SkyTrak Golf Launch Monitor Review

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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.

Introduction

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 SkyTrakthe first launch monitor to promise commercial-grade accuracy at an affordable price.

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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.

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Effectiveness

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.

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Longevity

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.

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Value

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.

Support PluggedInGolf, buy SkyTrak HERE

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.

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Conclusion

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.

Buy SkyTrak HERE

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Matt Saternus

Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Plugged In Golf. He's worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Matt lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

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61 Comments

  1. Nice review Matt! You mentioned actual courses coming in Q2 ’15, are there any other upgrades you’ve heard about?

    I’m thinking of ways this could be used in a typical simulator setup via HDMI out on the iPad to a projector. Is that anything you’ve tried?

    • Matt Saternus

      The only thing I know about is the WGT simulation, but I’m sure there will be many other improvements, especially to the app, as time goes on.

      I have no tried anything with a projector because my practice set up won’t accommodate it anyway, but I don’t see why that would be a problem.

      Best,

      Matt

  2. Randy Frick

    Most of your data was on wedges, did you hit drivers or fairway woods?

    • Matt Saternus

      Yes, we tested the unit thoroughly with all clubs. We just used screenshots from a short series of wedge shots.

      -Matt

  3. Brian Prentice

    I’m considering Skytrak, but as someone who regularly uses these types of units for reviews, are you finding any anomalies that you have to account for in your recent reviews since moving to Skytrak exclusively? Users suggest that is accounts some factors very accurately, other factors are exaggerated. Would appreciate your feedback.

    • Matt Saternus

      Brian,

      Great question. So far, we have not seen anything that is unusual. The numbers we’re getting from SkyTrak are in line with those we see from Foresight and Trackman.
      I was actually on Trackman recently and I had forgotten how common it is for radar units to miss shots, particularly indoors. This is something I have never seen from a camera-based system.

      I hope that answers your question.

      -Matt

  4. glen tomas

    Can you quantify your comparison data? Was Skytrak within 1%, 5%, or 10% variance from Trakman and Flightscope? Or, can you post your numbers for us to observe the results directly? Thanks.

    Thanks

    • Matt Saternus

      Glen,

      With all clubs, we saw ball speed that were +/- 1 MPH and launch angles within one degree. Spin was typically within 100 RPM with driver and long clubs, within 300 RPM with wedges and short irons.

      One thing I would point out is that, while many people assume Trackman or Foresight is correct and SkyTrak is off by those amounts, even the most expensive machines have margins of error.

      I hope that helps.

      -Matt

      • glen tomas

        Thanks for very useful info Matt! I think you may have convinced me to pick one up. Now, all that is left, is that you need to convince my wife. :-)

  5. Hi Matt.
    I have bought the skytrak and have been hitting numerous of ball in my garage, and I found that the skytrak is lack of accuracy when it come to distance. As I have distance like 190-199 for my P and 9i, same issue for my 8i, I have call skytrak and the say to reset the unit wich I did but the problem still remains. I found GC2 more accurate in term of monitor. I hope skytrak take care of this distance issue. Danny

    • Matt Saternus

      Danny,

      I’m just guessing, but are the spin numbers way off? One “hack” that I’ve seen is to turn the ball so that the logo faces the camera. This makes it easier for the unit to accurately read spin and provide better distances.

      In any case, I hope you see the performance improve.

      Best,

      Matt

  6. Will the Skytrak work with earlier model i-pads?

  7. Ronald Spence

    Can you hit “almost golf” rubber practice balls ,and get reliable results.

    • Matt Saternus

      No, I don’t believe that anything other than a real golf ball will give you “real” results.

      Best,

      Matt

    • Christopher

      Yes you can use almost golf balls and get a shot shape that is pretty close. Of course distance and spin will be off.

      It helps to draw a black line down the center for the camera to pick this up instead of the dimples.

  8. What about the idea of building a protective case for it?

    Not that i would ever accidentally toe a ball directly into it…
    But my friends might.

    any ideas?

