While players still need their coaches and trainers for guidance, technology is also creeping in to find space in this highly innovative game. Golfers are now relying more on high-tech gadgets to track their performance, such as launch monitors on the driving range.
Launch monitors are one of the gadgets that have found their way in and gain huge acceptance among both professional and recreational golfers. Players tag along these essential gadgets to help track important data that they’ll use later to view their performance and see where they need improvements.
Data has become very important in golf, and that’s why this article brings to your attention a better understanding of launch monitors and why you need them.
What Is A Launch Monitor?
If you have been attending tour events recently, you must have noticed some boxes behind the players. These are not just boxes, but essential gadgets that have revolutionized the game of golf, and no player wants to go without them. They are the famous launch monitors.
In a simple definition, launch monitors are electronic monitors used to collect data on different aspects of a golf game. They measure everything from swing to ball speed. These devices are also an integral part of club fittings and used in golf teaching sessions.
Launch monitors are made with the understanding of the importance of golf data and, therefore, ensure players don’t just swing for the sake of it but understand the difference every impact has on their game.
How Do Launch Monitors Work?
Launch monitors come in two technologies making two different types of these gadgets. The one that is used to track the ball at impact called Doppler Radar Technology and the one that records the data called Photometric Camera launch monitors.
To understand how they work, we need to understand these two types of launch monitors in detail. This video will also help you understand how these two technologies work to help you make a better decision.
Doppler Radar Technology Launch Monitors
The radar technology relies on the physical clues that the golf ball leaves behind while flying in principle called the Doppler Effect. The technology sends out some microwave signals getting out of the device to detect the movement of the ball. The technology then records how the ball is behaving and why it’s behaving that way.
Radar technology uses physics to work out the wave interferences that the moving ball causes while in the air and turns the results into data that is fed into an algorithm. This process involves a lot of math and programming to work out what the ball did while on air.
The radar technology camera also captures the movement of the club before, during, and after the impact. Together, this information works out the output of the club and how it contributed to the ball flight.
The quality of the data that your launch monitor tracks using radar technology differs from different devices with the best data coming from FlightScope and Trackman. Cheaper options such as Swing Caddle are also doing great work, but you must understand that the value you get depends on the amount you’re willing to pay.
Photometric Camera Launch Monitor
The Photometric Camera Launch Monitor employs the technology behind high definition cameras to record data from both the club and the ball at impact. It then uses the software to work-out the flight and the distance of the ball.
The name of this technology is enough to give you clues on how they work. The series of pictures (photo) and measurement (metric) are what are used to determine the ball flight.
The technology is outstanding considering the short distance the ball takes from the time you hit it to the time it hits the ground. The technology takes a lot of pictures within a flash of a few seconds and turns them into valuable golf data.
The measurement between the series of pictures takes considers ball speed/acceleration, backspin, sidespin, and direction. The technology feeds the resulting data into an algorithm that models what the camera recorded and the flight that the ball would have taken.
What Do Golf Launch Monitors Track
Launch monitors are used by both recreational and professional golfers of all levels to track different types of golf data, including:
- Carry data_ involving both the club and ball data at impact. You will understand your ball flight before it touches the ground. This data helps you understand your skill level, and you can use it to adjust or improve your ball control and swing performance.
- Buying equipment_ buying golf equipment is not easy, but with the help of a launch monitor, you can make a perfect choice. You can use launch monitors when buying golf balls, drivers, wedges, etc.
- For swing speed_ you want to improve your swing or monitor your progress every single day? Launch monitors are your friends. With an increase in swing speed, you will see huge improvements in your distance. This device provides you with the perfect opportunity to analyze your before and after and be proud of where you are with your golf skills.
- With the help of launch monitors, you don’t have to go to a golf course to practice. These devices provide you with the freedom to practice either indoors or outdoors. So, if it’s too cold outside, you have no excuse for staying indoors without practicing your best swings. You can also choose to practice at night if you don’t have enough time during the day.
What Are The Benefits Of Using Launch Monitors
Launch monitors help you track your shots and improve your games with time. It’s common to see players with no clear purpose hitting meaningless shots. Thanks to launch monitor technology, this is slowly fading into thin air.
The launch monitor technology now allows golfers to get valuable data that can help them improve their golfer performance. The gratification of seeing your data and realizing that you’re making incredible improvements is enough to help you improve your game.
Most ranges now feature a built-in launch monitor, which you can pair with apps to provide valuable golf data that measure performance. If you doubt whether your irons are providing accurate measurement, launch monitors will help you confirm this and make improvements where necessary.
Launch monitors are also essential in helping you play when the wind is high. They are not affected by weather, and only a few centimeters of your ball travel are enough to get you the data that you need.
Test Clubs And Equipment
Gone are the days when golfers could have their clubs custom fit the old-fashioned way. These days, golfers use the state-of-the-art technology provided by various launch monitors in the market.
The technology behind these monitors enable you to custom fit both the head and the shaft of your club as well as help you choose other equipment such as a golf ball.
Launch monitors provide different varieties of club and ball data. The radar-based system provides data for the ball flight as well as project club while the photometric camera system offers the necessary data for club and project ball flight.
You need all these to test your equipment and decide which one to buy based on what you want to achieve.
