Hello everyone and welcome to my Rapsodo MLM Launch Monitor review!
Thank you MGS of course for the testing opportunity and Rapsodo for providing a incredible product for myself and our other 3 lucky testers to put through its paces.
Introduction: August 2, 2021
To start off we will of course begin with a introduction. For those new the the site I am lucky enough to be the newest of the Mods on a fantastic team here at MGS. Before I managed to get my @golfspy tag I went by Apolloshowl and before that Danbrook . In previous reviews I would leave a link to a past one to give you an idea of me and my game, however that seems like a lifetime ago and with our new system it means time for a brand new introduction.
My name is Jamie, I am 33 and I live in a little town about a half hour from Zurich, Switzerland. August 1st not only represents the Swiss national holiday, but also our 1 year here in Switzerland... oh I should probably elaborate on the plural. When I made the decision to move here for work, my then girlfriend now wife (Allyssa) joined me on this great adventure. We were of course joined by our 3 dogs. Apollo, Fender and Oliver (or Ollie or Smalls or Smalliver). We absolutely love it here and are excited to welcome a new member to our family in the new year and are very fortunate to call Switzerland home.
As for the work that brought me here, well it is unique. I work as a Ice Technician for curling clubs and events. For me this normally means travelling a few months a year to different parts of the world making ice and maintaining my home club where we have ice 11 months a year and host many Olympic teams and training. It's work that has constant surprises and is always changing. I truly love what I do and can't imagine doing any other work... of course my work here as a mod not included.
That sums up life/work in a short way, which means we are now onto the fun part. Golf and MGS!
Before I get into my game here is a link (I'm doing it again) to what sums up my MGS career a little bit:
Now with that out of the way my golf game. I play to a 11, although sadly I really haven't got a chance to play nearly as much as I would like to this season with work, incoming baby and covid it has meant a lot less golf. However when I have played I still have a good feel for everything and have put up respectable scores. My biggest strength is my putting. That is also what I practice a fair bit at home so it is simply a comfort for me. My weakness is chipping and tee shots. My driver is less then consistent and after SuperSpeed testing last year it didn't hurt, but also didn't help. With a increase of speed and not as much practice it has meant some more big misses with the driver. My irons I love and am just really comfortable with, although arccos would tell me to club up on approach shots as I will very often come up short vs miss left or right.
If you want to check out a WITB for me it will be linked in the post about my MGS history above.
Finally now we get to the goods and the product in question for testing.
For starters I'll be using my ipad on it, as I have an Android phone (old iphone if I have to). Most of testing will be here at home (be ready for the unboxing post of all unboxing posts!) at the range and some on course use where possible (golfing in Switzerland is a little different and very go go go so less time to videoing and so on). I do promise to try and get some good backdrops where I can!
Why am I excited for Rapsodo and what this test means to me?
As eluded to above I don't get out to play nearly as much as I would like and Rapsodo will give me a great tool to practice and work on my game here at home both indoors and out. The coach feature is likely what I'm looking forward to most in I have not had a lesson in years and think this will be very beneficial as I can take the time to work on what is given to me before taking it to the course and get lots of reps in. It will also be great to get numbers and have a better idea of how far I am hitting all of my clubs since Superspeed training.
What will be tested and examined?
For this test I will again test it both indoors and outside. I will also be going to our local shop and see how some of the numbers compare against GC Quad for those curious in that.
Last the coach feature. I truthfully am not exactly sure what to expect with this. I will be going in with a open mind and willing to try anything the coach recommends or suggests. I think I forgot to mention this, but I am also a lefty... so outside of suggesting I play right handed I'll be all ears!
There are lots of good solid reviews out there on the Rapsodo MLM so I will try and bring something fresh and new to the table with that, but I will also put a large focus on the Coach Feature and how it could benefit all of you.
Unboxing: September 23, 2021
Time for a photo dump. As I said in the post the Rapsodo comes with everything you want and need and nothing that you do not. This to me is great. Less waste and I don't need a bunch of things to open or fiddle around with. A power button, simple setup guide and instructions, usb C cord and thats about it.
