Best Golf Launch Monitors 2021
Golf Launch Monitors: The Complete Guide With The Best Reviewed
If you keep up with the PGA Tour, chances are you've spotted a player or two out on the range with their launch monitor in tow. Remember, these guys are professionals and when it comes to fine tuning their game they rely on data.
Don't get us wrong, most of the pro's still surround themselves with a team of supporting staff including swing coaches, physical trainers, even psychiatrists, but as we've entered the 21st century and technology has advanced, many have incorporated the use golf launch monitors into their daily practice routines.
Golf launch monitors provide the necessary data one can use to make adjustments to their swing and equipment choices. Datapoint's such as spin, carry distance, total distance, ball speed, clubhead speed, angle of attack, and more are just some of the numbers these systems are capable of providing.
While most of the launch monitors the pro's use run anywhere from $20k and up (think Trackman), the good news is that the market has been flooded with affordable options for professionals and recreational golfers alike.
In the following sections we'll share what we feel are the best golf launch monitor options, the technologies they're built on, as well as the data each provides. We'll take a look at how anybody can use these numbers to improve their game, complete with examples, at the bottom of this page in the buyer's guide section.
For more information about launch monitors, i.e. different types of launch monitors & examples of how a launch monitor can be used to improve your game, be sure to check out the Buyers Guide at the bottom of the page.
Table of Contents
Best Launch Monitor for Home
The SkyTrak is Shop Indoor Golf's best selling unit, and our pick for the best overall launch monitor.
It has received extremely positive praise and reviews (from Golf Digest and others), ever since it was was released in November of 2014, because of the void it has filled in the personal launch monitor space.
The market was already ripe with high-end systems, but what it lacked was an accurate, sub $5000 option tailored for the average recreational golfer. SkyTrak, priced at $1995, solved for that and more. Let's take a look at why.
The SkyTrak is a photometric based launch monitor that is very accurate, and captures ball data including: back spin, side spin, launch angle, ball speed, club speed, carry distance, and more.
The unit is lightweight and portable, can be used both indoors and outdoors, and doesn't require an internet connection while in use. Simply connect to a mobile device and let her rip.
In terms of usability, the SkyTrak is easy to use and a fairly intuitive launch monitor. It's also compatible with golf simulation software from multiple vendors that allow for full golf course play and game improvement features.
Simply put, the folks at SkyGolf got it right with this one, and anyone would be hard-pressed to find another launch monitor with the same level of accuracy at a price of just $1995.
Best Golf Launch Monitor ReviewsSkyTrak Launch Monitor
"The SkyTrak monitor is pretty awesome. Way better than I expected it to be. Tons of data points and seems to be pretty accurate. If I hit a great one, it knows it. If I hit a worm burner, it knows. I’m looking forward to expanding the package and getting a sim to try out some courses." – Justin W. Verified Buyer
Best Affordable Launch Monitor
The Ernest Sports ES12 and ES14 are two of our most affordable launch monitors. Now while these may be "cheap" in terms of the cost associated with other launch monitors for sale, it's important to note that you are not sacrificing performance.
Both units more than hold their own compared to similar launch monitors such as the Swing Caddie SC200.
The ES12 and ES14 are both doppler-based launch monitors, that require to see the ball travel after impact in order to measure club head speed and ball speed, the two components of smash factor.
Using those two measurements, these affordable launch monitors then calculate other key metrics such as carry distance, total distance, and spin rate.
There are a couple of differences between the ES12 and ES14:
- Price (ES12 is $199.99 vs. ES14 is $495.00)
- Dopplers (ES12 has one doppler facing front vs. ES14 has two dopplers; one in the front and one in the back)
- Accuracy (ES14 is slightly more accurate than the ES12)
If the goal is to stay under $500 and we had our choice, we would go with the Ernest Sports ES14 Launch Monitor. The addition of a doppler in the back allows for club head speed to be captured, allowing for more accurate results.
Affordable Launch Monitor ReviewsErnest Sports ES12 & ES14 Launch Monitor
"The ES12 Launch Monitor performed exactly as advertised. I have been able to dial in all of my clubs distances and it has transformed my game. I no longer have to guess at what yardage each club will go. The ES12 is probably the cheapest launch monitor currently on the market that I know of and it performs very well. If you want to know exactly how far you need to carry a ball with a certain club I'd recommend this launch monitor. Combining the data from the ES12 to a range finder or in my case an iphone app I no longer guess at yardage to a pin. Very helpful device and worth the money if you want to really improve your game quickly." – Lee F. Verified Buyer
Best Portable Launch Monitor
When looking for a portable launch monitor there are a couple of items that need to be considered: size & weight, battery life, accuracy, and ease of use.
The Swing Caddie SC300 exceeds expectations in all four areas, and as a result, is our pick for the best portable launch monitor.
Let's start with the first item, size & weight. The SC300 launch monitor has physical dimensions of 6.5" x 4.7" x 1.1", and weighs just 15oz - making it easy to transport to and from the driving range, your home, and anywhere else you choose to take it.
