First Launch Monitor
Approximately 3 months ago I purchased a Bushnell Launch Pro. Let me back up a bit. Going back about 5 years ago I first picked up the Rapsodo R-Motion. It was a device you installed on each golf club you were going to hit and along with software such as TGC, you could play simulated golf courses. It was a neat little device where for only a couple hundred dollars, you had access to certain data related to the golf swing.
I was happy with R-Motion for a couple of years while hitting golf balls into a net and playing TGC Original. Unfortunately Rapsodo stopped supporting the device while folks at the time thought it was going to work with TGC2019. That never happened. So I along with others started to seek out another launch monitor. I did plenty of research while I moved from the house we lived in for approximately 20 years into a new to me home.
I bought a SkyTrak launch monitor and was happy with that purchase. Allowed me to study ball speed, backspin, sidespin, etc… and more than that, I had an absolute blast playing TCG2019. So much so, I had someone build a small course I played about every other weekend. That course closed the year I moved into my new house.
I would recommend SkyTrak to anyone looking to buy a launch monitor. I’ll follow that up by saying I had a couple of issues with it. Don’t that that wrong. Folks have issues with their brand new $40,000 car or new house. For me, SkyTrak was having a tough time (touch and go) in picking up very short chips… as in 4 to 6 yards off the green as well as shorter 60 degree loft shots. Other that that, I was ecstatic to head to my golf cave for either practice using SkyTrak or playing courses in combination with TGC2019.
Let me add one additional thing I felt was lacking with SkyTrak. Maybe not so much lacking but one thing I wish I had in a launch monitor. That was clubhead data. So here comes a new SkyTrak hardware in the form of SkyTrak+. At that moment in time I made up my mind. If it was affordable I was going to do a switch to SkyTrak+. So all I needed to see was price and maybe a few videos showing the use of SkyTrak+.
But those videos were not very forthcoming and beyond that, the one’s that did come out seemed to be either by influencers or the company themself. Sure, I guess that makes sense because the product was not on the market but at the same time, there were all pro’s and not any cons. I’m sorta like the glass can’t be full all the time kinda guy. I like to look at both sides of a product, rather than just stating the positives and ignoring the negatives. I then learned that SkyTrak+ would retail for about $2995.
Along the same time I started to research other launch monitors. Price was the main consideration so a few high end launch monitors were absolutely not in the question. About that time I ran into some folks within Discord talking about the Bushnell Launch Pro. What I learned was that Bushnell Launch Pro (BLP) is basically a Foresight GC3 on the hardware side, while you decide which Foresight software to use. If you go with the annual gold subscription or unlocked, that will literally equate to the GC3. At least that was my understanding.
Unfortunately I learned Bushnell Launch Pro retailed for about $3999 and required what they call fiducials (I call them stickers) in order to get club data. I didn’t care for putting stickers on my clubs. At that moment in time, it was a hard no… Still, the price was moved to $3499 which seemed a little more enticing. However, the price was a little bit more than I wanted to pay, even though I had the intention of selling my current SkyTrak to recoup some of the cost.
Yet I wasn’t quite ready to pre-order the SkyTrak+ because I hadn’t seen any ummm errrr what I call real live humans do a review on one. Made sense because the products were not available to the general public. Conundrum. Back and forth, back and forth. I was hitting with SkyTrak and I was pretty sure SkyTrak+ was going to be much better. I kept saying I was going to push the button to pre-order SkyTrak+ and I couldn’t get myself to do it.
I hung around Discord learning what I could about both SkyTrak+ and Bushnell Launch Pro. BLP was a given. Folks talked about what they liked and didn’t like, while most of the issues revolved around working with GSPro and not the BLP unit itself. SkyTrak+ remained an unknown. Mostly rumors of whether or not they could get it to work properly with TGC2019 to being with and then GSPro. Then there were the people who were thinking they would somehow incorporate the ability to have lessons with GolfTec while using SkyTrak+. I personally saw that as a big positive. Again, I wanted to hear more about the product but I only saw videos from the company itself and influencers.
