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If you’ve been searching the market for a golf launch monitor or simulator, you’ve almost certainly heard of the SkyTrak.
Released in late 2014, the SkyTrak was the first accurate launch monitor to hit the market that cost less than $5,000 and was accessible to the average golfer.
In this SkyTrak 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 simulation capabilities.
How does the SkyTrak 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 simulator?
Here’s what I’m going to be covering in the review:
- What is SkyTrak?
- Setting Up The SkyTrak
- Parameters, Play Modes & Features
- Simulation Tour
- Pricing & Plans
- Where To Buy The SkyTrak Online
Ready to try the SkyTrak right now? Click the button below or scroll down to the bottom of my review to see my final verdict!
What is SkyTrak?
Before the SkyTrak was released onto the market, there was a void in the personal launch monitor and simulator space. The only available simulator systems at the time had costs that were out of reach of most golfers.
The SkyTrak launch monitor was released in November 2014 to fill this void, priced at $1,995. Since that time, it has been polished, enhanced, and augmented with the latest and greatest simulation plans.
SkyTrak describes itself as “a personal launch monitor that delivers instant and real-time 3D shot analysis and ball-flight data“.
In addition to measuring ball and club data, the SkyTrak is one of the only sub-$2000 launch monitors that is compatible with the best simulation software including E6 and TGC 2019.
SkyTrak uses a photometric (camera-based) system. A high-speed camera takes images of the ball for a few feet after impact, which is what enables the unit to produce measurements with a precision comparable to much more expensive commercial systems.
SkyTrak is actively advertised as an indoor launch monitor, and this is where it should be used when possible. If indoor use is not an option, it can work well outdoors but needs to be kept out of direct sunlight.
Setting Up The SkyTrak
The SkyTrak comes with the unit itself, a USB cable, and a wall charger.
Note: Before using the SkyTrak, make sure to charge it for at least six hours. For charging, use the wall charger or keep the unit connected to your PC.
The first three steps you should take when setting up the SkyTrak are:
- Download the SkyTrak app. If you’re using an iOS device, find the SkyTrak software in the Apple App Store. If you’re using a PC, download the SkyTrak PC software on skytrakgolf.com.
- Register your SkyTrak. Launch the software you downloaded in step 1 and follow the prompts to register the device. You’ll have to create a SkyTrak account, and you need to register within 30 days of purchase.
- Pair the SkyTrak with your device. Through the software application, use Wi-Fi, a home network or USB to register the device to your mobile device or PC.
Once the SkyTrak has been successfully configured and paired with your device, all three LED lights will turn green, and a red laser dot will be projected onto the ground.
Detailed setup instructions are found in the SkyTrak user guide, but there are a few more important things I want to cover in this section.
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.
Then ensure that you have at least 10 feet of length and 10 feet of width in your space.
The SkyTrak unit must be placed parallel to your intended line of play. This means that the power button should face either towards the net or away from the net, depending on your handedness. I suggest using alignment sticks to check this.
For right-handed golfers, the unit should be placed on the right side, and vice versa for left-handed golfers.
Also ensure that the bottom of the unit is level with the hitting surface. The greater the distance between the levels, the more inconsistent the measurements will be.
The golf ball you hit should be clean and white, and it should always be placed on the projected red dot.
- I highly recommend getting the official SkyTrak metal case. This is sold separately. It not only protects the unit, but it also comes with adjustable pegs and a bubble level to help you level the unit perfectly with your hitting surface.
- The SkyTrak produces best results indoors. If you want to use it outdoors, you’ll need to keep it out of direct sunlight, but even then you may have accuracy issues on a sunny, summer day.
- If possible, position your ball so that its logo/marking faces the SkyTrak. This will give the camera system a clearer point of reference to give you an accurate spin reading.
For more detailed setup instructions, information, and tips, see the SkyTrak user guide.
Parameters, Play Modes & Features
When you start up the SkyTrak software, you’ll be presented with up to three different modes depending on your membership level: Practice, Challenge, and Game Improvement.
You can access the settings from here and set your dominant hand (left or right) and units of measurement for distances and speeds.
You can also access a leveling screen where the software will tell you the current roll and tilt of your SkyTrak unit. These values should be kept under 5° for best results.
The Practice Mode is the core feature of the SkyTrak that will allow you to hit shots on a virtual driving range.
If you’re at the Basic membership level, this is all you’ll have access to. You’ll be able to view your ball flight and data from a single camera angle, but that’s about it.
If you have the Game Improvement package, you’ll have access to a lot more features. From the range screen, you can select the exact club you’re hitting, which will eventually allow you to compare data all throughout the bag.
Some other practice range features unlocked by the Game Improvement package are:
- camera angle selection (down the line, follow the ball, etc.)
