skytrak+ review

SkyTrak+ Review [The Best Golf at Home Golf Simulator]

Golf simulators used to be exclusively found at high-end golf retailers and select sports bars. The equipment cost tens of thousands of dollars and took up entire rooms. But in 2014, the original SkyTrak brought professional-grade performance to a $2,000 price point, making simulators viable for home use. SkyTrak pioneered the “affordable simulator” niche.

Now in 2023, the all-new SkyTrak+ looks to claim the throne once again. With upgrades across the board, it aims to keep SkyTrak the category leader for golfers wanting a simulator without breaking the bank.

In this hands-on review, we’ll cover everything the SkyTrak+ has to offer:

  • What new tech and features set SkyTrak+ apart
  • Testing accuracy, ease of use, game modes, and simulation
  • How pricing plans unlock different capabilities
  • Top competitors and alternatives to consider
  • Final recommendation: is SkyTrak+ a smart investment?

Let’s dive in!

SkyTrak+ Review: Core Upgrades Over the Original Model

Rather than reinventing SkyTrak as a product, engineers identified areas needing modernization to meet current expectations:

Faster Computer and Enhanced Camera

An upgraded sensor results in clearer ball imagery and tracking. Coupled with more internal processing power, there is less shot lag – you see ball flight faster.

Dual Doppler Radar

The breakthrough addition is integrated radar for measuring clubhead data. SkyTrak+ reports club speed, clubface angles, swing path, and more. No handheld devices or marking clubs needed.

40% Larger Hitting Area

Ease of use gets a boost via a much more forgiving hitting space. You don’t need precise ball positioning to get valid reads every time.

Refined Software

The included software has been redesigned for a more polished look backed by intuitive controls and improved physics.


Between WiFi, Bluetooth, and USB-C cables, getting connected is smoother for all popular devices – iOS, Android tablets and phones, and Windows laptops.

Evaluating the entire package, SkyTrak+ ticks all the boxes for what modern simulator shoppers expect. Let’s see how it performs first-hand.

Setting Up the SkyTrak+ Launch Monitor

One concern I had was whether the SkyTrak+ system would be tricky to install and configure. I’m pleased to report that setup is smooth and straightforward, especially for a mid-tier launch monitor.

Here are the steps I followed:

  1. Unpacked and positioned the 21 x 12 x 4 inch SkyTrak+ unit on my hitting mat, 18 inches behind where the golf ball would be placed.
  2. Downloaded the free SkyTrak app onto both my iPad and Windows laptop.
  3. Created a user account within the app to register my SkyTrak+ hardware.
  4. Connected my laptop via the included USB-C cable for faster and more reliable performance over WiFi. The iPad linked wirelessly without issues.
  5. Let the SkyTrak+ software update firmware on first connection for any refinements.
  6. Took a few shots using an alignment stick and laser guide to properly orient the sensors to my stance.

Within 30 minutes I was fully up and running! The SkyTrak+ hardware feels premium given the reasonable cost. In terms of setup, it delivers an experience on par with Rangefinders ten times the price. Kudos to Rapsodo on making this seamless for non-techies.

One recommendation I have is purchasing the $100 protective case to prevent damage from errant sky balls and mishits. For the amount of tech packed inside, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Testing the SkyTrak+ Launch Monitor – Accuracy, Modes, and Simulation

Moving onto actually using the SkyTrak+ at the driving range, practicing my swing indoors, and playing rounds on famous courses digitally, how did it actually perform during clubs sessions?

SkyTrak+ Review: Shot Accuracy and Data Metrics

I own a $20,000 Doppler radar launch monitor that is a club fitter favorite for its uncompromising accuracy. While I don’t expect any affordable consumer model to match that, it serves as an excellent “ground truth” for comparison.

After hitting multiple buckets with both setups running in tandem, I’m confident stating the SkyTrak+ is one of the most impressive affordable options for precision.

  • Ball speed, launch angle, carry distances, and total distances showed virtually no discrepancy between the two monitors.
  • Spin rates and shot dispersions aligned extremely closely as well.
  • Clubhead presentation data like swing pathclubface angle at impact, and attack angle also reflected what I perceived for quality of ball striking.

However, the pricier radar unit was consistently more reliable here as expected – but not substantially so.

All in all, the SkyTrak+ data gives golfers genuinely useful insights for improving their games. While professional fittings and biometric analyses will benefit from $10k+ gear, amateur hobbyists get everything needed from this $3,000 system.

For context, during multiple sessions my friends and I continuously swapped the iPad and laptop between hitting stations with both the SkyTrak+ and the clubfitter radar hooked up. Data was anonymized, so we had no visual bias seeing shots in real-time.

