SkyTrak Golf Simulator Review

By Kyle J. Larson Published: Last updated:

The SkyTrak launch monitor is a mid-priced device that allows full golf simulation. As a result, it is one of the best options for a home golf simulator setup. In this SkyTrak review, I’ll cover how the device works, its pros and cons, and why it might be the best choice for you.

skytrak launch monitor on golf mat

SkyTrak Overview

The SkyTrak launch monitor is a small box that captures shot data from a golf ball, which is sent to an app running on a phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. This data can be used to review shot statistics at a driving range, create a simulated range or practice area, or run a simulation of a full round of golf.

At around a $2,000 price point, the Skytrak is marketed to those who want a simulator setup that provides accurate, realistic shot data without paying $10,000 or more for a professional-level launch monitor.

Cheaper launch monitors either provide only a display of statistical shot data (not suitable for simulation) or aren’t accurate enough to realistically simulate a round of golf (more of a video game where you can swing a real club, but it doesn’t exactly reflect how you might play on the course).

More expensive golf simulators have different types of sensors that give additional data points or collect data in different ways that can provide more information targeted at club fitters, professional golfers, commercial applications, and those with a large budget for their simulator setup.

How SkyTrak Works

SkyTrak uses a camera that captures high-speed images of a golf ball after impact. The images are used to capture data on how the ball is moving to determine its direction and carry distance.

skytrak shot data screenshot
The data view after hitting a shot on the SkyTrak driving range.

What Does SkyTrak Measure?

The camera in the SkyTrak collects the following ball data statistics:

  • Ball Speed – The speed of the ball directly impacts the maximum possible distance.
  • Back Spin – Measures how the ball rotates off the club head, which helps determine the height, efficiency, and distance.
  • Launch Angle – The angle of the ball launch compared to the ground. This helps determine how high the ball flies.
  • Side Spin – This spin will help determine if you’re hitting a straight ball or if it’s traveling left or right.
  • Side Angle – The angle, left or right, your shot starts on compared to a straight shot. This, combined with the spin, will help determine where the shot lands compared to the target line.

It then runs calculations to provide additional data, including:

  • Spin Axis – Combination of the back and side spin to determine how the ball is spinning.
  • Total Spin – The total spin rate put on a golf ball after impact.
  • Carry Distance and Total Distance – Where the ball lands, and the total distance, including any roll.
  • Distance Offline – How far the ball lands off the center target line.
  • PTI (Smash Factor) – Ball speed divided by Club Head speed. This represents the amount of energy being transferred to the ball.
  • Angle of Descent – How the ball travels downward from its peak height.
  • Clubhead Speed – How fast the club is swinging.
  • Ball Flight Display – A visualization of where the ball travels based on collected data.

What Does SkyTrak Not Measure?

Unlike some of the more expensive launch monitors with multiple cameras, the SkyTrak doesn’t directly measure any data related to the golf club. It provides some displays around this data; however, as it’s not being directly measured, they don’t provide the same level of tracking as other monitors. Some of this club data which isn’t directly measured include:

  • Club Path
  • Face Angle
  • Dynamic Loft
  • Attack Angle
  • Swing Plane
skytrak shot optimizer screenshot
SkyTrak’s shot optimizer view, for targeting optimal shot data ranges.

Is SkyTrak Accurate?

The SkyTrak provides some of the most accurate data for a mid-tier launch monitor. Many of its data points will be the same or very similar to the most expensive options on the market. This makes it a great tool for practice, making swing changes, and simulator play.

Where you may be lacking is in all the club data that you might get from an expensive monitor. This data is useful for club fitters and those making professional-level adjustments to their swing. I’ve found the SkyTrak is accurate enough for me to test two drivers and determine which provides the optimal shot outcome, but it might not capture everything in how different club and grip choices could affect how the club is being delivered.

Similarly, the additional club data would be useful for those making swing adjustments and determining exactly what was changed and how it ultimately impacted the ball. This extra data comes at a great cost and may not even interest most amateur golfers.

Pricing and Package Options

SkyTrak is sold as a stand-alone launch monitor (currently priced at around $2,000). The device includes basic driving range software, which can be run on your device of choice (phone, tablet, laptop, desktop).

The Game Improvement package is a subscription fee that enables a wide range of additional practice features and the ability to use the device with simulator software, which must be purchased separately. It’s priced at $100 per year. Some of the useful features include:

  • Closest-to-the-pin challenge
  • Long drive competition
  • History of shots during a session (and exporting of data)
  • Target practice
  • Club comparison
  • Skills assessment
  • Bag mapping (run through your clubs to determine distances)
  • Wedge matrix (compare your wedges distances at a pitch, 1/2 swing, 3/4 swing, and full swing)

Finally, they also offer a Play and Improve package at $200 per year, which includes everything above plus the WGT (World Golf Tour) simulator software for iOS to play full rounds of golf.

Simulator Software Options

Once you’ve purchased a SkyTrak, you have several options for simulator software.

