The best golf launch monitors.
Every golfer has debated buying themselves a launch monitor, but such is the difference in price between the top-end models and the budget versions, trying to work out which model is right for you is particularly tricky.
The likes of Trackman, Foresight and Flightscope will cost you as much as a new car but the technology they employ means you get a phenomenal experience with a combination of incredible accuracy and a mountain of data.
For dedicated golfers who understand their game inside out, the large volume of information is helpful but for most of us some of the cheaper models might suffice and, although they aren’t quite as accurate, you will forgive the margin of error because at least it will be consistent. The important thing to remember is you can build up a reliable picture of how far you hit each club.
Here are our selections but also check out our features on the Best Golf GPS Devices, Best Golf Training Aids, Best Golf Shot-Tracking Devices, Best Golf Rangefinder, Best Golf Practice Nets and Best Golf GPS Watch.
But let's start with the Best Golf Launch Monitors.
Foresight Sports GC Quad
RRP £11,994.00 | VIEW OFFER
Foresight’s range of elite-level launch monitors is something to behold and any one of them could have made this list.
However the GC Quad is the launch monitor we use for all of our golf clubs testing and is our No.1 from a pure performance perspective. It is as good as anything in the marketplace.
With four cameras measuring every part of your swing path, ball impact and ball launch, combined with some heavy-duty processing power, it is hard to argue with Foresight’s assertion it is the ‘most advanced golf launch monitor’.
And as you would expect it gives you the full range of golf data and a 3D illustration of your ball flight almost straight after you strike every ball.
Foresight’s own FSX performance and software is made for the GC Quad. It allows you to play some of the most famous courses in the world, take part in practice challenges and also play some clever-yet-fun games.
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RRP £17,995.00 | VIEW OFFER
Trackman has arguably led the way in launch monitor technology and the Trackman 4 is the results of years of innovation and hard work.
Peace of mind is what the elite-level launch monitors give you and Trackman’s patented OERT system certainly covers all the bases. Optically Enhanced Radar Tracking combines the benefits of a HD video camera with dual radar, which tracks the full flight of the ball. Other cheaper devices have to employ a bit of guess work beyond a certain distance.
Once you have hit your shot you then get a 3D version of the ball’s trajectory, which is always helpful when you are practising inside.
Trackman’s ability to provide mountains of data on the trajectory of the ball and the club offers a fascinating insight into just what is going on with your swing. It also translates perfectly on to the putting green where you get precise data re launch direction, launch angle and launch speed (you could be missing to the right all the time because you are slicing your putts).
The Trackman 4 is also very simple to use and can be linked to your computer, tablet or phone.
RRP £14,418 | VIEW OFFER
The most cost-effective of the high-end launch monitors, FlightScope has become a popular option and has certainly benefitted from thousands of awe-struck fans watching Bryson DeChambeau use the X3 on practice grounds around the world.
If it can track Bryson’s balls it can track yours and it is another bit of kit that uses the dual radar/camera system to produce its numbers and video.
Newly added is an ability to ‘play’ five golf courses and practice on 17 practice ranges (compatible with Apple devices (iOS)) plus a few games to keep you entertained.
The X3 records more than 50 different points of data plus you get to see the ball trajectory thanks to the 3D animation.
FlightScope has also invested a lot of time and energy into its wedge-tracking system. The D-Plane data element will provide you with a fascinating explanation of what’s happening to your club face throughout the swing. You can see the angle of the face just as it hits the ball plus the angle of attack. For elite players, this kind of information is especially helpful.
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RRP £1,995.00 | VIEW OFFER
A truly fantastic piece of kit that makes it affordable for most golfers to get virtually every bit of golf swing data they could wish for.
It captures all the core metrics – distance (carry), swing speed, ball speed, back spin, side spin. For a fraction of the cost of the top-end devices, you also get an immediate 3D display of your ball trajectory.
The makers of Skytrak also claim a high level of accuracy using a combination of radar and algorithms and if you are hitting into a net at home, all devices have to ‘calculate’ shot distance and trajectory rather than track the full path of the ball.
It also hooks up to your tablet or computer so you get immediate readouts. You could be hitting balls in your back garden into a net off a matt, ensuring your practice sessions will never be the same again.
SkyTrak has also teamed up with market-leading golf computer game developers World Golf Tour. For an added subscription you can play some of the most famous golf courses in the world from your back garden. They include Pebble Beach and St Andrews.
FlightScope Mevo /Mevo Plus
There is so much to commend the cheaper launch monitors, a fact accepted and embraced by FlightScope.
