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Branded “the personal launch monitor you’ve been waiting for”, the GC3 by Foresight Sports is a professional-grade golf launch monitor that is designed to fill the gap in the GC line between the old stereoscopic GC2 system and cutting-edge GCQuad.
The GC3 is a very advanced, powerful launch monitor, and its main draw is being able to provide accuracy, versatility and portability that rivals the GCQuad while being significantly more affordable.
In this Foresight Sports GC3 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, and how it stacks up against similarly priced products.
How does the GC3 perform? How does it compare to 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 GC3 launch monitor?
- Setting Up & Using The GC3
- Data Parameters & Accuracy
- Golf Simulation
- Performance Analysis
- Where To Buy The GC3
Ready to try the GC3 right now? Click the button below or scroll down to the bottom of my review to see my final verdict!
What is the GC3 launch monitor?
The GC3 is a performance-focused launch monitor that precisely measures an array of club and ball data parameters using a combination of infrared object tracking and high-speed camera systems.
Unveiled in 2021, the GC3 uses a triscopic photometric camera system, with one more camera than the GC2’s stereoscopic system but one less than the GCQuad’s quadrascopic system.
Three high-speed cameras positioned vertically capture thousands of images per second and build a complete 3D model of the club and ball at impact, resulting in measurements that are direct and not calculated.
The GC3 has a sleek, portable design that bears a lot of resemblance to the GCQuad. It has direct-to-screen output, and unlike the GCQuad, the display is touchscreen-enabled.
Other features of the GC3 are:
- a thermoplastic rubberized finish
- a transflective LCD display that is readable indoors and outdoors
- a lithium-ion battery
- a barometric sensor that adjusts data readings based on atmospheric conditions
- an accelerometer for auto-leveling
- wifi and ethernet capability
The GC3 can do much more than just provide ball and club data measurements. It can also be hooked up to full golf simulation with Foresight Sports’ in-house FSX 2020 software.
Plus, the GC3 comes bundled with the new FSX Play software which is powered by the Unity graphics engine. An upgrade is available, called the Players Plus Bundle, that unlocks ten additional courses including many world-famous venues.
The GC3 is designed to be easy to carry from the home to the driving range.
Setting Up & Using The GC3
Setup of the GC3 is easy and straightforward.
The first thing you should do is plug the GC3 into an outlet and allow the battery to fully charge. The battery level can be checked in the Settings menu.
After you power up the GC3 for the first time, you’ll be prompted to connect to the internet either through Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet. Then you’ll need to register the device using the displayed registration QR code.
Place the GC3 unit upright around two feet away from the hitting area. When you address your shot, the unit should be straight ahead and slightly forward from the ball, oriented perpendicular to your target line. The GC3 should sit at the same level as the hitting surface.
From this position, the GC3 will track ball and club data inside a zone that’s about 7”x10” large.
Note: The default target alignment of the GC3 is perpendicular to the orientation of the unit. To change the alignment, lay down the included alignment stick in the hitting zone up to 10° from the default target line and allow the unit to recalibrate.
Once the GC3 detects a ball in the hitting zone, a “READY” screen will be displayed along with a solid blue or green LED light. At this point, you’re ready to take a shot and get data readings.
If you want club data, you’ll need to apply club markers to your clubface; you can use the included club marker packet for this.
If you’re using the FSX 2020 or FSX Play software with the GC3, 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 GC3.
- Verify that the status for the device says “Connected” with a green indicator.
- when the indicator light is flashing, it means that the GC3 is looking for a ball
- online connectivity needs to be re-validated every 45 days
- swiping down on the display brings up Quick Settings for things like the backlight, left/right handed modes, and battery level
- the GC3 should be stored in a cool, dry place
- the best way to clean the unit is to wipe it with a damp cloth
- the unit weighs five pounds and has a battery life of 5-7 hours
For more details about the GC3 including setup and operation, refer to the user manual here.
