Launch Monitor Vs Simulator — (Pros and Cons)

launch monitor vs simulator for golfers in tell me more golf with expert information and hands on golfing researchers

Given the amount of golf technology available, have you wondered if you should look into a launch monitor or golf simulator?

Through the expertise at Tell Me More Golf, we are going to bring you a breakdown of the purpose of both, and help golfers understand which might help their game.

launch monitor vs simulator for golfers in tell me more golf with expert information and hands on golfing researchers

Which Golf Technology Wins?

Golf technology has come so far over the past two decades, that many golfers may find it hard to believe that there was a time when we could not track data like ball flight, carry distance, ball speed, launch angle, and club head speed.

And those do not even cover all of the data points we can track in today’s game.

The first real piece of equipment that resembled a launch monitor only measured club head speed and was made to determine the shaft flex that a golfer needed. It was about the size and shape of an iPhone and you had to swing right over the top of it (and not hit it). While not impressive by today’s standards, it was a start. Nowadays, launch monitors measure over 16 different golf swings and golf ball shot data. They can be taken onto the driving range and golf course and can display the numbers or pair with a device like a phone or a tablet.

Simulators on the other hand are designed to give the golfer a visual of how their ball is traveling. Home golf simulators are becoming more popular as they come down somewhat in price. Most golfers are familiar with the simulators that you would see at your local golf store but now that technology can be installed in your home. It still uses the same type of technology to track data points, so essentially you are pairing a launch monitor with equipment to create an indoor golf experience.

Fast forward to today and now we have a multitude of options when it comes to golf launch monitors and golf simulators. There are portable launch monitors and there are simulators that give the golfer a more realistic experience. We will go through some of the brands and what features they have to help you play your best golf.


FlightScope MEVO

This is an all-around great launch monitor. It can accurately track golf ball data points such as ball speed, club head speed, launch angle, shot shape, spin rate, and others for a total of 16 different parameters. This model is powered by Doppler radar technology for next-level information about your game.

SkyTrak Golf

Most of the launch monitors are going to provide the standard metrics like back spin, club path, angle of attack, and total distance. But, not all of them pair so well with simulation gear. SkyTrak comes in a starter version mainly for the driving range. It is PC and iPad compatible and can be used in rain or shine. If your golf game gets rained out, you can still play some of the most famous courses in the world like TPC Sawgrass and Augusta National using the golf simulator software package.

Garmin Approach R10

Garmin is quickly becoming a common name in golf technology. The Garmin Approach offers metrics like the others including smash factor, vertical launch angle, carry distance, and flight time. The Garmin comes with a tripod for easy setup on the driving range or at your own home. The most unique piece of functionality that the Garmin brings is automatic swing recording with an overlay of shot statistics. In other words, you can record your swing and match it to how the ball traveled and make adjustments as needed.

Foresight Sports GCQUAD

The winner of the 2021 Golf Digest Best Launch Monitor is seen quite often on the PGA Tour driving ranges.


Simulators for golf are designed to provide the user with a visual experience after hitting the ball instead of getting numbers back from a launch monitor. However, a launch monitor is at the core of each simulator. Most golfers are familiar with TrackMan. This product can link with a computer, tablet, and phone so the golfer can see the ball travel virtually. A golf simulator setup can range from fairly simple to a full-on designed and custom-constructed golf simulator.. Let’s take a look at some of the options you have.

TruGolf with E6 Connect

Carve out an entire room to make space for this simulator. This golf simulator package comes with everything you need to turn your space into a virtual golf course. This comes with a computer to run the simulator, a touchscreen monitor, a projector, and mats to hit from.

SkyGolf SIG10 Simulator

This is one of the more popular simulators and is considered one of the best values. It runs on the SkyTrak launch monitor which uses a photometric tracking system to detail ball flight, clubhead speed, backspin, side spin, launch angle, and more. Setup for this model seems to be a bit simpler than with TruGolf, and your SkyTrak can come with you when you need it.

FlightScope Mevo+ SwingBay Package

The combination of the Mevo and the SwingBay makes for a product that’s great for home use while the launch monitor can be portable. The picture quality is excellent and several well-known courses are loaded as it comes with the E6 Connect software subscription. This can also pair with your iPad or phone and reviews say this simulator is a great experience.


