From premium units to more affordable gadgets, launch monitors are becoming increasingly popular for both professionals and amateurs
Best Golf Launch Monitors
The advent of launch monitors have completely changed the way golfers practise, learn and get custom fit for equipment.
Much like the best golf GPS apps, launch monitors have been providing golfers with a wealth of data that was once unattainable at the amateur level. This is obviously no longer the case which is why we have looked at some of the best golf launch monitors on the market.
Before we get to that though, the below statement is important to address first…
Why You’d Want To Buy A Launch Monitor
To put a simple answer here, launch monitors give us an incredible amount of data which can therefore give us information on our strengths and weaknesses.
Accurate club and ball data allows numbers like clubhead speed, carry distance, spin and much more to be seen instantly for incredible feedback.
The numbers can explain why you might have a tendency to slice it or hook it, and you can then correct your swing to eliminate bad tendencies. Launch monitors can also give insight into things like swing path, and because distance numbers are so readily available, they allow you to dial in your bag setup too.
Nearly every touring professional uses a launch monitor to hone their swings and many amateurs are also making the most of the technology now to improve their games too.
Launch monitors these days are also very convenient because they can often be folded up nicely, or they are handheld devices so are highly portable.
Some of the premium models that you’ll see on tour or in high-tech fitting studios can be expensive, although there are some more affordable options on the market too.
To help you decide which one is for you, we’ve listed the best golf launch monitors that cover all price ranges below.
Additionally take a look at some of our other guides too – such as the best golf simulator, best golf laser rangefinders or the best golf shot tracking apps and devices.
Best Golf Launch Monitors
Foresight Sports GCQuad
+ Tour level accuracy and analytics
+ Clear, built in display that provides accurate data fast
– A little bit clunky to carry around
The GCQuad features four cameras that catch 200 pictures during impact from four different perspectives.
That combination allows features of the club and ball to be pinpointed like never before, providing millimetre accurate strike and shot data within seconds.
It takes photographs of the face, so as well as ball data you get precise club information such as path, lie angle, angle of attack and strike location, making it a unique teaching tool.
What elevated it further was the addition of its Essential Putting Analysis, which allows you to track putting data like path, loft and so on.
With no calibration needed, it’s also easier than any of its competitors to take to the range or course, with all your shot data handily stored on the brand’s cloud system for later analysis. It also benefits from a removable battery, in-built WiFi, alignment stick and a hitting area six times bigger than GC2.
It features in our 2021 Editor’s Choice awards and is being seen more and more touring professionals, most famously Bryson DeChambeau, who is rarely seen without one of these by his side during a practice round.
Trackman 4 Launch Monitor
+ Accurate, fast and informative data
+ Can get this as a complete home set up
+ Huge feature list
– Need a tablet or phone to display data
Another favourite of Tour pros, Trackman is now almost used as a synonym for ‘launch monitor’ because of how popular the technology has been.
Its devices are used by a number of the world’s best players and the new Trackman 4 offers up accurate data thanks to a patented multi-sensor technology that synchronises an inbuilt camera with two bespoke designed ultra-sensitive radars. Therefore it offers the best of both worlds when it comes to camera and radar technology.
Rather than displaying the data on the device itself – like the GC Quad – it feeds the data to an app.
It also has over 100 simulator courses, full putting analysis, club fitting software, swing video software, online tournaments, skills testing, kids games, on course practice… all from one device. No other launch monitor offers this extensive list of features.
You can buy a single launch monitor and also get a complete home setup from the company as well.
SkyTrak Launch Monitor
Best Home Set Up Option
+ Instant 3D shot analysis
– Home set up required a lot of space
SkyTrak offers launch monitors as well as a complete home setup for the golfer with space to dedicate to their game.
The launch monitor uses photometric technology and delivers instant and real-time 3D shot analysis and ball-flight data, and the company offers a high-definition simulation package for the ultimate setup.
