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If you’ve been searching the market for a golf launch monitor, you may have heard about the Rapsodo Mobile Lauch Monitor (MLM).
Released in 2019, the Rapsodo MLM was the first launch monitor that utilized the technology of iPads and iPhones to provide launch data, video playback, and a shot tracer.
In 2020, it was named the best personal launch monitor for golf, and it’s also the official launch monitor of Golf Digest.
Rapsodo is a manufacturer of data-collection products for several sports including golf. Their previous (now discontinued) golf product, the R-Motion simulator, was a great success.
In this Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor 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 and shot visualization features.
How does the Rapsodo MLM perform? How does it compare to other launch monitors that are on the market today? Is it worth getting if you’re looking for a quality golf launch monitor?
Here’s what I’m going to be covering in the review:
- What is the Rapsodo MLM?
- Setting Up & Using The Rapsodo MLM
- Parameters & Accuracy
- App Overview
- Where To Buy The Rapsodo MLM Online
Ready to try the Rapsodo MLM 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 Rapsodo MLM?
You may be surprised to learn that Rapsodo was actually the creator of the SkyTrak, one of the most successful launch monitors ever created.
In the wake of that success, however, Rapsodo wanted to come out with their own branded launch monitor solution. This is what led to the development of the MLM.
The Rapsodo MLM describes itself as “the only launch monitor that uses the power of your iPhone or iPad to provide immediate feedback on launch data, instant video replay and active shot trace“.
It uses the same machine learning technology that helps baseball and softball players understand and analyze their pitching performance.
Together with the camera of your Apple device and the MLM’s own Doppler radar, the MLM can accurately measure six essential data parameters including ball speed and launch angle. Your mobile device’s GPS also allows for shot mapping.
At launch, the MLM could only be used out on the range where the ball could take its full flight. But with a post-release update, it can now be used indoors or outdoors while hitting into a net.
Rapsodo has also come out with other updates and improvements to the MLM since launch. Some of the major updates are a platform called Coach Connect, which allows MLM users to get virtual lessons from Golf Digest swing instructors, Insights, and Combines.
Setting Up & Using The Rapsodo MLM
Note: The MLM uses a lithium-ion battery that should last around eight hours from a full charge. It should be charged for at least six hours prior to using it for the first time.
Setup is fairly simple and requires these steps:
1. Pair the device.
Make sure that the MLM unit is turned on and the Bluetooth feature on your mobile device is enabled.
Install the Rapsodo MLM app on the App Store. With the LED on the MLM unit flashing red, launch the app and wait for it to connect to the unit. The LED light on the unit will turn green.
2. Position the device.
- On the range: position the MLM unit approximately 8 feet from the golf ball, directly behind you on the target line.
- Into a net: position the unit about 6 feet from the ball behind you, and allow a minimum of 8 feet of space between the ball and the net.
The unit should be level with the hitting surface.
Select a mode depending on whether you’re hitting into a net or not. Once you hit your shot, the LED light will blink green and display your shot data. Once the light turns to a solid green, you can hit your next shot.
Here are some other tips to keep in mind:
- select the correct club in the app before hitting your shot.
- for best results, ensure that your hitting environment is well-lit.
- the MLM device is not water-resistant; avoid using it in rainy or wet conditions.
- to calibrate the MLM unit, hold it roughly four inches above your mobile device.
Net Hitting Area
If you plan to use a net with the Rapsodo MLM, I strongly recommend hitting real golf balls instead of foam or plastic balls. This is because foam and plastic balls behave differently off the club face which will skew the ball data.
Whether you plan on hitting indoors or outdoors, take out your longest club (driver) and ensure that you have enough clearance to make a full swing.
Parameters & Accuracy
The Rapsodo MLM measures the following six parameters:
- Club head speed: the speed of the club head at impact.
- Ball speed: the speed of the ball immediately after impact.
- Carry distance: the distance from impact to first landing.
- Launch angle: of the ball relative to the ground.
- Smash factor: ball speed divided by club head speed.
- Launch direction: the distance from your landing zone to the intended target line.
The MLM can also estimate total distance.
But of course, everyone wants to know about accuracy. If a launch monitor’s measurements are way off, it doesn’t do you any good.
How accurate is the MLM? After extensive testing, I can definitively say that the accuracy is excellent, on par with the FlightScope Mevo. It’s the kind of accuracy you would hope for in a $500 unit.
Many launch monitors tend to measure some metrics well and others not as well. In the case of the MLM, I didn’t notice any particular weak spot in the data.
Rapsodo itself says that the MLM’s distance accuracy is within 2% of TrackMan. With that said, it’s important that the MLM is set up correctly and has sufficient ambient lighting to work with; otherwise, you may have issues.
