There are an infinite number of ways for you to configure your golf practice set-up. You can practice inside or out, in a golf room with a bar or a garage with bare walls, and there are a huge variety of nets, mats, and screens. The most important factor though is the simulator. One of the most common discussions is SkyTrak or Trackman, and this review will help you choose the most suitable for your needs. Let’s compare them in terms of accuracy, data, user experience, software and much more.
In a hurry? The SkyTrak vs Trackman – which one is better and what are the main differences between them? Both are high-quality and very popular golf simulators in 2021 that offer accuracy and instant feedback so you can improve your golf. The SkyTrak is best for the recreational golfer who wants to use their simulator to play famous courses or work on their game, whereas the Trackman is best for professionals, aspiring professionals, and golf teachers.
Difference Between SkyTrak and Trackman
SkyTrak vs Trackman: Differences Compared
Let’s analyze which is best using some of the key factors:
The SkyTrak system only measures what the golf ball does, rather than providing information on the golfer. If you are operating a golf business or have aspirations of joining a tour, then the information such as the angle of attack, dynamic lie angle, and more are essential.
However, for the recreational golfer who has no training on how to interpret such data, they offer very little. With the cost of this information being high, it is best left to those who need it.
The Trackman 4 provides information from before, during, and after the strike. It offers accurate information on the ball and clubhead speed, launch angle, spin rate, and much more.
It will provide full details of the flight of every shot, from the shortest chip to your biggest drive. It does this instantly, with no delays waiting for the information to appear on the screen.
Perhaps the most important factor when purchasing a golf simulator is the level of accuracy provided. This is good for the SkyTrak, as it provides the same levels of accuracy as much more expensive simulators.
If you don’t believe me, there are many studies carried out over the years since the launch of SkyTrak, and all report the same high levels of accuracy.
It reports the same yardages and does so consistently. It also provides data on spin rates, which is also as you would expect if you know your numbers.
The Trackman 4 Dual Radar system tracks the ball for the first part of its flight, and from this, it calculates the distance, height, speed, and spin rate. It also calculates the clubhead speed, launch angle, and clubhead path direction.
Tested by the best golf teachers and tour professionals, this system is without parallel for accuracy and is trusted worldwide.
One of the major differences is with short shorts, which is a key differential in SkyTrak vs Trackman. The Trackman system is much more accurate than the SkyTrak. This is not necessarily a problem for practice but does affect gameplay options.
The SkyTrak uses photometric data rather than using a radar, and as such is more suited to indoor set-ups than the Trackman.
Even in enclosed spaces, the SkyTrak works well, providing excellent accurate data and insight. It is also relatively easy to set-up, with the data shown on the unit or screen.
To work well, however, the SkyTrak needs to be on the same level as the ball, which can be tricky to set up if you are outside on an uneven surface. The information provided is easy to understand, with only the most important details shown on the first screen.
The main problem is that it takes around 5 seconds for the information to register. This may not seem long, but when you have hit your career drive and want the numbers it feels like an eternity.
Around 2% of shots did not register either (or maybe I’m just impatient), whereas the Trackman data was always provided in a timely manner.
The Trackman 4 is easy to use and can be used indoors or outside. However, it works best when there is distance in front of the hitting zone for the radar to establish the ball flight and make its calculations.
The problem that most users have with Trackman is interpreting the data. There is so much, and so many variations and connotations, that a high level of golf understanding is required, as well as training in many cases.
For a recreational golfer, the amount of data may be overwhelming, and in reality, lead to more confusion than clarity.
As you can see from my numbers in the photo, it offers standardized information that is easy to understand.
However, those numbers were augmented, with wind speed factored in, so the actual carry distance was more like 256 when it was normalized.
The golf teacher whose system it was highlighted my spin rate, which was over 3500, and informed me that for someone my age that was the number to reduce in order to achieve more distance.
The user experience was exciting, but without the guidance of an experienced Trackman teacher, it would have been nothing more than numbers.
The SkyTrak system offers a range of practice opportunities to suit every golfer. There is standard range practice with the data functions making it better than going to the actual range.
There are also a number of competitions, including longest drive, nearest the pin, target practice, and skills assessments.
The display offers 5 different camera viewpoints so you can find the view that best suits your eye.
