Wondering which golf launch monitor is right for you?
We’ve been covering golf launch monitors and simulators for over 4 years, have regular conversations with the leading brands and manufacturers, and have referred over $1.5M sales to our retail partners.
We know the launch monitor market like the back of our hand. So before digging into the detail, let’s summarize.
In terms of the best overall golf launch monitor this year, there were two choices: TrackMan 4 or Foresight’s GCQuad.
We felt GCQuad’s stats were close enough to TrackMan’s to mean the $6k ish saving makes sense. Plus, TrackMan 4 isn’t readily available to buy online (you’ll have to fill in a form and wait for a reply).
So GCQuad is the best overall launch monitor (but it’s also $14K), how about the other end of the scale?
In the under $1,000 category there was a clear winner; Rapsodo’s MLM2PRO. With its dual camera and doppler radar hybrid tech it beats out the Flightscope Mevo (not to be confused with the Mevo+) and the Garmin R10 for accuracy and stats.
In the affordable category ($1,500-$3,000) the choices were FlightScope’s Mevo+ and the new SkyTrak+. Accuracy is comparable, but the versatility of the Mevo+, included 10 course E6 Connect License, and the fact it’s over $1,000 cheaper (coming in at under $2K compared to $3K for the SkyTrak) means it gets our vote.
And finally, in the mid-range category we picked the Bushnell Launch Pro. It’s a Foresight GC3 with a Bushnell logo and half the price tag ($3,500 vs $7K), and beats out the Full Swing KIT on accuracy.
Update: The Bushnell Launch Pro is on sale until the end of September, with $500 off the regular price at The Indoor Golf Shop.
Scroll down to read our full comparisons (starting at the affordable end and working upwards), or skip straight to the category that suits your budget by tapping the links below.
- Best launch monitors under $1,000
- Best affordable launch monitors ($1,500-$3K)
- Best mid-range launch monitors ($3,500-$7K)
- Best overall launch monitor ($14K+)
Best Launch Monitors Under $1,000
FlightScope Mevo vs Garmin R10 vs Rapsodo MLM2PRO
Let’s start at the affordable end.
If you want a launch monitor for under $1,000 you’ve got three choices:
- FlightScope’s Mevo
- Garmin’s R10
- Rapsodo’s MLM2PRO
So which should you go for?
Well, we hate to say this, but… it depends. The Mevo is the cheapest (well under $500), the Rapsodo is the best overall (but the most expensive, particularly when you add subscriptions), and the Garmin sits somewhere in the middle.
Since the Rapsodo is the best of the bunch, it’s our number 1 pick in the under $1,000 category. But that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to be the right choice for you.
So here are some specific recommendations that should help you make your decision.
Buy the Rapsodo if you want the most accurate stats, particularly on side-spin
It’s no surprise that the more expensive the launch monitor, the more accurate it’s going to be.
So launch monitors in the sub $1,000 price bracket are never going to be as trustworthy as more expensive options.
But with that being said, the Rapsodo MLM2PRO has a clear edge over both the Garmin and the Mevo here.
Why? Because it’s the only one of the three that uses a combination of:
- high-speed cameras (to capture the club through the impact zone) and,
- doppler radar tracking (to capture the ball in flight)
The R10 and the Mevo are doppler radar only.
And while there’s nothing wrong with doppler tracking (it’s what TrackMan is based on), the Rapsodo’s hybrid approach definitely makes it the most accurate of the three options.
That accuracy is going to be the most noticeable on sidespin, where the R10 can often get things wrong – even to the extreme of the R10 showing a fade, then going on to the course and hitting a hook. Fair to say, that can be disastrous for your game.
The MLM2PRO on the other hand deals with sidespin well. But you’ll need to use RPT (Rapsodo Precision Technology) balls, which have dots on them that the Rapsodo can track.
If you use regular balls then the unit can’t properly track spin and numbers are going to be off. So the additional cost of special balls (and the inconvenience of using them) is definitely something else to consider. But if you want accuracy in this price range, that’s the trade off.
In terms of accuracy between the Mevo and the R10, the Garmin probably has the edge, but there’s not a huge amount in it.
If you want to see a simulation of your ball flight, forget the Mevo (or shell out for a Mevo+)
This is a launch monitor guide.
But a lot of people mix up launch monitors and simulators.
In a nutshell:
You can’t have a golf simulator without a launch monitor. But you can have a launch monitor without a simulator.
A launch monitor’s job is to record swing speed, ball speed, ball flight etc. A simulator’s job (and a simulator is software really) is to well… simulate how that data would look if the ball was actually flying.
Long story short, the R10 and the Rapsodo both work as simulators (you can use something like E6 Connect), but the Mevo doesn’t. The standard Mevo will just give you data. If you want to use a FlightScope launch monitor as a simulator you’ll have to jump up a price bracket to the Mevo+.
