Golf launch monitors can be a substitute for full time lessons or even a driving range. The biggest benefit to golfers is the immediate feedback it provides, helping to improve your game in a matter of seconds.
Additionally, a golf launch monitor should measure club head speed, carry distance, and spin. These characteristics optimize your ability to correlate small swings changes into flight path differences.
This guide will help you understand the benefits of each type of the best golf launch monitor and their differences in technology.
We’ll look at the different features and systems that will fit your style regardless of training or improvement needed.
Last updated on 2023-09-27. The links are affiliate links. Product images are served from Amazon Product Advertising API.
Table of Contents
- Featured Recommendations
- How to Choose the Best Golf Launch Monitors
- What are the Best Golf Launch Monitors?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping Up on the Best Golf Launch Monitors for Practice
How to Choose the Best Golf Launch Monitors
The basic features that are required for a good launch monitor are overall distance, carrying distance, and shot tracking. Golfers are able to easily see how changes in swings translate to down range accuracy and overall distance over time.
More features don’t necessarily translate to a higher score but smarter features that help golfers understand their shots better yield a better ranking.
Down range and flight path accuracy is most important as many golfers struggle the most with distance control and flight path. Certain technologies are more advantageous to tracking flight path and distance such as doppler.
Also, depending on whether golfers are using the best golf launch monitors indoors or outdoors will depend on the overall launch distance accuracy. Other measurements are important to be accurate as well.
For instance, golfers training their ability to put backspin on a ball will need the backspin calculations to be as realistic as possible so it translates well to the golf course. An accurate launch monitor will help in all these areas.
Most home golfers don’t have the time to fiddle with complex professional golf systems that either take hours to calibrate or understand.
The more simple the system and easier to use, the more likely golfers are to repeat use and get enjoyment out of the launch monitor system.
On top of ease of use is application and database usability. Launch monitors need to include easy to use and actionable data tables for each club to gain expert level insights with entry level data skills.
Higher scoring systems have database trackers that work down to the individual club level to avoid crossing over into other clubs and misconstruing data. A great function is the apps ability to track the entire golf back with the press of a button.
Systems that enhance faster growth and game improvement with score higher in this category depending on what golfers are looking to improve on whether it be distance control, flight path control, game/course management, or overall shot improvement, different models will offer a better selection to fit each need.
A good game improvement system uses software and advanced analytics to review shots and make recommendations on how to better your game.
On course or live in training feedback like video replay or shot tracing feedback is needed to understand your game and swing to the smallest details.
There are excellent course management apps available and systems that interweave game improvement in regular training sessions will provide the most bang for the buck.
A great smartphone or tablet app helps the golfer find the data they need to improve their game. If the player lacks distance or creates far too much sidespin, a monitor with a first-rate app will display the information allowing the golfer to make adjustments.
The best apps are simple to understand but present a wealth of knowledge to enable you to learn your swing deficiencies and take action to improve your fundamentals.
Finding a launch monitor that remains terrific shape over the product’s life presents value for your dollar. While some golfers might not factor in durability to their final decision, it does give the golfer peace of mind when taking the monitor to the practice range.
Equipment, like a monitor, should work without hassle, and durability is undoubtedly a part of achieving simplicity in improving the overall game.
A lightweight, easy to carry launch monitor presents plenty of advantages when it comes time to practice on the range.
Rather than spending precious time setting up a monitor, having one that’s ready to take measurements in a few minutes is a real benefit in your quest to improve.
Usually, the more sophisticated the launch monitor, the more challenging it is to set up quickly, but the latest versions offer outstanding portability with top-tier performance.
Although most golfers believe that launch monitors are too expensive to purchase for their game, today’s models offer affordability along with their technological benefits.
Most of these top-notch launch monitors can be purchased for the cost of an elite driver. For the difference that launch monitors can make to their game, golfers can find that the price is well worth the cost.
Most launch monitors carry a one-year warranty. The warranty covers any problems that are the fault of the manufacturer.
Should the launch monitor fail due to software or hardware issues, the company will either fix the unit or offer a replacement as long as the failure happens inside of a year from the purchase date.
What are the Best Golf Launch Monitors?
Rapsodo MLM Launch Monitor
Best Launch Monitor for Visual Recordings
- Visual recording and good feedback features
- Phone fits in the cradle designed on the launch monitor
- Smart club identification system makes switching between clubs easy
- Not as many measurables as other launch monitors
- Not suitable for indoor training
Rapsodo MLM Launch Monitor is for on the go golfers looking for visual recording and feedback capabilities in their launch monitor.