- multi-coloured shot tracers for using different clubs
- dispersion circles
- target randomizer
- ability to adjust conditions such as wind, humidity, and turf firmness
After each shot, a tracer will simulate your ball flight. You can view various data points including total distance, carry, ball speed, launch angle, and club head speed.
You may also be able to access a useful feature called Shot Optimizer. This will display detailed data about your shot, and it will compare each parameter with the optimal range for that particular club.
For example, if you hit an 8-iron, it may compare your launch angle, spin and descent angle to optimal ranges of around 16°-24°, 7200-8460 RPM, and 42°-47°, respectively. You’ll also be able to view a trajectory graph of your shot that shows the apex.
The Shot Optimizer can be a big help in dialing in your clubs. For example, you may notice that your spin rate is lower than optimal (this is common for amateurs), and in that case, you can either change balls, make a swing adjustment, or try another iron.
The Challenge Mode is only available starting with the Game Improvement package.
It allows you to play the minigames Closest To The Pin, Target Practice, and Long Drive. Each minigame has single player, multiplayer, and event options, but you can’t play with other golfers online from around the world.
- Closest To The Pin: You have 3-6 chances to get your shot as close to the pin as possible. The closest shot becomes your best score.
- Target Practice: Similar to Closest To The Pin, you have 3-6 shots to get as close to the bullseye as possible. You can specify any target distance.
- Long Drive: You have 3-6 drives to hit as far as possible. You can specify the range width as well. Your best drives will be ranked.
This mode is not only a great way to practice your driving and precision with your irons, but it’s also a bit more fun than a simple driving range session.
As in Practice Mode, each of your shots will display the standard data parameters including distance and spin.
The Game Improvement mode is only available with the Game Improvement or Play & Improve packages.
It contains the Bag Mapping, Skills Assessment and Wedge Matrix features.
This feature allows you to get detailed information about the clubs in your bag, including how far you hit them on average, their dispersions, and how the performance of one club relates to the performance of other clubs.
After the initial setup where you specify an intended gap (distance between clubs), the software takes you through a range session where you hit each club.
At the end of the mapping, you can view detailed data on actual gaps and dispersions. Gaps that are too large or too small will be brought to your attention.
Bag Mapping gives you a very valuable insight into your overall game. For instance, it can help you understand whether you’re overestimating or underestimating your yardages, or if you have large gaps in your yardages that you could address.
This feature is similar to Bag Mapping. It allows you to assess how well you’re performing throughout your bag through target practice.
It does this by taking you through a series of target sessions, each target being a certain distance out and calling for a specific club in the bag. For example, you might set a 9-iron session at 125 yds, 6-iron session at 165 yds, and 3-wood session at 225 yds.
During and after the skills assessment, you can view detailed information about your shots. Afterwards, you can view your green accuracy and dynamic handicap for each club.
The Skills Assessment is a great way to isolate weaknesses in your bag so you can improve them.
With the Wedge Matrix feature, you select four wedges (normally pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge and lob wedge) and swing each club at four different lengths: 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and full swing.
At the end of the session, you’ll be able to view the yardages for all of your wedges in “matrix” format. This serves two useful purposes:
- You will understand the typical yardage that your wedge will fly for each swing length. This will allow you to choose the ideal club and swing length for each situation on the golf course.
- You can spot weaknesses, flaws, or undesirable results in your wedge game that you can subsequently work on.
You can also view average totals, offline tendencies, and shot dispersions for each wedge.
What data parameters does the SkyTrak measure? It measures five directly:
- ball speed
- launch angle
- back spin
- side spin
- side angle
With this data, the software is able to derive six more measurements:
- carry & total distance
- club head speed
- flight path
- angle of descent
This turns out to be plenty of data for most golfers.
Swing Catalyst Integration
Since 2019, SkyTrak has been compatible with Swing Catalyst, a video analysis software that has been praised by coaches around the world as well as PGA Tour pros including Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar, and Ian Poulter.
Swing Catalyst allows you to set up cameras (up to four depending on the license) and capture your swing from multiple different angles. High-speed capture is supported up to 500 fps. With the captured video, you can:
- draw on the image with a wide range of drawing tools
- play back the swing frame-by-frame or in slow motion
- overlay multiple swings or compare them side-by-side
- store and organize your swings
Integration of Swing Catalyst with SkyTrak means that all the information obtained by the SkyTrak is available for viewing alongside the video clips. This includes trajectory, ball flight, and all the measured SkyTrak parameters. Based on your swing data, the software will let you know what kind of shot you hit, whether it was a hook or slice.
In addition, you can analyze the tempo and rhythm of your swing. Backswing and downswing times are displayed, and your total swing duration is rated in terms of being too fast, ideal, or too slow.
