50 Words or Less
SkyTrak promises to be an easy to use, professional quality launch monitor at a price that’s about 1/3 of its nearest competition…and it delivers.
Even if you live in beautiful San Diego, you can’t deny the appeal of having an amazing indoor golf studio – a place where you could hit balls, get real feedback, and play simulated rounds 24/7. The problem, of course, is that these studios run into the deep five figures very quickly, well beyond the means of regular golfers.
But what if the price of a launch monitor was brought within reason? What if you could get professional quality data without selling a kidney? That’s the promise of SkyTrak, the first launch monitor to promise commercial-grade accuracy at an affordable price.
Ease of Use & Set-Up
Using SkyTrak is as easy as using any Bluetooth device. First, you need to download the free SkyTrak app to your iPad (yes, it’s currently iPad only). Then set down your SkyTrak, power it on, connect it your iPad, and you’re ready to go.
SkyTrak projects a red laser onto the ground where you need to place the ball to get a reading. If you set a ball on the spot and hit a shot, you can read the results of the shot on your iPad seconds later. The unit has a sensor that effectively self-levels it, there’s no calibration required, and a single charge will power it for five hours.
The app is easy to use and intuitive. There are some bugs and some functions that it’s currently missing – the ability to delete shots, for instance – but I expect that these will be ironed out as the app is upgraded over time and the basic functionality is there.
UPDATE 9/29/15: The Sky Trak app now allows you to delete your most recent shot.
When I talk about the effectiveness of SkyTrak, what I’m really speaking about is accuracy: is this comparable to Trackman, FlightScope, and Foresight or not? The short answer is yes. We tested SkyTrak directly against both Trackman and Foresight* and found the results to be very similar.
As a teacher and a fitter, I have confidence using SkyTrak with my students and clients. As a golfer who demands the most accurate data, I have no concerns about using SkyTrak to improve my game.
One point that should be made about the data is that SkyTrak only measures the golf ball. It does report a club head speed number, but this is an estimate and it assumes a pure strike. I have found it to be fairly accurate, but it should be understood that this is a calculated, not measured, value.
Beyond the accuracy of its data, SkyTrak is effective because it makes practicing fun. Anyone who has ever hit a ball into a net knows that the charm of that activity is quickly lost. When you see real results, however, it becomes much more fun and beneficial. Additionally, there are Closest to the Pin and Long Drive contests that you can play with friends or by yourself. Finally, SkyTrak will allow you to play virtual rounds of golf through World Golf Tour starting in Q2 of 2015.
*Full disclosure: Because both SkyTrak and Foresight need to be in roughly the same place, we could not have both units measure the same shots. Instead, we hit large quantities of shots in the same environment on the same day with both machines and compared the data.
UPDATE 9/29/15: 9 months later, I still find the accuracy of SkyTrak to be excellent, I have found that it does sporadically miss shots. If SkyTrak misses a few shots in a row, powering the unit down and restarting it typically fixes the problem. It is frustrating, however, when the one shot that you absolutely flush doesn’t get measured.
It’s also worth noting that golf simulation is still not available.
UPDATE 10/29/15: Golf simulation is now available through WGT. Sadly, some other changes have occurred, too. Without subscribing to an annual plan, you only get a stripped-down version of the driving range. You cannot see the history of your session, only the most recent shot. For $100/year, you unlock the contests as well as a number of features that make the driving range more enjoyable and useful (different camera angles, numeric display, etc). For $200/year, you get full course play on 10 WGT courses.
Also, I have done some additional testing outdoors and have seen some occasion bad reads. By and large, I still think SkyTrak is accurate and worth using, but it’s not perfect. I don’t know if the misreads are related to the quality of golf ball being used or the outdoor environment.
I rate SkyTrak exceptionally high for longevity because of both the ease of use and the countless applications for it. Most people will probably use SkyTrak primarily for indoor practice, but there are many more possibilities.
One use is dialing in and maintaining your clubs. As I discussed in the lesson “Know Your Distances,” you must know how far your clubs go if you’re going to shoot low scores. SkyTrak allows you to know your distances with extreme precision and to keep tabs on them over time.
SkyTrak also has tremendous value on the range. While it’s fine to simply watch the ball flight, it’s far better to know results of each shot precisely and to have a record of each shot. This data will allow you to track your progress over time and let you know what to work on.
One of the biggest reasons that SkyTrak has generated so much buzz is the price. At $2,000, it’s roughly 1/3 the cost of its nearest competitor, Foresight. While $2,000 is still a lot of money, SkyTrak does make this kind of technology available to many more people than ever before. Relative to the rest of the market, SkyTrak is a tremendous value. Whether or not having a launch monitor is worth your investment is obviously a personal decision.
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UPDATE: Please keep in mind that $2,000 now only buys the basic version of the driving range. You will need to budget an additional $100 or $200 per year if you want the fully functional driving range, contests, and golf course simulation.
SkyTrak represents a huge win for golf consumers because it delivers professional-grade accuracy at a price that more golfers will be able to afford. Whether you’re looking to enhance your teaching, build your own golf studio, or get game-improving data on the range, SkyTrak is an affordable, easy to use solution.