There are now a handful of pretty powerful launch monitors available under $5000 which is great news for golfers!
Each launch monitor has its own pros and cons and none (at this price level) is perfect which means you need to make some tough decisions when deciding what to buy.
Fortunately I’ve owned all of these portable launch monitors and used them in my home golf simulator. In this article I will try to break it down and help you make the best possible decision for yourself.
I will say right now – I think the Bushnell Launch Pro is the best launch monitor available for under $5,000.
That doesn’t mean it’s the right launch monitor for you though! Keep reading to break down the new Skytrak+ vs Bushnell Launch Pro point by point.
Table of Contents
Skytrak+ vs Bushnell Launch Pro Data
Both of these launch monitors provide ball and club data for every shot. They include all the data you would expect except for a couple of items.
- Ball Data
- Ball Speed
- Launch Angle (vertical)
- Descent Angle
- Side Angle (horizontal launch angle)
- Max Height
- Carry Distance
- Club Data
- Club Speed
- Club Path
- Face to Path
- Face to Target
- Smash Factor
Skytrak+ does not provide an Angle of Attack.
What we know about Skytrak+ data is that it uses stereoscopic vision from the launch monitors cameras to track the golf ball at impact. The Skytrak+ includes radar that tracks the golf club to provide the club data.
What I don’t know is which parts of the club data are actually measured by the radar and which are calculated. Skytrak is a little more secretive about how their technology works compared to other launch monitor companies.
Generally, the more numbers that are measured by your launch monitor the more accurate it is considered to be.
Bushnell Launch Pro Data
Bushnell Launch Pro uses 3 high speed cameras to track both the golf ball and club through impact. A single, reflective sticker called a fiducial is required to be placed at the top-center of the club face.
The fiducial is what is tracked by the camera system to provide super accurate data. All of the data provided is measured except for what can’t be measured at impact (carry distance, smash factor).
- Ball Data
- Carry distance
- Ball Speed
- Vertical Launch Angle
- Horizontal Launch Angle
- Spin Axis
- Club Data
- Club Speed
- Club Path
- Angle of Attack
- Smash Factor
Bushnell Launch Pro does not provide any club face data such as Face to Path or Face to Target. While this is a little bit of a bummer, I can say I did not miss it much.
By looking at the Club Path and Sidespin or Spin Axis it’s very easy to tell whether your club face was open or closed on a shot. For example, a shot with Club Path 3 degrees in-to-out and Sidespin of -800 (right to left), clearly the club face was closed relative to the Club Path producing a nice draw.
Additionally, if you are planning to use your Bushnell Launch Pro with GSPro simulation software, the GSPro connector provides calculated Face to Path and Face to Target data from your Bushnell Launch Pro.
Bushnell Launch Pro vs Skytrak+ Setup and Use
The great thing about both of these launch monitors is that they sit just next to the golf ball opposite the golfer at address.
Other than that they don’t have any space requirements to work.
To align the Skytrak+, you place an alignment stick down pointed towards your target in the hitting zone. You then place another alignment stick along the front edge of the Skytrak+ and adjust the Skytrak+ until both alignment sticks look parallel.
This is the recommended method that is in the Skytrak+ user guide.
To align the Bushnell Launch Pro you place the included, reflective alignment stick down pointed towards your target. The cameras in the Bushnell Launch Pro instantly lock on to the alignment stick and the angle of the stick relative to the front edge of the launch monitor is displayed on the screen.
As soon as the number is locked on you simply pick up the stick. You can leave it at an angle within a few degrees of 0 and the Launch Pro will adjust all data to match your alignment.
This entire process takes about 5 seconds and I have to say that it gives me the most confidence out of any other brand of launch monitor I have tried. This is the same alignment method that all Foresight launch monitors use, including the GCQuad.
The Skytrak+, like the original Skytrak, shoots a red laser dot onto the ground in front of it which is where you are supposed to place the golf ball. The Skytrak+ is supposed to have a 40% larger hitting area than the original Skytrak but it is still just a dot on the ground.
I tested the tolerance a little bit and found that the Skytrak+ read shots when I place the ball up to 2 golf balls away from the laser in every direction. I do not know if that affects the data quality or not.
Overall, your hitting area is more of an exact ball placement but there’s probably about 3-4 inches of tolerance.
The Bushnell Launch Pro hitting area is 7”x10” which works well with typical hitting strips used in golf simulators.
When you place a golf ball down in front of the Launch Pro, the display shows an outline of the hitting area and where the ball is. You can easily see where to move your golf ball if it is outside of the hitting area. As long as it is within the hitting area you are given a Ready signal and are good to hit.
Again, this is how all of the Foresight launch monitors work and it is quick and easy to tell whether you are ready to hit or not.
Both Skytrak+ and Bushnell Launch Pro are capable of connecting directly to the launch monitors WiFi signal but the recommended method is giving the launch monitor network access to your home WiFi.
This method works like a shared printer on your network. You simply turn on the launch monitor and your PC or other device on the same network can find it.
Additionally you can use USB-C or Ethernet as a wired connection with Bushnell Launch Pro or USB-C with Skytrak+.
Indoor / Outdoor
The Bushnell Launch Pro works great indoors as a golf simulator OR outdoors at the driving range or golf course. Since it has a built-in display it can be used as a standalone device outside if you don’t want to bother using any apps or other devices.
