Golfstead is reader-supported. When you buy through links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Our affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network and Amazon Associates.
Note: The GC2 launch monitor has been discontinued. If you don’t need clubface impact location, face angle, loft & lie at impact, or closure rate data points, I highly recommend looking at the new GC3. Otherwise, look at the GCQuad.
The GC2 is a high-end, professional-grade launch monitor that has been a top seller since it was released back in 2010.
In fact, the GC2 remains one of the most advanced, powerful launch monitors on the market. Labelled “the original game changer” because of how it brought golf swing analysis to the next level, it was the least expensive offering in Foresight Sports’ professional launch monitor lineup until the release of the GC3.
In this Foresight Sports GC2 review, I’ll take an in-depth look at the launch monitor. I’ll look not only at how well it measures ball and swing data, but also at its usability, golf simulation features, the HMT add-on, and how it stacks up against other similarly priced products.
How does the GC2 perform? How does it compare to other launch monitors like the GCQuad? Is it worth getting if you have the budget for it?
Here’s what I’m going to be covering in the review:
- What is the GC2 launch monitor?
- Setting Up & Using The GC2
- Data Parameters & Accuracy
- Golf Simulation
- Performance Analysis
- Where To Buy The GC2
Ready to try the GC2 right now? Click the button below or scroll down to the bottom of my review to see my final verdict!
Note: In the majority of cases, launch monitors tested on Golfstead are acquired temporarily and are not purchased. The review that follows is based on personal experience and research. Although the author makes every effort to ensure proper setup of the device and do direct comparisons with other launch monitors when possible, there are many variables that can affect data readings and performance. Therefore, exact results with a particular launch monitor may differ from person to person.
What is the GC2 launch monitor?
The GC2 is a professional-grade launch monitor that precisely measures ball performance metrics through a combination of a flash module and high-speed camera system.
At the time it was released, the GC2 was the most accurate, mobile and versatile golf analysis tool on the market.
The GC2 uses a stereoscopic camera system. Two high-speed cameras capture up to 10,000 frames per second at the moment of impact, building a virtual 3D model of the club and ball at impact and allowing for measurements that are direct, not calculated.
Because the GC2 has an on-screen golf ball identification system and self-leveling accelerometer technology, no marked balls or calibration is required to measure ball data. The GC2 can be used indoors or outdoors on any surface and with any shot.
Other features of the GC2 are:
- a large, outdoor-readable LCD display
- audio indicators
- real-time data delivery
- compatible with full golf simulation
The GC2 can do much more than just provide data readouts. It can also be hooked up to full golf simulation with Foresight Sports’ FSX 2020 and FSX Play software, the world-class E6 CONNECT software, Creative Golf, and Golfisimo.
The GC2 weighs 4 lbs and is less than 10 inches long. Its portable design is designed for easy carrying in a golf bag.
HMT (Head Measurement Technology)
HMT, which stands for Head Measurement Technology, is the major add-on that is available with the GC2.
This unit basically rounds out the GC2 and captures club head data such as speed, path and lie, giving the user a comprehensive analysis of their swing near the moment of impact.
The HMT delivers the same high level of accuracy that the GC2 does, also using a stereoscopic high-speed camera system for measuring data. Its simple design has a camera near the top and a camera near the bottom of the unit.
The HMT only needs to be connected to the GC2 with a cable; no additional power source is required. Every club can be tracked, but position markers need to be applied to the club head in order for HMT to track properly.
Setting Up & Using The GC2
Setup of the GC2 is quite easy and straightforward.
The first thing you’ll need to do is open the unit. Extend the foot stand (below the LCD screen input buttons) until it comes to a stop, and rotate the top cover outward until it stops.
You can optionally raise the display screen and deploy the wire stand behind it to keep it securely in place. This is usually recommended because it reduces glare outdoors and improves the viewing angle.
Next, press the power button to turn on the GC2. It will go through its startup process, and the ball placement graphic will be displayed which indicates that the GC2 is ready to track a shot.
It’s now that I recommend going through the system options and settings to make sure everything is set the way you want it.
When you’re ready to hit shots, start by placing the GC2 approximately 20 inches from the hitting area. When set up behind the ball, the unit should be in front of you and a little bit off to the target side. See the graphic below for a visual (not to scale):
Note: You should try to make sure the GC2 is more or less level with the hitting surface. However, it doesn’t have to be perfect because it’s a self-leveling device.