Additionally you can play lots of different golf courses and it offers various mini-games for engaging practice such as Closest to the Pin, Longest Drive and Targets.
It’s a very portable launch monitor that can be used anywhere once paired to a device through its inbuilt wi-fi.
Swing Caddie SC300 Portable Launch Monitor
Best For Portability
+ Handheld with clear and quick data provided on screen
+ Great value for money
– Not as much data on offer as more expensive options
A cheaper alternative in the launch monitor market is the SC300 from Swing Caddie, which gives you precise numbers like carry distance, swing speed, ball speed and more.
It does this thanks to calibrating atmospheric pressure sensors and the latest in Doppler radar technology, and it also tells you your numbers thanks to voice assistance.
All you have to do is place the device 11-12ft behind the ball and it is good to go – this highly portable, lightweight device is easy to take to the range.
Tested up against the launch monitors that cost upwards of £10,000, the Swing Caddie SC300 performs within 1-3% of these far more expensive machines.
Pair this up with the best golf net and you’ll have yourself a very nice home simulator.
Swing Caddie SC200 Plus Launch Monitor
Good Cheaper Option
+ Even more portable than its SC300 sister product
+ Doesn’t overwhelm you with too much data
– Limited functionality
The SC200 from Swing Caddie comes in at around $150 cheaper than the SC300 but it will still measure data like carry yardage, swing speed and ball speed.
It’s also significantly smaller than the larger SC300. It is said to be within 1-3% in terms of accuracy versus the premium launch monitors.
Like the SC300, just place the device 11-12ft behind the ball and away you go. A great, cheaper alternative to the sister SC300 product.
Garmin Approach R10 Launch Monitor
Best Compact Launch Monitor
+ Powerful device in a compact package
+ Can play 42,000 courses worldwide when linked with Garmin Golf App
– Compatible smartphone required to use
The Garmin Approach R10 is one of the most compact launch monitors out there and, with a retail price of £529, packs a formidable punch at a low price.
It gathers an enormous amount of real time data which is then displayed on the accompanying Garmin Golf App.
Metrics such as club speed, ball speed, smash factor, ball spin, club path and club face angle provide a clear picture of how you strike the ball and are great data points to help you improve your swing or get an idea of how far you hit each club in the bag.
When paired with the Garmin Golf app, players can also use Driving Range Mode to help recognise areas of strength and areas for improvement; automatically record video clips to analyse their swing and utilise the entertaining Home Tee Hero golf simulator to master and enjoy over 42,000 golf course worldwide.
Garmin Approach G80 GPS
Best GPS and Launch Monitor Combination
+ An excellent GPS in its own right with accurate distances and full hole maps
+ A solid launch monitor built in and easy to use
– Launch monitor information isn’t as detailed as some
Garmin’s G80 is one of the best GPS devices on the market, offering up plenty of helpful features in a slim device with a 3.5″, sunlight-readable, colour, touchscreen display.
This device works fantastically in its own right as one of the best golf GPS, but its also an excellent launch monitor too – making this an extremely competitive package.
The GPS is clear and crisp, giving you yardages to the front, middle and back of greens as well as carry distances over hazards thanks to the 2D full hole display. Amazingly, this little device also has a slope function which gives you accurate yardages for shots up or downhill.
The launch monitor – that uses a built in Doppler radar – tracks clubhead speed, ball speed, smash factor, swing tempo and estimated distance.
A really versatile piece of kit. Garmin also makes some of the best golf GPS watches too so check that guide out as well if you are a fan of the brand.
Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor
Best Budget Launch Monitor
+ Turns yours smartphone into a launch monitor with accurate, quick data feedback
+ Very easy to set up
– Currently not available on Android devices
The Rapsodo mobile launch monitor literally turns your smartphone into a launch monitor to give you a wide range of numbers like carry distance, ball speed, club speed, smash factor, launch angle, and launch direction.