Rapsodo has gone the extra mile with the launch monitor design making sure a cell phone fits into the launch monitor and records visual shots to make it easier for golfers to see their shots in visual motion.
MLM records shots for playback to review swings and body motions. The smart club recognition system registers clubs quickly for easy transitions from club to club.
This system is one of the more user friendly and best golf launch monitor because it works quickly and allows golfers to transition from club to club and is accompanied by different visual feedback capabilities.
Portability with Phone Connections
Rapsodo has made one of the perfect launch monitors to pair with the advanced technology of modern cell phones. The launch system is designed to connect quickly with the launch monitor and cradle a phone to use the front facing camera to track shots.
Once a golfers phone is calibrated with the MLM app and launch monitors, golfers can start firing shots down range. There are several statistics the Rapsodo measures launch angle, club head speed distance, smash factor, and launch direction.
With iOS functionality Rapsodo has made a feedback system with excellent visuals, figures, and database shot tracking over time. Only drawback is the system isn’t currently functional with computers or Android operating systems although it is said to be in development.
Visual Feedback Functionality
Rapsodo excels in making golfers comfortable with their shots and training because of visual feedback and recording capabilities. One of the better features is shot recording.
The MLM uses the front facing camera on modern cell phones to take a video of a shot and make it available for immediate review and adjustments.
Another function includes shot tracer that shows golfers shots on screen and gives feedback to different changes in swings.
An additional database library tracks shots over time by club type and switching from club to club is as simple as holding a club in front of the camera.
The smart club selection technology recognizes the club change and immediately makes the switch in the system for easy no hassle club tracking.
The combination of smart club tracking, an expansive shot and club library, visual feedback and replay capabilities, and shot tracer makes the Rapsodo MLM on the more user friendly golf launch monitor on the market.
In addition, it measures several important shot statistics to make sure golfers understand what different swings do during trainman sessions.
Because of the doppler style launch monitor technology, golfers looking for an indoor training launch monitor may be disappointed to find the Rapsodo needs extra distance to accurately track ball speed and distance.
The visual recording functionality will work indoors but won’t provide the full gambit of technological capabilities.
Arccos Caddie Smart Sensors Launch Monitor
Best Launch Monitor for Live Tracking
- Easy to set up and barely noticeable
- Massive database of courses available
- Immediate game improvement with better shot selection
- Doesn’t track well on the range or indoor training
- Set up can take longer than other golf launch
The Arccos Caddie is the perfect swing system to set and forget. In the package golfers can expect several sensors that screw into the handle of your golf clubs. Once they are on the clubs, simply follow the set up instructions and you can start tracking shots.
The enhanced shot detection algorithm is able to track shots from the end of your golf club. Connected to iOS and Android app, the Arccos Caddie is a live tracker showing your shots as you are playing.
Arccos designed a user friendly app that shows real time data on current round performance and handicap statistics from tee, to bunker, to holing out.
Arccos helps you lower your score immediately on the course by making better shot recommendations and providing digital course management.
Almost Invisible Game Performance
Because the sensors screw in flush to the back of your clubs, you will barely notice they are there. Since they sit on the back of the club and only weigh a few grams and are less than an inch thick, there you won’t notice they are on the clubs.
Fourteen individual sensors are paired for each club in the bag for ultimate tracking by club. Each shot is tracked and mapped onto the course you are playing live meaning the app will indicate a rough or fairway landing.
The feedback is instantaneous giving golfers immediate ability to adjust shots and reduce total score.
Score Reducing Technology
Arccos claims their technology can reduce golfers handicaps much faster than traditional methods. Between the immediate feedback and tracking phone apps, golfers can easily follow their progress on the course as they are playing.
Arccos has created a very easy to use system basically once the package arrives, golfers screw in the caps, pair each sensor and start playing.
Since they have mapped almost every golf course around the world there is little guessing as to the accuracy and current to par scoring for each course.
Unfortunately, it won’t help golfers with indoor training sessions because it works with golf courses only.
The primary advantage of the Arccos system is allowing golfers to make smarter shot decisions to help lower scores on the course without having a professional caddie giving you shot advice.
The smart sensing technology is able to make shot recommendations based on the current course, distance, and golfers, skill with each club. Golfers won’t ever have to worry about ignorance on a new golf course with the Arches system attached to their clubs.
Arccoss makes an alternate system to the screw in caps with smart grips. By taking the technology out of screw cap and weaving it into golf grips, there is no added weight or club add ons.
