Do Launch Monitors Work With Nets? — (Readings and More Info)

which launch monitors work with nets and which don t with the readings from tell me more golf

With the major advancements in launch monitor technology over the past several years, more golfers than ever are doing their own research and considering home launch monitor setups. 

With many golfers having limited space at home to use as a hitting arena, hitting nets are the most commonly used solution for taking full swings at golf balls indoors or in confined spaces.

While nearly all launch monitors currently in production will work with hitting nets, there are certain ones that are better suited than others for this application, and each has its own quirks and tips for best performance.

which launch monitors work with nets and which don t with the readings from tell me more golf

Which Launch Monitors Work With Nets and Which Don’t?

While nearly all launch monitors will work with hitting nets, some require more space than others, and the space being used as a hitting area should be thoroughly measured beforehand to ensure that the setup will work in  the desired space.

Certain launch monitors like the Mevo and Mevo Plus by Flightscope require the use of metallic stickers to pick up spin measurements when used indoors.

Other launch monitors like the Rapsodo MLM are less effective with nets, as they track shot dispersion where the ball lands. 


While many golfers see PGA professionals using upscale portable launch monitors like the Trackman or Skytrak launch monitors for outdoor use on the driving range, the price point on these top tier models make them inaccessible to the average golfer. 

Today, there are golf launch monitors available in a variety of price ranges, making the game improvement benefits of data points like club head speed, carry distance, and angle of attack available to a wider audience. 

Launch monitors use different types of scanners and doppler radar technology to track the head of the golf club through impact, along with the golf ball.

When used with a hitting net, the launch monitor records the speed, direction, and spin of the golf ball, depending on the model.

The launch monitor’s software will then use this limited flight date before the ball hits the net to interpret and estimate the final result of where the ball would have landed. This predictive software had improved significantly over the past few years, making them much more accurate.


Do Launch Monitors Work With Foam Balls

While it is possible to use foam golf balls with a launch monitor, the results may vary in terms of the accuracy of the shot data.

More advanced launch monitors measure more than just swing speed, and gather smash factor data based on the ball speed tracked. 

The ball speed of a foam ball will be significantly lower than that of a real golf ball, as the high compression levels of real balls allow them to “squish” and bounce back off the club face with tons of speed. While a foam golf ball does squish, the low compression keeps them slower.

Certain launch monitors like the Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor track the flight of the ball all the way until it lands. Since foam golf balls do not fly as far as real ones, the data provided by these personal launch monitors will be inaccurate. 

Do Launch Monitors Work With Range Balls

Range balls will provide significantly better data than foam balls when used with launch monitors, as the carry distance is much closer to a real golf ball. Range balls are designed to be durable rather than high performance, and will have slightly limited flight compared to a ProV1.

Regardless of a player’s swing speed, a range ball will fly a bit shorter than a premium golf ball, and many golfers report a distance loss of around one club when using range balls. Range balls are best used with portable launch monitors outdoors to look at shot dispersion. 

Certain driving ranges like Topgolf use range balls that are designed to produce less carry distance. While the doppler radar trackers and virtual golf courses make for a great experience, the data and metrics produced will not be accurate compared to a premium golf ball. 

When using a golf simulator indoors with a golf net, there is no reason not to use a premium golf ball, as there is no risk of losing the ball with a home golf simulator. Having an indoor simulator allows players to work on their golf swing rain or shine.

How To Make Sure a Launch Monitor Will Work

The best way to assure that a launch monitor will work in a particular space is to make sure that the monitor has enough space to adequately track the golf ball. Each monitor requires a different distance from the golf net, as well as different ideal monitor placement areas. 

It is important to measure out the space between the hitting net and the hitting mat. The two should be placed as far apart as allowable, while still allowing for a full golf swing and not so far that the ball can fly over the top of the net with short game wedge shots. 

The best way to ensure that a launch monitor will work in the desired space is to first check with the manufacturer to find the exact distance required. It is also helpful to check if the monitor will work with the current amount of lighting and if reflective stickers are required for the ball. 
Some launch monitors require as little distance as six or seven feet between the hitting net and artificial turf mat. Other setups require significantly more space, with some not being able to function and track the ball with less than 13 or 14 feet of ball flight.

Why Are Launch Monitors So Expensive?

Launch monitors are expensive because they contain a combination of high tech sensors and radars, as well as highly sophisticated software for interpreting the data, predicting the ball’s flight, and visualizing the prediction with a graphic.

Each element of this launch monitor technology requires very different areas of technology, and each must work harmoniously with each other to achieve accurate and reliable ball flight data and predictions. 

The price of launch monitors have decreased significantly over the last few years as the technology has advanced and become more accessible. Some of the best launch monitors on the maret used by PGA professionals can cost upwards of $20,000.

This high price tag is only the cost of the launch monitor itself, and does not include the cost of building a home golf simulator setup. Home status can become very expensive as well, as there are many considerations that need to be taken to ensure a safe and fun experience.

A home setup must include a hitting bay, which is usually composed of a hitting net or mesh screen. The best hitting bays elect to use the mesh screens so that an image can be projected onto it in front of the golfer. 

The use of a projector and mesh hitting screen allows the golfer to feel as if they are facing the direction the ball is traveling. This is the best type of setup for home simulators where golfers will be playing virtual courses regularly, as it makes the experience feel more realistic.

The cost of high quality projectors can be higher than some entry level launch monitors these days, making these extravagant home setups less common and more suited to those with the means and time to enjoy one.

All of these costs only include the necessary hardware and equipment to build a home golf simulator, and do not include the recurring cost of software to play golf on. There are a handful of different software options of varying prices, and more virtual courses cost more money. 

A more affordable home setup can be achieved using an everyday hitting net that can be purchased for under $100. Entry level launch monitors can cost under $500 these days, and a hitting mat is the only item needed to complete this simple setup.

FAQ Section

Does a launch monitor work with plastic balls?

While all launch monitors will technically work with training aids like rubber or plastic golf balls, the data provided by the launch of the ball will be far less reliable that by using a real golf ball. 

Do Launch monitors work with range balls?

Yes, every launch monitor will work when used with range balls. One of the best monitors to bring to the driving range is the Rapsodo MLM, which is compatible with iPhones, iPads, and Androids. The software tracks the ball’s flight and maps out all shots taken on the range for you. 

Can you use a launch monitor without a ball?

Certain launch monitors do work without a ball, though the data provided will be limited to clubhead speed, face angle, and club path data. Since there is no ball for the radar to track, metrics like side spin and launch angle are impossible to interpret. 

Do launch monitors work with foam balls?

While launch monitors do work with foam golf balls, the team of experts at Tell Me More Golf recommend using real golf balls instead. Especially when using a hitting net, there is very little risk of losing the ball and the data provided will be far more accurate.

Conclusion: Research by

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Many golfers have a limited amount of space at home, and are curious if it is possible for them to build a home simulator or launch monitor setup with their space limitations. 

A hitting net is one of the best ways to save space, and nearly every launch monitor on the market today is compatible with hitting nets. The team of experts at Tell Me More Golf recommend hitting nets for golfers who love seeing their shot data, and especially those who live in areas where year round golf is not possible.


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