The launch monitor is now a staple in most tour pro’s bags. Because they need to have their distance dialed in consistently, it is now common to see launch monitors on professional driving ranges.

The major pros of a launch monitor are:

  • Portability – your launch monitor can go to the course or range with you and give you real-time feedback that can help you immediately.
  • Data – most launch monitors use doppler technology or similar to track the golf ball. This provides remarkably accurate feedback to golfers.
  • Cost – in comparison to simulators, launch monitors are going to be less expensive by quite a bit.


Cons Of A Launch Monitor

While the popularity of the personal launch monitor has grown rapidly in recent years, that does not mean you should run out to buy one for yourself.

There are some things to consider before investing in this technology.

  • Overkill – if you are a mid-high handicapper, it is not going to be a huge benefit to your game. Go practice your short game.
  • Data uncertainty – while accurate data is great, if you don’t know what it means and how to put it to use, there is no sense in spending the money.
  • Conditions – most launch monitors can adjust for wind and terrain but the level of accuracy starts to diminish.

Pros Of A Golf Simulator

If you can afford to install and maintain a golf simulator in your home, I would suggest you do so. You will quickly discover that you have golfing friends that you didn’t know you had before (especially in the winter). Here are some of the arguments for a golf simulator.

  • Fun – no matter what season it is, you can practice or play a course in your basement with your buddies.
  • Visuals – launch monitors provide data and simulators bring that data to life in high definition with quality graphics on your screen.
  • Startup – once the installation of your simulator is complete, you just plug in your launch monitor and turn on the screen and you’re good to go.

You can also build your own simulator with help from the golf experts over at Carl’s Place. We’d highly recommend their tool for DIY help.

Cons Of A Golf Simulator

As much fun as a golf simulator can be, there are going to be some downsides. Before investing in one, consider each con.

  • Cost – for most players, the simulator is going to be cost-prohibitive. Many simulators start around $5,000 and can quickly go up in price.
  • Installation – while this process has improved dramatically over the years, it can still be a big project to get the simulator that you want to be installed in your home.
  • Maintenance – once you have the simulator where you want it, there will be maintenance, cleaning, and software updates that will need to be done.

FAQ Section

What is the difference between a launch monitor and a simulator?

A launch monitor is a device that a golfer can carry with them to track the flight of each ball including spin rate, ball and club speed, spin axis, and dozens more data points. The launch monitor can be taken to the course, driving range, backyard, and so on. It is a portable device that allows for quick and accurate data.

A simulator is meant to give a golfer the experience of hitting the golf ball while seeing the ball travel on a screen. Most simulators have a launch monitor that they use to track the ball flight and translate that to an image on a screen in front of you.

Is simulator golf easier?

Yes, simulator golf is much easier. You do not have to hit from sidehill and downhill lies. While the ball flight data is great, you can still get away with a stray shot much easier on a simulator.

Do professionals use golf simulators?

Yes! Tiger Woods has a simulator in his house designed by FullSwing Golf. He and many other tour players use these in their off time to stay loose and work on full swings and distance control.

Can you hit a stinger on a golf simulator?

Yes, you can hit a stinger on a simulator. But, it does not look as cool as it does in person. The accuracy of the technology is such that you can hit all kinds of shots and it will show them accurately.

Conclusion: Research by

black tell me more golf compressed logo with mottled background information for golfers

Launch monitors and simulators are becoming more popular but consider the reason you are looking to purchase one in the first place. 

Tell Me More Golf’s team of researchers know today’s technology well. If you are looking to improve your distance control, hone in your driver launch angle, or keep track of your spin rates, the launch monitor is going to be for you. 

If you are looking more for a realistic experience of golfing without being on the course, you are looking for a simulator. If price is not a factor, the simulator is going to give you the best overall experience as it provides both the fun and visual aspect, and most come with a launch monitor as a package deal.


Patrick Corley Tell Me More Golf Instructor and Coach
Patrick Corley
From a golf scholarship to a Southern California University, to a private golf coaching career and an instructor position at a nonprofit organization, I’m here to help you get better at golf! With my 50+ years of golf experience; I bring you Tell Me More Golf. A golf coaching website that helps your game with instructional golfing content that’s ultimately geared toward making you a better golfer and having more fun!
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