$2999. The price of Bushnell Launch Pro was dropped to $2999. Now it matched the price of SkyTrak+. I was now looking at what I considered a given with plenty of reviews with the BLP versus a newbie product in SkyTrak+ where I still hadn’t seen tests with short chips, a 60 degree wedge, or using third party software. At this point in time, the one positive I was giving SkyTrak+ was its own software. I always enjoyed the software that SkyTrak used and with the videos, it looked even better with SkyTrak+
I Bought Bushnell Launch Pro
Looked at Discord one day and there was talk about getting a 20% discount off purchases of Bushnell products if you had a membership with The Golfer’s Journal. There was question as to whether or not this would work if purchasing a Bushnell Launch Pro and even if it did work, if it would last. I saw one person and then another post that the link did in fact work and there were snippets of the overall price they paid. I’ve heard it may no longer work in getting the discount when Bushnell is having sales prices but I decided not to wait any longer and purchased the Bushnell Launch Pro.
Now before I go any further, I would never bash SkyTrak+. I would love to get my hands on one someday just to compare with Bushnell Launch Pro because I’m here to tell you that 30+ days into owning BLP and moving from the gold Foresight subscription to the basic subscription, I don’t really care for the software which gives ball and club data. You get 30 days of the gold subscription (at the present time) upon purchasing BLP. Then you have free basic subscription for a year. The reason why I decided to not continue with the gold subscription is because my gaming laptop could not handle the graphics. Yes, call it operator error.
I played a couple of courses but they were jittery. The graphics looked really good but I didn’t get a heck of a lot of use out of the gold subscription. Then there was the cost of additional golf courses. From memory you got about 10 courses and then you were looking at paying $150 or so each for additional golf courses. Ouch.
In the future (late spring of next year?), I plan on having a dedicated gaming PC in my golf cave which could handle the current Foresight graphics with ease. I’m thinking about $2200 or so if I build the PC myself. Saving nickels and dimes at the moment with that intent about 8-9 months from now. The intent is to think about going with the unlocked version of BLP in the future, essentially making it a GC3. The unlocked software comes at a current price of $3499 which I personally think is crazy for the amount (lack thereof) of courses available to the consumer. However, I have seen the unlocked version of the software go on sale from time to time so I’ll be keeping my eyes open. I should mention that the Basic software from Foresight is currently $249 a year (first year free) while the gold subscription is currently $699 a year. Only months ago there was a silver subscription available but as of the time of this writing, that has gone away.
Within the first few days of using BLP, I mainly stuck with what I knew. That was ball data. I could compare that to SkyTrak as well as carry and total distance. And you know what, the results were very similar. I hit shot after shot and for the most part they were within 2 yards of each other. That made me appreciate SkyTrak all the more. I would be selling it in very short order and I felt good that the buyer was going to get a great product. In the end, the buyer had previously owned a SkyTrak, sold it, and then wanted to come back to the original SkyTrak. Heck, he got the unit from me for about half the price of what you would pay for a new SkyTrak.
This is the Main Reason I Purchased Bushnell Launch Pro
So I decided to put the fiducials on my golf clubs. You know what. Easy peasy. Heck, because I wasn’t competing in tournaments, I could just keep them on as I played outside on real courses. I then went on eBay and picked up a couple hundred more stickers. You know what, here we are a couple/few months later and I still have the original fiducials on my golf clubs and I’ve played several rounds with them outside. I just have to be a little careful when I clean my clubs, not to tear off the stickers. But even if I do, I imagine I have enough of the stickers to last a couple of years.
Even having a used 5 year old iPad with the Basic subscription, you can see how it looks below. I give Foresight credit as they have updated this app within the past several weeks.
Now with my android phone, it is hit or miss on whether the device is even picked up to show data.
GSPro is a Winner
I purchased GSPro. With the basic subscription only from Foresight, you will not have the ability to play simulated golf courses. That is unless you have an existing TGC2019 to transfer over (costs money) or purchase GSPro. I had been hearing a lot of folks talk about GSPro through either Facebook or in a couple of Discord channels and how it blew away TGC2019. I’m hear to tell you from my personal opinion, it does and it doesn’t.
