Looking for an in-depth guide to SkyTrak? Below you will find details on what SkyTrak is, how it works, and what each of the data elements means. This manual will make sure you have all of the information you need to navigate SkyTrak successfully.
- What exactly is SkyTrak?
- Brief history of launch monitors
- SkyTrak versus other launch monitor systems
- Technology behind launch monitors
- Launch monitor systems alternatives
- Where does SkyTrak come into this?
- Photometric systems
- How can the accuracy of SkyTrak be confirmed?
- Flight models versus predicting trajectory
- Different Skytrak key data parameters
- How does SkyTrak assist with bettering your golf swings?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is SkyTrak?
SkyTrak is a personal launch monitor that measures your golfing shot from speed to angle and carry distance. SkyTrak can also be used for entertainment purposes as it offers exciting challenges.
Play golf at home while viewing famous golf courses through SkyTrak. Improve your game while you pit yourself against friends and family. The best part? SkyTrak is an affordable option for anyone.
What does a personal launch monitor achieve? Has this technology been around for a while?
Golf professionals have used launch monitor technology for many years. This technology is used to note how the golf ball is affected directly after the swing.
This information can be used to decipher how to tweak swings for a better outcome, what club would work best for the golfer, and for simulating golf. In a professional setting, launch monitor technology systems that accurately detail how the ball is affected can run up to $25,000.
Some systems can be purchased for much less – around $500; however, they do not grab as many statistics and so are considered to be less accurate.
What differentiates SkyTrak from other launch monitor systems?
When looking at launch monitor systems, two available types are used most frequently – Photometric and Doppler.
Both types of systems work well for monitoring impact on golf balls; however, they each use different approaches for data analysis. Photometric systems use high-speed cameras that record what happens to the ball right after the club connects to it. Then, formulas are used to predict and forecast the distance and path the ball will take. Doppler systems work backward by tracking the golf ball's flight path, the final landing spot, and then using a formula to determine how it arrived there.
SkyTrak uses the Photometric method of prediction. Below are the details on why this was selected for SkyTrak.
Which technology (Photometric or Doppler) exceeds the other?
Both types of systems work well. However, Photometric is a better choice for buyers as the system can be used both indoors and outdoors, and the amount of space needed is much smaller. Performance-wise, both systems collect data and provide high-quality results accurately. Doppler systems are not convenient to use indoors.
In order to collect data more accurately, sufficient space is needed where the entire flight path can be monitored. Frequently, there is not sufficient space indoors for a Doppler system causing the accuracy of indoor ball impact to be called into question. Both can provide accurate and detailed information; however, the Photometric system is more versatile in that it is more easily used indoors.
If space and budget constraints are not in place, both approaches are a great option for producing dependable and precise outcomes. These dependable and precise outcomes have a high cost, though.
Are there any alternatives to launch monitor systems?
Beyond the above-provided professional systems that are used, there are a few additional options you can check out.
The first option is a low-budget Doppler system that measures the speed of the golf balls. These systems are not advanced enough to provide precise flight path predictions. No calculations or measurements are performed to determine if your ball will curve left or right and how close it will get to the final target.
This device is only capable of predicting approximately how far the ball will travel based on how quickly the ball is moving and what type of club is used. Because of the limited data collected, the final results are not thorough, and how the information can be applied is limited.
The second option is a system that uses LED to collect data. This system is not actually a launch monitor system and is not used by professionals. The LED light used to collect data pulls information from when the clubhead moves through the light.
The system attempts to collect how fast the clubhead is moving, which direction the clubhead is facing, and swing direction to predict the ball's path. The LED system is not actually able to note the information on the ball.
This means that most important components are calculated, including ball speed and how quickly the ball is spinning, causing the predictions to be unreliable both in predicted distance and trajectory. Since the system is based only on the clubhead movement and not on the golf ball itself, this can lead to incorrect assumptions about the ball after it has been hit.
There are some golf simulators that use this technology, mainly due to the lower cost associated with this system. This can be a frustrating system to work with for beginner, intermediate, and advanced golf players because of the high chance of inaccuracy.
While purchasers may be tempted to buy the above systems, the limited data collection and unprecise determinations created by them can avoid creating any meaningful impact on swing improvements. It’s difficult to trust the reliability of the information provided by the above systems. Will these systems actually help make you a better golfer? It’s pretty debatable. The systems can definitely still be used for fun, but they are not a great tool for professionals or players looking to improve their game skills.
Where does SkyTrak come into this?
Using SkyTrak creates a professional experience by offering a lot of the same information you could find at a high-end golf club. SkyTrak helps you bring the golf course home with you. This launch monitor system provides a way for you to swing and hit balls at virtual targets, play as if you’re at a golf course, engage in challenges, participate in games, and have fun while practicing your killer golf swing.