Its response to the range of budget devices is the marvellous Mevo, a miniature version of their elite-level machine. For around £500 you get a lot of what makes FlightScope’s products so popular. The more recent Mevo Plus is targeting those who like what the Skytrak offers.
To use the Mevo (Measure your numbers, Evaluate your game, Visualise your improvement, Optimise your performance), simply download the Mevo app to your phone or tablet and in the palm of your hand you have an excellent launch monitor system.
The device itself is tiny and is provides you with eight key performance data points. The Mevo Plus gives you double that and offers 3D ball-tracking readouts and, for extra cost, the opportunity to play five different courses virtually.
The Mevo will also read out the data after every shot and you can select which data point you want to hear each time.
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Voice Caddie SC300 Swing Caddie
RRP £469.00 | VIEW OFFER
I’m not sure about the name but, that apart, when you are paying less than £500 for a launch monitor, it really doesn’t get any better than the SC300.
Voice Caddie has tested their highly-portable launch monitor against those at the top end of the range and claim results have been between 1% and 3% different.
With that relatively small margin of error and the time-saving, ease-of-use consideration, this is a device which will tick a lot of boxes.
For those playing by themselves in a practice round, it would make a highly helpful companion. All the important data is self contained on a neatly-arranged screen. You get six key data points – Carry, swing speed, ball speed, smash factor, apex and launch angle.
The cost-effective nature of the SC300 is down to the use of doppler radar and atmospheric pressure sensors which combine to offer you a consistent and helpful set of data points.
Foresight GC2 Home Golf Simulator
RRP £18,295 | VIEW OFFER
Foresight’s Home Golf Simulator really is the Rolls Royce of golf training aids. The cost makes it unrealistic for most of us, but it’s the industry’s best-selling launch monitor for a reason.
As part of this package you also get a frame and screen, turf (up to 4 x 1.5m) and hitting mat with tee holders, an HD projector with performance laptop and stand complete with Surge protection, and the FSX 2020 programme with five standard courses and Fairground All-Ages game suite (that’s a great way to get kids swinging a club).
Like its two main rivals the combination of radar and cameras does the hard work. Foresight’s soon-to-be released GC3 update utilises three HD cameras and the GC Quad (see above) has four.
The on-screen graphics and attention to detail are astonishing and the technology which tracks your ball’s behaviour is market leading. Foresight even claims to be the most accurate
However this package will not provide you with club and golf ball data. The golf ball data-added package comes in at £23,130 and when you throw in the club data it will cost you in the region of £28,000.
Garmin Approach R10
RRP £529.99 | VIEW OFFER
Garmin’s range of golf training aids is something to behold so when it entered the launch monitor market, the rest of the industry was always going to hold its breath.
And it is no surprise that its offering (R10) will provide massive appeal to those who want a cost-effective and highly usable product.
The R10’s standout feature is unquestionably the opportunity to virtually play more than 42,000 courses and you can enter virtual tournaments.
And Garmin, the masters of multi-functional machines, have designed the R10 so it can be used as a GPS device while playing a round.
The R10 also records a highly-impressive 14 data metrics while the accompanying Garmin Golf App, which you download to your phone or computer, is extremely well designed.
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RRP £229.00 | VIEW OFFER
The PRGR is cheapest launch monitor out there but don’t let that put you off. Various independent testers – not just me – all say the same thing. It remarkably accurate.
All launch monitor manufacturers who rely on algorithms to calculate total distance do it slightly differently and the makers of the PRGR must have done a great job in this area.
The display is very basic-looking but for most players it provides all the key elements, including ball carry, ball speed and club speed.
There are no apps to download and no worries re wifi requirements. Just stick in some batteries and away you go.
Garmin Approach G80
RRP £449.00 | VIEW OFFER
Garmin has a fantastic range of top-end GPS devices and this hand-held option has a very special added extra. It includes a launch-monitor mode and, although it is not quite as accurate as a Trackman or Skytrak, its 3% margin for error makes it a very attractive proposition.
The smaller-than-average screen (it’s only 3.5 inches long), does not detract from this excellent GPS device, which comes preloaded with 40,000 courses.
As you would expect from a Garmin device, there are an enormous range of options and the G80 will also calculate the true distance to the hole, taking into account the various slopes. However this must be turned off for tournament play.
The screen is anti-glare so no problems in strong sunlight and the battery is very beefy. It will give you 15 hours of use in GPS mode.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Flanagan has been a golf journalist since 2008 having worked at a number of daily newspapers before that as part of the sports teams.
He’s been playing golf since the age of 11, starting out at Olton in the West Midlands and has also been a member at Hull, Waterton Park near Wakefield and Hollins Hall in Baildon. He currently plays off a nine handicap.
You can get in touch with Mark, here.