  • The Golf Club 2019 (TGC2019) – Windows PC only. $479 per year subscription (or $895 one-time payment).
    This software has excellent graphics, allows multiplayer or single-player, and allows play in online tournaments. It has a course designer, so you’ll find thousands of courses (of varying quality, but some are very well done) that people have built.
  • E6 Connect – Windows PC or iPad/iPhone (iOS). $299 – $600 (for more courses) per year subscription (or $2500 PC / $1500 iPad one-time payment).
    This software has similar graphics to TGC and allows multiplayer or single-player and online tournaments. It includes a selection of professionally designed courses and a rotating selection of additional courses. Additionally, it includes some fun games like H-O-R-S-E and billiards that are great for kids or having company over to play.
  • World Golf Tour (WGT) – iPad/iPhone (iOS). $199 per year subscription (as part of the SkyTrak play and improve package).
    This software has very realistic graphics, but because of how they’re rendered, you won’t have camera angles and hole flyovers like the other games (which is mostly a non-issue). This game also does not have a local multiplayer mode and can only play with other players online. Similar to E6, it has several built-in courses and some additional courses for play in challenge mode.
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A quick guide to selecting software:

Need iOS? Choose E6 or WGT
Want the lowest price? WGT
Want to play more variety and local courses? TGC2019
Will you have friends over to play (multiplayer)? TCG2019 or E6
Want to play fun games (in addition to sim golf) with kids/friends? E6

I have tried all the software packages and chose The Golf Club because of the wide range of courses that can be played. I think any software package is a good choice, and your decision will likely come down to the questions that I listed above.

skytrak driving range screenshot
Hitting some shots on the range.

Using the SkyTrak Driving Range

SkyTrak includes a basic driving range, plus some additional features that are included with either of the subscription packages. The range can be set as a wide open field with yardage markers, a fairway of defined width, or a green at a defined size and distance.

It makes an ideal practice area as the shots are realistic, it shows ball data for each shot, and you can also export data from a range session. You can use this data to compare balls, clubs, or swing techniques.

You can also run a full bag mapping or wedge matrix. These modes help you truly understand how far your clubs travel in a neutral environment. This data can be invaluable when playing a round of golf.

skytrak wedge matrix
The wedge matrix results.

I spend most of my time on the simulator trying to improve my game, and the driving range is the software I use while working on my swing. Some of the simulator packages also include a driving range, but I think the SkyTrak range is the best I’ve tried.

Using SkyTrak to Play Simulator Golf

SkyTrak is excellent for playing simulated rounds of golf. You can use any of the software packages mentioned above; it’s just determined by what features interest you the most.

skytrak the golf club 2019 simulator software
Playing a simulator round at Pacific Dunes in TGC 2019.

Simulator golf is fun, and you can go at whatever pace you like. I can typically finish a round in about half the time it’d take me on a real course. I find that I can shoot slightly lower scores on the simulator, as you will never miss a shot due to a bad lie. In general, the better golfer you are, the more accurate the simulator should be to your real scores (as you’re going to be hitting out of the deep rough and trees less often).

What’s great is it does allow you to practice playing a real round of golf, where you need to strategize your way around the course and play many different shots. I typically disable the putting feature on my sim software as I don’t think it’s helping my putting game when on a mat, and I can play faster without it (instead, it gives me 1 putt within 5 yards and 2 outside of that). If you do play in tournaments online, you’ll have to putt, so it’s good to practice it if that interests you.

skytrak the golf club 2019 stats
Data displayed after a drive in TGC 2019.

Local and online multiplayer modes are also really fun. One issue with the SkyTrak is that it sets up to one side of you (instead of above or behind you), which makes it difficult to switch between right and left-hand golfers. You can certainly switch the box back and forth, but it’s a pain, and if you have friends you are playing with often who are different-handed, you want to factor this in.

I’ve found that SkyTrak rarely misses shots, but it does occasionally happen (maybe one time a round or every other round). When this happens, you can simply hit the shot again. Most often, misreads happen when a shot is hit abnormally poorly (e.g. a fat shot).

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If you experience misread issues more often than this, you may need to ensure your device is clean and your room has adequate lighting.

The only other issue I’ve experienced is SkyTrak disconnecting from the server. In this case, you can typically power it off and on again. If it doesn’t come back after that, you can reconnect the game to the device or quit the game and restart the computer. This rarely happens once you’ve established a good connection and your WiFi is in range.

FAQ

Will SkyTrak make me a better golfer?

SkyTrak alone won’t make you a better golfer, but if used correctly, it should be able to help you improve your golf scores. It can help you know your club distances, understand your typical shots, strategize your shots on the course, and make it more convenient to practice in any weather. You’ll find the fastest way to improve is by finding a good coach and recording and reviewing your swing.

How accurate is SkyTrak golf?

The SkyTrak is accurate enough to compete with much more expensive launch monitors. You’ll find the ball goes exactly where you’d expect. The data it lacks is mostly club-related data which can be used for swing refinement.

How many courses can you play on SkyTrak?

This will depend on the simulator software you purchase, but it ranges from dozens to thousands (in simulators where users can build their own courses).

Does SkyTrak work without a subscription?

SkyTrak will work without a subscription. However, you’ll be limited to the basic version of the driving range software. Most people will want to upgrade to a subscription to gain additional features.

Will there be a SkyTrak 2?

There have been numerous rumors over the years, but nothing has been announced. As of August 2022, GolfTec purchased SkyTrak, which I would assume means there will be some continued development after making a large investment.

Conclusion

Pros

  • It can be used inside or outside
  • Includes excellent driving range software
  • Works with multiple simulator software packages
  • Lower priced simulator makes accurate golf simulators more accessible to consumers

Cons

  • Initial setup can be confusing
  • Can become disconnected or have an occasional misread
  • It doesn’t provide full club data
  • Requires a subscription for most features
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SkyTrak – 4.7/5

SkyTrak brings accurate golf simulation to the consumer market. While still expensive, it has the features that most people need in a home simulator at a lower price point. Once up and running, it performs excellently and provides hours of entertainment.

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