Buy the Garmin R10 (over the Rapsodo) if you don’t want to get locked in to additional costs
We’ve already mentioned that to get the most accurate results from a Rapsodo MLM2PRO you’ll need to use RPT golf balls. So that’s going to be an ongoing cost.
But unfortunately that’s not the only one.
Because for the sidespin metrics (which is the main advantage of the Rapsodo over the R10) you also need a MLM2PRO Premium Membership. It’s currently free for the first 12 months, but after that it’s going to cost you $199 a year.
So while the initial cost of the MLM2PRO is well under $1,000, if you plan on using it for 5 years or more, it gets to the point where it’s going to work out the same (or even more expensive) than a Mevo+ or a SkyTrak with a basic subscription.
It’s not ideal.
But then, we assume this subscription model is how Rapsodo can offer such a great launch monitor for such an affordable price.
Ultimately, you’ll need to consider whether you want to be locked in to ongoing costs. If you don’t then the R10 might be a better option. Or if you’d rather bite the bullet, get a better launch monitor, and get all the costs out the way at once, we’d go for a Mevo+, which is double the initial price but probably going to work out cheaper than the Rapsodo over time.
Buy the Mevo if you just want a cheap launch monitor that’s going to give you yardages
FlightScope’s Mevo definitely has some drawbacks when compared with the Rapsodo and the Garmin. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be a bad choice.
At the end of the day, if you’re not bothered about a simulation (you just want yardages) and you only need those yardages to be in the ballpark, then the Mevo does the trick.
Plus it’s half the price of the Rapsodo (even more when you factor in subscriptions/balls) and at least $200 cheaper than the Garmin.
Best Affordable Launch Monitors
FlightScope Mevo+ vs SkyTrak+
There are two stand-out launch monitor options in the $1,000-$3,000 range, SkyTrak’s new SkyTrak+, and FlightScope’s Mevo+.
Both are new for 2023, so which is best?
Overall, we’d probably say the Mevo+.
- there’s not much between the two launch monitors in terms of accuracy and stats,
- the Mevo+ is going to be the better option for outdoor use,
- you’ll get E6 Connect out-the-box, and
- it’s also $1,000 cheaper.
The Mevo+ will cost you under $2K, while you’ll be closer to $3K for the SkyTrak+.
But again, here are some considerations for choosing the right option for you.
Buy the Mevo+ if you’ll primarily be using your launch monitor outdoors
The original SkyTrak’s camera system struggled with outdoor use, particularly in direct sunlight.
The new SkyTrak+ is definitely an improvement. But it’s still not going to perform as well as a doppler radar based launch monitor, which tracks ball flight rather than calculating from initial launch.
With plenty of space both behind and in-front of the hitting zone the Mevo+ excels. Which means it’s definitely going to be the better launch monitor choice for outdoor use.
Buy the SkyTrak+ if you don’t have a large room for practicing indoors
While the SkyTrak+ uses high-speed cameras (and sits to the side of the hitting zone), the Mevo+ is a doppler radar tracking launch monitor, which means it’s going to require 8 to 9 ft behind the hitting area for accurate tracking. Technically FlightScope say you can get away with 4 to 7ft, but from what we’ve seen accuracy is going to suffer.
This means that when you add the space you’ll need in front of the hitting zone, you’re going to need a room that’s a minimum of 16 ft long if you want to use the Mevo+ indoors and get the most accurate data.
So for smaller practice rooms, the SkyTrak+ is going to be the better choice. But if you have the space, we’d still opt for the Mevo+.
Buy the Mevo+ if you’ll be switching between left handed and right handed players
Since the Mevo+ sits behind the hitting zone it doesn’t have an issue switching play between left handed and right handed players.
But while you can definitely play left handed with the SkyTrak+, it’s not an easy switch. You’ll need to physically move the SkyTrak+ to the other side (right of the hitting zone for righties, left for lefties), recalibrate it, and switch settings in the app.
So if you’re a righty and plan to play with your left handed buddy (or vice versa) then the FlightScope is definitely going to be the better option.
And this also means it’s probably going to be a better choice for teachers as moving the SkyTrak around in between lessons is going to get old fast.
Buy the Mevo+ if you want E6 Connect out-the-box
If you want to use your launch monitor as a simulator, then you’ll probably want an E6 Connect license.
And the good news is that the Mevo+ includes a license for 10 E6 Connect licenses out-the-box.
