Gear and Gadgets
January 21, 2020

Demo Day 2020: Five affordable new launch monitors that are geared for the everyman

WINTER GARDEN, Fla. — In 2020, you don't have to be a member of a private club, or even leave the comfort of your home, to enjoy the advantages of studying your swing on a launch monitor. Companies are continuing to deliver the technology found in these swing-analysis devices in forms that the average golfer would consider purchasing, so you don't have to keep hounding your local golf shop to study your swing.

This week at the PGA Merchandise Show, starting at Tuesday's Demo Day at Orange County National, those companies unveiled some new products that golfers will be able to enjoy by operating a handheld device.

We got a sneak peek at some of them. Here are five launch monitors that are portable and affordable, geared for the everyman.

1 . FlightScope Mevo+ — FlightScope has been one of the leaders in golf launch-monitor technology since it debuted the first 3-D Doppler radars used at driving ranges in 2000 ($500). Its latest product, the Mevo+, is its most portable unit in its history. Sixteen data points are captured by the Mevo+, including horizontal data, to show metrics such as smash factor, spin axis, dynamic loft and others in this small unit ($1,995, debuting at retail in March and available at this week's PGA Show). Henri Johnson, FlightScope's founder and CEO, also heads up the company's research and development, and has been working on delivering its doppler technology in easily digestible form. Knowing that the average golfer tends to hit worse shots under pressure than on the range, the company has released five golf courses with the Mevo+ unit, so with the new FlightScope app, the golfer can see their performance data shown along a golf course on their phone. "I believe we've created a tool that's affordable, and if you make this investment, we're giving them immediate data to improve," Johnson said Tuesday at Demo Day. Johnson also teased an eLearning platform data that the company will release next month, as a way to further engage the player with continued learning through lessons through the year.


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2 . Rapsodo's MLM (Mobile Launch Monitor)/Coach Direct — Turning your smartphone into a launch monitor with immediate swing analytics is what separates Rapsodo's MLM software from others in the industry. The MLM ($499) displays swing data (distance, ball speed, club speed, smash factor, launch angle, launch direction) as well as video and overlay graphics onto your swings so it's dissectible and sharable with coaches. A new Coach Connect partnership with Golf Digest's digital Golf Digest Schools platform, and its mobile app to come in Spring 2020, will allow golfers to receive immediate feedback from leading coaches in a self-contained platform.

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3 . Ernest Sports B1 — Ernest Sports, which has developed a cachet for offering the most affordable launch monitors, is unveiling its new B1 ($550) at the show. The new launch monitor, lightweight and easily transportable like its previous iterations like the E12 and E14, will allow users to display LPGA and PGA Tour data in the company's new ESGolf app, to show comparisons between your swing and a professional's.


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4 . SkyTrak Launch Monitor and Software — For anyone looking for the experience of a simulator but in an affordable form, Skytrak ($1,995) offers the essentials (i.e. launch data and ball flight). You can also play 18 holes on courses like Oakmont and Bethpage Black or participate in various practice modes with the purchase of an additional simulation package. It connects wirelessly to any iPad, PC or TV, and is portable to let you work on your game on the go.


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5 . Swing Caddie SC200 Plus — You've likely heard the Swing Caddie, literally, as the launch monitor brand that will voice your distances after each shot. The next edition to this portable, affordable direct-to-consumer brand is the SC 200 Plus. At $399, it's one of the cheaper options out there, and in addition to measuring your swing data and barking it out, a new feature allows you to measure your swing data by taking swings without hitting a ball. The new practice mode could be a new options for golfers with enough space to take practice swings indoors, but without the ability to actually hit the ball.


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