FlightScope Xi Tour Launch Monitor Review

FlightScope Xi Tour_0101

50 Words or Less

The FlightScope Xi Tour launch monitor offers all the data of Trackman or the FlightScope X2 but at a price that’s slightly more affordable.

Introduction

There is an increasing number of launch monitor-type devices being offered to the recreational golfer, but at the top levels of golf there are only three names: Trackman, Foresight, and FlightScope.  While there’s no doubt that Trackman’s association with the PGA Tour and it’s enormous price tag have created the impression that it’s the creme de la creme, FlightScope offers a number of products with the same technology at much more reasonable prices.

FlightScope Xi Tour_0042

Ease of Use & Setup

As someone who has used FlightScope on and off for the last six years, I can attest to the fact that they have significantly improved the ease of use of their launch monitors.  That said, they still require a substantial commitment of time if you want to use them effectively.

First, the unit must be charged (or plugged in).  The charge lasts a long time, but it also takes a long time.  If you want to use your FlightScope on Tuesday, you better remember to plug it in on Monday.

When you get it to the range, you need to set it up approximately ten feet behind the ball and connect it to your tablet, smartphone, or computer.  The newest VX app, which I used for this review, works very well and is much improved, but still isn’t idiot-proof.  First time users need to be prepared for a fair bit of trial and error.

Finally, if you want precise data, you need to calibrate the unit.  If you don’t, the data isn’t reliable which makes the whole thing a bit useless.  Calibration doesn’t take more than a couple minutes, but it is an added hassle.

In short, using FlightScope takes some work.  If you want the data, it’s worth it, but it’s not for everyone.

FlightScope Xi Tour_0041

Effectiveness

I’m going to keep this pretty short: I’ve spent hours on Trackman, hours on Foresight, and hours on different levels of FlightScopes.  They all produce consistent, accurate data.

FlightScope has made huge strides in the last few years with their user interface.  Their VX app, while not perfect, is very good and very customizable to the individual user.  Something as simple as being able to highlight the five most important data points is a big win for ease of use and effectiveness.

FlightScope is also the runaway winner at integrating other technologies.  I had the opportunity to test FlightScope with FocusBand and was amazed at how well their worked together.  I’ve also seen FlightScope paired with BodiTrak and was similarly impressed.

There is still debate about the merit of all the data that launch monitors produce, but the prevalence of these devices on the PGA Tour tells you all that you need to know.  At the highest level, players want to have (or at least want their coaches to have) as much information as possible.  An individual golfer may not need to know their vertical swing plane, but in the hands of an informed coach, this information makes improvement faster and easier.

FlightScope Xi Tour_0103

Longevity

How regularly you use your FlightScope is going to be primarily related to your set up.  If you have an indoor studio where everything is perfectly calibrated and simply needs to be turned on, you’ll use FlightScope every day.  If every use requires you to charge your FlightScope, haul it out, set it up, and calibrate it, then your usage will probably be much less frequent.

FlightScope Xi Tour_4345

Value

The FlightScope Xi Tour retails for $9,000.  The other products that FlightScope offers are the the Xi+ and the X2 Elite, which retail for $5,000 and $12,000, respectively.

There are big jumps between the models.  The Xi Plus measures basic ball parameters (ball speed, carry and total distances, offline) and club head speed plus vertical and horizontal launch angles, spin and spin axis, angle of attack, spin loft, and the club’s speed and acceleration profiles.  When you get to the Xi Tour you’re getting every data point imaginable: face to path, face to target, dynamic loft, club path, and vertical and horizontal swing planes.  The X2 Elite doesn’t add any data points, but it does have an on board camera which makes precise calibration worlds easier.FlightScope Xi Tour_0105

Conclusion

Owning a launch monitor doesn’t make sense for every golfer, but for those that are committed to improvement, love the information, and, most importantly, can afford it, FlightScope is a fantastic choice.  With models to suit various price points and needs, and the ability to integrate other technology, they deserve their place among the technological elite.

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Matt Saternus

Co-Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is a golf instructor, club fitter, and writer living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Matt's work has been published in Mulligan Magazine, Chicagoland Golf, South Florida Golf, and other golf media outlets. He's also been a featured speaker in the Online Golf Summit and is a member of Ultimate Golf Advantage's Faculty of Experts.

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2 Comments

  1. Great summary, thanks. Where do I find a comparison of the top Launch Monitors on the market (2016)? User interface is most important in my opinion because if it’s fun/easy to use, you will use it all the time. Not having every single statistic isn’t a deal breaker. Usability is key. Please help.. Every company claims to be the best.

    • Matt Saternus

      KB,

      For ease of use, nothing tops Foresight’s GC2. Drop it, turn it on, and it displays the data right on screen.

      Best,

      Matt

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