Skytrak Golf Launch Monitor - Long Term Detailed Review

Skytrak - the Hero of the Home Golf Simulator Explosion

Skytrak golf simulator review

There's no doubt that more and more golfers are setting up golf simulators at home. Apart from the pandemic which drastically changed how people saw their own homes, another reason which has turbocharged the 'golfing from home' phenomenon is just how affordable and accessible a Golf Simulator has become, especially if you go down the DIY route.

Gone are the days where you associate a Golf Simulator with a commercial set up costing tens of thousands of dollars, you can now create your own golf simulator at home for just over $1,000 AUD. And the main reason for this affordability is the emergence of the Personal Launch Monitor (PLM), which can now deliver highly accurate club and/or ball data at a much more budget friendly price (under $10k).

One of the hero products which really shook the Personal Launch Monitor market was the Skytrak Golf Launch Monitor. Combining supreme accuracy, ease of use as well as a price which does not require you to sell off a kidney, there's no surprise that it's been selling like hotcakes ever since it was launched, especially during the pandemic. 

In this post, I will provide a detailed long term review of my very own Skytrak, which I bought around 3 years ago. I will go through how the product works, what is great about it as well as some gotchas to keep in mind if you are also thinking of getting one or if you are comparing it to other golf launch monitors out on the market. I really hope it will help you in making an informed decision if you are looking to purchase a launch monitor for your Golfing From Home set up. 

Also it should be pointed out that we don't sell this product and don't make a cent directly or indirectly if you buy one. So this is a honest review based on my personal experience having used this unit in the last few years. 

It's also worth noting that in 2023, a Skytrak+ product was launched which adds radar technology on top of the photometric technology that the Skytrak is based on. It is able to capture additional data points (mostly club data) and is offered at a higher price point (just over $5K AUD). It is not intended to replace the Skytrak and is instead offered as a higher end sibling to the Skytrak.

PS: If you are looking for a guide on how to start your own Home Golf Simulator journey, please check out our 'How to build your own golf simulator guide'.

PPS: If you are on the market for a personal golf launch monitor, be sure to also check out our Personal Golf Launch Monitors | 2023 Buying Guide.

Skytrak Golf Simulator - The Basics

So how does the Skytrak work?

Basically by taking lots of photos of the golf ball as it leaves the clubface just after impact. 

The Skytrak launch monitor is a photometric launch monitor which has a high speed camera and takes and analyses photos of the golf ball during the first couple of feet of it's flight. By comparing those photos, it is then able to accurately calculate how far the ball is travelling (ball speed), spin characteristics (back spin, spin axis etc), launch angle, start direction etc. Using these metrics, Skytrak is then able to determine or simulate the resulting ball flight. It will also present the information as well as the simulated ball flight through a connected device such as a phone, tablet or a PC, see a screenshot below of it's out-of-the-box driving range user interface.

Skytrack range interface

Pretty smart huh? In fact, it's the same type of technology that's used by what's believed to be the standard in launch monitor accuracy - the Foresight GC 2/3/Quad. Those units cost several times its price. By using this technology, the Skytrak is capable of achieving very high accuracy when it comes to ball flight numbers - we'll get into that in a later section.

A full list of metrics available through the Sktrak is below. Note that only ball data is captured. But you only need to know what the ball is doing to play simulator golf. 

Metrics measured
  • Ball Speed 
  • Launch Angle
  • Back Spin
  • Side Spin
  • Ball direction
Ball Flight Metrics calculated
  • Distance - Carry and Total
  • Angle of Descent
  • Distance offline
  • Peak height

Note although clubhead speed and smash factor (Skytrak calls PTI) is 'calculated', it's not really THAT accurate. Other club data such as club face and path related metrics are not available. 

It's also worthwhile noting that the other type of technology used for golf launch monitors is radar based, where a radar is positioned typically behind the golf ball to measure ball flight as well as club head data. Examples of products in this category include Trackman, Flight Scope family of products, Garmin Approach R10 as well as the PRGR pocket launch monitor (check out our review here). The advantage with this type of launch monitors is that it is very accurate with measuring speed (ball speed, club head speed) but can be iffy when it comes to spin data. This type of launch monitors will also require more space, as it typically will need to be positioned 6-8 feet behind the golf ball and will require at least 8 feet of ball flight (more the better).

