Connect with us

Accessory Reviews

Review: Golfshot Golf GPS App

Published

on

Touring pros have caddies, detailed yardage books and a wealth of course knowledge to give them the confidence to hit their best shots. For many of us mere mortals, we simply have yardage stamped on sprinkler heads to help us figure out how far to hit each shot. It’s hard to pick the right club and play our best golf without having accurate information, and the Golfshot GPS smartphone app provides comprehensive yardage for every shot on more than 40,000 courses worldwide.

Golfshot GPS for iOS and Android devices provides pinpoint distances to up to 30 targets on each hole, shot tracking, scorecards for your entire foursome, robust statistics and even an augmented reality view. It’s simple to start your round, beautifully designed and easy to use and the database of courses is continually updated. Since its an application for your smartphone or tablet, you don’t have to lug around another device on the course. And for a one-time fee of $30 with no annual fees and automatic updates, Golfshot GPS is packed with more features and a lower price than most standalone GPS units.

You can download the app on iTunes and Google Play. If you just want basic scorecard data and not the GPS distances, there is a Lite version for free which you can download on iTunes and Google Play.

Pros:

  • Massive database of 40,000 courses.
  • Accurate distances for up to 30 targets per hole.
  • Simple, intuitive interface.
  • Robust scorecards and detailed statistics.
  • Universal app for iPhone and iPad.
  • Seamlessly integrates stats with the GolfPlan App.

Cons

  • The price — until you realize it is only one-time with no annual fee.
  • The GPS will drain your battery quickly if you’re not careful.
  • Shot tracking could be a bit easier and include position not just distance.
  • Golfscape view needs some more polish before I’ll use it regularly.

Starting a Round

Starting a round is as easy as tapping “Play Golf.” After you set some basic profile information about yourself and sync the courses in your state, Golfshot will find the course closest to you from a database of 40,000 courses worldwide. Once you’ve selected the course and the tee you’re playing, you can add additional golfers to your round. You can add golfers from a list of your Facebook friends, your contacts or you can manually add a new golfer. That’s it — you can start your round.

If you’re not in a rush, Golfshot has a fairly extensive settings menu that allows you customize the app to your needs. GPS settings allow you to maximize battery life and score settings allow you to set specific layup distances, your club set and specify which stats to track for you and your other golfers.

Up to 30 GPS Targets on Every Hole
Golfshot GPS Screen

This is where Golfshot really shines. Every hole can have up to 30 targets including front-edge, back-edge and center of the green, bunkers, water, hazards, doglegs and even layup distances. While I haven’t done a scientific study, I have noticed that the numbers generated by Golfshot are generally within two yards of standalone GPS units, sprinkler head yardages and even laser rangefinders under normal conditions. I haven’t hit a shot yet where the Golfshot numbers were so off that I should’ve selected a different club.

The design of the GPS screen makes viewing the distances quick and easy. But there are times when you need to know the distance to a part of the hole that isn’t tracked, such as a layup point. You can easily toggle between a GPS view and an aerial view. The aerial view pulls in satellite imagery of every hole and allows you to zoom in for greater clarity. TouchPoint positioning allows you to tap anywhere to get an exact distance to that point and from that point to the green. In addition to the regular GPS Screen, this is one of the features I use the most because it allows me to see the hole before I even tee my ball up. I don’t have to guess how much room I have before the fairway runs out or how far I need to hit my drive to cut the corner.

Golfshot is a universal app, so when you download it for your iPhone, you also get the app on you iPad. Before a round, my buddies and I also use the aerial view on the iPad app to run through the course and plan our round, the clubs we might hit off the tee and get a feel for the course. In the most recent update, you can add notes to each hole just like the pros.

Scorecards & Stats
Golfshot Scorecard

“Four, two, driver, right.” That’s how easy it is to enter scores on each hole for yourself and your playing partners. You select the score on the hole, the number of putts, the club you hit off the tee, mark if you hit or missed the fairway and even select sand shots or penalties. While it takes less than 10 seconds to mark a score, you aren’t required to track all those stats. If you simply want to keep your score and nothing else, you can. Although, tracking these stats allows Golfshot to provide a ton of valuable data to help you better understand your game.

From within the application or on Golfshot.com, you’ll have access to statistics such as greens in regulation, putting, scrambling and driving accuracy — including how often you miss left and right. You’re able to filter these stats by round, by date range and even by course. Most people will buy Golfshot for the GPS course data, but the robust statistics really make this app complete. If you’re a golfer trying to improve, the statistics in Golfshot will be eye-opening. For example, I’ve been working on trying to limit how often I miss right off the tee. From the statistics screen, I can see I’ve missed 31 percent of my drives to the right during the last 50 rounds. But during the last five rounds, I only missed right 24 percent of the time. You can get even get a chart that plots your change over time.