Data Parameters & Accuracy
The GC3 measures the same ball data as the GCQuad, namely:
- ball speed
- total spin
- side spin/side axis
- launch angle
- side angle
When club markers are applied, the GC3 can measure the following club data:
- club head speed
- club path
- smash factor (efficiency)
- angle of attack
Unlike the GCQuad, the GC3 does not measure face angle, loft & lie, impact location or closure rate, nor does it provide putting data.
Then there’s that all-important question: just how accurate is the GC3? The answer is very accurate.
The accuracy of the GC3 is roughly in line with the GCQuad. In terms of numbers, I found during my tests that ball data readings are within 0-3% of the GCQuad’s readings. This is extremely close. Ball speed measurements, in particular, are nearly identical.
Similarly, club data measurements tended to be within 0-4% of the GCQuad’s measurements. None of this is surprising because both launch monitors share the same flight algorithms and capture methodologies.
Putting the GCQuad aside, you can also expect the GC3’s accuracy and reliability to be superior to other launch monitors like the Rapsodo MLM, Garmin Approach R10, and SkyTrak. Readings with these “lesser” launch monitors could differ by as much as 30% compared to the GC3.
With the GC3, you currently have two (official) options for golf simulation: FSX 2020 and FSX Play.
Let’s briefly go over both of them.
FSX is Foresight Sports’ base in-house software solution for their GC line of commercial launch monitors, including the GC3.
The latest release is FSX 2020, and users of previous FSX versions can upgrade at no additional cost.
FSX 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, Spyglass Hill, Carnoustie, and Doral Blue Monster.
FSX has three main modes:
- Play: play golf courses of your choosing with up to four players. Available game types include stroke play, scramble, and match play.
- 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 mode is for serious practice and club fitting.
FSX is excellent software when it comes to function and features, but the graphics leave quite a lot to be desired and are surpassed by FSX Play and E6 CONNECT.
All things considered, I do think that FSX 2020 is a little overpriced. A license is required to get any kind of golf simulation with the GC3.
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. The version bundled with the GC3 comes with five courses including one (La Jolla Pines) that you would normally have to pay for.
I definitely recommend giving FSX Play a try because it offers you a new and fresh experience that is different from FSX 2020.
There’s data parameters and there’s simulation, but what about actually drilling down into your numbers?
Fortunately, the FSX 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 FSX 2020 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 GC3) immediately after.
You can then go to the Data Analysis screen in the menu bar. The Ball tab will look something like this:
Here, you can immediately view your shot trajectories and dispersions, as well as view ball data for your last shot or an average of all your shots.
The Club tab is perhaps the most impressive section in Data Analysis:
You can see that, unlike the GCQuad which provides values for closure rate, loft and impact location, these measurements are not present when using the GC3 since they are not measured.
In the Video tab, you’ll see something like this:
If you’ve recorded video of your swing with the camera of your choice, 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, etcetera.
In the Table tab, you can view and compare data for each shot in tabular form. You can also save onto a PDF, print, compare, and export your data.
This is the kind of deep dive that you will only get with tracking systems on the level of the GC3. It’s not quite as deep as what you get with the GCQuad, but it’s pretty darn close.
The GC3 launch monitor exists in two forms for pricing purposes: the GC3 itself and the Bushnell Launch Pro.
The base price of the GC3 launch monitor is $7000 and this includes an FSX 2020 software license with 10 courses.
At the time of writing, however, the GC3 can only be purchased as part of the Essentials Plus Bundle or Players Plus Bundle.
The Essentials Plus Bundle, priced at $7499, is the lesser of the two bundles, but in addition to FSX 2020 with 10 courses, it throws in the new FSX Play software with the new La Jolla Pines golf course. Also included are the FSX Pro software (for fitting and coaching) and the FS Performance Fitting App.
The Players Plus Bundle, priced at $8999, includes everything in the Essentials Plus Bundle plus 10 additional courses for FSX 2020, many of which are world-famous like Pebble Beach, the Old Course at St. Andrews, Carnoustie, and Spyglass Hill.
Additional golf courses (premium or standard) can be purchased for FSX at around $95-$900 each.
I personally feel that in most cases, the Players Plus Bundle isn’t worth it because you’re effectively paying $1500 just for ten more courses.
