What is the best golf swing analyzer?
(The best home golf simulators)
Choosing the best golf swing analyzer does not have to be a difficult task. An ever-increasing number of serious golfers are purchasing golf simulators or monitors for use as a practice aid, improvement aid or for fun with friends during cold winter months when practising outside may just not be viable. There are various models on the market and the golf simulator options are growing, as too is the technology packed within them and the more in-depth launch monitors.
Let us begin with the major differences between a launch monitor and a simulator, so that there is no confusion as to what each do. A simulator is a realistic reproduction of the golf swing generated by some very clever technology and is as close to playing the game for real as you can get. Some simulators have a few additional extras but the information you will get will be basic; shot-shape, distance, spin rates etc.
A launch monitor is much more detailed including the side-spin rate, back-spin rate, launch angle, maximum height, carry and total distances etc. Choosing between a simulator and a launch monitor may not be as straightforward as you may think. You need to think of the benefits involved with owning one or the other. These benefits include the ability to practice even when the weather is poor, or you are unable to make it to the range. (It must be great to be able to press the on button and swing away!!)
You should see a marked improvement in your consistency as practice becomes more of a habitual thing. If you have a multi-player option or internet link-up to play against other sim users across the globe, then you could have an evening four-ball with your pals in around 45-minutes! Owning a launch monitor will enable you to track your progress and see your improvement as time progresses in a more detailed, analytical form with stats and numbers. Before beginning your search you need to ask yourself three important questions:
1 – Do I want to use this as a practice and improvement aid or something to enjoy with friends and family? (This is not to say it will only be fun if using with family or friends, but it is worth asking the question)
2 – How much space do I have
3 – What is my budget?
The three answers to the above questions will give you a more detailed idea as to whether you should look for a launch monitor or a simulator. As a golf professional I did some intensive research when I was searching for a solution so that I could give lessons in an indoor studio.My budget was the biggest drawback for me as I couldn´t afford the very high-end machines that are out there. The most viable options for me personally were the following 3;
Initially I plumped for an Optishot2 simulator, which comprised of a small hitting board that uses lasers to read clubhead data and using algorithms collected from this data the simulator recreated ball flight.
It was a great initial purchase and for those that wish to keep their game on track through the winter this is the perfect simulator as it requires a laptop or computer, a TV and enough space to swing a golf club. Golf balls don´t have to be used, it comes with foam balls included. Priced at around 300$ this is a great piece of technology for the price.
Moving onto another very smart piece of kit, that requires a laptop and enough space to swing the club. More accurate than the Optishot, the R-Motion by Rapsodo is outstanding.
The R-Motion is tiny, it simply clips on to your club, just under the grip and you connect via the wireless Bluetooth connection to the software program powered by The Golf Club Simulator. In the package you receive 4 clip-on units, making this a highly versatile choice. Simply to attach and quick to change clubs it really is a very simple system.
A highly realistic piece of simulation software with incredible graphics.
But the most amazing thing about the R-Motion simulator is the amount of information you can get from it, it is like a mini launch monitor as well as the simulator and for the price of 300$ it is far superior to anything else in a similar price range.
With the future possibilities of being able to link up with the Skytrak launch monitor also powered by Rapsodo the possibilities seem incredible.
The SkyTrak launch monitor is a seriously sophisticated piece of equipment. In comparative tests against the more highly price GC Quad and Trackman the results are extremely accurate, making it exceptional value for money, coming in at around 1500$.
The amount of information is not quite as in-depth as the higher valued launch monitors, but the price difference makes this a very very interesting option. Powered by Rapsodo, the SkyTrak would require a separate licence purchase to be able to double up as a simulator, and like the R-Motion the best option for this would be the Golf Club Simulator. The graphics as previously mentioned are superb and with the information gained from the Skytrak the resulting game-play is fantastic. From the SkyTrak you can analyse club head and ball speed, launch angle, decent angle, club-face angle, side-spin and deviation measurements and the carry, roll and total distance. A lot of information from a 1500$ machine, and accurate to boot. The Skytrak can also be used outside, hook it up to your laptop (as you would indoors) and you will get the same information. I tried this to test just how accurate it was, and the results were identical.
The Trackman – golf swing analyzer
If you have deep pockets then you can look at either the industry leader The Trackman, with a price tag of around 40,000$ for the basic launch monitor and simulator package costing a little more, is the only option.
Incredible technology has gained the Trackan world-wide recognition, with tour pros having them installed in their homes and a portable version of the launch monitor for the road. Using a dual radar tracking system, the Trackman records vital club head data, swing path and ball data to couple with the simulation software for a truly remarkable experience and a sure way to improve your game.
GC Quad -Foresight Sports – Golf swing analyzer
The other big player in the market is the Foresight Sport GC Quad (the newest model) with quadrascopic cameras capturing ball and club head data providing incredible accuracy. Paired with Foresights FSX simulation, at extra cost, the GC Quad is a phenomenal launch monitor, but carries a hefty price tag of around 22000$.
The older model still in production is the GC2 and although not as advanced it is still a superb launch monitor and with addition of the HMT add-on the GC2 is a slightly more affordable option, coming in at around 13000$, with the FSX software package included for simulation purposes. If I had to rank them in order, for the best all-round performance as a simulator or launch monitor I would have to place the Trackman at the top of the list, but this is not readily available to the average golfer, it is too expensive. So, my top 3 would look like this:
The best golf swing analyzers in reverse order
The Optishot2, if you are looking for a simulator to provide basic figures and decent graphics and have a limited budget then this is the simulator for you. It has no frills but does what it was designed to do, create an at-home launch monitor accessible to many.
It is the R-motion, powerful, accurate and already including the simulation software the ease of use is the real delight here. It is a straightforward set up, install the software, pair the Bluetooth and you are ready. Simple to use, fun to enjoy and a guaranteed way to improve your game (as tested by me and some of my clients, one who saw a notable improvement in just 6 weeks) the R-Motion at 300$ is an absolute steal of a golf simulator. And the fact it can be used anywhere with or without golf balls is a real plus for at-home use.
So, if you are looking for a launch monitor or simulator for you own personal use, do some of your own research and see which offers you the most. I would be surprised if you find anything better than the R-Motion for the price.
1. The best golf swing analyzer goes to the Skytrak launch monitor and home golf simulator.
I must go for the Skytrak, purely because the software is an additional cost. But the launch monitor side of the SkyTrak is as good as it gets, incredibly accurate and for the average golfer the numbers it provides are more than enough to improve your game. When you couple it with the simulation software it is truly a game-changer.