Here are the courses you’ll get:
- Aviara – CA, USA
- Stone Canyon – AZ, USA
- Wade Hampton – NC, USA
- Sanctuary – CO, USA
- Bay Hill – FL, USA
- The Belfry – Sutton Coldfield, England
- Oslo Golf Club – Norway, Europe
- Panther Lake – FL, USA
- Thanksgiving Point – UT, USA
- Par 3 Ocean Course – Fantasy Course
And you’ll also get 17 practice ranges to play.
With the SkyTrak+ you’ll have to budget for your software separately. An annual E6 Connect license is going to cost you $300 p/a or you can buy a lifetime iOS license for $1,500. That’s quite a considerable chunk to add, especially when you’re already paying $1,000 more for the SkyTrak+ over the FlightScope.
So the fact FlightScope includes 10 E6 Connect courses in the price is a massive plus.
And on top of that FlightScope’s regular launch monitor stats app for PC (FS Golf) is included for free, while with the SkyTrak+ you’ll need to pay an annual license for SkyTrak’s Game Improvement plan ($99 p/a).
Buy the Mevo+ if you want to easily sync video recordings of each swing
Can you sync videos of your swing with the SkyTrak? Yes, they have an integration available with Swing Catalyst. But that’s going to cost you $490 a year or $49 a month. These additional costs are ramping up aren’t they?
The good news is that with the Mevo+ you can do it for free with the included FlightScope Multicam app, which will automatically sync and clip your swing videos when recording from an iOS device.
We highly recommend recording video of your swing as it will help you make sense of your number (plus feel ain’t real), so another tick for the Mevo+ here.
Best Mid-Range Launch Monitors
Bushnell Launch Pro vs Foresight GC3 vs Full Swing KIT
Above $3,000 things get a little confusing.
Because there are three main mid-range options:
- Bushnell’s Launch Pro
- Foresight’s GC3
- The Full Swing KIT
But two of those options are actually the same launch monitor. Bushnell and Foresight are owned by the same parent company, and the Launch Pro is the GC3, just with a different brand logo, and a cheaper initial price (we’ll get to that).
The fact that the Full Swing Kit is endorsed (and used) by Tiger Woods is a big plus. But overall we feel that Foresight make the most accurate launch monitors right now (even if sometimes they put a Bushnell logo on them).
So we’d be going for the Bushnell Launch Pro (if you want a low initial cost) and the GC3 if you want FSX2020 (and simulation capabilities) included out-the-box without paying an additional monthly license.
If you prefer a doppler radar based launch monitor (Foresight are camera based), then we’d be heading for FlightScope’s Mevo+ over the Full Swing KIT as it’s less than half the price.
There’s less to compare (and decisions to make) in this price range than the other categories, since the GC3 and the Bushnell are literally the same launch monitor.
So basically it comes down to this:
Buy the Launch Pro if you want a low initial up-front cost, or the GC3 if you want everything included out-the-box
The Bushnell Launch Pro and the GC3 use the same high-speed camera technology as Foresight’s industry leading GCQuad. They just have 3 of them instead of 4, which leads to the loss of a few metrics (nothing dealbreaking) and a big reduction in the price.
The Bushnell Launch Pro is going to cost you around $3,500 and the Foresight GC3 is going to cost you around $7,000 (sometimes a bit less depending on deals).
The difference? If you go for the Launch Pro you’ll get a free year of FSX2020, but after that you’ll be paying $699 a year. Which means that after 6 years the cost is going to end up the same (and that’s assuming Foresight don’t put the price up in the interim). You can also opt to pay for the license in a lump sum of $3,500.
On balance, we’d probably opt for the lower up-front cost of the Bushnell Launch Pro, since it’s likely you would want to upgrade your launch monitor tech after 5 years.
But if you’d rather get the costs out of the way up-front and not be locked in to an annual payment, then go for the GC3.
Buy the Full Swing KIT if you want 4K playback of your swing
Foresight is definitely winning the accuracy battle here. And that’s probably what you’re looking for in this price range.
But the Full Swing KIT is still a great launch monitor.
We particularly like the 4K video capture of your swings, which you can play back instantly on your iPad or iPhone. Unlike the Mevo+, which captures video through your phone, the Full Swing KIT is capturing the video directly in 4K and relaying it to your device. And you’ll also get unlimited cloud storage, which means you can go back and view previous training sessions to monitor your improvement.
The app interface on the Full Swing KIT is also one of the most intuitive and user friendly we’ve seen.
If you opt for the Full Swing KIT you’re not going to be disappointed, we just think that Foresight (or Bushnell – same, same) has the edge.
Best Overall Launch Monitor
Foresight GCQuad vs TrackMan 4
The choice for the best overall launch monitor came down to a straight shoot-out between TrackMan and Foresight’s GCQuad. Let’s expand a bit on why GCQuad came out on top.