I should also mention the Launch Pro has a built-in accelerometer so it knows the pitch and roll of the ground it’s placed on. It also has a built-in barometer that checks the barometric pressure and estimates your altitude to provide the best possible carry distance for your environment.
It does these things in the background so there’s no need to adjust anything. You can find their readings deep in the settings.
The Skytrak+ can obviously be used indoors but it can only be used outdoors on a mat. I’m not sure if the issue with real grass is that it can partially cover the golf ball or if pieces of turf moving when you strike the ball throw off the tracking.
Either way, you won’t be able to use Skytrak+ on a grass driving range or on the course.
Also, the Skytrak+ does not have any type of display on the unit itself so it must be connected to a PC or mobile device to use.
The Skytrak software allows you to adjust your elevation in the settings but unfortunately it doesn’t have the fancy tech built-in that does it all for you. In the alignment setting it will show you the pitch and roll of the launch monitor but it is recommended that you adjust the unit as close to 0 as possible.
Skytrak+ vs Bushnell Launch Pro Subscriptions and Price
The Skytrak+ is $2,995 while the Bushnell Launch Pro is $3,499. Keep in mind that the Bushnell Launch Pro goes on sale for $3,000 pretty frequently around holidays and you can also get a great price on a refurbished or used Launch Pro.
Both of these launch monitors have their software available through different subscription tiers. It’s a bummer, I know, but that seems to be the way this industry is going.
Keep in mind these companies adjust their subscription plans and pricing all the time so verify for yourself that what’s below is current. They are hard for me to keep up with…
Bushnell Launch Pro requires a basic subscription of $250/year. That gives you access to FSX Pro which is Foresight’s iPad app.
With Basic you will be able to see a 2D ball flight, get all your numbers in the app, and save your sessions. Some features such as dispersion tracking and “target mode” where you create a green and track your GIR are still locked in the Basic level.
The Gold subscription gives you everything at $699/year including FSX 2020 Subscription version and FSX Play which are Foresight’s main simulation software offerings for PC. You’ll need a capable gaming PC to run these.
Gold will also unlock all other features in FSX Pro.
Lastly, you have the option of unlocking your Launch Pro completely for a one-time fee of $3,499. This means you never pay a subscription again and essentially turns it into a Foresight GC3.
Skytrak+ uses subscription levels as well but you do have the option of not having any subscription. This will give you access to the driving range only within their software.
Their Game Improvement subscription is $129.95/year and unlocks all of the other features in the Skytrak software such as Bag Mapping, Wedge Matrix, Skills Assessment, Shot History, and Practice Randomizer.
I would highly recommend these features, especially the Wedge Matrix and Practice Randomizer.
The Play and Improve Plan gives you all of those features plus access to 2 different golf simulation apps – E6 Connect and WGT.
Both E6 and WGT are for iOS only in this plan. E6 is a solid golf simulation software and their iOS version is probably the best option for a mobile device.
Skytrak+ vs Bushnell Launch Pro for GSPro
GSPro is the most popular golf simulation software available at this time and there are a ton of people that will choose the launch monitor that will work best for them with GSPro.
At this time, Skytrak+ does work with GSPro as an unsupported launch monitor using the OpenAPI connection. This is how the original Skytrak works with GSPro but the SKYTRAK+ requires a different type of connection. At this time the SKYTRAK+ connection does not support putting on GSPro.
The Bushnell Launch Pro does work with GSPro and there are a ton of GSPro users with Launch Pros. The Launch Pro was widely used with an OpenAPI connection but in late 2023 Foresight / Bushnell became officially supported by GSPro and they now have an official connection method.
The Launch Pro requires a Gold subscription to connect with any third party software including GSPro.
The one thing I always mention is that since SKYTRAK+ is not officially supported, there’s no guarantee you will be able to connect forever without some additional cost. Still, I’m guessing there’s more GSPro users using “unsupported” launch monitors than officially supported devices and GSPro is so inexpensive relative to other software that it’s worth the risk to me.
To me, the Launch Pro is the clear winner for several reasons:
- It’s a 3 camera system
- The Foresight technology is stable and trusted by PGA Tour Pros
- The Launch Pro accuracy and user experience seems to be almost identical to that of the Foresight GCQuad at a fraction of the price
- Works both indoors and outdoors
- Quick alignment that confirms to 1/10 of a degree
- Display on the unit
When trying to decide between the Skytrak+ vs Bushnell Launch Pro – for just a little bit more money you can get a much more professional launch monitor in the Launch Pro (my opinion).
Bushnell Launch Pro
Our favorite launch monitor for those that want portability but excellent use in a golf simulator!
That doesn’t mean that the Launch Pro is the clear-cut winner for everybody.
I think the Skytrak+ might be the better choice for:
- Anyone outside of the U.S. The Launch Pro is only sold and can only be used within the U.S. If that’s you, your only option is the Foresight GC3 which is $7,500 (no subscriptions required). That’s a much bigger price difference from the Skytrak+!
- Anyone looking for a launch monitor solution that wants to use it indoors with an iPad only. If you have no desire to ever purchase a gaming PC for simulation software but want a solid option for iPad only, Skytrak+ may be for you. The Skytrak Software is fantastic and it’s identical whether you use the PC or iOS versions. The Launch Pro experience is not as great if you plan to use only an iPad and FSXPro.
For more info on the Skytrak+ read my review here.