In addition, a photometric golf launch monitor will give the golfer what is called 'closed data'. In other words, in an outdoor environment, as the data is based on the initial flight and spin characteristics of the ball just after impact, numbers which are presented are not influenced by external factors like which way the wind is blowing. Compared to a radar based unit like a Trackman or a Flightscope which tracks most of the ball flight in outdoor mode, photometric golf launch monitors will deliver your "true" numbers in terms of distances and curvature. 

Ok...let's get back to the Skytrak.

How much does it cost? (Australia)

In terms of cost, there are 2 elements to consider - the initial purchase price as well as the cost of annual subscriptions.

Purchase Price

Currently in Australia (2023/2024), a brand new Skytrak launch monitor will set you back around $3,500. There's also a pretty active second hand market, but please consider risks associated with purchasing such products second hand.

Annual Subscription Plans 

If you are just after a simple driving range experience, then the initial purchase price is all you have to pay.

But if you are after a few more features such as the ability to review shot history as well as integrate with Golf Simulator games, you will need to sign up for the 'Game Improvement Plan' which costs $129.95 USD annually. This is the plan that I currently have. Note that you will have to pay separately for your Golf Simulation software. We highly recommend at least going with this subscription plan to get the most out of your Skytrak unit.

For $249.95 USD annually, you can sign up for the 'Play and Improve' plan where you will get included full Golf Simulator course play with 23 golf courses on WGT (world golf tour) as well as 16 courses through TruGolf E6. Note WGT only runs on IOS devices.

So basically in terms of which plan to go with, it will depend on which golf simulation software you are leaning towards.

Below is a summary of the different subscription plans on offer from the Skytrak website.

Skytrak subscription plans

How do you use it?

The Skytrak launch monitor is very easy to set up and use.

Set Up

It only takes a few steps to get a brand new unit set up and running. Detailed instructions are of course included in the package.

  1. Charge up your unit - make sure you fully charge your Skytrak unit before first use. The unit comes with a micro-USB cable which is used for charging as well as for data connection (2 wireless connection options are also available).
  2. Download the Skytrak app to your chosen device (phone, tablet, PC) and register for an account.
  3. Link your device to your account. 
  4. Connect your Skytrak to your device either wirelessly or via the USB cable. 

What you want to see at the end is the red laser dot indicating where you need to place the ball (see below). This basically indicates that Skytrak is now ready to read your shots.

Kaizen Golf skytrak

Hitting Balls

Like most photometric golf launch monitors, the Skytrak unit sits to the side of the golf ball rather than behind it. Before you start clipping balls away, there are a couple of things to get right first so you can get accurate reads.

  1. Level - make sure the unit is level and is level with your mat. The unit comes with a bubble spirit level, but the most reliable way to dial this in is to use the 'level' function within the Skytrak app. 
  2. Alignment - typically having the unit placed parallel to your target line is sufficient. But there are units which unfortunately don't 'point' the right way. The easiest way to dial in the alignment is to hit a few chip shots where you are confident with the direction of shot and then calibrate where the unit is pointed until the unit is showing a straight shot. I'm one of the lucky ones where my unit is perfectly aligned. Also note that there is an alignment function in the Skytrak app, this is known to be very unreliable - even according to official Skytrak advice. 
  3. Once the unit is level and is pointed in the right direction and you can see the red dot projected on your hitting surface, simply place your golf ball on the dot and hit away! 

Unlike some of the more expensive photometric units which have a wider 'field of vision', Skytrak will require balls to be hit where the red laser dot is. Small inconvenience for the price difference I say.

Key Features 

So now we've got the Skytrak set up, let's have a look at some of the key features of this product.


Of course accuracy is the most important feature of any launch monitor, and the skytrak does not disappoint in this regard. Being a photometric based launch monitor instantly puts it at an advantage when compared to radar based units which are known to struggle with spin numbers, especially for those on the lower end of the price range. 

There has been a number of tests where the Skytrak unit has been put alongside much more expensive units such as the Trackman or GC Quad and the resulting differences in are never more than 2%.

I have no reason to question these results as this is definitely what I've seen when compared to data captured using other launch monitors as well as my own on course numbers. After a couple of years of using the Skytrak, I can put hand on heart and say that, as long as you get some basic set up things right, you can absolutely trust the numbers from Skytrak.

