Doing well in golf is all about that moment when the golf club, any golf club, makes impact with the ball. So clearly, the best way to work on your game and improve your swing, and technique, is to monitor the golf ball’s launch at that all important moment of impact.
Some golfers make do with sensors on their clubs, but you don’t really want to buy a sensor for every club in your bag, or have to move a sensor from one golf club to the next. The real solution is to invest in a golf launch monitor.
A golf launch monitor can really tell you a lot about how your club strikes the ball and how the ball takes off into the distance. It records several different pieces of data, including: clubhead speed, ball speed, spin rate, swing path, face angle, and attack angle.
And once you learn exactly where you’re going wrong, you learn exactly how to improve.
There are plenty of different golf launch monitors out on the market, but when you’re spending this much money, you want to ensure that you are in fact getting your money’s worth.
So to help you with this, we’ve been scouring around, and we’ve handpicked our top 5 favorite ones to show you. Our reviews on those are coming up very shortly.
Following on from that, we’ve then got a handy buying guide for you which is there to give you some food for thought to help you decide what might be the right one for you.
Top 5 Best Golf Launch Monitor
OUR TOP PICK
What we love about this golf launch monitor is that it doesn’t just give you a list of stats for each shot, but it also incorporates video capture too.
It’s very easy to use, you just place the Mevo where you want it, and pair it up with your smartphone via bluetooth. Then when you take a shot, it will record video and simultaneously provide you with all the stats you want overlaid on top.
Speaking of stats, there are 8 different stats provided for you. These include: carry distance, club head speed, smash factor, vertical launch angle, ball speed, spin rate, apex height and flight time.
All the data including the video is automatically saved, ready for you to review at leisure. It’s great for looking back to see how far you’ve come.
It's a super portable device, lightweight and not much bigger than a golf ball.
We really like that the app has a customizable interface. This means that if you want to, you can just concentrate on particular stats as you’re training, whether it’s launch angle or smash factor.
The app that you use with the Flightscope Mevo is available on both Apple and Android devices, and it’s free to download. You don’t have to pay any subscription fees if you don’t want to.
But that said, there’s a great slow motion video feature available if you sign up for the app’s subscription plan.
It has both an indoor and outdoor mode. The indoor mode is handy when you’re using a golf net.
It’s currently a best seller with online retailers in the golf swing trainer category.
You can also buy a protective case for it. And many people also buy a cell phone holder when they buy the Mevo.
- Video capture
- Compatible with Apple and Android devices
- Although the measurements are accurate, the predictions are approximate
Now this is a great little device.
Although sleek and compact, it’s a little larger than the other launch monitors in our top 5 picks, which makes it far easier to read.
It measures all of the important metrics,such as carry distance, launch angle, smash factor, apex and ball speed. The feedback is instant. And, better yet, it gives you your carry distance via voice output. You don’t even have to turn around to check the screen.
It works just great on it’s own, or, via bluetooth, you can use it in tandem with your smartphone, whether it’s an iPhone or an Android one.
The smartphone app is really good. It doesn’t just display your stats in numeric form, it also produces graphs for you, for a more visual representation of your shots.
Amazon occasionally has deals on this model. It’s worth a look.
- Metrics include launch angle
- Works with iPhone or Android
- Large, easy to read LCD screen
- Carry distances given by voice
- Visual representation of your shots
- No video capture
This beauty has earned the title of Amazon’s Choice for golf launch monitor. This is a title that is only given when a product is of high quality and is available at a fair and reasonable price.
It’s referred to as an “all in one” because in addition to being a golf launch monitor, it’s also a golf GPS. It’s preloaded with over 40,000 detailed, color golf course maps from around the world.
In addition to providing you with an estimated distance for each shot, it will also provide you with the club head speed, ball speed, smash factor and swing tempo.
It’s about the size of a smartphone, and has a 3.5 inch touchscreen, which can be easily read even under direct sunlight.
It has a really good battery life, and will last up to 15 hours in GPS mode. That’s long enough for nearly 4 rounds of the game!
With its particular combination of features, the Garmin Approach G80, is best suited for use actually on the golf course itself, and isn’t particularly equipped for training with a golf hitting net.
Although it’s not a best seller with online retailers in the golf swing trainer category, it is a best seller in the category of golf GPS devices.
If you don’t already have a golf GPS, it’s certainly worth a thought.
- Good, well established brand
- Also works as a golf GPS
- Metrics don’t include launch angle
- No video capture
If you have an iPhone (or an iPad) then this is the golf launch monitor for you.