A primary issue with the grips is golfers will have to re-grip their clubs before they are able to use the system. Also, the grips may not be designed to meet individual golfer preferences on feel and size.
The Arccos system delivers in helping golfers lower their scores during rounds. With a one time set up and set it and forget style sensors attaching to the ends of the clubs give golfers measurable tracking of shots without a lot of additional attachments.
By providing digital and real time course management recommendations and shot selection tracking, the Arccos helps golfers immediately lower their score by assisting in the shot selection process and course management aspect of the game.
Swing Caddie SC200 Plus Launch Monitor
Best Pocket-Sized Launch Monitor
- Lightweight and small for terrific portability that allows you to put the monitor in your pocket
- Measures club speed on practice swings to anticipate the pace of upcoming shot
- Voice distance output feature announces the yardage of each shot
- Not for golfers wanting a larger launch monitor
The Swing Caddie SC200 Plus is excellent for the golfer who wants a pocket-sized launch monitor that features a lightweight and highly portable frame.
It gives golfers readings on their carry distance, swing speed, ball speed, smash factor, and distance. It also provides speed readout on your practice swings.
Accurate Measurements with SC200 Plus
The SC200 Plus measures shots from 30 to 320 yards, perfect for short pitch shots, or when you are ready to let it fly with the driver.
The monitor also features a convenient voice distance output, allowing you to focus solely on your swing as the device tells you how far your shot traveled.
If you have an inside hitting area, say a garage, the SC200 does work indoors. You will need several feet in both directions of the ball for it to accurately read your swing, but if you have the room, this is a terrific monitor.
Our chief complaint with this device is the size. Admittedly, the SC200’s smaller frame is a dual-edged sword. It has helpful portability and is very lightweight, but if you are in the market for a bigger stand-up monitor, this won’t check a lot of boxes for you.
SC200 Plus Provides Excellent Performance
That said, the monitor does provide accurate readings, and we were pleased to see its performance in a variety of on and off the course situations. Another specification worth noting is that the monitor can only read strikes with real golf balls.
Excellent for the golfer who loves portable technology, the Swing Caddie SC200 Plus provides a clean interface, precise yardages, and club speeds, plus the ability to register your practice swings.
Flightscope Mevo Launch Monitor
Best Portable Golf Launch Monitor
- Portable launch monitor and easy to pop up anywhere on the course or indoors
- Accurate down range tracking for ultimate shot following
- Flight tracker on an easy to use app
- Not as many functions as other launch monitors
The Flightscope Mevo is a functional and portable launch monitor and one of the best available on the market.
A pocket size launch monitor, the Flightscope Mevo can be taken out and ready to use in a matter of seconds. Its tripod shape means it can be set up anywhere, even between shots on the course.
With additional tracking and a tracking database, it is easy to see your progress over time with each club.
Like golf launch monitors in professional championships, flightscope uses 3D doppler tracking technology to track the path of your shot.
It includes enhanced features like ball spin, carry distance, and spin rate to track every possible statistic of ball flight.
Pop Up Training Session
Flightscope Mevo was designed to be roughly the size of a grade school index card that fits in your pocket. Many other launch 3D doppler launch monitors aren’t able to provide the combination of size and features.
Doppler is a very accurate sensing technology and translates well to indoor and outdoor training sessions.
With an app accessible by android and apple products, training can occur as fast as connecting the Flighscope to the app. Indoor training requires a minimum of sixteen feet split evenly between the ball flight and the sensor set up making it ideal for garages or large great rooms.
The best part about the Flightscope Mevo, is the portability and easy connectivity to iOS and android products giving golfers an instant training session on the range or in a garage.
With the launch monitor being the size of a golfers hand, there isn’t too much concern with dragging a full launch system around.
The only major problem with the Flightscope Mevo is the accuracy changes slightly when in compressed spaces. If training sessions occur on the course at the driving range, there is no issue with distance requirements to get full accuracy out the system.
Flighscope does come with an indoor mode but still requires sixteen feet to get accurate measurements and readings.
Features for Player Growth
The doppler functionality of the Flightscope translates to more accuracy and better live training data. Many track launch monitors fall short on database tracking and player growth but the Flightscope app makes sure golfers are able to track their progress over time.
Flightscope Mevo has an abundance of trackable data including carry distance, spin rate, vertical launch angle, ball speed, club head etc..
The app provides great visual feedback for golfers to help them translate small swings changes to visual differences in down range yardage.
The Flightscope app helps golfers track shots over time showing what is working and measurable performance in an easy to use visual data management application.