Bushnell Launch Pro
The Bushnell Launch Pro is essentially the GC3 but branded under Bushnell Golf.
How it works is, instead of paying the full price of the launch monitor up-front, you pay a steeply discounted price of $2999.99 to get basic features and data points.
With this initial purchase, you’ll be able to access a reduced set of club and ball parameters and only be able to read them on the LCD display after each shot. To bring the functionality more in line with the GC3, you can sign up for subscription plans that unlock more data, allow you to play on simulation software, and more.
The subscription software packages are:
- Basic ($99/year after the first year): allows access to the FSX Pro software which includes a 2D ball flight; allows you to save sessions for different clubs in the bag.
- Silver ($399/year): everything in Basic plus access to FSX 2020 software with five courses, 3D ball flights, online play, a practice range, four more data parameters, and more.
- Gold ($799/year): everything in Silver plus five more courses, five more data parameters, room for more players, ability to track unlimited clubs, and more.
You can also unlock the Gold tier permanently (no more annual fees) with a one-time purchase of $3995.
In addition to getting one year of the Basic plan for free, you also get a 30-day free trial to the Gold plan with the initial purchase. For full details on what you get with each subscription plan, go here.
The Bushnell Launch Pro with the Gold plan isn’t quite as powerful as one of the GC3 bundles that include FSX Play, but it’s very close. It’s an excellent choice for golfers looking for more affordability and flexibility in terms of what they get with this launch monitor.
Where To Buy The GC3
If you’re looking online, the best places (aside from the FS site) I would recommend to buy the GC3 are Shop Indoor Golf and Top Shelf Golf. These vendors sell the Essentials Plus Bundle (and everything that includes) with an option to upgrade to the Players Plus Bundle.
You can choose either of these vendors based on your preferences. Both have excellent customer support teams that will bend over backwards to make sure you’re all set.
If you plan to use the GC3 with golf simulation, I highly recommend the Sim-In-A-Box: Birdie Plus simulator. This is Foresight Sports’ official golf simulator package for the GC3 that includes:
- a GC3 launch monitor
- a gaming-optimized desktop computer preloaded with FSX 2020
- a full frame, enclosure and impact screen
- landing pad turf
- a hitting mat and hitting strip
- computer cart
I think the GC3 launch monitor is really a game changer. Until now, the biggest stumbling block with Foresight Sports’ GC launch monitors was cost — the GC2 (now discontinued) could cost over $15,000 and the GCQuad could cost over $20,000 depending on whether you wanted club data or certain software.
But you can currently get the GC3 hooked up with not only FSX 2020, but also the next-level FSX Play software, for well under $10,000. At the end of the day, you could spend over 50% less than what you’d spend on another GC launch monitor plus simulation software.
This is tremendous value, even though the GC3 measures a few less advanced club parameters than the GCQuad.
And sure, Foresight Sports had to make a few more sacrifices to get the cost down such as a non-metallic finish, a fixed battery, a smaller hitting zone, and lack of Bluetooth functionality, but I think it’s a very minor tradeoff that won’t affect most users at all.
In short, the GCQuad is still king, but the GC3 is almost as good while being at a much better cost value. It is practically calling out to budget-minded golfers that want professional-grade accuracy and performance.
Having said that, the bundles that pair the GC3 with the normally expensive FSX software probably won’t be around forever, and at that point you may have to cough up a couple thousand more dollars to get the same features.
If you’re interested in the GC3, I strongly suggest grabbing a software bundle as soon as you can before they’re no longer available.
Thanks for reading my Foresight Sports GC3 review. Are you interested in the GC3? Have you tried it already? What’s your experience? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Foresight Sports GC3 Launch Monitor
- Practically the same accuracy and reliability as the GCQuad
- Fantastic value for money
- Sleek look
- Easy to use
- Upgraded FSX Play software included
- Purchase availability is restricted
- No E6 CONNECT or Creative Golf 3D integrations yet
- Can't measure quite as much club data as the GCQuad or GC2+HMT