For a given placement of the GC2, there are two hitting zones to the left and right of the unit depending on whether you’re right or left-handed.
The screen on the GC2 will display where the hitting zones are, and the LED indicator will tell you whether a ball is correctly placed inside the hitting zone. When a ball is correctly placed inside the hitting zone, the LED indicator will turn green and you’re ready to hit your shot.
To set up the HMT unit with the GC2, you’ll first need to assemble a mounting arm that attaches underneath the GC2.
The HMT is then attached to the mounting arm on the left side for right-handed golfers and the right side for left-handed golfers. The mounting arm will need to be reversed depending on which hand you play.
To finish it off, the HMT and GC2 devices must be connected with the included HMT cable.
If you’re capturing club data, you’ll need to apply club markers to your clubface; you may use a marker sheet for this.
You can read the full quick start guide on setting up HMT here.
If you’re using the FSX software with the GC2, do the following:
- Install and start the FSX software on PC (Windows 7 or later).
- Go into the FSX settings, go to Devices, and connect the GC2.
- Verify that the status for the device says “Connected”.
- fully use the first charge on the GC2 prior to charging
- a flashing red light indicates that there’s no ball or the ball is outside the hitting zone
- the flash unit is replaceable and should last for a couple years at a time
- avoid plugging in power cords, USB cables or accessories into the GC2 while it’s on
- don’t look directly at the device while the flash is in use
- store the GC2 in a cool, dust-free, dry environment
- the battery should be fully discharged and recharged at least once a month
For more details on operation of the GC2, it’s highly recommended that you read the user manual.
Data Parameters & Accuracy
The GC2 measures six ball data parameters on its own. They are:
- ball speed
- carry distance
- side spin
- horizontal & vertical launch angle
With the HMT add-on, an additional eight club parameters can be measured. Putting one marker on the clubface (1-Dot) will allow for:
- smash factor
- angle of attack
- club head speed
- club path
Putting four markers on the clubface (4-Dot) will allow for the above metrics plus:
- clubface impact location
- face angle
- loft & lie at impact
- closure rate
There’s still that all-important question: just how accurate is the GC2? The answer is extremely accurate, and it still holds up beautifully in today’s launch monitor market.
In fact, I haven’t really noticed any difference in accuracy compared to the more expensive GCQuad, which uses a quadrascopic camera system. This applies to both the ball data and club data when HMT is installed.
With that said, I do find that the GC2 is a little less consistent than the GCQuad in terms of misreads. In my testing, I found this difference to be more pronounced outdoors as opposed to indoors.
All things considered, the GC2 is almost as reliable as TrackMan when it comes to outdoor performance, while there is no obvious performance difference indoors.
The GC2 never missed a shot during my tests, but one thing I will say is this: it tends to overestimate carry distance on low-spin driver shots. This is a common occurrence with most launch monitors in the Foresight Sports GC line, but in my view, it’s not a big enough issue to influence the purchasing decision one way or the other.
What about the SkyTrak? Well, the SkyTrak puts up a really good fight and is about as accurate indoors, but it’s much less reliable and more prone to misreads.
In any case, you should consider the fact that top golf instructors such as Butch Harmon, Martin Hall and Michael Breed have relied on the GC2, as have Tour pros like Rickie Fowler. That right there should tell you a lot!
With the GC2, you currently have four (official) options for golf simulation: FSX 2020, FSX Play, E6 CONNECT, and Creative Golf.
FSX 2020 acts as the base software and is required in order to use the others. Let’s go over each one of them.
1. FSX 2020
FSX 2020 is Foresight Sports’ in-house software solution for their GC line of commercial launch monitors.
Their initial release was FSX 2018, but they have since come out with an updated 2020 version of the software. Users of the 2018 version can upgrade at no additional cost.
FSX 2020 is a complete software solution that provides practice ranges, full course play, game modes, skills challenges, and opportunities for you to compete with other players around the world. You can also view real-time data for practice or club fitting.
Many standard courses are reproduced, as well as world-famous courses that include The Old Course @ St. Andrews, Pebble Beach, Congressional, Carnoustie, Merion, Doral Blue Monster, and Oakmont.
FSX 2020 has three main modes:
- Play: play golf courses of your choosing with up to four players. Available game types include stroke play, match play, scramble and stableford.