The Flightscope is one of the better doppler systems available because of it’s advanced visual feedback systems and down range accuracy.
A pop up launch monitor can be used on every shot on the course or indoors with the right space requirements.
Flightscope made it a point to have portability and training power that fits in your pocket. Overall one of the best Doppler style launch monitors on the market.
Ernest Sports ES 16 Tour Golf Launch Monitor
Outstanding Luxury Golf Launch Monitor Offering Full Simulation
- Highly accurate readings that use doppler radar and photometric tracking for sophisticated data
- Full simulation monitor allows for full shots and putting for a complete 18 hole experience
- Various readings available with each swing including distance, ball speed, launch angle, and hang time
If you are in the market for a full simulator that also works well as a launch monitor, then the Ernest Sports ES 16 Tour certainly delivers the goods.
Not only can you play a full 18 holes, including putting, with the ES16, but you can spend hours crafting your swing with the help of the various data collection statistics that the device can measure.
The brain behind the ES16 is the utilization of the doppler radar and photometric tracking technologies. Most launch monitors use one or the other to measure your swing, but the Ernest Launch Monitor uses both to collect incredibly accurate data.
And you’ll be floored about the amount of data the monitor collects over the course of your practice session.
The ES16 measures carry, total, and roll distance, plus ball speed, hang time, maximum shot height, smash factor, and club head speed to name a few data categories.
If you are a data nerd who loves diving into the details of your swing, then this launch monitor will have you filling spreadsheets to measure your progression.
For families who want to create a golfing environment for everyone to enjoy, the Ernest Launch Monitor is easy to set up. All you need is the space to freely swing a golf club plus a heavy duty screen that can take the punishment of the golf balls.
The monitor works with Ernest’s mobile and tablet app and comes preloaded with over 100,000 courses to play.
An outstanding monitor that all golfers will absolutely love to use, the Ernest ES16 Tour Launch Monitor is an absolute winner.
Skytrak Golf Launch Monitor
Best Launch Monitor for Indoor Training
- Does not need a lot of room to perform
- Tracks more measurements than most trackers
- Easy to use visual display and multiple packages available
- Down range accuracy can be questionable
- Some calibration required from time to time
For golfers wanting to train indoors and have limited space, Skytrak’s system is perfect. Instead of using doppler, Skytrak has a series of small cameras on one side of the device that take hundreds of pictures as the ball takes flight.
This method means golfers only need enough room in a garage or living room to complete a full swing unimpeded. The device has a laser dot where you put the ball and get ready to swing away.
An accompanying visual system connects via the wifi network and can be used on iOS, Android, or online to track shots.
The database tracks shots by club meaning golfers are able to track in detail each shot.
Like other advanced launch monitor systems, the Skytrak measures several different statistics and ball characteristics critical to game improvement. Skytrak’s unique camera system measures ball speed, spin, club head speed, and flight path.
This is translated quickly onto the visual display that also shows the deviation from the center line showing golfers how far off alignment may have been when swinging.
A full 3D flight path simulator shows the arc from a plan and front view to give golfers multiple shot angles to get the best feel and understand of shots as golfers progress in their training.
Advanced ball spin and launch metrics help golfers get an advanced feedback set of measurements to help make adjustments on a more minor level instead of just watching ball speed and trajectory.
Each shot for clubs can tracked and exported into a complete data set by session. Golfers are able to reset training sessions at a moments notice so small changes to the swings can be show measurable changes with multiple different factors.
Other Tour Style Models
The base model comes with a driving range package replicating a standard driving range with easy to use range markets instead of guessing distance based on the down range sticks.
Front and overhead views give golfers incredibly accurate distance views including carry distance and total distance of flight. The ball speed and flight path measurements are translated quickly to show golfer if they hit a slice, draw, or dead straight shot.
Skytrak offers upgrade packages to include a challenge module where golfers can go through different challenges like distance accuracy, approach challenge, and other score enhancing training exercises.
Another additional package includes playable golf courses so golfers can avoid expensive greens and cart fees and enjoy eighteen holes in the comfort of their own home. Skytrak pushes updates to the software and courses to give golfers a very modern course view.
When golfers take shots in challenge or tour mode, the system follows the ball speed down range as if you were flying next to it.
Each shot is tracked and your total score is tracked showing golfers current par statistics and averages over time for courses. Skytrak helps golfers play a round of eighteen holes from the comfort of their home in under an hour.
This is one of the best indoor golf launch monitor training systems because of its portability, ease of use, and minimal space needed to set up an in home training area.