It’s super simple to use. You open the app on your phone, connect to the device via bluetooth, then set up the device 6 feet behind where you’re going to launch the ball from. The device then acts as a stand for your iPhone and videos the shot.
What we love about the Rapsodo is that rather than simply provide you with a series of different numbers, there’s data visualization incorporated too, an active Tracer to track your shot shape. And it uses GPS too.
It tracks loads of different things for you, including shot distance, ball speed, launch angle, launch direction, club speed, and shot shape.
You get real time feedback, combining a shot trace with data overlay. And you can also review your stat history to see how you’ve improved over time.
And it’s certainly one of the more accurate units available in this price range.
It’s not just for use on the golf course. If you have a golf net in your backyard, or in your local leisure center, you can use it there too.
The iPhone app is free to download and does not require a subscription. However if you want to store quite a lot of data on the app, then you will have to pay a fee.
One of the things we like about the Rapsodo is that you can share your sessions with friends. You can show off, or alternatively, have a good laugh.
It’s currently a best seller with online retailers in the golf swing trainer category. Moreover, it’s also the one used by a number of leading golf teaching professionals.
- Data visualization
- Satellite range mapping
- Metrics include launch angle
- Only compatible with apple smartphones and devices
- Said apple device must have a 1080p front camera
- You need either cell or WiFi service to access the GPS map feature
This is the most affordable option in our top 5 picks.
It’s not quite as flashy as the other golf launch monitors we’ve shown you so far, but it certainly does the job.
And if you buy it as a bundle through our link to Amazon, then you also get a protective hard case for it, and a pack of batteries, so you can get started straight away.
It’s very easy to use. You simply place the Swing Caddie SC200 level with the golf ball and within 4.5 feet of it.
Then when you take your shot, it will display all your stats including carry distance, swing speed, ball speed and smash factor.
The feedback is immediate, and where this beauty stands out is that it will give you your stats verbally, so you can hear the stats as you watch the ball’s movement, rather than having to look it up later.
It will stand upright unaided, so you may be able to read some of your remaining stats without bending.
And it’s not just for use on the golf course. If you want to work on your swing speed at home, you can simply obtain your swing speed stats without ever hitting a golf ball.
All you need to do is to set the Swing Caddie SC200 to Practice Swing Mode.
Despite it’s more affordable price, the device is very precise and accurate. And that’s because in addition to the Doppler Radar Technology, there are also calibrating atmospheric pressure sensors in place.
- Voice output
- Available as a bundle
- Barometric pressure sensor for better accuracy
- No video capture
Best Golf Launch Monitor Buying Guide
As promised, here’s a little buying guide for you.
This should help ensure that you’ve thought of everything before you part with your hard earned cash.
Word of Caution
There are a number of different swing monitors out on the market that can give you a lot of data about your golfing technique, such as club speed, club plane, tempo, and backswing length.
However they won’t provide you with distances. You need a golf launch monitor for that.
Stats you want Measured
Ideally, you want a golf launch monitor that will provide you with both swing and ball flight metrics.
As a minimum, we recommend that you go for a golf launch monitor that will calculate the Carry Distance, the Swing Speed, the Ball Speed, and the Smash Factor.
We also feel that the launch angle is a particularly useful statistic, but unfortunately not all devices have this capability.
If you want a device that will measure the launch angle, then we can recommend our number 1 pick, the FlightScope Mevo, our number 2 pick, the Swing Caddie SC300, or our number 4 pick, the Rapsodo.
The more accurate a golf launch monitor is the better.
The accuracy of the ones in our top 5 picks are all very good.
There are a number of other features that a golf launch monitor can have besides providing you with your swing and ball flight metrics.
For example, you may decide you would like video capture which you can find in our number 1 pick, the FlightScope Mevo, or in our number 4 pick, the Rapsodo.
Or you may decide you would like voice output, in which case we can recommend the two Swing Caddie devices we showed you, our number 2 pick, the Swing Caddie SC300, or our number 5 pick, the Swing Caddie SC200.
You know what? Golf is basically an expensive hobby in general. All golf equipment costs considerable amounts of money, and you can often expect to pay over $100 for just one golf club.
We would argue that a golf launch monitor is something that you can use again and again with every club. Moreover it’s hands down the best way to see where you’re going wrong in your technique. For anyone serious about their golf, it’s a worthy investment.
That said, if you don’t happen to have a spare $500 lying around, then a more affordable option would be our number 5 pick, the Swing Caddie SC200 Plus.