I believe this is one of the main reasons for Skytrak's explosion in popularity, considering the level of accuracy you get and its price tag. 

Of course, keep in mind that what is measured is only ball data.

User Interface / Application

Skytrak comes with it's own proprietary Driving Range software/application that goes way beyond showing ball data and simulating ball flight. The software was definitely built to help you improve your golf game. Here a quick list of what you get from the Skytrak software, just note that you will need to be on the 'Game Improvement' plan.

  • Driving range - standard driving range with shot tracer and data display laid out in a very intuitive manner.
  • Multi-colour Tracer - set a different colour for each club so you can easily see shot grouping and dispersion per club.
  • Shot history - you can go back to review all the shots from your session.
  • Data Display and Export - you can see all the data points in a table and export it to Excel for further analysis. We've used this feature heavily when we do our tests.
  • Challenge your mates to a Closest to the Pin or Long Drive challenge.
  • Bag Mapping / Fitting - get your numbers dialled in with the ability to do a bag mapping session or simply compare numbers between different clubs for fitting purposes.
  • Skills Assessment - a module to assess the various aspects of your game to help you identify what to work on.
  • Randomiser - this is by far our favourite feature. Set a distance range and Skytrak will give you a randomised distance to hit for each shot and keep a track of your accuracy %. A couple of 30min sessions each week with a distance range between 40m - 100m will help you sharpen up your wedge game, guaranteed. 
Skytrak Randomiser Golf Simulator

Space Saver

As the Skytrak only needs to see a couple of feet of ball flight, it's basically the only option south of $10K if you don't have enough space for a radar based unit which would typically require over 16 feet of distance between the launch monitor and the impact screen/net to product somewhat accurate results.

This makes the Skytrak an ideal golf simulator for the suburban Aussie home as you can just about set up a full golf simulator in a single car garage. This was probably the key consideration for my purchase at the time as I was also considering a Mevo+, however that was going to be a really tight squeeze even in my double garage. 

Golf Simulation 

Apart from the out of the box driving range features, Skytrak's ability to integrate with a number of Golf Simulator software packages opens up a whole new world of excitement. 

A number of Golf Simulator software packages are supported out of the box, see below.

  • E6 Connect
  • WGT Golf (IOS only)
  • The Golf Club (TGC) 2019 
  • Creative Golf
  • Fitness Golf

There are pros and cons with each of the packages and the prices are also very different. We'll look to do a compare in a separate article. 

You can also download third party integration software to have your Skytrak connect into GS Pro which is making huge waves in the Golf Simulator community. 

Oh, it's definitely worth pointing out that - yes Putts are measured. But to be honest, after 2 years I'm still getting the hang of putting into an impact screen...

Quick round at Pebble Beach after the kids go to sleep anyone?

Fitness golf golf simulator

So this the basics of how to set up and use the Skytrak golf simulator, keep reading for some "gotchas" as well as my pro tips on how to get the most out of the Skytrak unit.


There are of course some quirks and limitations with the unit. Here's a list of things to be mindful of based on my own experience as well as comments from other Skytrak users.

Mat Only

The Skytrak is a 'mat only' Launch Monitor, i.e. it will not work properly if you hit off a grass range. I've not verified this as I've only used it with mats (come on...we sell them...) but suspect it's due to all the blades of grass & dirt that gets thrown up at impact and confusing the machine.

May Struggle in Direct Sunlight

Some people have reported the Skytrak not working properly in direct sunlight. This also makes sense - just imagine trying to take a photo in direct sunlight. However, I have used the unit in the middle of the day outside and have not experienced this. 

Lefty vs. Righty

As the unit sits on the side of the ball, you will have to reposition the unit when you change between lefties and righties. This could get pretty annoying and space allowing, you should really consider a radar based unit which sits behind the ball. 

No Reads / Misreads / Phantom Reads

As with pretty much all other launch monitors, the Skytrak suffers from the occasional "no read". (Is it just me or do "no reads" happen when you absolutely flush one?!)

Less often are misreads when the numbers are just so obviously wrong. I'm talking perfectly struck 7 iron spinning at 11,000 RPM and carrying 95 metres.

