If you are in the market to build a golf simulator space for entertainment or game improvement, then the SkyTrak just might be the best option for you. Many of us want to play golf as often as possible and not let the rain, snow or colder weather keep us from enjoying the game we love. After much research and deliberation, I selected the SkyTrak Launch Monitor for my golf simulator build and have now played over 300 rounds of simulator golf. Below I provide a review and comprehensive overview to the most frequently asked questions about a golf simulator and the SkyTrak golf launch monitor.
There are many questions that people ask when building a golf simulator and through my experience the most difficult decision is what option to go with for your golf simulator. There are many options, ranging from the Optishot 2, to the ProTee, and up to the Foresight GC2. There are even more expensive models that exceed the GC2, but I think realistically most people have a budget between 1k and 10k dollars. If your budget exceeds 10K then other options come into play.
Special Note: They provide financing options!
Below I provide the overview and answer the following questions for you.
- Why the SkyTrak?
- What Data Does the SkyTrak Measure and Provide?
- Who is the SkyTrak for?
- What software is best for the SkyTrak?
- What is the SkyTrak Game Improvement Software like?
- Can Righty and Lefty Golfers Play at the same time?
- What does your golf simulator build look like?
- Can I actually improve my game with the SkyTrak?
- How Durable is the SkyTrak?
- How much space do I need for the SkyTrak?
- What are the Negatives to the SkyTrak?
- If you could do it all over again, would you purchase the SkyTrak again?
Bonus – My Top 5 TGC Courses (at the very end)
Why the SkyTrak? (Top 4 Reasons)
My top 4 reasons on why the SkyTrak is a great option include: affordability, versatility, easy setup, and accuracy.
Affordability – The launch monitor will run you around $2,000 on average. For this price you get a product that gets you playing the game of golf and providing some excellent data to help you improve your game. The overall game experience when paired with the right software can be incredible and allow you to have maximize your fun while improving your game. When you combine the accuracy and realistic golf you are able to play with the affordability of the SkyTrak, it is difficult to beat this combination.
Versatility – Not only can you use the SkyTrak in your golf simulator build, but you can also take it with you to the driving range and pair with and Ipad or Iphone to track your ball speed and other relevant data that it provides. Being able to use it in both settings allows for great versatility and allows you to maximize your money spent. It can also be paired with a variety of game software options and the Game Improvement software by SkyTrak. This allows you to play many courses or take on the the different challenges and utilize the SkyTrak Golf Game Improvement Software. The versaitility goes beyond the indoor and outdoor options and expands to the number of different softwares that the SkyTrak is compatible with. These include WGT Golf, The Golf Club Game, TruGolf, Creative Golf 3D, Fitness Golf and ProTee Play.
Easy Setup – The SkyTrak Launch Monitor can be taken right out of the box and after several hours of charging you are ready to use. Other options like the ProTee golf simulator require potential hours of setup and different tweakings to get the perfect setup. This easy setup also allows you to store it somewhere safe when not in use. With my SkyTrak, I use it in the garage, but store in my house when not in use. With the right mobile device and software, you could travel with the SkyTrak and play simulated rounds on the driving range.
Accuracy – My experience with the SkyTrak is that it is pretty accurate and provides an excellent game experience. I feel that it is realistic and allows a person to improve. When I feel like I hit a hook or slice, there is a hook or slice. If I don’t hit the ball clean, the distance is definitely reduced. If I feel like I pulled the shot, it results in a pulled shot. Others have made comparison youtube videos, comparing the accuracy to other launch monitors. Others I’ve compared it to products like the GC2, here is a quality YouTube video comparring the two:
What Data Does the SkyTrak Measure and Provide?
The SkyTrak Launch Monitor measures the ball immediately after impact. From the ball speed measurement along with angle of launch and spin rates it is accurately able to predict the shot. The data within the Game Improvement Software is impressive. This data can assist in the game improvement process. I have posted several images below which show the data provided. From the SkyTrak website:
• Ball Speed
• Launch angle
• Back Spin
• Side Spin
• Side Angle
With this data, our software is also able to accurately provide:
• Carry/Total Distance
• Flight path
• Club Head Speed
• Angle of Descent
Below you will see 10 shots that I hit with my 8 iron. There is plenty of data to analyze and use to improve your game. My recommendation is do not get too far into the data, but know that it is there for reference.
Below is another option where you can take the average of all the shots you hit in a practice session. In this session I hit 32 8 irons and am able to see the averages from the 32 shot session. The biggest takeaway here is the average yardage.
Below is another feature in the Golf 360 reports online. I was working on a 3/4 swing with the 8 iron and can see that my average distance was 149 yards and my average shot ended up 4 yards left of the target. It also displays my furthest shot and my shortest shot.
Who is the SkyTrak for?