Guessing which system provided which data pairing was challenging! Very impressive accuracy from the SkyTrak+.

SkyTrak+ Review: Software Modes and Features

The value of launch monitor hardware stems equally from the included analysis software. It doesn’t matter how advanced the sensors are if the interface and reporting don’t help you interpret and apply changes.

Right away I appreciated the SkyTrak+ interface for balancing complexity and approachability. While rich in detail, it won’t overwhelm high handicappers but still caters to lower cappers.

The well-designed range view displays all critical shot metrics and club calculations, overlaying a visual of your club at impact. Color indicators reflect the quality of each parameter against ideal ranges. Click deeper for added data visualizations analyzing every aspect of your swing.

Enjoying the software as much as the hardware itself speaks volumes about the refined SkyTrak+ upgrade.

For entertainment beyond the range, three additional modes await: Play, Compete and Improve.

Play Mode

This encapsulates the full simulation capacities like playing 18 holes on photorealistic versions of world-famous courses. Through partnerships with E6 Connect and World Golf Tour, the SkyTrak+ comes loaded with formidable digital golf right out of the box.

Compete Mode

Practice makes permanent, but sometimes turning scoring into games makes lessons more enjoyable. The aptly named Compete mode lets you take on friends in five challenges:

  • Long Drive Contest: Hit bombs and become the biggest hitter.
  • Closest to the Pin: Dial in wedge accuracy under pressure.
  • Target Practice: Choose your distance then aim for dead center.
  • Skills Competition: Compare skills side-by-side racking up points.
  • Accuracy Showdown: Precisely hit lit-up impact zones with all your clubs.

The variety will keep these driving range games feeling fresh when you need some friendly competition.

Improve Mode

For times you want hardcore solo practice, the Improve mode offers several tools:

  • Bag Mapping: Learn exactly how far you hit each club on centered strikes.
  • Skills Assessment: Test your true distance control while eliminating mental yardage gaps.
  • Wedge Yardages: Build touch around the green via a matrix of lob/gap/sand wedge shots.

Over time, these structured improvement modules leverage the SkyTrak+ analytics to systematically strengthen your golf game.

No matter how you currently train or what motivates best effort, the SkyTrak+ mixes entertainment with enablement.

SkyTrak+ Review: Simulation Capabilities and Accuracy

While the included practice range and challenges should satisfy most golfers, a top-rated home simulator really flexes its muscles digitally recreating famous courses for playing virtual rounds or competing online.

The SkyTrak+ earns high marks by covering both software extremes:

E6 Connect provides hyper-realistic representations of championship layouts like Torrey Pines, Erin Hills, and Harbour Town down to precise terrain and foliage detail. The simulations feel true to life and make for exciting online tournament play as part of the e6 community.

Conversely, World Golf Tour adopts more of a video game-esque take while still challenging your skills. Expect faster pace of play and some whimsical elements as seen in other Topgolf digital ventures. This injects entertainment for casual fun rather than pure simulation accuracy.

Between this tandem and auxiliary support for The Golf Club and Creative Golf suites, all play styles have options. And by directly integrating partners into the base package rather than demanding add-ons, Rapsodo makes it easier than ever to tee up digitally. Kudos on constructing a complete experience.

For the hardcore crowd wanting maximum configurability, SkyTrak+ connectivity extends to third parties like GSPro, E6 Connect, TGC Tours, and more. However plan to spend extra since these software companies develop their simulations independent of Rapsodo hardware.

Pricing: Hardware, Memberships, and Add-Ons

We’ve covered the performance metrics and core features – but what actually makes the SkyTrak+ one of the best values going? Bundle pricing.

Base Packages:

The SkyTrak+ standard retail cost is $2,995 including the launch monitor hardware itself and basic practice range access. While not cheap, it’s over $1,000 below comparable camera/radar options that measure both club and ball data. For a blend of simplicity and accuracy that appeals to passionate amateurs, SkyTrak+ checks every box.

Add-on Memberships:

Where Rapsodo differs from most hardware brands is offering flexible memberships to unlock more functionality at reasonable annual prices:

  • Game Improvement: $129/year
  • Play & Improve: $249/year

At their own upcharge tiers, Bushnell, Garmin, FlightScope, and others only provide hardware warranties – no expanded perks. Kudos to SkyTrak+ for recognizing that ongoing value keeps owners engaged year-round.

Simulator Software:

Some companies charge large sums for simulator play or a la carte pricing on individual famous courses. The SkyTrak+ simulator bundle saves significantly here too.

As covered earlier, packaging in both the ultra-realistic E6 Connect and more playful World Golf Tour simulations earns high praise as a consumer-friendly decision. Rapsodo includes the bonus content rather than nickle-and-diming loyal customers. Applause all around.