    • Matt Saternus

      Hayden,

      I think that’s a fine idea. As long as the case doesn’t block the laser or the camera, it should be fine.

      I’m hoping they’ll release a protective case soon.

      Best,

      Matt

  9. I have been going to a simulator that has golf balls with black lines all over the ball. I’m sure you have seen/heard of this. Would drawing black lines on the golf ball I’m using for Sky Trak make it more accurate? Also…I’m thinking of picking one of these up for a 10’x10’x10′ OUTSIDE golf net. Would Sky Trak be a good fit for this application? Let me know. Thanks.

    • Matt Saternus

      John,

      I think SkyTrak should work very well for the application you described.

      With regard to lines on the ball, I don’t think it would make it more accurate, but it might prevent the occasional missed shot. I haven’t missed any shots yet, but I have heard that some people have experienced that when the logo isn’t aimed at the camera. The lines should negate that concern.

      Best,

      Matt

  10. Larry Harris

    I think you may have answered my question? Cost is $1999.00 with everthing I would need for personal use? I would need an iPad?
    can not use surface pro 3
    thank you Larry Harris

    • Matt Saternus

      Larry,

      You will need a relatively new iPad to use with SkyTrak. I don’t believe any other tablets are supported at this time.

      Best,

      Matt

  11. Adam Lenin

    Have you heard anything about skygolf’s gametracker product?

  12. How soon are the golf simulator packages going to be released for Sky Trak?
    When will this finally be PC compatible?

    • Matt Saternus

      Dex,

      There is a beta test for the PC version now, and golf simulation is now available through WGT. Please see the update in the review for details.

      Best,

      Matt

  13. Hi Matt
    Do you know if club head speed or attack angle will be included ?
    Thanks
    Tony

    • Matt Saternus

      Tony,

      Club head speed is included, but it’s calculated not measured. I doubt that SkyTrak will provide measured club head numbers (AoA, path, etc) at any point.

      -Matt

  14. When using sky tracker, do have to hit a real golf ball. Can I use a foam golf ball?

  15. I was interested in buying one. I live in Toronto, Canada is there a store I can go to see a demo and in stock to pick one up? Thanks

  16. Hi Mark,

    I have been reading all the reviews and comments but I don’t see anywhere where people are talking about putting for the simulator option of Skytrak. Can you putt to end each hole or how do the simulator portion work? I have a room all set up with a projector, mat and hitting screen and now I am looking for the best home based simulator so we can continue men’s night through our cold Canadian winters.

    Thank you,
    Dave

    • Matt Saternus

      Dave,

      Putting currently isn’t part of SkyTrak, but I recall seeing something on a recent update relating to putting. I expect it’s coming soon.

      Best,

      Matt

  17. Can you play multipliers and left and right players with the simulator option?

  18. Hi Matt,

    Will SkyTrack pick up bad shots as well as good, for instance if you top a shot? Also I think my iPad is the ipad 2, I’m guessing that I will need to upgrade to the iPad Air?

    Regards

    Gary

    • Matt Saternus

      Gary,

      It’s a mixed bag. A really bad top that barely gets airborne? Probably not. A shot that’s a couple grooves thin? 50/50.

      Best,

      Matt

  19. I recently bought a Skytracker. I am experiencing significant errors in the data. Almost all shots go about 60% of my normal distance. I am a 69 year old with an 8 handicap. My average drives are 220-230 yards. After over20 hits with my driver using the Skytracker the longest reading I have gotten is 152 yards. All other clubs have been reading about 60% of my normal distance. I have tried using a logo ball facing the Skytracker, but it didn’t make any difference. Any thoughts?

  20. Thanks for the info. Could you tell me what’s the shortest shot it will record? Chips, pitches?

    • Matt Saternus

      Bo,

      I get 30 yard pitches to register regularly. I have hit shots shorter than that, but I don’t practice them on SkyTrak regularly enough to say whether or not they get picked up reliably.