That being said my ipad case does not work with it so that had to be taken off which is fine, but not a easy case to take off.
It is pretty small and compact which is also fantastic!
It also feels sturdy as a device, which I won't say is surprising but i feel the durability will be great for the long term with this device as well.
Then we have the home setup which is a big reason why I wanted to get in on this. With life changes and being in a new country I haven't got a chance to play nearly as much as I would have liked and with baby on the way this is going to get a lot of use and the Rapsodo will help me dial in numbers over the course the review a future.
First impressions are great so far and very happy with the quick setup and install and looking forward to the Coaching Feature and how I can improve my swing.
For now I am going to wrap this up and for future updates, unboxing, photos and reviews check back both on this post and the comments!
Final Review: November 25th, 2021
Looks & Feel (8 out of 10 points)
Describe the following for the device:
This is a big bonus for the Rapsodo device. It is small, compact and really simple. I’ve touched base on this throughout parts of the review process, but with how simple it is I really think this is a key feature to it being a good product in any golfers bag. The added carrying case, USB C charger are great to have with one protecting the device and the other being a basic standard for most chargers now aday (funnily enough not apple which is what you need to use to use for this… just now noticing the irony in that)
I used mind with a ipad in a net almost exclusively and although I didn’t get around to doing head to head with gc quard or trackman I was able to do some with the PRGR which if we are being more realistic is a more comparable device for those who may be looking at getting the Rapsodo MLM.
In comparison the Rapsodo is a slightly larger, but add in the ipad and it feels like a much more professional unit and one much more suited to someone looking to dive into the data.
As for the score of 8, it is a good unit and sleek there is no doubt about that, but there is also nothing really makes it stand out and say WOW so a score of 8 I think is justified.
Setup (10 out of 15 points)
Set up is stupid simple. Make sure its charged up, turn the power on. Have the app downloaded and account created within the Apple device and simply select pair. The app walks you through step by step and within a matter of minutes you are ready to hit golf balls. The app really does a stellar job and making sure you are given the proper knowledge going into it.
The battery on the device for me lasted several sessions and I never ran it down to dead, it was quick and easy enough to bring in and throw on charge for a couple hours and put it back on the bag.
Although I did not have any reason to contact customer care, I was happy to see that after one session that seemed to have missed more then a fair share of shots I got a email notification asking about the session and saying here are some tips and tricks if I was having trouble and gave the information for customer service. I did have another bad session where the ipad kept shutting down, I reset it and recharged it to full and didn’t have the issue again. HOWEVER I did make sure the ipad always had 80% or better charge from there on out. I don’t recommend using it with a lower charge as it may use too much and shut down. Also worthy to note that the ipad would not simply turn back on, but had to be plugged in to reboot.
Scoring reasoning of 10 I think is covered above, but even though initial setup and integration and app itself are really good. The bugs with the devices and needing to have a near full powered device is a downfall for me. Side note a feature which I would love to see, not sure if it was there or not but a power indicator on the unit itself would be great!
Accuracy (12 out of 15 points)
The accuracy of this device is exactly what you should expect for its price point. Some shots are missed, some are spot on and there is a variance in between. That being said if you are trying to dial in distances as a whole I think this is a great unit. I like how it displayed and showed the data on the ipad and really liked how you can go back and look at shots. I believe it accurately detected thin shots, fat shots and of course the odd perfect one that I hit. Distances were consistent with what I would expect on the course and there were very few that I looked at and said well thats a obvious misread. If anyting those misreads were simply just missed entirely. This happened for me I would say 5-7% of the time. Again this could be more because I was using a net almost exclusively and maybe the flight wasn’t far enough.
This brings me to the second point in this where distance is one thing, direction is another. I again believe in the distances it showed. The direction I’m not so sure of. I mean I would love my dispersion to be as tight as it was, but know that I’m not that accurate so I think into a net with a limited ball flight the direction has a bit of room for improvement, but is more then adequate. I didn’t shank any, but did hit some high toe shots that I could see go into the top left of the net and it would read them as being more straight.
