Golf Launch Monitors: What You Should Know

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Did you know that golf launch monitors can give golfers information about their impact position, club head speed, strike point location and more? If not, this is just the article for you! We will breakdown what golf launch monitors are, how they work and why they are gaining popularity amongst golfers. Let’s discuss what you should know before investing in a golf launch monitor so you can make an informed decision on whether or not it’s right for your needs.

launch monitors

What are golf launch monitors?

Golf launch monitors are devices that track data from a golf club’s swing [1] before it hits the ball. They measure your club face angle, backswing speed, impact position and more to provide you with information about where on the face of the head – or in what part of space outside the ball- did contact happen? The device is often paired with a launch monitor tower, which captures the data and allows users to view it on their computer.

Launch monitors have been around for decades but in recent years they’ve become more popular because of advances in technology that allow us to get better insights into how we swing the club. It’s now possible to see where contact happened, what the head was doing, how the club’s angle compared to where we aimed and more. These advances are attributed in part to improvements in sensors that can measure smaller changes on the golf stroke like jerk or oscillation which were previously undetectable with launch monitors of old.

How do golf launch monitors work?

Golf launch monitors collect information on the golf swing and analyze it in real-time. They capture data such as club speed, backswing tempo[2], impact angle, ball spin rate—even where your eyes are looking on the course!

The first step to understanding how they work is by knowing that a golfer’s swing is made up of two parts: the backswing and downswing. The data is collected during these movements in order to understand when a golfer’s body reaches its highest point, or apex, right before they start their forward swing.

The trajectory can then be estimated based on launch monitor information such as club speed and angle at impact with the ball.

One of the technologies used by launch monitors is called Doppler radar. It uses radio waves to measure the velocity of objects in motion, like a golf swing. Doppler radar is just as accurate and reliable as other methods at measuring club head speed on swings and can provide useful data about an athlete’s technique or mechanics that wouldn’t be otherwise caught by simple video analysis.

Some other launch monitors use Photometric technology, which is a type of optics that measures the light being reflected from an object and uses it to estimate their speed. Photometric technology is often used with swing speeds because the measurement is very accurate and precise.

How to use a golf launch monitor?

Let’s figure out how to use a golf launch monitor correctly to get the most accurate data to help improve our game.

  • Firstly, place the monitor on a flat surface and make sure it is not tilted. 
  • Make sure you have enough turf or artificial grass to stand on that has been smoothed out with water in order to take full strides without tripping because of ruts, bumps, etc.
  • Stand about 12 inches away from the launch monitor so there are no shadows on the screen. 
  • Keep your weight evenly distributed across both feet as you stand upright with your shoulders and back straight and arms at your side for a more accurate measure of swing speed.
  • Swing away! The monitor will automatically calculate ball launch velocity, club head speed, total distance, angle to target, shot dispersion pattern, and carry distance.
  • The monitor will also track your consistency with a score index, which is the average of all drives you have taken on that day. 
  • Save up to 40 previous shots for future review: You can save up to 20 individual swings at a time by pressing the “save” button after hitting each shot. (This capability depends on the launch monitor your are using)

How accurate are golf launch monitors?

Golf launch monitors use very sophisticated technology that provides extremely accurate data. The monitors are able to measure a golfer’s club speed, spin rate, distance and angle of attack using the highly accurate sensors. They are also able to do many complex calculations to measure the torque of your swing. For this they take into account variables such as club head speed, angle of attack with respect to loft and shaft length. 

One study found that the accuracy of golf launch monitors is +/- 0.01 degrees in terms of orientation measurements when compared to laser devices used by professionals on tour. The only way for an amateur player to get more accurate data would be to use the devices of a professional.

Advantages of using a launch monitor

  • When golfers use launch monitors, they are able to see the data in real time, which is different from what most other devices such as PHARO or SAM PuttSense provide. 
  • Launch monitors allow for a greater understanding of one’s swing and how it translates into performance on the course. This information can be used by golfers to make adjustments to their games and improve. 
  • Launch monitors are reliable, cost effective, easy to use, accurate, and can provide a large number of metrics in real time that other devices cannot offer.
  • Launch monitors are the best way to capture data about a golfer’s swing and see what impact changes in equipment, technique or tempo have on their performance. 
  • It can be used in combination with golf simulators to practice your game at home on your own time and pace. This setup works great on days where the weather is bad or when you are recovering from an injury. 


Golf launch monitors are an important tool for the amateur golfer to use. They help you see when your swing is off and how long it takes for your club’s head to return after impact with the ball, called “club-head lag,” which can be a sign that you’re not hitting the sweet spot on every shot. The data can help you identify bad habits and work on them.

Since all golf monitors are not created equal, we have put in hours of research to handpick the best golf launch monitors detailing their features, and also things we like and/or dislike about them. This is a very helpful guide for anyone looking to buy a launch monitor, so please do check it out.

We hope this article was helpful and for more such articles, check out our homepage. Check out our article on how golf rangefinders function and how it can help you measure distance while your in the field.