The advanced statistics and measurements surrounding the ball and flight path give golfers a plethora of data to work with and make enhancements to their game with real time data feedback.
Check our full SkyTrak Launch Monitor Review
Frequently Asked Questions
What can be measured with a golf launch monitor?
Depending on the type of technology used almost any number of statistics can be tracked. Skytrak system measures ball flight, speed, and spin as well as club head speed, carry distance and total distance.
Other launch monitors like doppler loaded are able to track distance and smash factor. Depending on your needs or training regiment you will want certain features.
If you are looking to understand the mechanics of small swing changes and how each change translates to distance and accuracy, more measurements are going to be needed.
For golfers more interested in tracking their shots on the course flight path and carry distance overlapping an actual course would be more important.
Normally the number of measured statistics equals higher cost and more data. As data evolves over time, there are considerable advances to the data available in simple apps for launch monitors.
The new apps are able to track shots every day and even build trends to show how you are progressing over time.
How can using a launch monitor improve my game?
The simple answer is use the immediate feedback to hone in the minor shot changes and how it translates to the golf course. For example, a 1 degree change in club head approach angle can translate to a 20 yard distance change.
The best golf launch monitor gives golfers a unique real time look at their shots without having to spend thousands of dollars at the range and a professional set up.
Additionally, small changes to golfers swings can be shown visually with advanced metrics instead of guessing what the ball is actually doing and its ball speed.
Golfers are able to track their progress on the course and make adjustments on the fly to lower their scores with while playing on the course.
What are different launch monitor technologies?
Several golf launch monitor technologies exist, each having their own benefits and drawbacks. Doppler is the primary technology used in many launch monitors and is incredibly reliable and easy to use.
Doppler works by bouncing microwave frequencies off an object and analyzing the return frequencies and using algorithms to output desired data.
In club technologies use proprietary software to pair individual club devices to a phone interface to track shots in real time.
They are not as accurate as doppler and aren’t typically able to measure spin and other ball specific statistics (such as ball speed) but are easier to use with minimal adjustments needed over time.
Camera technologies use several small cameras and fast shutter speeds to take hundreds of pictures in a split second to take multiple measurements of the ball and club head.
Advanced algorithms analyze the different pictures quickly and translate them to down range flight distances and spin as the ball continues down range.
Depending on what golfers are looking to achieve in either their training or game improvement regiment, and what launch angle they want, each technology has its benefits.
Doppler style technologies are best for constant real time update in flight path because it rapidly returns data and makes adjustments during ball flight.
In club technologies merge portability and shot tracking but lack advanced statistic measurements. Camera technologies are best for getting accurate ball speed and club head reading but may not account for down range changes in flight path.
What is smash factor?
Smash factor measures the amount of energy directed to the golf ball at impact. Golfers need to divide their ball speed against their club speed to create a Smash Factor measure. Drivers will have the highest smash factor.
For golfers who create 150 mph of ball speed and 100 mph of club speed will have a smash factor of 1.5. For lower clubs, like a wedge, the smash factor will be lower. The better the smash factor, the better a handicap a golfer holds.
How different are personal launch monitors to an enterprise solution?
The difference between personal launch monitors and an enterprise solution, like a TrackMan, typically comes down to cost and accuracy.
While personal launch monitors have come a long way with their readings, they still can’t fully reach the heights of an enterprise solution.
But that accuracy comes with a hefty price that many weekend warriors can’t afford. Teaching pros usually find the enterprise solution worth the cost due to how much quicker they assess a student’s swing.
Are golf launch monitors accurate?
Yes, sophisticated and the best golf launch monitors are incredibly accurate.
Since these monitors take measurements of several different data points such as swing and ball speed, you can find a precise reading of your distance and other factors that help create distance and determine accuracy.
Enterprise solutions, such as a SkyTrak or TrackMan, offer the most accurate readings, but they are also the most expensive options on the market. For less than $500, amateurs can find launch monitors that offer portability with outstanding accuracy.
Wrapping Up on the Best Golf Launch Monitors for Practice
With the rise of golf participation across the United States, launch monitors have become extremely popular.
Whether using them on the driving range or at home, having the best golf launch monitor can be an invaluable tool for amateurs looking to improve their swing and lower their scores.
Our choice for the best golf launch monitor, the Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor, sets up in less than 30 seconds, integrates extremely well with the company’s app, and delivers highly accurate readings.
For golfers wanting a lightweight and highly portable solution, the launch monitor from Rapsodo delivers outstanding performance.
A great golf accessory for golfers of any skill level, a well-crafted launch monitor can immediately boost the performance of any amateur.