The SkyTrak can be very beneficial for amateur golfers looking to improve or simply for entertainment to play the game they love. The amount of data, while not at the level of a Trackman or Flightscope, can provide data to help you improve your game.
The data that has been most beneficial to me is the flight path. I am able to closely monitor my path and have been able to adjust my swing to consistently measure in the 2-4 degrees out to the right. The spin axis number then provides how much the ball was spinning right to left or left to right. Overall, I have been able to produce a consistent shot that has a slight draw. My miss has become an overdraw. Another excellent set of data is ball speed. You are able to track the swing speed that you are tracking see what swing changes produce faster or slower speeds.
Also, the person simply looking to build a golf simulator in the basement, garage or extra room in a house and wants to play some of the best courses in the world on a dynamic software such as The Golf Club (TGC) software would be the perfect match for the SkyTrak.
What is the Game Improvement Software like?
The Game Improvement software gives you access to a practice driving range, multi-color shot tracers, a numeric display, long drive competition, closest to the pin, session history, target practice, environmental controls, and multiple camera angle options. You are also able to compare clubs, receive a player skills assessment, bag mapping and wedge matrix. Another major feature is the ability to log into your SkyGolf 360 cloud storage and look at the data from your last session. It will track and provide the data for every shot that you hit and you can test with every club in your bag.
What Software Would You Recommend for the SkyTrak?
Hands down The Golf Club (TGC) Software. It is truly one of kind from a visual standpoint and the access to courses. With over 150,000 courses now offered on the SkyTrak, you can find courses in the Top 100 in the World, all the way down to kid friendly courses or an island par 3 course. What sets it apart from others is the course creator software, which has spurred many golf course architect and technology gurus to create many of the courses in Top 100 in the world. The easy access to courses of all different lengths, styles, and destinations across the world truly sets TGC apart from the other options.
Tournaments can be scheduled with people from across the world and are logged through different websites. Ultimately, the golf fanatic in New York can compete against someone in California, Floria, Europe, or any place where a wireless signal can be picked up. I have enjoyed playing Le Golf National, Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black, Magnolia Lane and a variety of others courses which bring different challenges. There is nothing like standing on the 17th tee at TPC Sawgrass with a great round in progress trying to hit that green. Here is what can be found the SkyTrak Website regarding TGC:
“The Golf Club is the next generation golf simulation. Stunning visual presentation and outstanding gameplay are to be expected but what really takes The Golf Club into the next generation is the procedural generation of courses and depth of social interaction. The Course Creator can generate a brand new course in seconds which can be shared and played immediately online with friends and other gamers across the world. There are also full editing capabilities for courses, Tournaments and Tours. Challenge your friends on a new or existing course in real time or try to beat their best recorded round. Add to this a myriad of stat tracking and personal bests of friends and rivals to beat, notifications, challenges and social media integration and you truly have a golf club worth joining.”
In addition to the courses in the Top 100 of the world, I have also enjoyed playing an island par 3 round of golf and playing kids courses with my kids at home. The shorter courses allow everyone in the family to have fun, while enjoying the game we love. There are also fictitious courses that TGC has created that are quite fun to play as well including Blackbrook, Voodoo Hills and several others.
The TGC software is highly respected in the industry and the graphics often exceed the expectations. When you combine the graphics with the access to number of courses, you have a powerful combination for a golf simulator within this price range. Some software might offer as little as 15 course options. Being able to play different versions of Pebble Beach from different sets of tees, truly is amazing. Living in the midwestern portion of the US and being able to play these courses in January, can truly help winter go by faster.
Can Righty and Lefty Golfers Play at the same time?
Yes, and it actually happens pretty seamlessly. One of my concerns with purchasing the SkyTrak is that two of my sons are left handed. We have put slight markings on our hitting mat to ensure we are aligned straight and that the SkyTrak can measure accurately. With the cordless setup that SkyTrak provides, it is simply moving it to the other side. Certain devices have been created to allow for a seamless transition where it can spin on a tray. Overall, shifting from a right hander to a left hander does not take a significant amount of time or reduce the accuracy of the SkyTrak.
What does your golf simulator build look like?
When designing my golf simulator build, I had 13 feet in width to work with. The SkyTrak became a great choice as I wanted to ensure any golfer can feel comfortable swinging the driver in the space. I spent a great amount of time taking swings from different spots to ensure we have versatility. I selected a mounted projector, 12 foot enclosure that comes out 5 feet on the side and a 10×5 hitting mat. Running the software is a gaming level desktop that keeps up the TGC software and manages the software and visual graphics that TGC commands. Below is a picture of my current setup:
Can I actually improve my game with the SkyTrak?