- Compete: participate in a series of increasingly difficult skills challenges that include long drive, closest-to-the-pin, and Glass Break. Share and compare your results with other players online.
- Improve: get complete ball and clubhead performance data in real time. This is where you can access the driving range and is for serious practice and club fitting.
FSX 2020 is excellent software when it comes to function and features, but the graphics are surpassed by other simulator software like The Golf Club and E6 CONNECT.
All things considered, I do think that FSX 2020 is a little overpriced, and moreover, a license is required to get any kind of golf simulation with the GC2.
2. FSX Play
The new release of FSX Play, which is Foresight Sports’ other in-house offering, builds off of FSX 2020 and is designed to provide an ultra-realistic golf simulation experience.
FSX Play is powered by the Unity graphics engine and uses High Definition Render Pipeline Technology (HDRP). It’s marked by an updated UI, 3D grass and foliage, rich textures, atmospheric gliding, enhanced lighting, and more.
FSX Play has three main modes:
- Courses: play golf courses of your choosing (such as Torrey Pines South) with complete customization control.
- Practice: hit balls on exclusive, unique driving ranges such as in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
- Games: play long drive, closest-to-the-pin, and more.
Another thing that sets FSX Play apart is its minimalistic UI layout that displays important information without distraction.
It’s important to note that at the time of writing, FSX Play is a little scarce on features and the Foresight team is working on rolling out new games and updates. They are also working on making all FSX 2020 courses playable in the software, so stay tuned.
FSX Play supports up to 5K resolution. I definitely recommend giving it a try because it offers you a new and fresh experience that is different from FSX 2020.
3. E6 CONNECT
E6 CONNECT is a fairly recent integration that requires an FSX 2020 software license to use. However, the software is delivered with additional web features including being able to track every shot under a given profile, sorting shot history, and tracking every shot taken inside the software.
You get the full gamut of features with the E6 CONNECT integration, including:
- a full driving range and practice area
- tournament play and online events
- an array of multiplayer formats
- flexible gameplay settings (mulligans, wind, weather, etc.)
- minigames including Long Drive and Closest To The Pin
With an Expanded Subscription to E6 CONNECT, you get over 68 additional courses to play.
E6 CONNECT is one of the best and most powerful golf simulator software solutions on the market right now, so the fact that Foresight Sports was able to bring it into its ecosystem is terrific.
Keep in mind that with GC launch monitors, E6 CONNECT is going to be very expensive to access — and E6 CONNECT is quite expensive as it is.
This is because, on top of paying $2500 for the software, you also need an FSX 2020 license which costs $3000. Financing is available, however, which will help with the affordability aspect.
4. Creative Golf
This is another fairly recent integration and is a great alternative for those that can’t handle the price of E6 CONNECT. To be more exact, it’s just 48% of the cost, although it does also require an FSX 2020 software license.
The base version of Creative Golf contains 15 reproduced golf courses from around the world. For an extra $600, you can get over 130 additional courses to play.
The Practice section is divided into the following modes:
- Driving Range: get the detailed data you need to improve your game; suitable for single-player practice
- Team Training: suitable for a small group of players and a trainer; allows comparisons, dispersions and average values
- Club Fitting: try out different clubs, and based on the observed data values including distance and dispersion, the software evaluates the best club for you to use
- Chip & Putt: choose a flag position, circle and cross, and train your short shots and putts around a practice green
- Practice On Course: practice shots from absolutely any position on the golf course
- Putting: play putting games on various greens
You can also compete in a global series of tournaments and rank amongst players around the world.
Another package available that is part of the Creative Golf program is Golfisimo.
The Golfisimo software is the least expensive of them all (under $1000) and differentiates itself by focusing on a family-friendly, fun-for-everyone experience.
Golfisimo is built for entertainment, offering games for every age and skill level. Game modes include legos, underwater golf, target golf, darts, and demolition golf.
For people who don’t need the realism that E6 CONNECT offers, Creative Golf and Golfisimo can be excellent money-saving alternatives.
There’s data metrics and there’s simulation, but what about actually drilling down into your numbers?
Fortunately, the FSX 2020 software offers very powerful performance analysis features so that you can understand your game on a deeper level.
Let’s take a brief look at what this looks like, using the practice range as an example.
Once you hit your shot, the software will automatically trace the ball’s trajectory, and you’ll receive the whole set of data metrics (measured by the GC2) immediately after.