Not everyone will find this software necessary for them, but it has a rich set of features that can allow you to understand your swing on a new level.
The SkyTrak is currently available with seven different simulation packages: E6 CONNECT, The Golf Club 2019, WGT Golf, Creative Golf, Fitness Golf, ProTee Play, and Golfisimo.
Each of these softwares has its own features, modes, and games.
In this section, I wanted to run through one of the SkyTrak’s best, most powerful simulation options, E6 CONNECT. I’ll show you the main menu, some settings, and a bit of course play.
E6 CONNECT is available with PC and iOS, but I’ll be using the PC version in this tour. You can choose between an annual subscription to the basic or expanded plans, or a one-time purchase of the software.
When you fire up E6, you’ll arrive at the main menu.
Here, you can do course play, practice, play games, play online, engage in events, or resume your most recent play.
Let’s go to Settings. Here, you can adjust general settings, the environment, system config, and calibration based on your simulator dimensions.
In Golf Settings, you can specify mulligans, your gimme distance (important), pin positions, and much more.
There is quite a bit to go through in the settings, and I suggest you do so as soon as possible in order to optimize your experience.
If you select Practice, you can choose between a driving range or chip & putt practice. Further, you can choose different range types including Flat Range, Range Targets, and Shot Shape.
In the practice range, you can see all your data parameters across the top of the screen.
After each shot, you can view graphs of your trajectory and dispersion.
You can also play around with the settings like changing your ball view and aesthetic background.
It’s an excellent practice experience, but many golfers may feel it’s not necessary to them beyond what the default SkyTrak practice functionality provides.
From the main menu, select Play Golf and add as many extra players as you want.
Now, choose your course. The courses available to you will depend on the package you get, but some of the basic courses are Pinehurst No. 8, Aviara, Gleneagles, and Troon North.
Confirm your settings and selected holes, and hit the “TEE OFF!” button. I’ll choose the Aviara Golf Club.
Now you can go ahead and play, getting detailed data on each shot you hit.
It can be pretty tough to get the hang of putting, but it’s workable with practice.
Brief Thoughts On E6 CONNECT W/ SkyTrak
Where E6 CONNECT really shines is in its flexible practice modes: driving range, chipping and putting. The shot reproduction is superb.
The software also has some incredibly useful settings that you can play with. For example, you can adjust the simulator offset and set your distance to the screen.
The few gripes I have with the software are:
- Putting: to be fair, almost no golf simulator is good for putting. With E6 CONNECT in particular, the roll reproductions are often not accurate to how you actually hit the putt.
- Greens: many areas of golf courses lack contrast, and greens are difficult to read.
- Packages: the one-time purchase packages for E6 CONNECT are, in my opinion, way too expensive. You’re almost always better off going for the annual subscription, which is a lot cheaper even after a couple years of use.
All things considered, E6 CONNECT remains a top simulation option for the SkyTrak, and many would argue it’s the best option.
What about other simulator software? Well, you can get a taste of how WGT works with SkyTrak here:
Pricing & Plans
The core SkyTrak unit costs $1,995 USD. No-interest financing is available if the full amount is paid within twelve months.
Three plans are available with the SkyTrak. First, it comes with the Basic Practice Range Plan at no extra cost. This allows you to simulate your ball flight on a virtual 3D range. The Basic Plan comes with:
- shot tracer
- ball performance data (parameters listed above)
- first-person camera view
- shot replay
If all you want to do is see your swing data on the range and don’t care about minigames or course play, the Basic package should suffice.
Game Improvement Plan
The SkyTrak Game Improvement Plan is available in a package or as an upgrade to the basic SkyTrak plan.
A Game Improvement Package is available that costs $2,244.90. This includes the launch monitor, Game Improvement Plan (1 year, renewable), and official SkyTrak metal protective case.
A standalone upgrade to the Game Improvement Plan is also available at $99.95 per year, or $299.95 for three years.
The SkyTrak Game Improvement Plan gives you access to everything in the Basic Plan plus many additional features, challenges, and games. This includes:
- access to various simulation plans like E6 and TGC
- long drive, closest to the pin and target practice challenges (details in the game modes section)
- skills assessment, bag mapping and wedge matrix features
- custom settings including humidity, turf conditions, and wind
- camera views
- session history
- progress tracking, charts and graphs for each club in the bag
If you want more than just being able to practice on a range from one camera perspective, then you’ll need to upgrade to the Game Improvement Plan.
Play & Improve Plan
The SkyTrak Play & Improve Plan is available in a package or as an upgrade to the Game Improvement Plan.
A SkyTrak Tee Off Package is available that costs $2,244.90. This includes the launch monitor, Play & Improve Plan (1 year, renewable), and official SkyTrak metal protective case.
