The launch monitor game has changed drastically in the past few years. I remember not too long ago when going to a swing instructor or getting fit for new clubs was the only financially reasonable way to get any sort of accurate swing data, usually through a TrackMan.
Now, at every PGA Tour range - I know, not exactly the best example of accessibility - you will see most players with one, and sometimes two portable launch monitors delivering data after every swing they make. One of the more reasonably priced launch monitors is the FlightScope Mevo and its more advanced model, the FlightScope Mevo+. I've been testing them both out for more than a month and came away impressed with their user-friendly technology and interesting data.
FlightScope Mevo and Mevo+: First Impressions
The Mevo is about the size of a rangefinder and is one of the cheaper options out there at $499. It’s great for on-course use and trying to dial in your carry distances or track clubhead speed gains. It measures eight different data points, which is less than the bulkier, more expensive monitors. But if you are just looking for something to give you a little guidance when practicing, it is a potentially perfect option.
The Mevo+ is the souped-up, larger launch monitor/simulator from FlightScope that tracks 16 different data points. It’s pricier at $1,999, with the additional option to get the Mevo+ Pro package for an additional $1,000. That package, which launched at the 2022 PGA Show in January, generates an additional 11 data points with Fusion Tracking technology, including some very important ones like Face to Path and Club Path. Mevo+'s combination of 3D Doppler radar tracking and synchronized image processing equates to better data, which makes it suitable for teaching professionals, players and club fitters. This technology had previously only been available in FlightScope's top-of-the-line X3 model, which costs around $15,000.
I gave the Mevo+ a nice test run at a local range in Orlando and in my backyard into a net as well. I found the setup at the range to be quite simple. FlightScope has an app that becomes more user-friendly after some initial struggles (it is compatible with both iOS and Android). After creating my profile and starting a session, I found it was easiest to connect the Mevo+ to my phone through wifi. Scanning the bar code on the back of the launch monitor seemed easiest at first but ended up taking longer and disconnected occasionally.
After each shot at the local range, my phone would read back one of the data points to me. I used Apple AirPods to make it easier to hear while also avoiding interrupting those hitting balls around me. It made for an informative practice experience that you cannot get without that type of data.
Hearing direct feedback on my carry distances when I take a three-quarter swing or mess with my shot shape was fun and interesting. I used my rangefinder to shoot a few flags. On the occasional time I hit one close to those targets, I found the Mevo+ was within 4 or 5 yards of the correct distance.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that my older, far less athletic self has only lost about 5-7 yards with an 8-iron since my college days. Something to be aware of: it's easy to get a little too amped once when your clubhead speed is being recorded and swing out of your shoes trying to inflate the numbers. Don't get me wrong - I had fun seeing what numbers I could hit with the driver, but make sure you are loosened up before you go too hard.
Having my phone close by was also key because the monitor occasionally goes into sleep mode and requires a button click to awaken. When you change clubs during a session, you should toggle that too, because after the session, it groups every shot from each club used. Video also can be recorded and clipped to be sent to friends or for your own personal viewing to see how your swing looks, for better or worse. I changed the recording time to 3 seconds before contact and 3 seconds after to give me a better look at my swings.
Testing the Mevo+ out in my backyard off a mat into a net was an interesting experience. I would love to set it up permanently in my garage, but I don't have the room. You need about 18 feet of space total to make the setup work. The monitor has 4 different settings to select from - short indoor, indoor, long indoor and outside. All have different spec requirements for how close the monitor needs to be to the ball and the length of ball flight needed to measure the data (i.e., distance from ball to net). With the use of aluminum stickers that are placed on golf balls (which come with the monitor), I was able to get the distance from ball to net to about 7 feet. It seemed the accuracy of the carry distance was not as sharp when hitting off a mat. That may be more a function of the fact that hitting off mats is not ideal for any practice session, with or without a launch monitor.
While the carry distances during my mat-and-net session fluctuated a little more than I would have liked to see, the speed numbers checked out. I would imagine a larger net that allowed me to get farther away from it would lead to more consistent and accurate numbers, so if you have that ability, I would suggest that. I was worried about missing my net and firing an unexpected golf ball through a neighbor’s window!
I used a Net Return in my setup (you can see an image above), which is 7-feet tall and while the instructions are super clear, physically it is somewhat difficult to put together. It's probably a two-person job. It's a pricey net ($695 currently on their website) that Bryson DeChambeau endorses. Functionally, it is wonderful. It lives up to its name by collecting the ball and feeding it back to you after every shot. Golfers can easily do an entire practice session using only one ball.
FlightScope Mevo+: Lasting Conclusions
All in all, FlightScope's Mevo+ launch monitor is a nice option at a slightly lower price than some of the other launch monitors in the upper tier of the market. I noticed a few funky results on shots that gave me some pause, but that's true for virtually any launch monitor. It also makes sense for personal portable technology that's more affordable to lag a bit behind launch monitors that cost thousands of dollars more.
Recently I got to try out the @FlightScopeGolf Mevo+ launch monitor and enjoyed trying to see if I could still swing it like I did 5 years ago. Sadly, not quite. But still fun to use!— Drake Dunaway (@drake_dunaway) April 27, 2022
Here’s a swing it was able to record. pic.twitter.com/rotqmJoLho
Not having Face to Path and Club Path in the standard Mevo+ without the extra $1,000 Pro buy-in package was probably the biggest drawback in my opinion. While playing in college, I was fortunate enough that my team had a TrackMan, which I should have used more often. Those two data points were key when trying to tighten up a swing that was a little off. However, for clubhead speed training, by helping you figure out your true carry distances and other aspects like launch angle and spin rate, the Mevo+ can really help you play better and enjoy practicing much more.