Personal launch monitors have been a hot topic recently, and the market for these devices keeps on expanding. What is exciting about this developing market is that a vast price range allows golfers to choose a practice companion that fits their budget. When I mention price ranges, I’m talking about units that cost as little as $200 to top-of-the-line, tour-quality machines that run for $20,000. Today, we are looking at the PRGR Portable Launch Monitor, which competes in that competitive sub $500 market.
PRGR offers a more budget-friendly entrance into the launch monitor space, and after spending some time with it, there are quite a few things that have impressed me, starting with the hardware. This launch monitor is compact, and for comparison’s sake, it’s smaller and lighter than my iPhone, which means it easily fits in my pocket. We get a larger screen for the updated 2021 model (HS-130A), making reading the data a bit easier. Below the screen are the only four buttons you will find, and each one gives a satisfying click when compressed.
Speaking of data, while it doesn’t offer spin, it does offer plenty to make this a worthy practice tool. After each shot, the device beeps to let you know it recorded the results. Once populated, the screen offers you Swing Speed, Ball Speed, Smash Factor, Carry Distance, and Total Distance. Note that you will have to hit the mode button to toggle between carry and total distance. All those data points can be pretty useful to someone just looking to dial in their basic yardages on the practice range or in the backyard when hitting into a net. We’ve seen similar devices to this one that registers club speed, but a ball needs to be hit for many of those to record swing speed. With the PRGR, that is not the case. Since this product launched in cooperation with SuperSpeed Golf, it makes sense that those going through that system, or just working on their swing speed a different way, would need something to record their speeds without hitting a ball. Even some of the big players in the launch monitor space have yet to offer a feature like that. Therefore, if you want to stand on the range and swing as hard as possible to see how many MPH your body can generate without fear of hitting a horrible shot, this would be a product for you.
Another thing to like about this launch monitor is that it is straightforward to set up and use. Set this behind the ball anywhere from 3.5 to 5 feet, and that’s it; get ready to have some fun. Some things are worth noting when setting up this launch monitor. Ideally, the area would be relatively flat when testing on a grass range, but when hitting off mats, you might feel the need to use a booster to make the monitor more even with the ball. The flatter the lie, the more consistent the data readouts will be, and the less time you will experience that shot that didn’t get captured.
As with any of these devices, the biggest question is about how accurate are the numbers. Well, during our testing side by side with a Foresight GC2, some data points came out entirely accurate. Before diving into that, it is good to understand that this unit captures data using Doppler radar, meaning that the yardages are estimates based on quick calculations. Furthermore, to get the most accurate yardages you can, it is essential to select the club you are swinging on the launch monitor itself. Of all the data presented here, easily the one that was the most consistent alongside a GC2 was the ball speed. The ball speed was usually within 2 MPH of the GC2 measurements, regardless of the driver, irons, or partial wedge shots. With the accuracy of the ball speed, the carry distance was impressively close on most swings. Where the numbers got a little funny was on poorly struck shots. Thin shots that came out low would produce numbers that would have noticeably more carry yardage. Outside of those anomalies, it was impressive to see just how much this pocket-sized launch monitor could keep up with a camera-based system, especially when considering the price difference.
This PRGR Launch Monitor offers a pleasant no-frills experience. There is no companion app, nor is there any built-in practice/target mode. Even without those extra features, this device is worth considering for the golfer who craves a better understanding of their swing speed, ball speed, and distances. Currently, the PRGR Launch Monitor is available for $229.99. Have you thought about adding a personal launch monitor to your practice sessions?
Measurements: Ball Speed, Club Speed, Smash Factor, Carry Distance, Total Distance.