Should I Buy A Launch Monitor To Improve My Game
If you care about being a pro golfer, then you should feel scared to invest in these launch monitors. Yes, they are not cheap, but they are worth it.
Launch monitors made with Doppler-based technology, which are more associated with tour pros, can cost tens of thousands in pounds but is you can afford it then go for it. It is a matter of improving your game anyway.
If you can’t afford the Doppler-based launch monitors, no need to go bankrupt trying to purchase one. The photometric system can still provide you with the information you need. They are cheaper and can also work well indoors.
How Much Do Golf Launch Monitors Cost?
Commercial launch monitors are costly, with the prices going from at least $5000 to more than $20000. However, because many golfers cannot afford this price range, there are cheaper options in the market, which also gives amazing data with a fairly high accuracy level.
There are entry-level launch monitors that can go for as little as less than $200. They still offer good accuracy and excellent features, including using them as swing-speed radar.
There are also launch monitors that come at around $500 and have better accuracy levels and more advanced features such as apps support and enhanced data.
What Are The Main Brands Of Golf Launch Monitors?
The most famous launch monitor brand is Trackman. You have seen this brand if you’ve come across the yellow boxes mostly associated with major tours players. The Trackman Launch monitors are made with the Radar Doppler technology.
The closest rival to Trackman is the FlightScope, launch monitor. FlightScope is also highly regarded. They come in both commercial and more affordable recreational versions, which are also portable.
Another brand is the SkyTrak and is the most affordable option suitable for home practice. They come in portable kits and work well to revolutionize your game. There are many other brands in the market with different budgets, accuracy levels, and features that players may want.
Who Else Uses Launch Monitors?
Launch monitors were mainly seen in tour events among professional golfers. As their popularity continued to grow, many other golfers noticed their incredible benefits.
Nowadays, they are used by golfers of all levels, and so far, they all appreciate their benefits, and no one wants to play without monitoring their performance.
Couches and trainers have incorporated these monitors in their training sessions and are now a vital practice routine. Both professional and recreational golfers are now using golf monitors to measure their swings and different aspects of a golf game.
How Accurate Are Launch Monitors?
Launch monitors undergo technological improvements with different features and accuracy levels coming up. The current launch monitors record higher accuracy levels than their predecessors.
You should, however, not rely on the data 100% because there must be a margin of error. The weather is among the things that can cause errors in the reading. Bad weather can interfere with the accuracy, especially the outdoor Doppler systems.
Launch monitors from Trackman and Flightscope have very accurate ball data, whether used outdoor or indoors. Both have a very tight margin of error when compared side by side.
Photometric launch monitors are cheaper options, so you will naturally expect to compromise on accuracy. However, this is not the case, as these monitors have very high ball data accuracy of up to 98%.
Do All Driving Ranges Have Launch Monitors?
Launch monitors are continuing to become extremely popular among golfers of all levels, including recreational ones. Your golf shots are no longer based on mere opinions but accurate data that these devices measure.
This technology is good news in the golfing world, and many driving ranges are employing it. Golfers are also accepting it thanks to the value it adds to their practice sessions.
While not many drivers have the technology, the rate at which golfer is paying to get the technology and the increasing facilities investing it will see all driving ranges having it in the coming years.
Why Are Launch Monitors So Expensive?
Lunch monitors have gone through incredible technology to become what they are now. You’ll naturally expect them to be expensive, considering the kind of work they do.
The whole system of launch monitors is based on high camera speeds and a very technical military system that enable them to collect data. This is something that is going to revolutionize your game, and there is no reason why you should not invest in one.
Well, the money may look huge upfront, but a good launch monitor is going to serve you for a long time. If you compare the money you spend buying a single monitor with the amount you’re going to use to get a new driver after a short time; launch monitors are definitely worth the cost.
How Much Are Commercial Launch Monitors?
Most commercial launch monitors come from most recognized brands like Trackman and Flightscope. They are known for their high accuracy when it comes to giving data on ball flight and golf swing.
They, however, come at very high prices. Commercial lunch monitors go at a price of about $5000 to more than $20000. Due to their hiked prices, these monitors are most used by club fitters, advanced players, as well as professional golf trainers and coaches.
Launch monitors have indeed revolutionized the golf game. Every shot now counts and players are more concerned about making improvements in their gaming skills rather than just hitting the ball.
Club fitters and professional players are also appreciating the technology behind these gadgets and are willing to pay a fortune to get one. A golf game is no longer based on mere opinions but concrete facts derived from the data that launch monitors record.
The wind or bad weather is not a bother anymore to golf players because these gadgets are not affected in any way. If you feel like you cannot go outside, especially if you live in areas that experience winter, you can still play indoors and track your performance with indoor launch monitors.
You also don’t need to be a rich golfer to get a perfect launch monitor because there are many brands out there willing to ensure you get the best accuracy and all the good features at very affordable costs.
Apart from the most renowned brands like Trackman and FlightScope, you can also get cheap but accurate options from SkyTrak, SuperSpeed, Swing Caddie, among others. All you have to do to ensure you get a gadget that you deserve is to understand the kind of data you need versus your budget.
Understand what these devices measure and use the data to analyze your skill level and make necessary improvements. Launch monitors are indeed necessary additions that you need in your golf equipment to become a better golfer and you should get one that suits you best.