We’ve gotten some of the essentials out of the way. Now, let’s dive into all the features that the Rapsodo MLM has to offer.
As you probably know, the MLM does more than just record shot data; it also gives you a very informative visual of each shot with video playback, an active tracer, and shot mapping.
You can view video playback of your every shot. The video is taken with your mobile device’s camera, from the ground and behind the ball on the target line.
Many would consider this angle less than ideal, but you have to keep in mind the price and the fact that this perspective is needed to display the shot tracer.
Along the same lines, you can compare the playback of several shots — for example, your best shots with your worst shots. This will make it easy for you to spot differences in your swing that could explain poor results.
Attached to the video playback is an active tracer that follows your ball from launch to landing. This tracer is similar to what you see on professional PGA Tour broadcasts.
What happens is that the video stops immediately after your follow-through, but the ball tracer keeps moving on the app screen.
In addition to viewing your swing, it’s really important to be able to see your ball flight. The MLM’s ball tracer fills in this missing piece of the puzzle so you’re even better equipped to analyze and improve your game.
There’s no tracer when in net mode, for obvious reasons.
With a hitting region (e.g. on the range) and using the GPS technology on your mobile device, the MLM can give you an overhead view of where your shots land for different clubs in the bag.
This useful feature will allow you to understand your club gapping and dispersions. You’ll then be much more prepared to choose the right club on the golf course for your next shot and avoid penalizing hazards.
Smart Club Recognition
This feature is designed to automatically detect which club you’re using. It’s best suited for irons.
What you do is wave your club in front of your mobile device, and with the MLM, it will detect that club and select it in the settings.
I feel I should say that I had a hard time getting this feature to work properly during my tests. It just wasn’t picking up the irons that I put it front of it.
Other people have had some difficulty with this feature as well. If you’re having trouble with it, just select your clubs manually. You might even be better off setting your clubs manually every time to ensure that the correct club is selected.
I do feel this is one of the more gimmicky features of the MLM, but it can be convenient in some situations.
Along with this, you can build your own golf bag in the app to mirror your own bag.
One of the more nifty features of the MLM, you can store your swing video clips in a library (on a web-based cloud) and review them at your leisure.
This library will normally hold up to 100 shots, but with a premium purchase, you can store thousands of shots.
You can also easily post these clips to social media.
Rapsodo rolled out the Insights feature for Premium users of the MLM in late 2021.
Once you have hit at least six shots per club in a session, you can access Insights, which provides personalized charts and graphs that help you identify trends, visualize your performance, and target weaknesses in your game.
Insights are divided into three sections:
- Accuracy: view dispersion patterns and landing area tendencies for each club. You can compare your accuracy to similar players and to Tour pros, which will help you identify areas of improvement.
- Distance: get information on your average distance, ball speed, club head speed, and smash factor along with your club gapping details. You can view how changes in launch angle and smash factor can influence your distance.
- Consistency: analyze the consistency and repeatability of your metrics like club head speed, launch angle and ball striking. You can view your shot shape trends and get key takeaways so that you can set goals for your next session.
You can view a general overview of your performance for all the clubs in your bag or drill down into the data for individual clubs.
With comprehensive performance overviews, actionable visuals, and key takeaways, golfers will be able to much more easily understand where and how improvements need to be made in their game.
In late March 2021, Rapsodo launched a new virtual golf instruction platform called Coach Connect, in partnership with Golf Digest.
With Coach Connect, the launch monitor capabilities of the MLM are paired with the golf instruction ecosystem of Golf Digest Schools, so that MLM users can connect to the world’s top coaches for online lessons.
A Premium subscription to the MLM is required to access Coach Connect. Here’s the basic gist of how it works:
- Record a shot with the MLM (with shot tracer, video recording, data measurements, etc).
- Search for a coach on the Coach Connect platform and send your shot to them.
- Wait for the coach to send back visual feedback and voiceovers based on your swing and swing data.
Of course, this isn’t free, unless you already have a swing coach outside of the app and they sign up under a special agreement. In general, coaches set their own prices for swing analyses.
Coach Connect is a robust platform packed with features — you can become a premium student for a coach, purchase subscription packages, send messages, send follow-up swings, leave reviews, and much more.
Through Coach Connect, not only can you get virtual golf lessons anytime, anywhere, but you can also access some of the best coaches in the world that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. You can also access coaches in your local area if you wish.
Released in August 2022, Combines is a standardized performance-based test you can take that allows you to gain advanced insight into your game, understand what your strengths are, and identify weaknesses that need to be improved.
The Combines test takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete and requires the use of the MLM’s outdoor range mode. Here’s the essence of how it works:
- Choose a distance mode (Suggested or Custom).
- Do an optional six-shot warmup.