SkyTrak, as mentioned, is a Photometric system that uses high-speed cameras to take pictures of the golf ball right after it is hit by a club. SkyTrak is a great option for indoor usage because of the amount of space the system takes up.
On top of that, the system only needs to measure the first few inches of your ball's path flight to reliably predict the trajectory, distance, and target accuracy. This means you can use a small indoor space and can accurately predict the outcome in outdoor settings as well without worrying about whether it affects the predictions. The first few inches of the flight path that are measured are typically not affected by outside influences like the wind that would affect how your ball travels.
SkyTrak also takes into account how the ball is moving, not just what the head of the club is doing. This ensures high accuracy when predicting the ball outcome. Accuracy during ball impact offers the ability to improve your game as you can be sure the data being collected is correct.
SkyTrak has additional benefits created with the customer in mind. A rechargeable battery offers a system that can be used over and over again. SkyTrak is its own WiFi hotspot; you read that correctly. Now you don’t have to worry about finding a spot to plug in multiple cables and wires. SkyTrak is incredibly easy to use and easy to travel with too, it arrives at your door as an under two-pound device with a height of fewer than seven inches. All you will need is a mat or a flat area of land that is even, easy app set up, and that’s it!
The best part of SkyTrak is the affordability of the system. You can now focus on improving your game with incredibly accurate technology similar to what professionals use at a much lower price.
Can you provide more information on Photometric systems?
In order to ensure accurate data is retrieved by photometric systems, it is imperative that golf balls are placed within a specific area on the ground. There is no guessing where to place the golf ball with SkyTrak as a small laser dot points to exact ball placement. This ensures your results are precise every time. If you’re playing with golf balls that have a logo or some sort of marker, this can assist with SkyTrak’s ability to correctly assess ball spin. Of course, this is not mandatory.
SkyTrak uses the pictures pulled from the first few inches of the golf ball flight path after contact with the club head to create a flight path model and predict your actual shot shape and the distance your ball will travel. SkyTrak provides the opportunity for the user to add both golf course and weather conditions to see how they impact the ball trajectory.
How can the accuracy of SkyTrak be confirmed?
It’s one thing to note the accuracy of SkyTrak and another to provide actual proof of the reliability. SkyTrak has been tested with robots at the Golf Laboratories testing site.
Golf Laboratories is known as the top independent testing site in the golf world. Testing utilized multiple types of ball speeds, club sizes, and types of shots, the results received were almost identical to the top professional launch monitors in comparison to the five most important criteria. These parameters are ball speed, launch angle, backspin, sidespin, and carry distance.
The SkyTrak ball flight model has been used for over ten years and has been tested in-depth both with people and robots. This system has been tested with both actual distance traveled and carry distance traveled. Some commercial systems allow for external circumstances like weather to affect flight reproductions. SkyTrak does not, with the exception of intentionally inputting the settings to account for external circumstances.
Why are flight models essential to predicting trajectory?
You may be wondering what a flight model is – this is how information is taken in and used to provide accurate flight path predictions. The flight model used by SkyTrak is one that has been used for over ten years, though SkyTrak itself is a newer product.
SkyTrak has been developing and bettering the flight path model for the past decade. Since the flight model has been in use at commercial locations for over ten years, the constant testing through utilization and testing can prove its reliability.
Why does SkyTrak measure certain criteria, and what are they?
SkyTrak’s main motivation is providing an experience that not only provides important data for improving golf games skills but also one that offers a certain level of amusement. A lot of other systems provide an overwhelming amount of data that can confuse users. Plus, not all of that data is meaningful and useful.
SkyTrak narrowed down the information so that any data provided is useful in improving your golfing. Now you won’t have to worry about being overwhelmed when trying to better your games. Regardless, the data pulled is needed in order to create a reliable flight model so actual distance and the shape of each golf shot can be viewed both while practicing and during a game.
Below are the five most important parameters and a description of each.
Ball speed is the highest priority for criteria. This directly impacts the total distance the ball will travel. A few things can alter ball speed, including the speed at which the clubhead hits the ball, the angle of the clubhead, and the bounce that occurs when the clubhead hits the golf ball. Typically, the more speed that is used to hit the golf ball, the further the golf ball will travel.
Launch angle is the angle that occurs when the ball is taking off from the ground after impact from the head of the club. This will help determine the height that the ball reaches. The larger the launch angle, the taller the height that is achieved by the golf ball. There is an ideal angle to aim for that is in the middle, causing the ball to travel not too high and not too low.
The spin axis (not surprisingly interconnected with back and side spin) represents an imaginary line through the center of the golf ball; this can be either up and down or side to side. When the spin axis is neutral or zero, the golf ball travels in a straight line. When the spin axis is rotated to the left or right, the outcome is a bent trajectory to the left or the right. In order to keep the spin axis near zero, it is imperative that the clubhead impacts the golf ball in the same direction as the swing and at the same angle. This will ensure the ball travels in a straight line as much as possible.
