What you need to know before you buy a golf launch monitor to fit your budget
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What you need to know before you buy a golf launch monitor to fit your budget


Golf launch monitors are more accessible than ever.

With products like Skytrak, FlightScope Mevo, FlightScope Mevo+ and options from Ernest Sports, among others, there's no reason a dedicated golfer can't get a golf launch monitor that helps them play better and matches their budget, even one under $500.

The experts and friends at Rain or Shine Golf have helped us learn the basics of what to look for in a golf simulator. Rain or Shine Golf is an online retailer specializing in equipment to help golfers play indoor golf. Working with the major indoor golf brands, Rain or Shine Golf offers not only the best available prices on golf launch monitors but the expertise and support of passionate golfers who want you to have the ultimate setup.

(DISCLOSURE: Golf News Net is a member of Rain or Shine Golf's affiliate program, and we may earn a percentage of sales from purchases made through our links.)

We answer the basic questions for any golfer thinking of creating a space to play indoor golf.

1. How much does a good portable golf launch monitor cost?

A golfer can get a good portable golf launch monitor for under $500 with the Flightscope Mevo, as well models from Ernest Sports and Voice Caddie. The Mevo is the pick of the litter in that price point, offering a great, free app, a battery of solid data points to help golfers and the ability to track spin numbers with metallic stickers. However, if a golfer wants more data points, they're likely going to jump from $500 to $2,000 with either the Skytrak or the Flightscope Mevo+, which both offer more data and more precise measurement, as well the ability to double as a golf simulator for indoor golf. If you're looking for something from Foresight Sports, Trackman or advanced Flightscope models, you're looking to spend at least $10,000.

2. What data do these portable golf launch monitors track?

Each golf launch monitor tier offers more data, better measurement and more refinement. At the $500 basic level, the Flightscope Mevo will track club head speed, ball speed, smash factor, trajectory, total distance, carry distance and, with metallic stickers, spin. With SkyTrak or the Mevo+, there more data points tracked that will help you dial in better. Both also offer more refinement.

3. Are golf launch monitors reliable indoors and outdoors?

This is a tricky question. Typically, Flightscope's portable launch monitors work better outdoors than indoors, but they can perform well enough indoors. Skytrak works outdoors, but it is prone to faltering in certain outdoor lights and situations, while it shines indoors because it is also designed to be a golf simulator. Depending on your goals with a launch monitor, you'll probably fall into one family or the other.

4. Do these launch monitors work with my phone or tablet?

With the Flightscope Mevo and Flightscope Mevo+, they have good, easy-to-use apps for Android and iOS. With Skytrak, they have apps for both major mobile platforms, but they run better on tablets and on iOS.

5. If I go with a Flightscope Mevo+ or Skytrak, what do I need to complete a golf simulator setup for indoor golf?

From Shawn Foley at Rain or Shine Golf: "Typically, you will need a golf simulator and/or a launch monitor with golf simulation, golf mat, golf simulator screen, projector and computer or iPad to run the simulation software. A popular option to consider is removing the golf simulator screen and projector in favor of a golf net. Rather than hitting into a screen and showing the projection on a screen, you can hit into a net and use a TV or other monitors to visually see the simulation. So there is no one package fits all, and what is included in your golf simulator package will depend on your preferences. Accessories such as ball trays, club racks, seating, alignment sticks, etc. can be added as well but are completely optional." These additional setups can run approximately $1,000-$2,000 more to the cost of the launch monitor.

6. What famous courses can golfers play on their simulators?

The lists of courses that golf simulator software providers offer are vast and ever-changing. Most of the top golf simulator software providers have more than enough top famous golf courses available so this might be your ticket to playing courses like the Old Course at St. Andrews, Bethpage Black, Pinehurst No. 2, etc. Some of the best software providers in terms of course selection include The Golf Club (TGC), E6 by TruGolf and WGT. We put together a golf simulator software guide to help walk potential buyers through their options but we recommend also checking out the individual software providers websites for up-to-date course lists.


About the author

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is currently a +2.6 USGA handicap, and he has covered dozens of major championships and professional golf tournaments. He likes writing about golf and making it more accessible by answering the complex questions fans have about the pro game or who want to understand how to play golf better.

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