Up until very recently, there were really just two types of launch monitors. One type uses Doppler radar systems that measure ball-flight data and calculate club data. A second type of launch monitor uses camera-based systems to measure club data and project ball-flight data. Both systems then use their own algorithms to provide a range of data and projections.
With the recent introduction of the TrackMan 4, a new, and very expensive, standard for launch monitors has been established.
The Launch Monitor Evolution – TrackMan 4
More than three years in development, TrackMan 4 is proving to be the most powerful and accurate launch monitor ever built. TrackMan 4 is unique in that is employs a dual-radar system to achieve maximum data quality and increased pick-up rates. The dual-radar technology helps capture even more data, particular at the moment of impact.
One radar system tracks everything the club does before, during, and after impact - from commonly known parameters like Club Path and Face Angle to Swing Direction and Spin Loft. The other high-frequency radar tracks the ball – from launch to landing, measuring various parameters including Launch Angle, Spin Rate and Curvature. Put simply – TrackMan measures everything you need to know to improve your swing, lower your score, and make the most of every minute you spend practicing the great game of golf.
TrackMan 4 measures and displays the full trajectory of any shot, from 6-foot pitches to 400 yard drives, pinpointing the landing position with an accuracy of 1½ feet at 160 yards (150 m). It also maps the shot's trajectory in real time and in three dimensions, together with 26 impact and ball flight parameters, including Smash Factor; Spin Rate; Launch Angle; Carry; Ball Speed; Club Speed; Dynamic Loft; Attack Angle; Club Path; and Face Angle.
Is it Worth the Price?
TrackMan is, beyond question, the most accurate piece of technology designed for the sole purpose of improving your golf swing. It’s one of the most trusted pieces of technology amongst PGA Tour professionals. In the right hands, it can do wonders. It can simplify the way you adjust your swing and make practice sessions more efficient. However, the operative words are ‘in the right hands.’
For those that make a living from the game of golf, TrackMan 4 is well worth the investment. But for those that pay for the privilege to knock a ball around 18 holes, the argument for purchasing a TrackMan 4 is difficult to make.
Having access to the data is one thing. But being able to interpret the data, and make the necessary adjustments to your swing, requires a level of knowledge and expertise that some, but not all, recreational golfers possess. To be honest, for the average golfer, it makes much more sense to seek out a coach and TrackMan-licenced facility. Today, there are more than 350 TrackMan-licensed facilities in the United States, making this expensive device increasingly accessible at rates that can start at around $100 an hour. A lesson with a teaching professional who has access to a launch monitor will help the golfer better understand their ball flight, and what they can do to control and improve it.
Final Thoughts from The 19Th Hole
With pricing starting at around $19,000 for the indoor model, and just under $25K for the version that can be used outside, the TrackMan 4 is an impressive tool for working on both distance and accuracy with each club. Trackman can be used for simulated play using Trugolfs E6.
Any serious golfer, not necessarily just a low handicapper, will benefit from using a launch monitor like the TrackMan 4. To make the most of your time with one, however, Golf Simulator Guys recommend you let a certified golf instructor interpret the shot data to explain what you should be working on.