TGC2019 has a pretty wicked first bounce. Something to my knowledge was never fixed. The graphics are pretty good with TCC2019 but GSPro (again my opinion) have awesome graphics on most courses and GSPro software doesn’t suffer from that first bounce problem. The caveat is I could play TGC2019 on SkyTrak and literally find half a dozen or more local courses which I have played in real life, all within 30 miles or so of where I live. I even had a course built for me on TGC2019.
With GSPro, there are only a couple of courses in that same scenario and one of those is a course within 5 miles of where I live which I imagine I will never play. As a sidenote, LIV Golf played there last year and will be out again in about 3 weeks = Rich Harvest Farms. My understanding though is TGC2019 is transferable into Bushnell Launch Pro whereas GSPro is not considered to be fully supported, although at the present time you can find some easy help with integrating GSPro to be able to be used with BLP. Word on the street (pure rumors) says that Foresight might eventually incorporate… allegedly… GSPro into one of their annual subscription software plans. Did I say allegedly? Where I’ll give GSPro props, is it feels ever so slightly more realistic to play than TGC2019 and new courses are being created weekly.
GSPro is currently $250 a year. Some fine folks have also incorporated tournament play into GSPro through the Simulated Golf Tours or what is called SGT. It is currently $80 per year and gets rave reviews with ongoing updates. I have yet to join SGT but will do so as the outdoor playing season comes to an end in the coming couple of months.
How I Currently Use Bushnell Launch Pro
So about half the time I go out to my golf cave, I turn on the Bushnell Launch Pro and hit balls. Maybe not the best way to practice but after several minutes in using the same club, I have an understanding of clubhead speed, ball speed, clubhead path, angle of attack, backspin, and carry distance. I use that information in an attempt to replicate the good numbers time after time. It gives me a good understanding (in my head) of how I hit each club. Now I know I don’t actually get to see ball flight, which is why it is great to have software to use to accompany BLP.
GSPro Driving Range
This is just a simple way for me to see ball flight and distance. I go to the driving range while using GSPro. I’ll pick out a club that I want to hit. Let’s say a 9 iron. I then move the slider on the software to the total distance of where I either typically hit or want to hit the 9 iron. 128 yards for instance. I then practice hitting a number of shots trying to hit ball first on my DIY hitting mat. At this point in time I am not attempting to change the flight of the ball (height) but do from time to time attempt to hit slight draws or a straight shot.
I will also use the driving range on GSPro while using different golf balls. I found out a couple of years ago while using SkyTrak that I might hit one ball a good distance more than another ball. Sounds great in theory to play with that ball. Until you learn that the ball has a tough time landing and then staying on the green because there is very little backspin. So using Bushnell Launch Pro is a great way to test out different golf balls and find out what works well for your golf game.
The rest of the time I incorporate the combination of BLP with playing courses on GSPro. It gets you in the playing golf mindset. How do you play a certain shot when you are in the rough and have trees in front of you. This has actually made me a better player on the golf course in real life as well. In years past where I would almost pretend I could hit the ball through an open spot amongst a clump of trees, now I realize the smart move might be to punch the ball away from the trees yet where I can get back in the fairway.
The fiducials are a game changer. Thanks to having club data, you can even put a fiducial on your putter. Yes, if you notice you might be having issues putting, get numbers on how the ball leaves the clubface. Practice wedges with different placement of the ball within your stance while noting backspin and angle of attack. In a just world, all of this practice should carry over to the golf course. I’m hear to tell you it takes plenty of practice.
The end result is that I am very happy having Bushnell Launch Pro. As I think about it, it is a 3 camera system, basically a GC3 without the added Foresight software. Professionals have the option of using Trackman (radar based), GC Quad, amongst a couple of other devices. Having the BLP gives you confidence when you see a pro using GC Quad and the launch monitor you use only has one less camera and has accuracy close to the Quad. Bushnell definitely has a winner in BLP.