There are many different golf launch monitor devices on the market and today’s guide I’m excited to highlight my favorites. We also will highlight Trackman alternatives if you are looking for a budget friendly, affordable golf launch monitor. I recently used the Mevo+ for my garage renovation that turned into a golf simulator bay room as seen in my YouTube swing lesson videos here.
This golf launch monitor buying guide is intended to help you learn more about what you need in a golf swing monitor, how they work, differences in features, and affordable golf launch monitor options to fit different golfer budgets.
Here’s the outline:
- What do golf launch monitors measure for golfers?
- What data and numbers are most important?
- Best golf launch monitors review list & Trackman alternatives
You should also check out our other article: Best Home Made Golf Simulator to Buy (Review)
What do golfers measure with a golf launch monitor?
On the practice range at a professional golf tournament a lot of golf launch monitors will be present. With the way that the modern game is going it is almost rare to see a player on either the PGA or European Tours that don’t have some form of a golf launch monitor being used in their practice sessions.
Launch monitors measure a variety of different things such as: distance, clubhead speed, ball speed, spin axis, launch angle, club path, angle of attack.
This is just a handful of items that these golf swing monitors measure to give professional tour players feed back on their golf shots and help them to make adjustments during warm up on the driving range.
For the regular golfer a lot of these numbers will be very foreign and it will probably only cause confusion, but with the help of an expert, the data can be transformed into very helpful information.
Golf launch monitor giants, FlightScope and Trackman, design launch monitors that have all the bells and whistles that professional players, coaches and club fitters use and need.
These machines cost north of $20,000, and not only will most regular golfers not be able to afford these monitors, but they also don’t need them.
If you are serious about getting a golf launch monitor, then you should get one that can measure the basic things that will improve your game such as:
- Ball Speed
- Clubhead Speed
- Smash Factor
- Angle of Attack (Optional)
- Spin Rate (Optional)
Why are the numbers important and how can it improve your game?
Learn Your Carry Distances with Each Club
Launch monitor numbers are important for multiple different reasons, but their most important function is to take the guessing out of your game.
You may think you know your iron distances, but using a launch monitor can open your eyes to why you’ve been struggling out on the golf course.
A good example is a golfer who lasers the pin with their range finder and knows they have 155 yards to the pin, but proceeds to come up short because they underestimated their 7 irons carry distance.
Amateur golfers struggle immensely with distance control and by knowing how far you hit your irons on average can make a huge difference.
With the help of a golf swing monitor and some time on the driving range you will get a much better idea of how far your well struck iron shots fly on average to dial in your carry distances.
Improve Your Clubhead Speed & Ball Speed to Increase Distance
Clubhead and ball speed numbers can be helpful for a host of different reasons, but the most important is giving you an understanding of why you hit the ball as far as you do currently.
After seeing your swing speed & ball speed numbers on a launch monitor, you’ll better understand why your drives only fly 240 yards while your friend seems to always hit theirs 270 yards.
Help You Find the Right Equipment That Fits Your Game
Launch monitor numbers will also indicate to you if you are using the correct shafts and ball that is best for your game.
With the help of a launch monitor you can play around by testing out different golf balls to find one that maximizes distance through higher ball speeds.
Speed training can also be monitored with the help of a launch monitor, swing speed gains will be picked up immediately.
The smash factor number indicates how well the golf ball was struck, this is a helpful number that can show golfers which shots were well struck and which weren’t.
Make Your Golf Practice Time Fun & Exciting
Practice can be very boring, but some launch monitors have built in practice and games functions.
For example, Trackman has 20+ golf courses you can play around the world virtually from the comfort of your home. It also has par 3 courses, a driving range to work on analytics, and even a closest to the pin challenge.
Overall, launch monitors are great for making practice more fun so that you spend more time working on your skills and the numbers give you feedback to let you know what you’re doing right and wrong in your golf swing.
Affordable Golf Launch Monitor Reviews
Swing Caddie SC200
The Swing Caddie SC200 is the latest model of personal launch monitors by Voice Caddie. I am sure many of you remember the Voice Caddie that could clip onto your hat and that told you the distances on each shot as the round went on. The Swing Caddie SC200 talks to you in the same manner, but this machine is a little bit smarter than the voice caddy.