Battery life performs well - the SC300 launch monitor lasts for approximately 12 hours, which allows for several practice sessions between charges.
Accuracy and ease of use is where the Swing Caddie really shines.
It's a highly accurate doppler based launch monitor that provides: carry/total distance, swing speed, ball speed, smash factor, launch angle, and apex. It even includes atmospheric pressure sensors for added accuracy specific to your location.
It can be used both indoors and outdoors, although it's our experience that it performs better outside as the dopplers have more room see the ball travel.
Priced at just $549.99, it's probably the best option under $1000 - given all of its features and accuracy, and currently the best portable launch monitor on the market.
Portable Golf Launch Monitor ReviewsSwing Caddie SC300
"Just buy it. For $500+ you're getting an easy to read display of smash factor, ball speed, swing speed, and a bunch of other info that helps the average joe golfer improve their game. Plus, there's a phone app that you can use it with. I've used it for the last few weeks and used my range finder to verify the distance. Have also used my old swing radar beside it and the swing speeds are spot on each time." – Liz K. Verified Buyer
Best Used Golf Launch Monitor
If you are considering a used launch monitor, you can't go wrong with Foresight Sport's Game Changer 2 (GC2). The GC2 is the world's best selling commercial grade launch monitor and has unrivaled precision and accuracy.
It's a photometric based launch monitor, and is able to capture ball speed, launch angle, horizontal angle, back spin, side spin, and carry distance.
Setup and usability are intuitive and simple.
Your golf shot results are immediately displayed on the GC2, and if you want to see an overhead look of your shot dispersion or a view of your ball flight you can download the Performance Fitting application for free on the iOS and Android marketplace.
The GC2 is also able to provide a simulated driving range environment and full golf course play, with the use of Foresight's FSX software, which must be purchased separately.
It can be used both indoors and outdoors, making it a great option for your home golf setup or for using it on the range.
Priced at $5400, it's our most expensive golf launch monitor, but a great value if you're seeking commercial grade quality. Each Foresight GC2 is a certified pre-owned unit, undergoes rigorous testing, and comes complete with a 6 month bumper to bumper warranty fully backed by Foresight Sports.
Used Golf Launch Monitor ReviewsForesight Sports GC2
"I bought a GC2 about a year ago and have had a lot of fun with it and been able to make some improvements to my game. The price of the HMT kept me from adding it for a while, but now that I have it I am really glad I got it. Seeing the club head data - particularly for me the club path info - has made it much easier for me to make adjustments to my swing and take off some of the nasty slice I had. Very useful little device." – Chad W. Verified Buyer
Best Golf Launch Monitors 2020 - Complete List
SkyTrak - Best Golf Launch Monitor For Home
Ernest Sports ES12 & ES14 - Best Affordable Launch Monitor
Swing Caddie SC300 - Best Portable Launch Monitor
Foresight Sports GC2 - Best Used Launch Monitor
Golf Launch Monitor Buying Guide
What is a launch monitor and what can it be used for?
A launch monitor is an electronic device used in golf that captures ball and/or club data at point of impact. They can be used by both recreational golfers and golf professionals to make informed decisions about one's swing and/or equipment. Let's take a look at some of the more practical applications one can use a golf launch monitor for.
Obtain carry data - most launch monitors will provide ball and/or club feedback in real time - data one can use to make adjustments and improve. One of the more important data points provided is carry distance. This lets you know how far your golf ball travels in the air prior to reaching the ground. This is an important component to be aware of if you are to master distance control, and is especially useful in your wedge game.
Practice anytime, anywhere - a launch monitor is a very portable device that can be setup indoors and outdoors. The ability to use it inside allows golfers to practice and play anytime, regardless of the weather or time of day. This is especially useful for those that wish to practice at night time, or those that live up north and aren't able to play golf during the fall/winter months.
Make equipment decisions - launch monitors can also help you in comparing golf equipment. From golf balls, to wedges, to drivers, a launch monitor is there to provide an unbiased assessment. It's for this reason that they're a must have for club fitters around the world. For example, maybe you are in the market for a driver and are seeking for something with a lower spin rate, and more penetrating trajectory. Sure, you could visually see your results with each option you test, but by incorporating a launch monitor into the process you are provided with concrete data that you can use to make an informed equipment decision.
Increase swing speeds - or monitor the progress of any swing changes for that matter. If one of your goals is to increase your swing speed in order to increase distance, the launch monitor is a perfect tool to do that. For example, maybe you've been using the SuperSpeed Golf Training System and want to see if it is making a difference. Since launch monitors track ball speed and/or club speed you can track your before and after progress to determine if the training system is helping you with your goal.
Have More Questions? Feel Free to Reach Out !
This guide is intended to provide an overview of golf launch monitors. We realize however that it may not answer every question that you may have. If at any point you find yourself with additional questions, or are just looking for product advice, give us a call at 866-723-0311. You can also reach us via email at Support@ShopIndoorGolf.com. Our team of friendly golfers are knowledgeable and ready to help with any and all of your launch monitor questions.