Launch monitors: Portable and affordable
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
James Achenbach says simulators can provide similar data as launch monitors, while increasing the entertainment value.
Finally, full-function launch monitors for individual golfers are becoming less complicated to use. They also are becoming less expensive to buy.
Sure, it’s possible to spend more than $30,000 for a state-of-the-art TrackMan launch monitor, but using a TrackMan is a team operation – instructor and student, retailer and customer, or a group of golfers. At least one person has to be an expert in setting up and operating the launch monitor.
On the other hand, we’re talking here about units that can be transported and operated with ease by one ordinary golfer without training. Furthermore, these modern machines are designed for portability indoors or outdoors.
Today’s personal launch monitors are accurate, providing an array of information – clubhead speed, ball speed, carry and total distance, launch angle, shot trajectory, swing path, angle of descent, angle of approach, impact position, club face angle and more.
Most launch monitors – for use in teaching, self-instruction, prace or simulated golf games – fall into two major categories: those that rely on cameras for measurement and those that use radar.
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The skinny: You can carry this monitor to the range and start hitting balls; it does not require calibration. Weighing less than 5 pounds, it starts with the push of a button and uses rechargeable batteries (life of two hours) or electricity. Information is shown on a color display. For additional features, VectorX can be connected to a personal computer for video teaching or ball-flight simulation. It is compatible with AccuSport’s VFit, VTeach and VRange software applications.
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Zelocity PureLaunch Tracker
The skinny: This monitor requires no leveling or calibration, weighs less than 6 pounds and relies on Doppler radar to gather information. According to Zelocity, this machine tracks the ball farther than previous units. The Tracker operates on either rechargeable batteries (up to 12 hours) or electricity. The PureLaunch Tracker software provides for the printing of detailed statistics and summarized information. Users need a personal computer for full information display.
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The skinny: Billed as a combination launch monitor and simulator, the GolfAchiever includes a diverse software package. The product weighs less than 10 pounds, and has a licensing agreement with SBK for golf-shot simulation. As soon as a ball passes through a laser grid, all readings are recorded. An external personal computer is needed for information display.