The Swing Caddie SC200 is an affordable, accurate, and easy to use personal launch monitor that will give you more than enough information about how and how far you hit the golf ball.
Just like Trackman and Flightscope the Swing Caddie SC200 also uses Doppler radar technology in order to track the golf ball. This monitor features a compact design, it is close to the size of an iPhone 6, it uses four AAA batteries as its power source and it comes with a remote control.
What makes the Swing Caddie SC200 great is the fact that it is self-contained, it doesn’t have to pair with a device like a phone or tablet.
The Swing Caddie SC200 has some cool features, it comes with a barometric pressure sensor that adjusts in order to deliver the most accurate readings possible. It also allows you to adjust for different lofts and it will store all of the statistics that it collects during a session.
The Swing Caddie SC200 collects the follow data readings:
- Ball speed
- Clubhead speed
- Smash factor
- Carry distance
- Total distance
Not only does this compact little golf swing monitor collect all of the data you need in order to improve your game, it also has a feature that allows you to play different games during your practice session with its Random or Target mode functions.
The Swing Caddie SC200 features an affordable price tag, and for those that want to spend even less on a launch monitor take a look at the previous model, the SC100. The only major difference between the SC100 and the SC200 is that it doesn’t feature the barometric pressure adjustment function.
Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor
The Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor (MLM) is the first swing monitor to use your phone’s camera to capture and give you all the data on your swings. The video option on the app that goes with this swing monitor, has a quick replay button so you can play your swing back and also see stats that go with that swing.
Active tracing on each golf shot is another advanced feature so you can watch the flight of your ball to see height and direction.
The Satellite Range Mapping is another great feature that allows you to see where all of your golf shots land on the range or golf course in accurate detail.
Lastly, the shot history library is handy for helping you track data over time, learn your golf swing tendencies, and make corrections so that you can improve your ball flight. This golf launch monitor is loaded with value to help you.
SkyTrak Launch Monitor
The SkyTrak launch monitor is an affordable, portable launch monitor that will be a great addition for any serious golfer. The SkyTrak isn’t known for its data collection, but it is known for the simulation capabilities that it possesses.
The SkyTrak measures distance, flight direction and shape, but it doesn’t read any other shot data.
The SkyTrak launch monitor can easily be set up as an indoor launch monitor or “in home golf simulator” where you can play many great golf courses from around the world.
All you need to complete the setup will be a mat to hit off of, a screen to hit into and a projector to project the image onto the screen. Read our article here on how to create a golf simulator room for practicing indoors.
The SkyTrak will be a great investment if you live in a cold snowy area where you need to practice indoors during the winter months.
Ernest Sports ES14 Golf Monitor
The Ernest Sports ES14 is a portable, compact, easy to use launch monitor that will provide you with all of the relevant numbers that you require in order to improve your golf game. The best part about it all is that the Ernest Sports ES14 comes with an affordable price tag.
The data captured by the Ernest Sports ES14 includes: swing speed, ball speed, smash factor and carry distance. Spin rates are also obtained but the values are calculated based on other data and it isn’t measured directly. Overall, data collection is good making it one of the best golf launch monitors.
The Ernest Sports ES14 isn’t a self contained device and it works with the help of a mobile device that gets linked to the launch monitor via Bluetooth.
Unlike other similar launch monitors the Ernest Sports ES14 gets placed in front of the golf ball instead of behind the ball. For the golfer that fights a shank this could place your launch monitor in harm’s way.
Sureshot Golf GPS Launch Monitor
The Sureshot is an affordable compact launch monitor that can measure key data in order for you to be able to practice your golf game with precision. The Sureshot measures swing speed, clubhead speed, distance and smash factor.
This golf launch monitor will definitely bring some excitement to your practice regime, you can set the monitor up so that it allows you to play games and test your skills during your practice session.
The Sureshot Golf GPS Launch Monitor also features a Stats mode which gives its users access to statistics by each club for the last 100 shots hit with that club.