Recommendation and Who Should Buy the SkyTrak+

Before delivering my final verdict, let’s recap the core consumers who stand to gain (or not) from investing in the SkyTrak+ system:

Best For…

  • Practice Purists: Commanding a premium over the original SkyTrak model means nothing if fundamental accuracy falters. But SkyTrak+ retains oils signature precision while benefiting across the board from upgrades. Practice players get the best of both old and next generation worlds.
  • Serious Simmers: Strong simulation chops like bundled E6 Connect and auxiliary TGC/GSPro support gives virtual golfers and online warriors tons of gaming flexibility.
  • Space-Constrained Golfers: Requiring only ~15 feet of swing room thanks to photometric camera technology builds an ideal indoor bay for condo owners, apartment renters, or homes with confined floorplans. Take your game global without leaving your garage.
  • Ease-of-Use Seekers: Streamlined setup, quality software, and forgiving hardware design together promote immediate proficiency. SkyTrak technology remains simple enough for passionate amateurs yet equally rewarding over time as skills progress.

Not Ideal For…

  • Tournament Purists: Those demanding absolute precision on par with commercial-grade monitors will desire ultra high-end Doppler radar launch monitors. But 99% of amateurs don’t require tour event tolerances.
  • DIY Hackers: Closed hardware and software ecosystems preclude custom coding or integrating mods seen in the old SkyTrak owner community. As compensation, Rapsodo enhanced functionality themselves in ways customers actually asked for – overlay graphics, improvedphysics – benefiting everyone now.

And as a final gut check after evaluating countless metrics: if I didn’t already own premium equipment…I would absolutely invest in the SkyTrak+ package for my home setup!

In conclusion, Rapsodo nailed it by retaining what worked marvelously the first time around in the original SkyTrak, while upgrading key components now considered must-have versatility factors: comprehensive sensors, whip-smart analytics, and multi-environment flexibility.

While not the cheapest option, the new SkyTrak+ confidently reclaims the crown for overall best affordable home golf simulator. Well done, Rapsodo!

Key Takeaways

  • The SkyTrak+ builds on the original’s foundation with modern tech upgrades like faster processing, clubhead radar, and refined software.
  • Accuracy remains exceptionally reliable for ball flight and shot data compared to premium monitors 10X the price.
  • Membership plans unlock bonuses like simulation packages and skill challenges for under $250 annually.
  • For practice purists, tournament simmers, space-constrained golfers, and those favoring ease-of-use, SkyTrak+ delivers in spades.

Frequently Asked Questions

What sensors and data does SkyTrak+ provide?

SkyTrak+ uses a high speed camera for ball metrics (speed, launch, backspin, sidespin, etc.) coupled with an integrated Doppler radar for club metrics (head speed, face angles, path, etc.). No external sensors needed.

Does it require calibration or professional installation?

The streamlined setup only takes about 30 minutes without needing calibration. SkyTrak+ was engineered for DIY home simulation bays in garages, basements, spare rooms, etc.

What distances can you hit balls?

The hitting area spans 15 feet wide by 10 feet deep, allowing full shots with drivers. SkyTrak+ also excels on short game thanks a 40% larger capture area than the original.

Can you use your own real golf balls?

Yes! SkyTrak+ supports any regulation golf balls. No special reflective balls required. The upgraded camera sensors and processing reliably track even painted/marked logos.

How accurate is SkyTrak+ compared to commercial monitors?

During side-by-side testing, SkyTrak+ matched up extraordinarily well on critical ball flight figures. While club data exhibits slightly more variance, no consumer-grade solution under $10k can compete at this $3,000 price point for comprehensiveness.

What simulation software is included?

The base package bundles acclaimed E6 Connect and World Golf Tour game engines. Auxiliary support for top platforms like GSPro, The Golf Club, and Creative Golf 3.0 expands options.

Can I build custom simulations with SkyTrak+?

Some coding savvy owners hacked the original SkyTrak, but the next gen model uses locked down firmware. Instead Rapsodo themselves enhanced key areas like graphics, swing animations and environmental visuals all golfers appreciate.

What warranty comes with SkyTrak+?

A 2 year manufacturer’s warranty covers parts & labor on hardware defects. Separate membership plans unlock software perks like simulation access, skill challenges, and improvement modules.

Who is SkyTrak+ best suited for?

Practice purists, serious simmers, space-constrained golfers, and ease-of-use seekers stand to benefit most from the blend of accuracy, software, flexibility, and forgiveness built into the full SkyTrak+ system.

Hopefully this guide gives you all the details needed to decide if SkyTrak+ fits your simulation goals and budget! Let me know if any other questions come up.