Shot Tracking
Golfshot GPS Screen

It’s all well and good that Golfshot provides you exact distances to virtually any point on the golf course, but if you don’t know how far you hit your clubs, it probably won’t matter. The shot tracking feature within the app can help. While I think it’s a bit clunky and inaccurate at times, with a couple clicks you can track any shot and have access to average distances right within the app. Instead of guessing that your 5i goes 195 yards or that your average drive is 250 yards, you have actual, on-course data that tells you how far you hit each club. This is another way Golfshot can bring you closer to the pros. They know exactly how far they hit each club and that helps them make smarter decisions on the course.

Profile and Golfshot Community

As with almost any app these days, you will have a Golfshot profile and access to the Golfshot Community where you can connect with friends. Your profile contains basic information about your location, home course and a photo. But it also contains a snapshot of your best statistics, all the rounds you’ve stored in Golfshot, swings you’ve recorded and you can select the equipment you play. Golfshot also generates a handicap automatically, but I’ve found inconsistencies in the data and use the USGA handicap generated from MyScorecard.com — I’ll review that site in a future article. When you connect with friends, you’ll be able to see their profile, all the rounds they played with Golfshot and even high-level statistics.

Bonus: Augmented Reality View
Golfshot AR Screen

The augmented reality view in Golfscape is available as an in-app purchase for $9.99 and you can access it directly within the standard Golfshot GPS screen. When you open the Golfscape view, it turns on your phone’s camera and takes all the GPS target data for the current hole and drops it on top of the camera view. As you look down the fairway, you can see it’s 180 yards to carry the right bunker or it’s 225 yards to reach the water. This is the exact same information available on the standard tracking screen, but the benefit of the Golfscape view is that you can see the numbers plotted right on hole as if that bunker had a big sign sticking out of it with the exact distance printed in bold colors.

As much as I love technology, and even augmented reality specifically, I haven’t used this on the course very often for anything other than showing off how cool it is.

Bottom line

If you’re looking for a GPS unit and you have an Android or iOS smartphone, you should definitely consider Golfshot. Yes, there are free GPS apps, but with the one-time price and no annual fee, you get access to a polished, accurate, easy-to-use app with a robust feature set and a continually updated course database. It’s hard to beat Golfshot.

Your Reaction?
  • 8
  • LEGIT2
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK1

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.

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Bob

    Aug 18, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    I purchased Golfshot years ago. As of last year, I no longer have the GPS view. In this view, you can move a cursor around a pic of the hole on your screen. It is excellent for estimating a distance for a layup. I don’t know why this was dropped. I purchased this app specifically for this feature. Make sure the app you buy has this GPS feature. I have emailed them this year and last, but they have not responded to me. Make sure the app you buy has customer support. I see from some of these comments that they may no longer offer this for the standard fee. you have to pay an annual fee for the more expensive app. It doesn’t seem fair to remove capability that you already paid for.

  2. Pingback: Golfscape App | Garmin Approach

  3. Barry Bevis

    Apr 13, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    Just downloaded Golfshot GPS and its terrific – just 1 problem in the Aerial mode how do you get rid of the Touchline distance indicator?. It comes on when you touch the screen and I don’t know how to turn it off.

  4. Ray Fairclough

    Sep 28, 2013 at 6:10 am

    Hi guy’s, after reading all these good reviews I am upgrading my mobile, sorry Cell Phone to a smart phone just to purchase GolfShot app. A few questions, if I may? How much data does the app use and does anyone’s phone become hot with 4 – 5 hrs of use.

    • Max

      Dec 17, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      Hi it uses about 30-40% for a round for me. If I start out at 100% charge then there is no worry at all you can still get through the rest of the day. It uses GPS on the course only so no data is consumed, unless you sync the course library but you should do that at home on the wifi.

  5. Chris

    Jun 12, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Shotzoom, the company that makes GolfShot, just released TourCaddie, which is basically the same product, but now costs $30.00 a year.

    My guess is GolfShot will not be updated and will soon not even be supported in future iOS releases.

    Sure hope I’m wrong, but it doesn’t look good.

  6. Diana

    Apr 24, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    My golf GPS is working great. Got a great deal from Amazon and I’m so excited that I want to share the discounts that I received with everyone: http://amzn.to/Y4TQRi – Believe me, you will not be disappointed.

  7. RD

    Apr 8, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I have had this app for a few years now and I am a big fan. They have always seemed to improve the app every year; now adding the augmented reality feature which is super cool. The yardage is typically within 2-3 yards when compared to a laser range finder. You can chalk that up to pin placement changes though. I think the only thing they are missing, that the range finders have these days, is the ability to measure the yardage with slope factored in. You can’t beat the stats and the ability to track, share, and review all your scores historically. And the best part for me, is the ability to track the scores of your 2 some or 4 some in real time. No more counting from the score card on the turn or at end of the round. There is nothing more delightful then ending a round and telling your buddy he only hit 20% of the fairways and 5% of the greens in regulation as you drive the carts back..LOL

  8. Trent

    Mar 16, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Love this app! Been using it for almost two years and have several dozen rounds on it. The stats it keeps are great for keeping an eye on my progress/lack of progress and where I can zero in on my weak areas. Yardages have been really consistent even against other range finding tools. Shot tracking is a great feature and once you’ve figured out how to keep the GPS from gobbling up the battery, you could go two rounds on on full iPhone charge. Well worth the one time price!