The Sureshot isn’t designed by a well known golf tech or launch monitor company, but it is a great affordable tool to buy if you are new to the launch monitor game.
FlightScope Xi Tour
The FlightScope Xi Tour launch monitor carries an expensive price tag, but it is the closest thing available to a top of the line launch monitor from either Trackman or FlightScope. The Xi Tour will set you back roughly $7500 but it measures pretty much everything from spin rates to face angles and beyond.
The Xi Tour isn’t a stand alone device and it interfaces with an iPad or a similar device. This more sophisticated monitor puts out a wide range of data which includes the following:
- Spin rate
- Side spin
- Launch angle
- Attack angle
- Face to target
- Face to path
- Swing plane
- Clubhead speed
- Ball speeds
- Smash Factor
- Comparison graphs
The Xi Tour also gives its users access to FlightScope skills challenges, this is a fun way to not only sharpen up your skills but to also keep track of your game and to see if the areas that you working on are actually improving.
The Xi Tour is a portable launch monitor, but it is quite a big device and you can’t just carry it around in your golf bag.
Besides the price tag and its size the Xi Tour will be a huge asset to serious students of the game and for swing coaches that are looking to add an extra dimension to their instruction offerings.
Mevo Golf Launch Monitor
FlightScope recently released their Mevo launch monitor, this launch monitor features trademark FlightScope technology in a small, compact, easy to use, affordable design.
The Mevo features a very small compact design that is easy to take with you wherever you go. The Mevo pairs with your phone and it records all the necessary parameters including ball speed, clubhead speed, smash factor, vertical launch angle, carry distance and spin rate.
The Mevo also feature some other fun to use features. If you video your swing with your phone you can overlay the data from the Mevo with the video. This is a great feature for players that want to send information through to their coaches.
The Mevo features a golf specific application but it can be used for others sports such as baseball and soccer as well. The Mevo will be a great purchase for a household with keen sportsmen and women since all of them will be able to benefit from this device.
Launch Monitor Alternatives – Arccos Caddie
Launch monitors are cool, there is no doubt about it, but the high end ones cost a fortune and the regular golfer doesn’t even know what half of the data is used for.
The general consensus among amateur golfers is that they are wanting to learn more about how far they hit the ball on average with each respective club in their bag. Distance control saves golfers multiple shots per round.
Yes, it is easy to work on your distance control with the help of a launch monitor, but don’t be alarmed if you can’t afford a Trackman or any other high tech launch monitor.
There are other Trackman alternatives to launch monitors available on the market, and these devices might just surprise you.
Say hello to the Arccos smart caddie system. This system works by adding a small sensor to the butt end of your grips.
The Arccos caddie sensors are compact, easy to use and affordable. These sensors will also help you to look at your golf game from a completely different perspective.
These sensors work via a mobile app, with the help of the sensors that app will calculate the distance of each shot, it keeps record of all the shots hit with a specific club and it gives you a game plan based off of your own data.
A complete Arccos caddie system comes standard with 14 sensors that have a battery that is designed to last at least 5 years.
The Arccos caddie adds precision and trust to your golf game which are both essential tools in order to ensure on course success.
Cobra partnered with Arccos, so all Cobra Connect clubs come standard with an Arccos smart caddie system. If a leading manufacturer partners with your technology then you must definitely be onto something.
Golf Launch Monitor Review Summary
Overall, you have many options for golf swing monitors. You can find driving range launch monitors, indoor golf launch monitors, indoor simulator monitors as well as portable launch monitors you can keep in your golf bag to use in the backyard or golf course.
On the price spectrum, you can find affordable golf launch monitors less than $200 or you can go as high as $20,000+ for advanced golf simulators with launch monitors built in, like the Trackman.
While we can’t recommend you the best launch monitor to buy, we have given you a review list so you can do further research of these swing monitors on Amazon. I’d recommend trying a few of them out and return the ones you don’t like as well.
Thanks for reading today’s ultimate guide to golf launch monitors. Get our practice plans below!
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