Also, changing the club is easy on the system, so it is just as easy to go through your bag as use 1 club over and over.
Trackman offers excellent basics for those who want to work on their core golf skills. If you want to grind and move the needle on key statistics that will improve your overall game, this is the system.
However, it also has a number of interesting features, including the Trackman Open, which has a prize fund of $80,000.
Trackman has a video feature, and the library of professional swings, so you can compare your swing with the very best in the game.
One area where the Trackman stands out is on the accuracy of putting and short shots. It offers a putting analysis facility, so you can work on tempo, direction, and putter speed.
The SkyTrak Software packages are well-designed and easy to use. They also provide the key information prominently and have different options depending on how you are using it.
It allows you to check your numbers per shot, shows compilations, and even graphs showing your dispersion.
There are three packages available, ranging from around $200 to $350. Included in these is the World Golf Tour package, which allows you to play 12 of the best courses in the world on the simulator.
If you can spend your time completing diligent practice rather than playing Pebble Beach then you have stronger willpower than me.
There are some bugs in this software, especially relating to the short game. Simple up and downs become time-wasting exercises as the simple chips fire across the green, as is common on these simulators.
Also, there is no multiplayer option on the WGT, which seems a big miss.
The Trackman 4 software is a premium package. It includes over 100 courses on which to play, which includes 30 Tour venues, and increases by 2 courses a month on average.
It also features a library of over 50 tour professional’s swings and access to Trackman University, including all the seminars and lessons.
The subscription offers access to the Trackman cloud, where you can save all lessons, videos, and unlimited amounts of data.
The problem is that the software package costs over $1000 annually, although you can get 1 year free if you purchase a 3-year package. In terms of SkyTrak or Trackman, the Trackman has better software but costs three times as much.
The SkyTrak system is much more cost-effective than the Trackman, retailing at around $2000. This may seem expensive, and it does require additional investment in a practice set-up, but is much less expensive than other simulators.
The software fees may seem expensive, but the quality of visuals and accuracy of course layouts makes them a must-have add on.
The big difference between the SkyTrak and the Trackman is the price. The Trackman 4 is designed for golf professionals and teachers to use as part of their work and is priced accordingly.
Lessons at accredited Trackman providers start at $100 an hour, so you can imagine that the kit itself is expensive, and it is.
Prices are in 5 figure terms, and with the cost of a golf set-up inside the house, it could well cost more than a small car to set up a Trackman system.
SkyTrak claims it provides the accuracy of professional standard golf simulators for a price recreational golfers can afford. And it does.
For a comparatively low price, it provides accurate information on the golf ball path so you can improve your golf game.
If you are looking for a value for money home golf simulator, this is the best option for you.
- Fun Practice
- Some problems with short game accuracy
- Only provides Information on the ball
The Trackman 4 is billed as the most powerful and accurate launch monitor ever built, and it certainly shows in the amount and accuracy of the data it generates.
Although it is not cheap, the dual radar system provides a wealth of information to help you improve your golf game.
- Excellent Accuracy
- Numerous data points
- Extensive course selection and Professional golfer library
- Needs space in front of the hitting zone
So… who’s the winner, SkyTrack or Trackman?
While there is not much difference in the quality of key information provided when you consider SkyTrak vs Trackman, there are big differences in price. That alone is enough to recommend the SkyTrak for recreational golfers looking for a usable and accurate golf simulator.
The SkyTrak is many thousands of dollars less expensive than the Trackman, and offers a very similar package for the recreational golfer.
If you are an aspiring professional, current professional, or golf teacher looking to add to their business, then the Trackman is a premium product that offers a lot.
That may well be its downfall for the recreational golfer, as the golf knowledge required to use the data is not held by most amateurs.
The SkyTrak is usable, accurate, and fun, with the World Golf Tour courses providing an excellent addition to routine practice.
It is much more accurate than simulators that cost less than $1000 and $500, and can be used with your own golf clubs and golf balls.
Whilst the Trackman offers more in every respect, most of what it offers for the rank and file golfer is unnecessary and prohibitively expensive.
Therefore, although this review loves the Trackman 4, and the numbers it provides, if it was my money, I would purchase the SkyTrak system because it offers what a recreational golfer needs for much less.