  9. Jake

    Feb 22, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    I have been using this app for the past couple of years (ever since the MXPro did the recall cause it was…. Crap). Anyway I can not say enough great things about Golfshot, I absolutely love it. For me the yard ages have always been on (within 2-3 yards of rangefinders or incart GPS) I love all the stuff u can track and that it all dumps into the golfshot website to give u graphs of all your stats. I have not played any course where the golfshot did not have the score card for the course. If you have a smartphone buy it you can not go wrong!

  10. Scotty

    Feb 18, 2013 at 1:15 am

    I used golfshot primarily to track my handicap. I loved this app when I had it for the iPhone, but when I bought an android 2 years ago I found the handicap function didn’t work. Although requesting it be fixed it still doesn’t work 2 years later.

  11. Tom D

    Feb 14, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Another nice property of Golfshot:GPS is the size of the text fonts used. Us “mature golfers” can read the yardages without the need to put on reading glasses. Many of the other GPS yardage devices seem to be built for younger eyes. I still use Golfshot:GPS and have for over two years.

  12. Ed L

    Feb 12, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    I’ve been using Golfshot on my iPhone for 2 or 3 years now. A great application, especially considering a dedicated golf GPS device costs 10 times more. Unfortunately, the USGA/R&A has made the use of this application (on a smartphone) illegal in tournament play (when Distance Measuring Devices are allowed). Their position is that the presence of apps on a smartphone (some that can’t be uninstalled like the Compass or Weather spps on an iPhone) that could be used to gain an unfair advantage is reason enough for prohibition regardless of the apps actually being used during play.

    Now, the USGA/R&A has made decisions regarding the use of all sorts of devices like cell phones, PDAs, computers, compasses, radios, etc… and the common theme is that the devices can be used on the course as long as the intent of use does not gain the player an unfair advantage. Using the compass as an example, if a player has a compass in his/her golf bag, that is not a breach of the rules. If the player uses the compass during play, then it’s a breach of the rules.

    Why this notion of “intent” is not applied to smarphones is a mystery and is contradictory to many of the rules in the Rules of Golf. Whether intentional or not, the USGA/R&A have sided with companies that manufacture Golf GPS devices. I’d have to spend $300+ for a device that has similar functionality to Golfshot on my iPhone.

  13. Chris

    Feb 12, 2013 at 10:58 am

    This program is consistently off by 8 to 10 yards. I just finished playing Pebble Beach and Coyote Springs (near Las Vegas) and even after adjusting pin positions it read short of actual distance (as determined by a top of the line range finder). I love the app, layout, course info etc but the yardages are so off it makes it unusable for its primary mission.

  14. Keith

    Feb 12, 2013 at 10:00 am

    I’ve been using Golfshot for about two years, although I rarely if never use the GPS features. After every round I entered my score and stats in and use it in that manner. I’ve got over 100 rounds in it and it’s a great tool to see where you need to improve. Golfshot also ties in with the Tiger Woods Swing app where you can videotape your swing and put lines on it/compare it to other swings.

  15. Desert Dweller

    Feb 12, 2013 at 4:10 am

    A friend recommended this app to me a few weeks ago and I can’t rate it enough – fantastic app. Great usability and interface, easy to get your head around, and the online golfshot community to connect with friends, see their scores etc is a great idea. Brilliant.

    I am a relatively new golfer and because I want to see improvement it certainly highlights the areas in detail where I am not performing as good and where I can improve to (hopefully) see my scores reduce.

  16. pg

    Feb 12, 2013 at 1:17 am

    I’ve been using golfshot for several years and absolutely love it. The yardages aren’t always 100% spot on, but I’ve stood next to friends many times shooting the same targets with various range finders and Golfshot has always been within a few yards of accuracy. For $30 it’s a steal.

  17. CJ

    Feb 11, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    I like this app. BTW, it is also available for Windows Phone and I find it very gentle on the battery in this version.

    • Kane Cochran

      Feb 12, 2013 at 8:45 am

      Thanks for mentioning Windows Phone, can’t leave them out! Slightly different interface to fit within the Windows Phone style, but all the same great features. It’s even a bit cheaper at $19.99.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Accessory Reviews

Choose Your Tartan: Enter now to win a Sunfish Tartan headcover

Published

on

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.

TartanPatternsSunfish

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.

Your Reaction?
  • 6
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB1
  • SHANK7

Continue Reading

Accessory Reviews

Review: Golf Simulator Software for SkyTrak

Published

on

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

Your Reaction?
  • 53
  • LEGIT4
  • WOW5
  • LOL3
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB1
  • SHANK2

Continue Reading

Accessory Reviews

Review: SkyTrak Personal Launch Monitor

Published

on

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

Your Reaction?
  • 233
  • LEGIT10
  • WOW12
  • LOL4
  • IDHT2
  • FLOP1
  • OB3
  • SHANK19

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Facebook

Trending