From time to time I also notice "phantom reads", where you could simply walk past the unit and it would think that you've hit a shot and actually give you some ball data along with a simulated ball flight.

Although these might not be too much of a problem when you are just practicing, they can be really annoying if you are playing a SIM game in an online tournament. 

More often than not, misreads and no-reads are the result of the unit not being able to correctly calculate ball flight data from the photos taken. You can quite significantly reduce the occurrence of these errors by facing the logo on the ball towards the unit so that it will have a much better reference of how the ball has moved between photos. This has definitely been my experience - I practically don't get any misreads or "no reads" if I face the logo of ball towards the Skytrak.

Time Delay

This is definitely one of the quirks of the Skytrak to get used to. Basically, you hit a shot and then nothing will happen for 2-3 seconds (sometimes even longer), then ball data and ball flight will be displayed. This undoubtedly can feel pretty unnatural.

From my personal experience, delays are more noticeable when you are connected to the Skytrak via Wifi mode. If you connect via USB, which is what I do, the delay is actually not that bad at all. 

Don't trust Club Head Speed numbers

As mentioned before, I find that the 'inferred' club head speed numbers to be extremely unreliable - they should just not even show it in my opinion. When I compared club speed numbers produced by the Skytrak and my PRGR launch monitor which is radar based, the differences were really obvious. 

Align and Level

To get the most accurate feedback on your shots, ensure your unit is properly aligned and sits level. If you have a dedicated set up, then it's pretty much "set and forget".  

Extreme Shanks?

As the unit sits about a foot to the side of the golf ball, there's definitely a probability of sending a golf ball into the camera lens of the skytrak when you hit an extreme shank. Given that the Skytrak only has a plastic outer case, you can definitely do some serious damage with an ill-fated extreme hosel rocket or toe shank. 

There are stories of cracked skytraks all over the internet, so it does happen more than you think.

Good news is that there's a metal case which will protect your expensive toy when your golf novice mate sends one sideways.   

Skytrak protective case

Usage Tips 

Here are some pro tips on how to have more fun and less frustration with the Skytrak.

  • Use your gaming balls - makes sense right? You want to ensure that your numbers from golf simulator play can carry over to your on course play as much as possible. 
  • Use patterned balls - instead of bending over and placing the logo towards the Skytrak for every shot, save your back and play patterned balls instead. Chromesoft Truvis balls and TP5 Pix balls are great for this.
  • Get a Full Metal Jacket - You may never hit those extreme shots, but your better half, your kids or your drunk mate might. Protect your expensive toy and get the Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) metal protective case - just do it. The Full Metal Jacket also comes with adjustable legs for levelling as well as an alignment stick holder for easy alignment too.
  • Adjust your background - ensure that you give yourself the best chance for accurate reads by having a background which will contrast with the golf ball. Dark colour background will usually work best, white background with a white golf ball will result in more misreads. 

So, have I actually improved?

Simply - YES. 

Over the course of the last few years of owning a Skytrak, I managed to shave almost 5 shots off my handicap, and I'm putting this down to:

  • Practice has become more meaningful and fun which has resulted in me practising more and hitting more balls. My practice sessions have become a lot more productive as well.
  • I now have much better understanding of my distances as well as my tendencies with my gaming balls. This is very useful information which I can take straight to the course. 
  • Improvement has become more measurable. Instead of eyeballing ball flight of range balls and trying to work out whether things are improving, I'm using my own balls and I have accurate feedback on whether I'm hitting it longer, straighter etc. 

Final Thoughts / Long Term Verdict

So after a few years of ownership, I'm still really enjoying the Skytrak. 

With some simple set up steps, the Skytrak Launch Monitor is extremely accurate and is both a great tool for improving my golf game as well as a fun toy when it comes to Golf Simulator play.

For the price you pay, the amount of functionality that you get still makes the Skytrak fantastic value for money, even with it's quirks and limitations. 

Of course $3K is a lot of money, so I hope that this detailed long term review will help you in making an informed decision on whether the Skytrak golf simulator is the right product for you.

When the opportunity arises, we will definitely give the Skytrak+ product a go to see if it's worth the $2k upgrade. We will of course share our results as soon as we do that. 

If you have any other questions regarding the Skytrak Launch Monitor, please don't hesitate to contact us, we'd love to hear from you.

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