Comparing to PRGR I was quite happy, swing speed seemed to be close to on point which is what PRGR is known for and ball speed I would say is pretty darn close to. Now with that information is that showing better things for Rapsodo or PRGR? I’ll let you know and determine that for yourself.
Scoring reason- lets be honest for the price this is at and the features it provides its great. A 12 given some of its grey areas are truly awesome.
Are the yardages accurate? (compare to another method if possible)
On-Course (20 out of 30 points)
I did get out for a round with it, as well as a few range sessions, but again I want to focus this more on net compatibility as we head into the off season and colder weather could this be something that is used a lot indoors for training and improvement?
Again setup is simple, the app is great and I think this could work really well for someone who wants to use this at home not as a simulator, but as a training device and to keep their swing in shape in the winter months and dial in some numbers as well as distances.
Obviously the ball flight features and such are great for on course and range, but something you do not get at home. Maybe one day there can be a simulated flight, but for these purposes it's not really needed.
The biggest draw back I found was outside of a 7 iron I could barely see my swing, almost my whole body was out of the video which I’m sure I could move the device further and further back, but driver I would need to have it so far back it would be way out of the parameters of working so I do think that is a area for improvement.
I feel like I am being a little harsh on Rapsodo with my gradings, but I think it is important to understand what you are getting and what you are wanting to achieve with this device. Outside of testing I’ll be honest I don’t think I’ll be bringing this onto the course with me again. Not that it was difficult, but I’m not sure I see the benefit for on course use. That being said range/net use I think is great as a base device to get you numbers, data sets and general swing thoughts for your golf game. Which I do believe is important, especially in todays number centric golfing world. It gives you a lot more then PRGR, but that also comes with a cost of $350 or more… which is about what I would expect.
I will also say that I used multiple sets of clubs to see if there were different launch angles and such and it did seem to pick those up. My Cobra Fly Z Pro set was shorter as expected then the i210s. Sadly driver was a tough one. I believe it was good and generally accurate, but I was using my old old driver as my Epic decided to crack on the crown so I can’t really accurately say driver numbers were spot on. I feel they were, but my 3 wood was about as far according to the numbers Rapsodo showed. This I also don’t doubt.
Miscellaneous (10 out of 10 points)
Okay there isn’t too much to put in here. However this is where I think Rapsodo does score perfect. It is clear they believe in their product. They have come out with several updates for the App along with new features. They have also expanded the use of the Rapsodo MLM to include a coaching feature which unfortunately we weren’t able to gain access to, however they did give us full access to the premium subscription which allows you to store more shots, see more videos and get some additional data sets. This is FREE for any Rapsodo user for the first month which is fantastic! A great trial before you decide to take the plunge, which I do believe is worth while.
It is great to see they are enhancing features around the same unit to give it more uses as well as data to use. This is great to see and Rapsodo themselves were very good to deal with when I had to email them about some of the features of us doing this review.
Play it or Trade it? (15 out of 20 points)
This will be more brief for me. I will play it and use it. With life changing and family growing my golf game will be more out of home focused which means this will get used more and be part of my more normal golf routine as well as help me keep my game in check and swing smooth. However if I was to be out on the course a lot more and able to play more I honestly am not sure how much I would use it? So in short yes and I am very happy with the unit itself along with its features for my golf game and where golf fits into my life now.
TLDR- The Rapsodo device is a great small, simple and compact device that gives you solid data points across the board and in terms of my testing was nice to see net compatibility function well. Rapsodo continues to work and improve not only the app, but features and uses of the MLM which only adds to its overall value
How we doing y’all?! Welcome to B.Boston’s official Rapsodo MLM review! I am super excited about this one as I had literally commented to another member on instagram that if I had $1,000 to spend on golf equipment I would buy a personal launch monitor and get some lessons, then I saw that MGS was looking for testers for exactly that!
No review would be started correctly without thanking both Rapsodo and MGS for offering up this launch monitor for review. And thank you to the mods for selecting me. It is always a humbling experience to be chosen to do a review and I know we have high expectations of our reviewers here. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Who is this B.Boston guy anyway?
