Alright everyone. Super honored to finally be chosen for such a nice giveaway, I'm actually glad I lost all those other ones because it was worth the wait! Thanks to WRX and Rapsodo for the opportunity.
35, took up golf mid 20's, play to about a 5 cap, I am a member of George Gankas's online membership so I am pretty technical, also do analytics for a living so this product was right up my alley. I practice 3-4 times a month outside, mostly on swing mechanics and ball flight, never really yardages except wedges, so I was excited to see how accurate this thing was for yardage purposes. I also have an indoor setup that I use probably every day so was really hoping to get accurate indoor yardages to fine tune my game.
Out of the box: felt really premium, sort of like opening a new phone, solid case, solid power button, felt like a $500 product
Calibrating: not sure if this was mandatory because I think it comes pre-calibrated but I went through the process anyways. It took about 5 minutes of moving my phone camera around to line up dots on the base of the monitor holding it at different angles, not too difficult.
Connecting to a phone: super easy, don't even remember the process, I think I just clicked a button and it paired perfectly
There is a lot of stuff in this app. Coaches, coaching packaging (some paid, some free), CTP and LD contests, sharing swing videos, and obviously all the stuff that comes with practicing: tracking/saving yardages for for all your sessions (with video - which is very cool - you can go back and look at any swing from any session), see your shot grouping on a gps map, ball speed, launch angle, apex, etc.
It is a breeze to use. You just put your body in one area, and the ball in another, and swing away. Once you swing it plays back your swing with pro tracer and stats immediately, and then it is ready for the next shot. You can just swing away, or you can just tap one button to replay your last swing. Can tap another button to change clubs. I did find that the club selection didn't really change any of the data points, I think that feature is just so you can log a shot with a club and track your average yardages.
I tried in both super sunny weather with chewed up range balls and a night range with dim lighting with limited flight range balls and it was really quite accurate in both environments. I was very impressed because I am always super skeptical about all launch monitors in general, especially when I am carrying 310 in the bay, and 280 on the course. I have a few videos of me hitting a 9 iron at different speeds, and you can see that I flighted the ball down 145 / 125 / 100 and it captured it all pretty accurately. The pro tracer is pretty good for decent swings, but if you block one or get a little too close to the heel with the driver the pro tracer can do funny things (not horrible, but obviously not exact). Also, when there is not great contact (at least with metal woods), the ball speed takes a massive dive. I have a couple videos of me hitting 2h and driver so you can see the accurate ball speed of the 2h, and a squirrely pro tracer on a driver I blocked (which pro tracer logged as a slice)
OK so here is where I was really disappointed. Rapsodo recommends having 6 feet of space between the MLM and the ball, and 8 feet of space for ball flight, and a well lit area. I will post some pictures below of my setup (very well lit), which juuuuuust squeezes into the recommended dimensions. However, the ball just does not get captured accurately and was probably only 80% of what it should have been. I was getting frustrated swinging a 9 iron out of my shoes and smashing it, and I couldn't get yardage over 125 (stock 9 for me is 150+). I also tried moving the monitor closer and further away to see if I could capture some better speed, but both closer and further just lost even more ball speed. So I am not sure what the minimum recommendation should be, but the stated recommendation did not work for me.
Pros: easy to use, outdoor yardage is quite accurate, pro tracer is cool, shot grouping on gps is cool
Cons: indoor use did not work for me, I have a pretty decent sized room and unfortunate that it was not big enough
Conclusion: I will definitely use this for range sessions to dial in my 175-225 yardages. Those are the hardest to see when you are working at the range, it is very hard to see the difference between 180 and 190 if you only have a flag at 200, so this is really an immense benefit for that specific task. I will also use the shot grouping on gps as a way to keep my dispersion down (and not lie to myself that I can throw a towel over my grouping). I don't see myself using any of the coaching stuff, only because I am already in an online program (the best one there is IMO) and I know what I am doing and not doing in that regard. Probably won't do anything with the MLM community like share videos or participate in CTP or LD contests either. I am more interested in the raw tracking ability of the monitor than any of those features. I would have traded all the coaching videos, community stuff, shot grouping on gps, and pro tracer for the ability to use this indoors within the space that I have. I am sure the tech will get there very soon (it has come a really long way).