3D captures that beauty by focusing only on courses throughout Europe.

creativegolf_image

The reason I would buy Creative Golf over the others is not for the course play; it’s for the entertainment options. I really enjoy hitting knock down wedges to smash windows of an abandoned building and playing mini-golf in Europe.

Depth of Included Courses and Quality of Gameplay

The base package includes five courses. You can buy add-on packages for $99 per package (one-time fee) and get access to up to 100 courses. I enjoy hitting shots with snow-capped mountains in the background and the standard camera angles and replay are smooth. The visuals are good, don’t get me wrong, but they feel a little more like a computer game than an actual simulation compared to the other software options.

Reliability of the Software

So far, so good. I haven’t experienced any issues with connectivity to this point.

Cost

$199.95 per year or a one-time fee of $499.95. I like that Creative Golf 3D offers a one-time fee. For those of us who plan to have this simulator for many years, it makes a lot of sense. You can also buy additional course packs for $99.95/one time.

Bottom Line

If I had to choose my favorites so far, one would be Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf for the overall high quality of courses and smooth, realistic gameplay. I also will keep Creative Golf 3D on hand for entertainment options like mini-golf to play with my kids and friends.

But the good news is all of SkyTrak’s five simulation software partners offer high-quality gameplay, realistic and accurate 3D ball flight, and the ability to play 18 holes anytime, anywhere, on some of the best courses around the world.

Further Reading: A Review of the SkyTrak Personal Launch Monitor

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Accessory Reviews

Review: 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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