You can then go to the Data Analysis screen in the menu bar. The first thing you’ll see is something like this:
If you’ve recorded video of your swing with a video camera (not included), you’ll see it here. You can view the current data values and average data values for the most relevant metrics along the top, as well as analyze video of your swing with markers, playback speed control, etc.
From the top most menu bar, you can also access detailed ball data, club data (with HMT), and view & compare data for each shot in tabular form.
On the ball data screen, you can immediately view your shot trajectories and dispersions. But the club data screen is perhaps the most impressive, as you can see in the image below:
Keep in mind that you will need the HMT add-on to access this particular section.
You can also save your data onto a PDF, print your data, compare your data, and export your data.
This is the kind of deep dive that you will only get with tracking systems on the level of the GC2. Nothing is left out, and you get access to every data point you’ll ever want.
The base price of the GC2 launch monitor was $6500 and the price of HMT was $6000, but they have been discontinued and can no longer be purchased new.
To be able to do more than just view your numbers on the LCD display, you’ll need to purchase an FSX 2020 software license which costs $3000. Upgrades from previous versions of FSX will cost less or nothing at all.
Additional golf courses (premium or standard) can be purchased for FSX at around $95-$900 each.
Other software integrations are available with FSX including FSX Play ($500), E6 CONNECT ($2500 or a yearly subscription) and Creative Golf ($1200).
Sure, all of this is expensive, but because the GC2 has been on the market for over a decade now, you can find offers for certified pre-owned units that will save you a couple thousand dollars depending on the optionals you choose.
Here are some examples of what the GC2 might have costed you when it could be purchased new:
|GC2, FSX||GC2, FSX, HMT||GC2, FSX+E6, HMT||GC2, FSX+CG, HMT||GC2, FSX+E6+CG|
|Total Cost||$9500||$15,500||$18,000 or subscription||$16,700||$13,200 or subscription|
For most people, it will be sufficient to get the HMT add-on and FSX 2020 (maybe with FSX Play) for a total cost of $16,000. If you don’t care about club data such as path or angle of attack, you can leave out HMT entirely and save big.
To be honest, I don’t see a reason to buy any of the software integrations, as the FSX software is already pricey enough and generally has all the features that you’ll ever want. But if you want the ability to play different simulator software or you want a feature that FSX doesn’t have, it’s something to consider.
Where To Buy The GC2
Because the GC2 launch monitor is old and has been discontinued, availability is very limited.
For new units, you can look at The Indoor Golf Shop, but they are currently out of stock (GC2 and HMT) and may not get any more new units.
For certified pre-owned units, Rain or Shine Golf is where you want to go. You can get just the GC2 or the GC2+HMT with FSX software there.
All of the above vendors have fantastic support teams that go out of their way to make sure you’re set up properly.
You may be able to find discounted GC2 or HMT units on eBay. You can also buy from the Foresight store.
When it comes to the other software integrations FSX Play, E6 CONNECT, Creative Golf and Golfisimo, you should buy through the official Foresight Sports store.
Another thing that’s worth considering if you plan to use the GC2 indoors is a full golf simulator setup with screen, enclosure and projector. This will really allow you to get the best experience with the software. The vendors I mentioned above all sell various simulator studios that you can pair with the GC2.
The Foresight Sports GC2 launch monitor remains one of the industry leaders when it comes to accurate ball & club data. As long as you set up the unit properly, you’d be hard-pressed to find better accuracy anywhere else, particularly indoors.
The GC2 can be used for any application including club fitting and coaching. It has been used by some of the world’s top golf coaches and best players in the game.
Being a part of the GC line of launch monitors, the GC2 also has access to Foresight Sports’ exclusive software suite. Foresight Sports is continually updating their FSX software, and they have recently added compatibility for E6 CONNECT as well.
Many golfers will be torn between the GC2 and the newer GCQuad. Yes, the GC2 can be up to 40% less expensive, but keep in mind that it does use older technology (stereoscopic) that is less reliable, it doesn’t offer detailed putting analysis, and it has a much smaller hitting zone, among other things.
The GC2 was king of the hill back in its day, but it’s being left behind by newer launch monitor offerings with better features. It has also been discontinued by Foresight Sports, which is why I now recommend considering the GC3 or GCQuad launch monitors instead.
Thanks for reading my Foresight Sports GC2 review. Are you interested in the GC2? Have you tried it already? What’s your experience? Tell us about it in the comments below.