Launch Monitor Candidates: Choosing the Heart of My Golf Simulator Build

We’ve got the excuses, er, reasons to build this golf simulator and we’ve also narrowed down what screen size I’ll probably be going for, so now let’s talk about heart of the matter.

And when I say heart . . . . This is literally the heart of any golf simutator build. We’re talking about the launch monitor and before we get started, I need you to know that I’ve already purchased a Skytrack Launch Monitor a few years ago. It was Father’s Day 2018 and I thought I was going to have a bit more time to go to the range, so I plunked down the $1600 and had a lot of fun with it for a few months. My garage ceiling height only allowed me to hit irons, but when I was using the Skytrack, I had my irons dialed in and I’d have to say I was throwing darts, so that experience has given me the extra confidence to go all in with this simulator.

I feel bad that I’ve basically told you the end of the story already and if you want to stop reading here, I won’t blame you. For the next few minutes, I’m just going to through what I was thinking at the time and also, would I do it differently right now if I had to do it all over again.

Super Budget Friendly – Optishot 2 – $399

This is an entry level launch monitor which easily connects to your pc or Mac via USB cable. It has an infrared sensor that your club head will pass through that will give it just enough information to figure out where and how well you hit the ball. A big reason that I’m not a fan of th Optishot is because of this sensor. Before you strike the ball, you have to enter what club you’re using in the software, so it can guesstimate how far you’re hitting the ball. It doesn’t take into account actual launch angle, so for those golfers who have high lofted shots or for those who deloft their clubs, you’re not getting a true understanding of how far you’re hitting the ball.

This looks like more of a video game you’d find at Dave and Busters, which means it looks like it can be a lot of fun with buddies, but if you’re looking to invest in this as a tool to get better, you should probably save your money.

Skytrack – $1995

Quite a jump from the $400 range, huh? I feel like the Optishot is the bait and switch product to get you into this Golf Simulator world and the first contender to take your money is the Skytrack Launch Monitor. In 2018, this was pretty much the only option in this price range for the kind of features I was looking for. It’s a camera based launch monitor that can capture your ball flight enough to figure out the distance and spin rate.

With that, the magic of technology can project the ball flight through a PC or Mobile Device and you’ve got a pretty good feedback loop when dialing in your clubs. Compared to the next level of systems that range from $8,000-$20,000, this was an absolute deal.

Until . . . .

FlightScope Mevo Plus – $1999

To be honest, I wasn’t a fan of the Flightscope Mevo so when the PLUS came out at four times the price, you can imagine my reluctancy in believing they could challenge Skytrack for this budget range. Having an “affordable” radar-based launch monitor was intriguing since the holy grail of launch monitors, Trackman, is a radar based system.

Right away, the one warning I got from friends in the industry was that I was going to need a lot of room for the Mevo Plus. This is because it needs the room to find the ball and get the information needed to calculate your flight path and spin rate. For golfers who have a faster swing (like me), it’s recommended to have even more space. We’re talking 25-30 feet from Screen to Mevo Plus.

My garage is 20′ x 20′ so this isn’t happening.

Foresite GC 2 – $6000

This is entering just another level of disposable income and golf passion that I’ve not come close to. The technology and data available through the Foresite family gives coaches and the golfers who know how to adjust the data such as ball speed, carry, launch angle, push/pull measurement, side and back spin along with club head speed, smash factor, club path, face to path, angle of attack, lie and loft.

I didn’t do too much research on the simulator software, but it looks like it might be a little limited due to it’s limitations with working with third party software.

The question at the beginning of this post was to see if I’d buy the SkyTrack again and the answer would be a resounding YES for the golf simulator I’m building for myself. The balance of budget and features that I get with the SkyTrack along with knowing all the other features more expensive launch monitors provide leaves me feeling good about my two year old purchase.

Even if you’re not building a simulator, I think it’s a great launch monitor to bring to the range to get some work in! I just put it in a duffle bag along with my iPad and bingo, instant feedback.

I’m looking forward to setting it up with my new simulator build and taking advantage of all the software options Skytrack has to offer. I know I haven’t even scratched the surface of what it can do for my game.

What kind of launch monitor are you looking at? What are considerations you’ve been thinking about for your build?

Leave a comment and let us know!

 

 

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