- Hit a series of 24 shots — 8 to the closest target, 8 to the next target, and 8 to a driving target.
- Get immediate feedback on each shot.
Combines uses the shots you hit to assemble a dataset, generate a final performance score, and provide you with the following:
- a handicap index
- the average proximity from the target for each shot type
- lateral and distance dispersion circles of the shots hit
- average driving distance and distance away from center line
Combines is a highly visual experience. It can test your entire bag from putter to driver, and it’s designed to mimic the pressure you would feel on an actual golf course.
A Premium Subscription is required to access Combines, but there are no limits on how many times you can take the test, making it an excellent way to keep track of your progress over time.
The one thing I will say is that because the MLM already offers so many performance analysis features such as dispersions and average club distances, some of the information provided by Combines can feel a bit redundant.
There are other things you can do with the Rapsodo MLM, like:
- view trends and shot averages by club
- get a side view of shot distances for multiple clubs (bag mapping)
- view statistics
Get a feel for how the MLM works in this video:
The capabilities of the Rapsodo MLM are unique, and there’s really nothing else like it on the market right now.
Let’s briefly walk through the Rapsodo MLM app so you get an idea of how things work. Rapsodo has recently added compatibility with a slew of iOS devices in the 3rd, 5th, 6th, 9th and 13th generations.
The first screen you’ll be taken to when you fire up the app is the Home screen.
Here, you’ll be able to view information about every saved hitting session you’ve gone through. From the Home screen, you can see:
- the number of shots taken
- date, time and location of the session
- distance averages for each club hit
- a gapping diagram
You can select a session to view the stats and data for each individual shot taken. You can also view the GPS satellite view of the shots in the session or swipe left to view the associated video clips.
To start a new play session, tap the Play tab, tap Practice, and select Net or Outdoor mode. In the Play section, you can also play closest-to-the-pin and long drive games either by yourself or with friends.
Other things you can do in the app are:
- view detailed stats in the Home section
- access Coach Connect, Insights and Combines (premium subscription required)
- view other people’s shots and react to them in the Explore section
- calibrate, connect, view account info, or change settings in the Profile section
The Rapsodo MLM is one of the most well-made golf apps available, and believe me, there’s a lot of junk out there in the mobile space.
The Rapsodo MLM has a simple one-time pricing of $499. This includes the MLM unit, a USB charging cable, and a protective case. It does not include a mobile device for the app.
Also available is an optional Premium Subscription. This costs $99.99/year and includes:
- personalized insights
- cloud storage capacity for up to 10,000 video clips
- shot apex and slow motion swing replays
- full access to the Coach Connect platform
- full access to the Combines performance test
The Premium Subscription comes with a 7-day free trial, but you need to set up a free MLM account before enabling it.
Where To Buy The Rapsodo MLM Online
There are many places where you can buy the Rapsodo MLM. If you’re looking online, the place I would recommend is The Indoor Golf Shop.
This reputable MLM dealer offers free shipping. Their excellent support team will help you with any questions or concerns that you may have.
If you’re looking for a discount on a used MLM, you may be able to find a good deal on eBay.
Another thing that’s worth considering is a good net setup. The vendor I referenced above, The Indoor Golf Shop, offers many choices of hitting net and hitting mat for golf simulators.
If you’re looking for an affordable launch monitor at $500 or less, the Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor (MLM) should be near the top of your consideration list.
If rivals the FlightScope Mevo in terms of data accuracy and convenience, although it doesn’t measure spin rate like the Mevo does.
One of the biggest negatives we’ve found with the MLM is that unlike the Mevo, it’s not currently supported on Android devices. This is a huge chunk of the mobile market!
However, the fact that the Rapsodo MLM was created by the same company that created the highly successful SkyTrak Launch Monitor should reassure you of its quality.
Another unique feature that no other launch monitor in this price range has is an active ball trace. The MLM has it, and it really makes you feel like you’re getting a high-end experience in a compact, mobile package.
One of the biggest strengths of the MLM is Rapsodo’s dedication to it. They intend for it to be their chief launch monitor offering for many years to come, and that’s why they continue to come out with improvements and new feature updates over time.
If you own an iOS device or are planning to get one, you should seriously consider picking up the Rapsodo MLM. It’ll go a long way towards improving your game.
Thanks for reading my Rapsodo MLM review. Are you interested in the MLM? Have you tried it already? What’s your experience? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor
- Excellent data accuracy
- Created by the same company that made the SkyTrak
- Relatively smooth setup
- Useful features work mostly without a hitch
- Coach Connect is a powerful means to get virtual golf instruction
- It only works with iOS devices (Android users are out of luck)
- It can be difficult to get the Smart Club Recognition feature to work
- It's a big battery drain on your mobile device