The pandemic ignited a golf boom that we haven’t seen the likes of in over 20 years. It’s been analyzed and talked about sideways, upside-down, and inside-out that current players are playing and spending even more on their game and new players are increasing rounds played in some parts of the world as much as 30%. What has also grown popular with this influx of interest is home practice areas. Just another way to social distance yourself and work on your game, many people knocked down walls and raised some ceilings in their homes in order to make room to accommodate their golf swing. I’m not talking a simple mat and a net either. I’m talking state-of-the-art technology that you would find at your finest golf shops and teaching/fitting facilities.
Trackman and Foresight lead the way in simulators when it comes to teaching and fitting. They provide the most information with the most accuracy. And many players that had the budget for these units did indeed incorporate them into their man caves. You’re looking at 25-30k when all is said and done.
The sky is the limit when it comes to putting together your dream indoor practice area. You need the space, yes, but you also need a quality hitting mat and a fast enough pc or laptop to reduce lag and buffering to have the most enjoyable experience possible. Then you have to consider the add-ons and how high-end you want to get. You can hit into a screen and project the visuals on that or simply hit into a net and have the program display on a monitor to the side.
Just like everything else in technology, personal launch monitors have gotten better while also becoming less expensive. Without breaking the bank with the two units mentioned above, here are a few great options that offer all the features you need in a smaller package, and most importantly…a smaller price tag.
The Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor is the only model on the market that is powered by your cell phone. Your phone sits in the cradle and captures data such as carry distance, ball speed, swing speed, launch angle, and direction. It can be used indoors and outdoors. While in outdoor mode it utilizes a shot tracer. Another cool feature is auto club recognition. You don’t have to get down or pick it up and change clubs. Simply show the bottom if the club to the screen and it changes for you. What separates the Rapsodo from some other models is the ability to record your swing and share the analysis between you and a panel of instructors. This feature does require a subscription fee and there are multiple tiers available. You can also play simulated courses and store shot data. Price $399.99 Shop Rapsodo at GolfHQ.com
Pros: Price. Compact size. Video capturing and a direct line to top coaches/instructors.
Cons: Does not record spin rate (RPM). All the imagery and data is on your phone screen, and your phone is on the ground behind you. Not the easiest to setup. Outdoor mode utilizes GPS and you have to properly select the direction of which you are hitting. Not yet available on Android.
Garmin Approach R10
The R10 entered the fray in 2021 to rave reviews. It too connects to your tablet or smartphone via Bluetooth to display all of your shot data, including spin rate. The R10 can be used indoors or outdoors and can be used in conjunction with a variety of apps, such as Garmin Golf, E6 Connect, and Awesome Golf. These allow you to play games and simulated courses and offer a variety of membership options. Like the Rapsodo, the R10 also allows you to capture video of your swing and collects shot data.
Pros: small, compact design. 10 hour battery life. Provides spin rate. Doesn’t require your phone be mounted and rest on the ground. Android compatible.
Cons: To really benefit from the unit, the add-ons and membership apps can really add up cost-wise.
Bushnell Launch Pro
Bushnell collaborated with Foresight Sports to bring many of the same tour-level capabilities of a Trackman or a GC Quad, in a smaller, slightly cheaper package. Unlike many portable launch monitors that sit behind impact and use radar for ball tracking, the Launch Pro sits to the side utilizing high speed/high resolution cameras. It includes 1 free year of the Basic Foresight software package which then costs $99 per year after that. You also get a free 30-day trial of the Gold package which includes courses for simulator play. Price $2999.99 Shop Bushnell Pro at GolfHQ.com
Pros: As close as you can get to a Trackman or GC Quad without spending $$$. 1 Free year of the basic software is a nice bonus.
Cons: A fast gaming pc or laptop is required to run the simulator software properly. To pick up club data, little circle stickers must be placed on clubface.
Enjoy the game and each other,
Seth Zipay – Head Golf Professional