Sidespin is how the ball moves horizontally in relation to the ground right after it has been hit by the clubhead. This is what assists with the exact type of shot you are looking to create. You can use this for such shots as draws, fades, and slices. A lower side spin provides a straighter flight pattern. SkyTrak utilizes formulas that single outside spin from the spin axis. This creates the ability to see why exactly a shot might be curving in a specific direction. A higher number provided for side spin indicates a larger curve. If the number is positive, the golf ball path bends to the right. If the number is negative, the golf ball flight path bends to the left.
Backspin is an important element most commonly utilized in outdoor settings. This is how the ball moves vertically in relation to the ground right after impact from the club. This helps counteract wind that may cause the ball's flight path to change the height. This can be used indoors as well. The main effect of backspin is to manipulate the height of the trajectory. More backspin means the golf ball will travel higher.
The final parameter measured is side angle. This is the angle that the ball travels left or right of an imaginary line from you to the intended target. If the side angle is too different than the target line, the ball is aimed further away from the mark. If you target a lower side angle coupled with a smaller amount of sidespin, you’ll be more likely to hit the ball in a straight trajectory towards the mark.
How does SkyTrak assist with bettering your golf swings?
Simulating a realistic golf game in order to improve your golf skills provides many benefits. A huge benefit of using SkyTrak is making sure that your practice time is spent honing your skills using the correct swing method.
Implementing Correct Practice Method
It can be extremely frustrating practicing your golf skills regularly, not improving, and not knowing why. SkyTrak offers an assessment right away that shows how you perform for each criteria section. This will allow you to know which area you need to work on to improve your game. Now, you can avoid practicing the incorrect procedures repeatedly and focus your time on the correct areas.
Engaging Practice Time
One of SkyTrak’s goals is to encourage practice time to be enjoyable. By doing so, it will promote the likelihood of you putting more time into honing your skills. With a physically appealing front end that provides excellent graphics and easy usability, SkyTrak provides an exceptional view of your flight path for each ball. Now you can view your improvement with each shot virtually. By interacting with challenges and participating in games, you’ll forget that you’re learning and improving your game at the same time. This makes it super easy to make sure your golf skills are developing without you even realizing it.
Viewing Previous Performance
SkyTrak allows you to keep track of your previous performance from each time the system is used. This will allow you to check on your swing consistency as well as how much your skills have developed. Seeing your progress will encourage you to continue your efforts.
Building on Unfamiliar Shots
A lot of golfers are worried about trying new and unfamiliar shots on the golf course during a game. It can be tricky trying to execute these shots, especially if you are worried about performing something new in front of friends. Since SkyTrak is great for indoor practice, you can work on your new shots at home without prying eyes. Now, you’ll be ready to face different golfing scenarios with ease.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can SkyTrak be used on mobile or tablets?
Yes and no. SkyTrak can be connected to only iPad Air tablets currently. It is not compatible with other tablets. SkyTrak is working on making the system suitable for Android and PC owners. Updates will be provided as available.
What area is recommended for indoor use?
A minimum of ten feet by ten feet (length by width) is recommended for indoor use. The ceiling height recommendation depends on your personal height and the length of the club you are using. Please make sure to always use a mat and a safety net to prevent any damages or injuries. The mat and safety net should be intended for golf usage and should also be used when practicing in a backyard.
Is SkyTrak suitable for usage in any location?
Yes, the only note is to make sure you have plenty of space for hitting the golf balls to avoid injury or damage, especially if practicing indoors.
SkyTrak is suitable for both outside and inside use. It is recommended to use a golfing mat for both locations and a safety net, especially for indoor usage. Promoting four hours of use for your practice time once fully charged, SkyTrak also connects seamlessly to iPads.
When using SkyTrak outside, ensure that there is no direct sunlight or reflections on the lens. Lighting can alter how this system operates.
It is recommended to use newly purchased (or very lightly used) golf balls that are in excellent condition. A few options to use would be performance, distance, or tour-specific balls. Making sure to use golf balls in good condition will promote the most accurate data to be collected. Ball speed and spin can be affected if the golf balls being used are not in optimal form. Additionally, any blemishes, dirt, or marks on balls can create an issue with system readability due to SkyTrak’s dimple recognition software.
What if WiFi is not available?
It can be tempting to bring SkyTrak with you everywhere because it is so easily portable, and you should! If you’re worried about not being able to connect the system to WiFi, you can breathe a sigh of relief. SkyTrak will still record your practice data. Once you connect the system to an iPad, your data will be saved until you can re-enter a WiFi area where your practice history will be updated in the system. A super easy and convenient solution that allows you to travel with SkyTrak.
Does SkyTrak work with other golf simulations?
Currently, SkyTrak is not set up to be integrated with other golf simulations. Behind the scenes, work is going on, but there are yet to be any updates.