      Best,

      Matt

  21. I would like to display skytrak images on an impact screen. Is anyone out there getting good results ? which projector model are you using? Any tips on setup are most welcome.

  22. Alan Brezin

    Hi Matt. The main reason for my interest in SkyTrak is to get feedback about the flight and direction of my over 100 yard shots on the golf course since my vision is so poor yet I still hit the ball well and long. In your experience and opinion would this device be practical to set up quickly and aim at my ball by moving the unit to point the laser at my ball instead of moving the ball under the laser for most shots in a serious or competitive golf round so I can tell where the shot goes and enjoy when I hit a good shot with good flight- something I often do but rarely get to witness with my poor eyesight?

    • Matt Saternus

      Alan,

      That’s a very interesting idea. I think that SkyTrak and Foresight’s GC2 are the two units where this could be feasible. It would certainly add some time to each shot, but I think you could get away with it if you’re a quick player.

      Best,

      Matt

  23. I see that SkyTrak is fully usable with E6 software now, have you used it with it

  24. David Jacobson

    How far away from the impact screen does the skytrack unit need to be?

    • Matt Saternus

      David,

      The SkyTrak sets up in front of the golfer (face on), so it’s as close to the screen as you are.

      Best,

      Matt

  25. Andy Grombacher

    I am looking into this product and have read the comments. I have a few questions. 1. I saw a comment that says it doesn’t calculate club head speed, does that affect data? My biggest hope is to get a distance tracker so I am more comfortable with distances I hit each club. Will this be an effective device? Any where I can see one live?

    • Matt Saternus

      Andy,

      The fact that it doesn’t measure club head speed won’t impact its ability to accurately predict distances.
      I don’t know if there are live demos of the SkyTrak. I would suggest contacting the company.

      Best,

      Matt

  26. How does this compare to the Optishot 2 simulator which is far less cheaper?

    • Matt Saternus

      Kirk,

      The Optishot is a toy, not a launch monitor. That’s not to say it isn’t fun to play with, but it’s useless in terms of providing real data.

      Best,

      Matt

  27. big unexpected expense, We enjoy the device however, it has some unexpected expenses. We bought our SkyTrak and inside of 14 months the laser on one side stopped working. This is an adult owned never dropped, never hit, always in the protective case etc. device. Repairs for it are $252.50. The agent tells me it should NOT happened again and it should NOT fail again so either she’s full of it or the original laser was of poor quality and they’ve learned that. I suspect you’ll have to plan for a $250 annual repair plus fees for your courses so your annually fees may be north of $500! For $2000 I didn’t expect to have a $250 repair w/ 14 months. To top it off the tech support was very adamant that they hadn’t seen this problem before.

  28. Thanks for the SkyTrak highlight! I’ve had nothing but success with mine. SkyTrak is a great affordable option without sacrificing on accuracy. I’ve been able to drop my handicap by eight points since I started using mine.

    $2,000 is a great price for a launch monitor when you compare it to the prices of higher end units.

    I agree that it doesn’t always do well outdoors, but I’ve found that if I keep the SkyTrak out of direct sunlight it reads a lot better. I primarily keep mine indoor for my golf simulator, and have no problems with it inside.

    The ball measurement has been extremely helpful for me with understanding where I’m hitting the ball and how my swing affects that. The data is easy to understand and a great improvement tool.

    Over all I think that SkyTrak is the best bang for your buck when it comes to a launch monitor.

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  30. How does the SkyTrak compare to the FlightScope Mevo?

    • Matt Saternus

      Brandon,

      My understanding is that the Mevo only takes a very rough measurement of accuracy, where SkyTrak can track that accurately. Also, Mevo needs marked golf balls to measure spin, SkyTrack does not. I haven’t used Mevo personally, so I can’t speak to the accuracy firsthand, but SkyTrak is very impressive given its price.

      Best,

      Matt

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