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk a little bit about me! My name is Bryan, and I am from Bellingham, MA. Based on my user name you might see that I identify with Boston as my “home” city. I grew up about 40 minutes outside the city, went to school just outside the city, and have lived within those 40 minutes for my entire life. If you don’t know me already, or heck even if you do based on my Cobra Connect posts last year you’d probably expect me to be your Dunkin’ and Sam Adams drinking cousin from Boston sports guy with a wicked accent and Tom Brady posters all over the place. While some of that is true… my accent is apparently disappointing.
Obligatory family photo from our recent vacation:
I’ve been golfing since as long as I can remember, getting my first set and going to the executive par 3 near me from when I was about 7 years old, but I got much more serious about it (read: tried to eliminate my slice) as I got into college. Now 34 years old and a happily married father of three I would say I am borderline obsessed with the game and I have an ultimate goal of reaching “scratch” status for my handicap. I am currently a 5.8 based on my Arccos stats. Strength of my game is putting and I’m really hopeful that I can dial in my approach and long game with the help of the Rapsodo MLM and Coaching.
State of my game:
Just for reference here is a current view of some Arccos data:
My gapping is pretty good and I really just need to work on consistency. My worst stats come from Approach and Short Game shots. I need to get better in my proximity to the hole on approaches, and get closer for an easy one putt if I don’t hit the green.
Here’s a recent swing clip. This should be useful representative of a starting point for me before any changes or developments from the coaching aspect of this review:
My signature shows my current WITB, but in case you’re reading this on mobile and can’t see I’m playing here are the details:
Driver: Callaway Epic Max LS
Fairway: Cobra Speedzone 5-wood
Hybrid: Titleist TSi3 20*
Irons: Cobra Forged Tec (5-GW)
Wedges: Cobra MIM Black (52, 56, 60)
Putter: Evnroll ER2B
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Tech: Precision Pro NX9 Slope, Arccos Caddie
I’m a tech nerd at heart so I’m always interested in ways to utilize technology to enhance my game. I have been loving Arccos and its strokes gained information as it has been insightful in many cases and damn eye opening in others. I’ll record my swing at the range and on the course to see if there’s anything I notice off on a particular day, and can not wait to pair it with a powerful tool in the Rapsodo MLM to get an even better understanding of my game.
What will I be looking at in this test, and what am I hoping to get out of it?
I will primarily be using this device outside at the driving range, and hopefully getting some actual on-course data as well. I know that from both last year’s forum testing and the most wanted articles that the Rapsodo MLM is top of its class and very comparable to professional grade units for good quality strikes. I know all of these units can suffer on strikes that are at opposite ends of the bell curve, so I don’t expect perfection, but I will do my best to test out the accuracy claims. I want to see what the Rapsodo shows as my carry gapping versus my Arccos stats total yardage. Also to see if I am getting good ball speed gaps, peak heights, etc. to make sure that everything is looking in line.
However, the thing I’m most excited to take part in is the coaching feature as I have only ever had one golf lesson and while I would love to have a coach and consistently see them, it’s difficult for me to know which day I’ll be able to shoot to the range on lunch and scheduling something after work is challenging, and if I’m booking time on the weekend for golf, I’d much rather it be time playing on the course and enjoying the game. I really feel that the coaching feature will help me maximize my range sessions by getting feedback and things to work on for the next bucket of balls.
I’m also going to try and have some fun, and highlight some of the cool features for you all. There will be a long drive contest and hopefully some other videos along the way.
Much more to come with the unboxing and review! Please sound off in the comment section with anything else you’re hoping to see from my review or any of the other testers. As much as this review is about my experience, I want to make sure the forums are learning everything they possibly want to about them to aid in future purchase decisions.
Make sure to give this thread a follow so you don’t miss out!
Initial Impressions! (September 10th Update):
I’ve had three range sessions in the books now with the Rapsodo MLM and have had an opportunity to try everything out except the coaching feature, so I’ll be adding more details about that later on.