It also films your swing and stores up to 100 videos for free (you can get more storage with a subscription) and offers video playback with shot tracer.
It works in conjunction with the free Rapsodo app on your iOS smartphone indoors or outdoors. After setting up an account and logging in, rest your phone in the front slot and position it approximately six feet behind the ball.
The lines on the screen and the GPS overhead view help you align it correctly and select your hitting direction for enhanced accuracy.
We should also mention the portability because its small size and lightness means it can easily go in your bag all the time.
We’ve named this the best budget launch monitor in our list and – compared to some £20,000 models above – the Rapsodo’s £549 price represents incredible value for this accurate, easy to use and fun launch monitor.
Best Home Simulator
+ One of the best home simulator packages on the market
+ Can be used for golf and as a home cinema
– Need a dedicated room to set up properly
aboutGolf is another big player in the launch monitor and simulator market.
A common package from the company will see you receive its 3Trak Software, a Patented 3Trak Launch Monitor, a high performance laptop and a one year subscription.
You can get them custom built to fit your home perfectly with flat or curved screen options.
The true-to-life simulator also works as a great home entertainment centre when you aren’t using it to play golf.
Shot Vision App
Best Launch Monitor App
+ Free of charge, although there is a paid version too
+ Measures basic data very competently
– Accuracy can be hit and miss
The best golf launch monitors can be extremely expensive but what about a free app?
That’s what the Shot Vision app does, although there is a paid version. The free version measures basic data like ball and club speed, spin and launch angle, whilst the paid Pro version will give carry and total distance numbers.
Its reviews are fairly positive so it certainly isn’t completely inaccurate, although the numbers you see obviously not be as conclusive as a $20,000 device.
What to look out for when buying a launch monitor
When discussing the best golf launch monitors there are a number of factors to consider. Let’s take a look at them.
Accuracy – This is the most important factor to consider because if a launch monitor isn’t accurate then it is useless. Obviously the premium models at the top of this page are the best in this regard but you can also get more budget-friendly models with good accuracy, like the Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor for example.
Metrics – Most devices these days give insight into metrics like ball speed, club head speed and carry distance however if you are looking for more specific club head data, and metrics like dispersion, then models like the Foresight Sports GCQuad and Trackman are the way to go. They are more expensive but offer incredible detail.
Features – Linking with the above point, there are models with more features compared to others. Of course for most of the models we tested, measuring the golf ball’s flight was the main purpose but some units offered the opportunity for simulator play, GPS functionality, or the ability to record your swing. Some also have games too.
Camera/Radar – There are usually two main technologies in launch monitors these days.
Camera-based monitors use high-definition cameras to capture data at, and following, impact. Because of this they tend to be better for indoor use as some models may struggle in changing light conditions.
Radar designs use Doppler radar to follow the flight of the golf ball. These waves bounce off the golf ball to track the flight and this therefore makes them better for outdoor use.
That being said there are models which have the best of both worlds, like the TrackMan 4.
Ease of use – This is a big factor because when we have the time to practice, we don’t want to waste any of it trying to work out technological issues. This makes the smaller devices like the Swing Caddie SC300 and Rapsodo particularly appealing.
Indoor/Outdoor Use – Are you going to be using the monitor inside or outside? If you look to focus on the former then investing in a proper setup may be the way to go whilst if you want to use a monitor outside then something convenient and portable is a better call.
Portability – Speaking of which portability is an important factor in itself. You don’t want to have to be lugging something heavy around or something that takes too long to fold away.
Price – We have to mention price when discussing launch monitors. There will be some who can afford the top-of-the-range designs but many more won’t. However as we have shown above there are still some very good more affordable models too.
Understanding – Not only does the launch monitor have to be clear in displaying data, but you the player needs to have some understanding of what those numbers mean.
If you enjoyed this guide on the best golf launch monitors, check out the Golf Monthly website.
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