Golf simulators were primarily designed for pro shops and clubhouses. They were made to help golfers get a perfect fit for club length and grip when buying a custom club set. Today, golf simulators have advanced to bring you live, instant stats on your swing and ball speed right from the comfort of your home.
The SkyTrak golf simulator is a revolutionary model that highlights the in-home studio for the average golfer. The median price tag makes it affordable for most while providing data and feedback to help improve your game. Is it worth your money? This article will find out.
Table of Contents
There are several considerations you should make before you open your wallet or start typing your credit card details into the order form. Below, we provide you with a list of things you should think about prior to your purchase.
- Ample Space. In-home studios require room for you to swing your club. You will need at least nine feet of overhead space and another six feet on either side.
- Dedicated Computer or add-on software? Most studios, like the SkyTrak, require a computer to run the software. You can add this to your existing equipment or purchase a dedicated unit for the simulator only.
- Mounting and hardware. If you plan to use the simulator to play virtual rounds of golf, you will need to mount a short throw projector, screen, and netting up. This may require additional space and hardware for mounting.
- Your time and budget. In-home simulators can get expensive. With add-on parts, subscriptions, and other post-purchase options, your budget needs to be considered. You should also think about the cost to value ratio depending on how often you will use the simulator.
SkyTrak Golf Simulator Build Material
One of the most important factors when designing your simulation studio set up is build-quality. You want the quality high and the price low. SkyTrak puts the majority of their money and efforts into their launch monitors. Secondarily, the screens and hitting mats get the attention, followed by the nets and other accessories for the full studio builds.
What does this mean for you? Quite simply, unless you bash your launch monitor with your sand wedge, it is going to last. However, SkyTrak thought of that and also build a metal encasement for your launch monitor, so even your sand wedge won’t cause it damage. The build quality is excellent, and the durability will last for years to come.
Once you start scrutinizing the other accessories, you will begin to find the flaws of the company and understand why the SkyTrak doesn’t compete with the likes of True Golf and High Definition Golf.
The hitting mats are decent, but they are basically rubber padded AstroTurf. There are a few sizes to choose from, but either way, you go, you should expect to be replacing these frequently. On average, the SkyTrak hitting mats last about a year with daily or multi-day week use.
The screens are viable for hitting into, though I wouldn’t use your full force with a driver. You are going to put holes in it. If you plan to hit anything other than foam balls, you will need a good net. A good net is not what SkyTrak offers. While they do provide a decent nylon net, it will only hold up so long.
All in all, though, a SkyTrak golf simulator in-home studio is rugged enough for the beginner to play with until they get decent replacements for the weaker elements.
Launch Monitor, In-Home Studio, or Both?
If you were so inclined, you could purchase the SkyTrak launch monitor by itself. This might be part of a DIY project, for example. With the launch monitor, you will receive The launch monitor with built-in sensors and the Basic Practice Range package.
The practice range is a simulation game that mimics a driving range, which allows you to get club and ball data with every swing. You will need to download the free mobile app and connect it to your system to view ball flight and swing data.
You will have to buy everything else separate. With an in-home studio, what you receive will depend on the package you purchase. Briefly, here are the options you can choose from.
- Net Return Series. Includes the launch monitor, aluminum framing, netting, impact screen, sandbags, duffle bag, and side barriers. You do not get the hitting mat, computer, software, or projector and projector mounting kit.
- Simulation Cage. This gives you a 45mm aluminum cage set up instead of netting. You also get the premium dual-layers “always flat” projection screen as well as a projector mounting bar. This kit does not include the projector, though, which will be a separate purchase.
- SkyTrak GS10 Studio. This studio comes with everything you need for indoor golf, with a few notable exceptions. You will get the large hitting mat with a replaceable center section, aluminum cage, screen, and mounting hardware. You also get a projector. What you do not receive, though, is the SkyTrak launch monitor. This is an important piece.
- SkyTrak GS13 Studio. This is almost a replica of the GS10 studio. The primary exceptions are an upgraded projector, light bar, and push-button set up. Like the GS10, you do not receive the SkyTrak launch monitor.
Requirements, Setup, and First Use
Once you receive your SkyTrak, it is time to set it up and begin playing around. However, there are some essential things to consider. Mainly how you view your shots and data, you can use your mobile phone, and in a pinch, this will work. However, seeing the ball trajectory and smaller details makes mobile viewing a hassle.
We recommend you use a short throw projector and a viewing screen. This will also give you the life-like immersion quality all great simulators offer. You will need a computer that can support the software and graphics, though. Unlike the OptiShot 2 system, the SkyTrak uses some of the latest renderings in high definition and is a computer resource hog.
Many users have a dedicated computer just for the simulator, and this isn’t a bad idea. Your computer will need a minimum of 4 gigs of RAM, though 8 gigs are recommended. You will also need Direct-X 11 and a powerful graphics card to show the details of the courses. An Intel i7 or i9 chipset is recommended as well. While the i5 processors will work, the i7 is better equipped for the power draws the software creates.
One person can accomplish the setup of the studios. It will take time, and there are instructional videos to help you along. Two people can move an assembled studio, so if your building site and final mounting site are different, the entire thing can be moved.