Rapsodo claims that the MLM sets up in under 30 seconds and I have to agree. The iPhone and iPad apps are super responsive to start a practice or game session and just as slick in reviewing rounds once the session has been uploaded. Every time that I powered the unit on it connected quickly to my phone and I was able to get a session going without any issues. Even swapping to the iPad to test went smoothly. I had no issue going through my session after getting home, looking at swing videos, and viewing detailed data. I had even forgotten to switch clubs at one point and that was easy in the app too. I can’t stress enough how simple the app made it to get setup and start hitting shots. This is important to me because I don’t want to be thinking about the set up and capture of swings to get the data to the point that I’m not thinking you know… about my golf swing and hitting the shots I want to hit.
Here’s my typical range setup:
The iPad version of the app allows for more data to be shown and I think it looks cooler.
Side Note: On the first day I did have to improvise as the MLM needs to generally be level with the ground you are hitting on, so I used a flipped over small bucket as the ground behind the mat I was on sloped down and away. I have since used it slightly below the level of the ball (maybe 4 or 5 inches) and it seemed to work just fine. But it was still level, which I think is more important.
Rapsodo highlights several features when talking about the MLM:
GPS Shot Map
Smart Club Recognition
They also highlight that accuracy matters, and so far the MLM seems to have done really well on good/average strikes. Poor strikes have been less consistent, but yeah, it’s a poor strike and likely out of the focal range of the unit’s radar. I’m not going to fuss that the unit was unable to show my topped drive was 30 yards before it hit the ground instead of a 42 yard carry (I mean if I were to have had a shot like that…. Which I NEVER do!).
So far the clunkiest part of the app experience has been exporting swing videos to the camera roll. For such a smooth app for everything else it takes way too many clicks, and too much time to do.
So what does this accuracy get you? Here are the metrics the Rapsodo MLM captures:
Distance (Carry for irons, user selectable Carry or Carry + Roll for woods)
Ball Speed immediately after impact
Club Speed immediately prior to impact
Smash Factor for strike efficiency
So far, it seems to be a pretty accurate launch monitor, particularly with well struck balls. I’ve had a few data issues with pull-hooks, my guess is because the ball gets lost behind my club or body and the reading gets messed up. I can forgive that miss as I realize these are not perfect commercial sized radar units. It’s also disappointing that there is no spin, but I read a rumor that they are working on that, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. My club and ball speed numbers are right inline with what I saw earlier this year on a trackman and were well within my expectations.
(Very cool to have the visual satellite overlay view, but I’m not convinced the scaling is quite right. More research needed.)
Not too shabby for the asking price right? But wait, there’s more!
There are two main subscriptions offered with the MLM for golfers. Basic (AKA Free), and Premium ($99 annually).. There is also a Coach Connect subscription, but that is teaching professionals and is out of scope on this review. With the Basic subscription you only get cloud storage for your last 100 shots included. The premium subscription includes more:
Cloud storage for 10,000 shots
Slow motion swing replays at 4 speeds
Shot Apex data on your swings
Access to online golf lesions through the Coach Connect platform
I need some more time to think about it, but I don’t think we’re getting enough as consumers at the Free level. 100 shots isn’t even 10 good shots with each club in my bag, so the club gapping is much less appealing. Heck, that’s not even two full buckets at the range. I really think that something like 250 or 300 shots should be included, or I should be able to use my iPhone or iPad’s internal memory. It is super portable with the included carry case, so it really would be a shame to not be able to see more than 2 range sessions of history since I can see myself always having it there available to use.
As for the upgraded features you do get with the premium, I DO enjoy the peak height indicator on the shot replays. It’s not always easy to tell due to the angle of the camera and it is something that I do like to see. The ability to play your swings in several levels of slow motion is neat, but I think the app needs to use a higher FPS on the camera’s phone to really take advantage of it. Slow motion videos from the native iPhone app are much better. I need to do a comparison there on the downswing as well as some more testing to show what I mean.
I should be getting into the online golf lessons soon, and will update here after I get to try that out. Until then, it’s off to the range for some more hone my skills with the Rapsodo MLM in tow!