There’s no point ignoring it, price was a factor. TrackMan is going to cost you (at least) 25% more than GCQuad. Which poses the question, is TrackMan 25% better? Or rather, 25% more accurate than GCQuad?
The short answer is, definitely not.
There’s no doubt that TrackMan has the edge on GCQuad when it comes to distance. And that’s because TrackMan uses radar to track the golf ball through full flight — it’s literally measuring an exact yardage. GCQuad on the other hand takes high speed photos of the club and golf ball through impact to calculate launch conditions, allowing it to estimate (to a high degree of accuracy) total yardage. So TrackMan wins the distance war.
But on the flipside, many tests have found that GCQuad beats TrackMan when it comes to club data (think path, strike location etc). Why? Because TrackMan can’t actually see the clubface at impact, whereas GCQuad (due to it’s 4 camera setup) can. This battle goes to GCQuad.
So at the moment, we’re looking at a score draw. The question becomes, what are you losing on distance accuracy? And is it a deal breaker?
Well, in tests, the GCQuad was within 2 yards of TrackMan on a 6 iron, and within 5 yards (max) with driver. For illustration purposes, let’s go with a driver swing speed of 110mph.
That would give us a 284 yard total with driver, and 180 yards of carry with a 6 iron (see our golf club distance guide here).
And on those figures, 5 yards of difference with the driver is around 1.75% (remember, that was the max difference), and 2 yards of difference with a 6 iron is 1.1%.
Let’s split the difference and say that GCQuad is within 1.5% of TrackMan when it comes to accuracy distance, but beats it on club tracking. Is that extra 1.5% of distance accuracy worth $6K? Unless you’re planning on joining the tour, we say no.
Which is why we picked Foresight’s GCQuad as our top golf launch monitor this year.
Note: we’re not going to list features here. This guide is about the specifics on why we picked each launch monitor. Suffice to say, the Foresight GCQuad tracks everything you’ll ever need to know about your golf swing. But if you really need to read specs, you can read our full GCQuad review.
How we picked the top launch monitors
We wanted to make sure this guide had a launch monitor recommendation for all budgets.
So our first consideration was cost.
And once we had grouped all current launch monitors into budget categories, we considered:
- Accuracy (benchmark vs TrackMan)
- Stats (what stats are included)
- Customer reviews
- Real world testing data
Online stores that have golf launch monitors for sale
Throughout this detailed guide we’ve referenced the 4 most popular golf simulator stores that have launch monitors for sale (naturally, we reference the best deal).
|Launch monitor store
|Carl’s Place Golf (best value)
|Shop Indoor Golf
|Top Shelf Golf
|Rain or Shine Golf
Launch monitor FAQs
A launch monitor can cost anywhere from $400 (budget end) to upwards of $20K for a professional launch monitor such as TrackMan. A semi-pro launch monitor, such as SkyTrak, will cost around $2,000.
A launch monitor is the tech that tracks club speed, flight path and more. A golf simulator includes a launch monitor, but also utilizes products such as a hitting mat, enclosure, side barrier netting and an impact screen. These are similar to the setups you can rent at the likes of Top Golf, but can be purchased for use at home.
Like Phil Mickleson, Rory Mcllroy uses the Foresight Sports GCQuad launch monitor. Full details on the GCQuad can be found here, which costs $14,000 without software. A golf simulator utilizing a GCQuad is likely to cost $20,000 plus.
Tiger Woods uses the Full Swing KIT golf launch monitor covered on this page here. MSRP on the Full Swing KIT is $4999.99.
In 2023, the best golf launch monitor is Foresight’s GCQuad, which is comparable with industry leading TrackMan in terms of distance accuracy, and according to several tests, surpasses TrackMan in terms of club data.
To improve your golf game, it’s important to know your stats. A launch monitor will give you accurate feedback on important metrics, including distance, ball speed, club path, spin, launch angle, and strike location. Knowing these metrics will allow you to make informed decisions on the best approach/plan to improving your swing.
At the higher end of affordable launch monitors you have the SkyTrak, which is within 2% of Trackman’s accuracy and costs around $2000. A drop in price sees options such as the Garmin R10 ($599.99), Flightscope Mevo ($500) and the Flightscope Mevo Plus ($1000) enter the mix.
Some golf launch monitors (such as SkyTrak and GCQuad) use high speed cameras to capture the golf club and ball through the impact zone. Others, such as industry leading TrackMan, use doppler radar technology to track ball flight. Camera setups tend to give more accurate club data, while doppler radar will give more accurate distance measurements.
Yes. A launch monitor is the brains behind a golf simulator. Check out our guide to the best golf simulators in 2023 here.
Typically, around 9ft. It depends on your swing, but as a general rule of thumb 8.5ft is the minimum ceiling height required, 9ft is ideal and anything above that is a bonus.