We have a very large Forum here at Bunkers Paradise and encourage all of our Forum Members to write reviews of products they have purchased and tried out. This review of the Ernest ES14 Launch Monitor is from our Forum Member is from Dan Dalic.
The Ernest ES14 Portable Launch Monitor received a good deal of talk and excitement after our members saw it at the 2014 PGA Show. Fast forward a few months and Ernest released it to market. Four days later, Ernest Sports had $449 of my hard earned dollars and I had a package delivery notice from FedEx.
Just some quick info for you, the Ernest ES14 is an American Made product which is manufactured in Atlanta, Georgia. Sporting a display panel on the unit and Bluetooth connectivity to Android and iOS devices, the ES14 provides Swing Speed, Ball Speed, Smash Factor, Carry Distance, Spin, and Launch Angle (app only). There have been some discussions elsewhere on which of those are actually measured and which are calculated. Well come to find out, after talking with Mr. Ernest himself, they are all measured just like Trackman. The device has a dual Doppler setup, one tracking the club speed and one facing forward to track the ball speed.
The unit does not store any data itself, so it just shows the results for the most recent shot. The app is where your sessions are stored and it allows you to view your results, historical averages, etc. The free app is very well done, much better than I expected. Simple, easy to use, and didn’t crash or hog battery life for me. the ES14 is powered by a standard 9V battery, which is nice because they are readily available, easy to swap out, and don’t need to be re-charged between uses. There is a little slot to store an extra battery in the device as well.
Setup of the machine is pretty easy. The device includes a ‘spacer’ to help position it correctly based on what club you are hitting. I was hitting balls into my basement net in less than 3 minutes from opening the box. No issues for me getting it setup. There are several configurable options on the device including lofts of each club, elevation adjustment, yards/meters.
I immediately grabbed my 7 iron and began hitting balls into my basement net, which sits about 8 feet from my mat. I had recently been comparing 2 sets of irons on a Trackman so I knew what the general area of the numbers should be. After about 10 strikes, the numbers I receiving were in the range of what I am used to, so I was pretty pleased. I struggle with my ball striking so I wanted to see the numbers over a larger sample size and not just single shots that display on the device.
Comparison to Trackman:
Equipped with the Beta App from Ernest Sports, I rented time at my local fitter for an hour-long Trackman session. I wanted to see how the numbers fared when measured on both devices. For this test, I was inside a heated practice academy hitting generic white range balls with the green stripes to an outdoor grass range. As you can see, I hit a variety of clubs. I kept ALL shots where the ES14 captured a reading. There were 5 total shots (out of 68) that were not captured by the ES14, so I deleted them from my Trackman session. I was very particular about making sure the ball was positioned properly using the ES14 rule and that the unit was tilted properly. So much so that I was checking it every few shots to make sure it wasn’t moving on the mat as I struck the shots.
I will leave the data analysis and allowable variation discussions to the statistical analysis brainiacs, but I accepted the variance in some of the numbers. The spin numbers were just too far off for me. The numbers were so far off, I asked to hit a few of off the Trackman they have setup in the Fitting Room. I wanted to see if the Trackman I was using was mis-aligned or needed calibration. Sure enough, the 2nd Trackman’s numbers were very close to the Trackman I was using, including spin.
After contacting Ernest Sports about the capturing of each shot I was pleasantly surprised to hear they were already on top of the issue. Mr. Ernest himself got on the phone with me and explained how they have adjusted and repositioned the doppler and it now picks up nearly every shot that you can throw at it. He also mentioned that he wanted to send out a new version of the ES14 to get a better look at the improvements – Ken Lee (Editor In Chief)
There are a few things I would like to see changed/improved.
I’d also like to be able to customize the clubs displayed on the unit. Adjusting the loft settings are nice, but I don’t want to cycle past the 7 wood or the 2 iron when changing clubs when I don’t (or wont) carry one. And I’d like to add a 4W. Since one wasn’t listed, I just used the 3W setting.
I do think it could be helpful for those like me who have a net to practice on and don’t have a ton of space between the mat and net.
It is a good start and a significant improvement on the ES12 but from my experience, it is more of a toy than a tool. I plan to try it again once the grass ranges open up again for the season and see if my results improve, which I hope they do.
For more information check out the ES14 at http://www.ErnestSports.com.
NOTE: This review is done by a member of the Bunkers Paradise Forum and has not been tried or used by Bunkers Paradise Staff Reviewers.