What’s new? How much does it cost? And how does it perform? Jack Backhouse brings you the low down on the new SkyTrak+ Launch Monitor
It’s taken nine years for SkyTrak to release their second launch monitor, and although it was one of the first and best of its kind (affordable launch monitors), there have been some excellent new entrants to the market that have forced SkyTrak to up their game. So how did we find it? Find out in our SkyTrak+ Launch Monitor review below.
- RELATED: SkyCaddie SX550 GPS Review
SkyTrak+ Launch Monitor Review: NCG Summary
SkyTrak have not only improved the technology and accuracy when building the SkyTrak+, but it feels like they have really thought about the user experience.
The app is quick and responsive; there’s more data to dive into than before. This is not just a great launch monitor for golfers to use at home; it also is a great option for coaches to use in lessons.
- Very user friendly
- Accurate data
- Fun games and challenges to make practice interesting
- On grass, the monitor needs moving so that you don’t hit out of divots.
- Protective case not included
SkyTrak+ Launch Monitor Review
Check out the best deals on the SkyTrak+ Launch Monitor.
SkyTrak+ Launch Monitor Review: First Impressions
I love launch monitors, and I’ve pretty much used them all. As a coach and an avid practicer having data as evidence for good and bad swings or that the technical changes are producing the desired outcomes they are great as long as you don’t let them rule your life.
I used the original SkyTrak briefly in 2019, and whilst the data it produced was accurate when compared to a TrackMan, the delay from when the ball was struck to the data showing up on the screen was quite long, so I decided to stop using it. I am delighted to say that the SkyTrak+ golf launch monitor does not give the same experience at all.
I downloaded the SkyTrak software and hightailed it down to the driving range for a testing session. The first shot was good, the ball data showed on screen by the time I completed my follow through, and I couldn’t be happier.
I love practicing. I love practicing so much that I’d quite happily give up playing the game if I could practice from the grass all year round. You can’t give yourself a two-shot penalty on the practice ground. Something I really enjoy doing when I’m practicing is pitching distance control challenges. I’m not sure what’s caused my addiction to this, but it has become a concrete part of my sessions.
In order to complete one of these challenges, I need a launch monitor. Now, unfortunately, I can’t afford a top-of-the-range TrackMan, FlightScope or GCQuad, so I am right in the target market of affordable launch monitors, and how they perform really matters to me. I was excited to hear about the new SkyTrak+ and their partnership with Rapsodo, and couldn’t wait to run my pitching games on them.
Let’s start with personal use. For my own practice, I used the practice range and skills assessment features, where I hit shots and look at the data or hit shots and scored points. The skills assessments are brilliant as you can design your own games to work on the different yardages that are an issue for you, and it presents you with a handicap based on your performance which you can work to bring down.
It also has a brilliant optimiser function where if you tell it what club you are hitting, then based on your clubhead and ball speed; it will give you some ‘optimal’ launch conditions to aim for to hit better shots. I really like this as it can show players if they need to hit it higher or lower for more distance, if the golf ball they use is right or wrong, or if they need to have a look at their driver set-up.
A new feature I think will really make a big game improvement for golfers is their bag mapping and wedge matrix modes. Using these programs in the app allows you to measure and record the carry distances of all your clubs and also work on a pitching distance control system. This is so valuable for the golfer, as I’m fairly certain 90% of players don’t know how far they hit the ball. This will prepare you to shoot lower scores on the golf course.
SkyTrak+ brings a new dual Doppler radar system that delivers useful club data, including Club Head Speed, Smash Factor, Club Path and Face Angle, which makes practice really interesting for those that are into their technique and are familiar with launch monitors. These data points can be very helpful, provided you have aligned the device correctly. Knowing how the club moves to produce the ball flight you want can really accelerate a golfer’s progression.
Alongside my work for NCG, I also spend four days a week teaching golf, and I’ve used the SkyTrak+ in countless lessons now and really enjoy using it with my clients. The driving range feature is where I spend most of my time looking at the numbers and seeing how they need changing, but golfers also love using the skills assessment mode and playing on one of the 10,000 courses like Pebble Beach.
This adds value to my lessons as a golfer has some purpose to the shots they are hitting, and I can show a player how their data has changed during the lesson. It’s also pretty easy to use, with the SkyTrak+ still having the red laser to show where the ball needs to be, and the hitting area is now 40% bigger than it was previously.
I’ve hit shots on this with my FlightScope running at the same time, and the data is very accurate. The benefit of this device is the shots aren’t affected by the weather, unlike radars that actually track the flight from start to end. The downside of this device is it’s not as easy to align really specifically to the target, and when hitting from grass, you do have to move the machine every six shots or so otherwise, you just end up hitting out of a divot.
All in all, this is a fantastic launch monitor at a really reasonable price, and it has quickly become my go-to device for testing equipment, teaching, and just practicing myself. Getting one of these and using it properly will improve your golf; thank you SkyTrak, this is awesome!
Could the golf ball be rolled back for everyone?