Yes, there are many advantages to the SkyTrak to allow for game improvement. The amount of data at your fingertips could help, but most importantly just playing the game and becoming a better ball striker will help lower your scores. The time that it takes to play 18 holes is significantly reduced from an actual round, but you are still hitting the same number of shots. Living in the midwest of the United States, my typical number of rounds of golf in a year averages around 40-50. With a golf simulator, I am able to play another 150-200 rounds per year. This will improve your ball striking and your ability to work the ball and take on difficult shots in your golf game. I have experienced an average 18 hole score decrease from 78 to 74 after setting up my golf simulator in my garage. I also now have scores more frequently right around par and even the occasional round underpar. The great improvement has been in the ball striking.
From a short game perspective, being able to dial in certain yardages can be an advantage. However, the biggest improvement I have seen is the clean, crisp contact from playing golf 5-7 times per week. The short game shots are no longer a mystery if you haven’t played golf in a week or two. Too often, for the golfer that only gets to play once a week, the short game holds them back for various reasons.
How Durable is the SkyTrak?
Prior to several years ago, one of the major concerns of any SkyTrak owner is the shank shot that could destroy your SkyTrak. Within the past several years a protective case that is incredible strong and resilient has been produced and can be purchased at a reasonable cost. I would highly recommend this add to anyone that is going to have family or friends playing on their golf simulator.
How Much Space Do I need for the SkyTrak?
You could have as little as 10 feet in width and play with both righty and lefty golfers. Due to the SkyTrak only needing a flat spot to sit on, you can have a narrow space and just enough room to make a swing if you don’t mind being offset with the impact screen. When the lefty golfer is hitting the SkyTrak can be moved to the other side of the mat. This versatility allows someone with a limited space to still be able to build a golf simulator space.
What are the Negatives to the SkyTrak?
There are two negatives that might not bother most. The first is the delay from the strike of the ball until the shot can be viewed on the screen. I would estimate that my shot delay is around 3 seconds. The second potential negative is that occasionally the golfer can have a no read with the SkyTrak. I have found this happens most often if the ball is not set close to red spot from the SkyTrak.
If you could do it all over again, would you purchase the SkyTrak?
Without any hesitation, absolutely yes. The overall quality of the SkyTrak and access to game improvement software and the TGC software makes this $2,000 purchase quite the deal. Compared to years ago, where a setup of this quality would cost you 30-40 thousand dollars, the setup with the SkyTrak is simply amazing and can transform your golf game.
After setting up my enclosure and impact screen and mounting the projector, the SkyTrak was the most simple part of the entire setup. A quick download of software, charging the SkyTrak and you are ready to play. Having researched various products, the simple setup and almost instant play led to some fun right from the beginning. The different options to connect the SkyTrak to your computer or device was also enticing and has been beneficial.
From the beginning of my experience with the SkyTrak, I have been a satisfied customer. I occasionally will have a no read shot, but to me at the entry point for the SkyTrak, you cannot beat the overall accuracy, realistic feel of the game and ultimately the fun that it provides. A great deal of fun has been enjoyed with family and friends. The bonus is that I now score better in my outdoor rounds and enjoy the game even more. It has made the cold and snowy winters more bearable and I have utilized this time to improve my game. Are you ready to knock down the barriers of rain, snow and cold weather? The SkyTrak just might be the right option for you!
BONUS – Top 5 Courses on TGC
Who wouldn’t love the beautiful views of Pebble Beach Golf, even it is just simulator golf. Skip the expensive green fees and see if you can hit the same shots Tiger Woods did in record fashion at the 2000 US Open. There is something really cool about hitting the par 3 tee shot on 7 or the tee shot on 18 with the water to the left and trying to hang onto a good round. I couldn’t imagine the pressure in an actual tournament.
I have had the good fortune of attending a practice round at the Masters on two different occasions. The course is simply amazing and even better in real life. While someday we might get to play Pebble Beach or St. Andrews, the chances of ever playing Augusta National is very, very small. The holes are iconic in our minds from watching the tournament every April. Even playing it in simulator golf can bring some slight enjoyment and is great practice just in case one day you get the unbelievable opportunity to play there.
A fictitious course with some unbelievable challenging holes and shots. The setting is in the middle of the desert with mountain ranges and water all throughout. If you are feeling confident in your game, this just might be the challenge for you. Go ahead and give it a shot!
St. Andrews – The Old Course
Maybe the most iconic course in the game. The birthplace and one open to the public. While the holes might not be over exhilarating, we have seen enough tournaments over the years to grow great appreciation for the difficulty on the 17th hole aka “the road hole” or the simplistic, but difficult nature of the 1st and 18th hole in that beautiful setting.
Le Golf National
Rounding out my top 5 favorite courses to play in simulator golf is Le Golf National. I never knew much about it until the 2018 Ryder Cup. Even through the USA suffered a terrible loss, I grew an appreciation for the difficulty of the course and the requirement to work the ball different ways off of the tee. The first two starting holes are fantastic and even though we didn’t get to see the 18th hole too often, it is quite the challenge and setting.