The first time you use the SkyTrak system, you will be taken through a series of customization and setup procedures. This will include measuring your clubs. The entire process should take about three hours, so before you turn the system on for the first time, be prepared to sit and be meticulous for a few hours.
While this portion of the experience is less than stellar, being a perfectionist here will only help your data down the road. Be sure to follow all instructions and procedures before you jump in and start playing.
There are three packages to choose from when it comes to the software you use and play with. The Basic Package is free for life and included with every launch monitor purchase. However, with the Basic Package, you will only have access to the practice driving range.
The other options are the Game Improvement package and the Play and Improve package. Each is an annual subscription plan which you can pay for every 12 or 36 months. Both packages are near identical in what they offer, including:
- Practice Driving Range
- Multi-Color Shot Tracers
- Numeric Display
- Long Drive Competition
- Session History
- Target Practice
- Environmental Controls
- Multiple Camera Angles
- Club Compare
- Player Skills Assessment
- SkyGolf 360 Cloud Storage
- Bag Mapping
- Wedge Matrix
You also get full PC (Windows) support for golf course simulation with E6 Golf, The Golf Club, Creative Golf 3D, Fitness Golf, and Protee Play. Each subscription is optional and may come with extra fees from certain providers. This list only implies compatibility.
The difference in the two packages comes in with the WGT and iOS support. For the Game Improvement package, you cannot get full iOS support and will only have access to the closest to the hole game on a single hole of a single course (Kiawah Island).
The Play and Improve package gives full iOS support and offers you full play on 12 WGT courses, including Pebble Beach, Pinehurst #2, and St. Andrews. You will also be able to play the closest to the hole games on an additional six courses (one hole each).
The Game Improvement package is $99.95 per year or $299.95 for three years. The Play and Improve package is $199.95 per year of $599.95 for three years.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s answer some of the most commonly asked questions.
Is SkyTrak worth the money?
This is a personal preference and hard to answer on an individual basis. What we can say is that people who purchase a SkyTrak launch monitor or studio set up have not complained very much. The average rating on review sites is over 4.5 stars. If you end up not liking the system, you have a full 30-day window to return it without question.
How accurate is SkyTrak?
SkyTrak uses motion and infrared sensors to determine club speed and angle at impact. The computer system runs dozens of algorithms with every swing, and the data is reliable. Once you have your clubs measured and get a feel for swinging indoors, the ball flight and distances are highly accurate to real-world conditions.
How much does SkyTrak cost?
From the simple launch monitor to the full studio set up, the price ranges between $1400 and $13,000. This doesn’t include combination packages, annual subscriptions, and course simulation software, each of which is a separate purchase.
What is the most accurate golf simulator?
Depending on the data you are after, the use of high-speed cameras, infrared sensors, and screen impact sensors will give you the most accurate data possible. There are only two golf simulator studios that offer all three, True Golf and High Definition Golf. These are the simulators professionals, and tour members use.
Does SkyTrak work for lefties?
Yes, during your initial setup, you can choose to play right-handed or left-handed. The monitor will adapt to either side accordingly.
Does SkyTrak work outside?
You can take the launch monitor and set it up anywhere, including outside. However, you should pay attention to the lighting specifications in the owner’s manual. Fluorescent lighting is best for the infrared sensors, and shadows in the hitting area can affect data recording.
Does SkyTrak measure clubhead speed?
SkyTrak measures club speed, head speed, and ball impact speed for every swing. It also accounts for clubhead angle to bring you the most accurate club data possible.
What does SkyTrak measure?
You will get data output for club speed, ball speed, distance, trajectory, ball spin, angle side spin, and more.
Is SkyTrak portable?
The launch monitor can be taken with you if you travel. It is not impossible to tear down and move the studio, but it is unfeasible. The launch monitor and computer connections are all that is needed to record and view data (if you sync to the mobile app), making the system more portable than some.
How much room do you need for SkyTrak?
The minimum specifications for a studio depend on the studio version you purchase. However, a minimum area that is 12 feet wide, 10 feet long, and 9 feet high is recommended.
Does SkyTrak work with iPhone?
SkyTrak has iOS support. However, you will need to be on the Play and Improve package to get the full support and benefits.
What courses are on SkyTrak?
With SkyTrak, you don’t get any courses. You have access to the SkyTrak driving range simulation. However, SkyTrak is partnered with and supports various simulation courses, software manufacturers. You can use E6 Golf, The Golf Club, Creative Golf 3D, Fitness Golf, WGT, and Protee Play. Each service will have its own course list and fees.
SkyTrak golf simulators are in the mid-tier range, and their prices and product reflect that. You get above-average support, superior graphics, and reliable, durable setups. There are a lot of extras that aren’t included with the systems, but it offers you the ability to build your own studio to your specific needs.
While SkyTrak cannot compete with the professional setups like True Golf, they do rank higher than beginner systems and DIY configurations. For the money, SkyTrak will help you improve your golf game, learn your flaws, and help you correct them, all while having fun playing beautiful courses right from your home.
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