Launch monitors can be a substitute for full time lessons or even a driving range. The biggest benefit to golfers is immediate feedback launch monitors provide helping to improve game in a matter of seconds.
Additionally, a launch monitor should measure, at minimum, club head speed, carry distance, and spin. These characteristics optimize golfers ability to correlate small swings changes into flight path differences.
This guide will help golfers understand the benefits of each type of launch monitor and the differences in technology. In this review, we look at different features and systems that will fit a golfers style regardless of training or improvement needed.
Last updated on 2020-01-19. The links are affiliate links. Product images are served from Amazon Product Advertising API.
Table of Contents
- 4 Best Golf Launch Monitors
Testing Protocol & Criteria Used For Evaluation
- Questions & Answers
4 Best Golf Launch Monitors
Mevo Flightscope Launch Monitor
For Golfers that Want Portable Launch Tracking
The flightscope is one of the most portable and functional launch monitors available on the market.
A pocket size launch monitor, the Mevo Flightscope 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 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.
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Rapsodo MLM Launch Monitor
Visual Recordings for Golfers that want Feedback
This is a great launch monitor 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 launch monitors because it works quickly and allows golfers to transition from club to club and is accompanied by different visual feedback capabilities.
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Arccos Caddie Smart Sensors
Professional Caddie on a Golfers Phone
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.
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Skytrak Golf Launch Monitor
For Golfers that Want an Indoor Training Session
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.
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Testing Protocol & Criteria Used For Evaluation
Criteria 1 – Features
For many golfers that don’t have time or money for constant professional lessons, a launch monitor can help fill the gap with certain features. Measurements are part of the feature ratings and the more categories and statistics a launch monitor can track, the more golfers are able to see how minor changes in swings translate to on course difference in distance and accuracy.
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.
Criteria 2 – Accuracy
If a launch monitor can’t accurately show a golfer where a shot is going there is no point in having it. 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 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.
Criteria 3 – Functionality
Included in this rating is ease of use. 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 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.
Criteria 4 – Game Improvement
Purchasing a launch monitor means a golfer wants to improve their score. 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. Also, 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.
Questions & Answers
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 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 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.
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.
Launch monitors give 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.
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 launch monitor technologies exist, each having their own benefits and drawbacks. Doppler is the primary technology used in many 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.
Doppler style launch monitors are very accurate at measuring distance, flight place, and launch angle as seen on tv when watching professional golfers hit shots.
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 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, 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 and club head reading but may not account for down range changes in flight path.