Let me start off by saying that I believe the Skytrak Launch Monitor is an impressive launch monitor at its’ price point.
I have now played over 1000 rounds on my Skytrak Launch Monitor that I purchased 5 years ago. I paired the Skytrak with The Golf Club (TGC) software and have been highly impressed with the realistic experience and data feedback I experience.
I spent many months researching and debating which product was best for my situation and I have no regrets with the purchase that I made!
Let’s dive right into the pros and cons of a Skytrak Launch Monitor as you might be at the same place I was 5 years ago, debating whether it is worth the money and if it will help your game!
Pros and Cons of a Skytrak Launch Monitor
Pros of a Skytrak Launch Monitor
- Easy Setup
- Software Options
- Game Options
- Space Requirements
- Bag Mapping
- Game Improvement!
Cons of a Skytrak Launch Monitor
- Shot Delay
- Occasional Misread shot
Pro #1: Affordable
If you are new to the golf simulator market, you might be surprised to see how affordable a residential golf simulator setup might be compared to 1-3 decades ago. The price is actually less nowadays and rather affordable. When you add in the financing that a place like Rain or Shine Golf offers and for under 100 per month you can have a rather impressive setup in your basement, extra room, garage or even a golf shed.
I spent around $7000 on my complete package over 5 years ago. For this I was able to get the Skytrak, Gaming Computer, TGC Software, Projector, Enclosure with an HD Screen, and a quality hitting mat. When you calculate the cost per round after 1000, I am currently at around $7 per round of golf on my simulator. And this doesn’t count the thousand of shots I have hit from various places on the golf courses on auto-rewind on my Skytrak/TGC setup.
Pro #2: Portable
The Skytrak is easy to take with you to the driving range, the golf course or simply use it in your golf simulator setup. The portability and versatility in different settings helps you get full value out of your Skytrak. The data provided after each and every shot can help with the game improvement.
Pro #3: Easy Setup
Some golf simulators are rather complicated to set up. In my research, I came across several options that would take 1-2 days to setup and then the golfer would have to continuously worry and tinker with the current setup.
The Skytrak is simple to set up. When it arrives, you charge the battery for the required time, download the app or software and you can be playing in no time. The ease of setup takes the pressure off having to get everything perfect and wasting time on setup, when you could be playing golf instead.
Pro #4: Realistic
The number one question I receive from people when they find out I have a golf simulator in my garage is about how realistic it is. Here is the bottom line, it is very realistic from a graphics standpoint and the shots that I hit. I have found, through studying 15 rounds of both simulator golf and actual golf that my scores are within a close range of each other.
When I hit a hook it hooks, when I over spin a driver, it over spins. The bad shots are still bad and the good shots are good shots on a simulator. There is no cheating the system. I have found the distance, with the right golf ball, to be extremely accurate and I have used this data to map my bag and understand how far I carry each club.
I have also learned a lot about the importance of spin rate and the impact it has on the distance of shots.
The driver, irons and all full to half shots are realistic. The putting, like on any simulator, leaves something to be desired, but I think that is more the setting vs the actual Skytrak.
Pro #5: Feedback
After each and every shot, you are provided with the following data:
- Carry and Total Distance
- Ball and Club Speed
- Spin Rate
- Spin Axis
- Launch Angle
This data is rather helpful if you are looking for game improvement. A golfer is able to see the impact of spin rate and how to improve their spin axis to reduce the slice, hook, or the over draw or over fade. You can learn a lot about your golf swing and what is taking place that is impacting your bad shots and what makes your good shots, good!
Check out Rain or Shine Golf to make your dream a reality!
Pro #6: Software Options
There are a variety of software options for your game play with the Skytrak. I have compared the TGC software to commercial grade software and have found the TGC software to be the best of the bunch. Not only do you get to play courses like Augusta, St. Andrews, Whistling Straits, Pebble Beach and so on, but you also get a realistic view and the graphics are simply amazing!
The fun is endless. It is especially great on a snowy January day in the middle of winter. You can spend hours playing Pebble Beach, Bay Hill or other great courses you see the pros playing on the weekends.
Pro #7: Game Options
There are a variety of game options you can setup with the TGC 2019 and Skytrak also have some quality software that you might decide to use.
I have found I most often use my software to play an actual round or I pick out a portion of my game I might need to work on. I will set my software to auto-rewind and 10-20 shots from that location. Here are some of the my favorite places to hit shots on auto-rewind:
- The 12th hole at Augusta (9 Iron)
- The 18th hole at Pebble Beach (Driver)
- The 17th hole at Whistling Straits (Long Iron)
- The 7th Hole at Pebble Beach (Wedge)
- The 10th hole at Augusta (Driver)
- The 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass (Mid Iron)
There are so many great places to have fun hitting the shots we see on tv week in and week out. One of the most fun things to do is to play the course the pros are playing that week. There are thousands of courses on the TGC software and you will be amazed!
Pro #8: Space Requirements
With the Skytrak setup to the side of the ball, the space required is less than with a launch monitor that sits behind you. This helps those with limited space or just enough space to make a swing.
I have seen the full enclosure setup, all the way down to a computer and a monitor to the side with a simple net to stop the ball. Depending on your budget, you can make it happen, work on your game and have fun at the same time!
Pro #9: Bag Mapping
If you want to get good at golf, it is essential that you know the distance you carry each iron. Way too many golfers think they hit a golf ball further than they actually do. The key is to build a club chart for each club in your bag.
Here is an example of my distance chart from last year:
|Carry Distance (100%)
|2 Utility Iron
Pro #10: Game Improvement
Golf is supposed to be fun! When you reduce your scoring average and see your game improving, the game is even more fun.
My story is that I was able to take my average score of between 74-84 and reduce to 68-78. This is right around a 6 shot decrease in scoring average.
The number one factor is being able to play golf 365 days a year. I can hit golf balls or play for 30 minutes after dinner in my garage or play for 3 hours on a snowy January day. The game improvement never spots and makes the rounds when you aren’t playing as much better as you can still work on your game in the comfort of your own house, this is especially great if you have a busy life with work, family and balancing all of your priorities in life.
Con #1: Shot Delay
Some people are turned off by the shot delay of 2–3 seconds. I have found it to not be a big deal. In fact, I can hit the shot, read my feel and predict what shot I have just hit. It actually helps reinforce the feel of certain swings. I have found a way to make a potential negative, something positive!
Con #2: Occasional Misread Shot
On occasional, there is the misread shot that simply is not read. I think it is more to do with not getting the ball on the red dot, but it does vary from time to time. Once again, I have not found this to be a deal breaker.
Con #3: Putting
As I said before, putting is not great on any simulator. It is hard to replicate in an indoor setup. I actually set my software to count 1 putts inside of 6 feet and 2 putts anywhere else on the green. I believe this balances out overtime as there are some 7-20 footers that I might make on occasion in real golf and some 30 footers that I would 3 putt on occasion. My score comparison (see above) gave me the confidence that my Skytrak was pretty accurate compare to actual golf!
Final Thoughts: I Would Highly Recommend the Skytrak
If you can’t tell by now, I think the Skytrak is one of the most amazing golf technologies of the 21st century. At an amazing price point, the golfer can play 365 days a year, get better and have a ton of fun!
I would dream of playing golf year round as a junior golfer, I have been able to take that dream and make it a reality!
Next Steps: Price It Out!
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I would highly recommend Rain or Shine golf. They have great products, great customer service and financing that makes it even more affordable!