A standalone upgrade to the Play & Improve Plan is also available at $199.95 per year, or $599.85 for three years.
The Play & Improve gives you access to everything in the Game Improvement Plan plus full integration with World Golf Tour (WGT).
This WGT integration is only available for iOS. It gives you access to:
- the WGT closest-to-the-hole challenge on 18 WGT golf courses
- full course play on 11 WGT golf courses
I would say that in most cases, it’s better to stay on the Game Improvement Plan without upgrading to Play & Improve.
The Game Improvement Plan is all you need to upgrade to a full simulation plan like E6 or TGC. These dedicated simulation options are much more powerful than what is offered on the Play & Improve Plan alone, but they only cost a couple hundred dollars more per year.
The only case where choosing the Play & Improve Plan would make sense is if you’re satisfied with the WGT integration and you aren’t willing to spend a couple more hundred dollars on a full-fledged simulation.
As you probably know by now, SkyTrak has partnered with several software providers to bring the best golf simulator software to the SkyTrak.
These simulation plans are currently:
- E6 CONNECT: Arguably the best, most feature-rich solution, but also the most expensive. Contains a practice mode, 40 different multiplayer formats, and much more.
- The Golf Club: Contains a practice mode, multiplayer modes, online tournaments and events, and a course designer.
- WGT Golf: Only for iOS. Contains a practice mode, stroke play, and closest-to-the-pin challenges.
- Creative Golf 3D: More for entertainment. Contains course play, challenges, and unique game modes such as “fairy golf” for kids.
- Fitness Golf: Applies a fun fitness concept to golfing, where you have to physically get to your shot before hitting the next one.
- ProTee Play: Play fun minigames like killing zombies, darts, carnival games and soccer, with a golfing twist.
- Golfisimo: Contains entertainment games for the whole family.
Each software option has its own appeal. The pricing options for each vary considerably. We talk more about the simulation plans for the SkyTrak here.
Swing Catalyst Plan
Integration of the Swing Catalyst video analysis software with the SkyTrak costs $499/year or $49.50/month. Get it here.
This subscription gives you the ability to run two live cameras and get software updates & support. In addition, special cameras can be purchased to use with Swing Catalyst such as the Dragon USB.
Note that a subscription to the SkyTrak Game Improvement Plan is required for Swing Catalyst integration.
Where To Buy The SkyTrak Online
There are many places where you can buy the SkyTrak. If you’re looking online, the place I would recommend is Rain or Shine Golf.
They are the #1 dealer of the SkyTrak and they guarantee the lowest price. They offer all three core SkyTrak plans along with the official metal protective case. Best of all, their support team is excellent and will walk you through any stumbling blocks you may have.
If you’re looking for a discount on a used unit, you may be able to find a good deal on eBay.
Another thing to consider is a simulation studio. There are many SkyTrak studios available that include a net, screen, enclosure, and projector.
If you want a dedicated simulation plan for the SkyTrak, you’ll need to purchase a license on the official SkyTrak website.
The SkyTrak remains one of the best launch monitors on the market.
Why is that? For only a couple thousands dollars, not only do you get an accuracy comparable to commercial systems that cost $10,000 or more, but you also get access to a ton of features for dialing in your game.
The SkyTrak has some of the best compatibility you can find. It’s compatible with a long list of dedicated software solutions including E6 and TGC.
It’s also one of the only launch monitors that comes with a driving range simulation out-of-the-box, so in that sense, the SkyTrak is more than a strict launch monitor.
There are a few things to keep in mind. First, there’s a noticeable shot delay (the time between the impact of your ball on the screen and the shot simulation) that you can’t do much about.
Secondly, many of the problems people experience related to accuracy stem from an improper setup. Before you play, it’s important to make sure that you correctly calibrate the “center” as the SkyTrak sees it. Once you do that, the shot reproductions should be pretty well on the money.
Thirdly, you should avoid using the SkyTrak outdoors if possible. It can work, but there are better options for outdoor launch monitors such as the Mevo Plus.
For as little as $200 per year for the Play & Improve Plan, you can play a full 18-hole round of golf (and see your detailed shot data) without having to get out to the course. In the end, it’ll save you a lot of money and go a long way towards improving your game.
Thanks for reading my SkyTrak review. Are you interested in the SkyTrak? Have you tried it already? What’s your experience? Tell us about it in the comments below.
SkyTrak Launch Monitor
- Accuracy is extremely good once properly set up
- A good amount of data parameters
- A lot of superb simulation options
- Many fun game modes
- Lots of very useful game-improvement features
- There's a bit of a shot delay
- Many of the simulation plans are expensive
- Setup can be finicky
- Outdoor use is not ideal