Final Scores! (November 23rd Update):
Looks & Feel (10 out of 10 points)
The Rapsodo MLM is very well built and feels like a tank. It feels very dense and solid, not hollow. I like that feeling as it feels more high quality even if a lighter unit may be just as good. It strikes a good balance with some softer feeling rubberized plastic. Also the buttons and flap that you open for the phone/tablet stand have a satisfying smooth feeling to them.
The case is a good standard feeling rangefinder style zip case. With that storage for between uses and the high quality feeling unit itself I have no doubts that unit will hold up long term.
Setup (13 out of 15 points)
As I touched on in my initial impressions, the Rapsodo MLM and Rapsodo app could not be easier to set up and get going. Turn it on, place it down, open the app, select practice or the mode you want, set location and heading, verify you’re in your box and the ball is in its box, and Go. Demos in the app are very good at showing you what to do step-by-step if it’s your first time setting it up.
The unit charges fast enough through standard USB connections and I don’t doubt I can get through 2 or more range sessions on a charge, but I usually just charge it after a practice session anyway.
Upon swinging the replay shows all your relevant data (more is shown on the iPad, and I prefer that view). The data is all useful information for your shots and can help track your progress. I find the ball speed to be the most useful (with driver at least) as a way of determining how solidly I’m hitting the ball.
While I won’t say any of it is useless, the least useful metric to me is the shot shape. I’ve had several shots that were over or under curved, likely due to the device not capturing spin. However, I don’t recall it being wildly off, but enough that I consider the tracer more of an estimate than a calculated or tracked overlay.
Accuracy (13 out of 15 points)
As far as accuracy is concerned I want to note that I used the Rapsodo MLM exclusively at the driving range outdoors.. I have no indoor or outdoor net experience so this is all based on Outdoor mode with range balls.
I think the unit overall does a really good job on well struck shots. Considering the condition of the range balls I was using I was expecting some variance, even if the data is normalized. One area I did see some strange results was on shots that started more left and maybe got part of the ball flight lost behind me while swinging. I also had several shots where the tracer did not start at the ball, and I am not sure if that means the numbers are good or not.
Here is a chart of my Arrcos Smart Distance versus Rapsodo Lifetime Stats (Driver and woods are set to Carry+Roll setting in the app):
So now, let's take a look at the story here by club grouping:
Wedges (52*, 56*, and 60*)
No surprise here. At the range I hit my 52, 56, and 60 to some specific targets and on-course I end up with many different length shots. The Rapsodo distances feel very accurate to the targets I am usually shooting at with them
Irons (including PW and GW)
These feel really accurate in aggregate as well. Considering I don’t get much roll through the 9 iron I am happy to see they match my Arccos on-course performance. It makes sense to me that I would see some gaps in the longer irons as Rapsodo does not account for roll on these shots. If anything, the quality of ball I’m hitting may start to impact carry figures for the 6 and 5 irons by 3-5 yards.
Ok so this is the only one that I really don’t agree with. It’s also one of the clubs I hit the least during practice, so it could be a sample size thing with a few bad shots pulling the numbers down. I think I only have a dozen or so shots with it in the Rapsodo data, but once again when we account for roll, this may only be 5-8 yards off on carry. Maybe it rolls a lot more for me than I’m thinking?
This looks pretty good to me. At this point the range I practice at does back uphill, so it’s easier to gauge how close to the targets your landing and estimate total carry distance. Also I don’t tee this club up at the range and my Arccos data would include tee shots which in theory would allow for some additional distance.
This one is tough for me to gauge. I don’t like seeing a 20 yard gap here, but I have a hard time believing the range balls are not partially to blame here. The last few sessions out I could see the ball traveling shorter overall distances even though the Rapsodo unit was showing a lot of the same swing speeds. It also had my efficiency at about 1.42 so maybe with my gamer balls that number would be a little higher. Or maybe it is because I was practicing a lot with the Epic Max LS as it was the newest club in my bag, and I was trying different shafts, and had a bunch of poor shots in the data. I will note that I saw my biggest “Hmmmm” moments when looking at the Rapsodo readouts with the driver, particularly if my start line got pulled to the left at all. But, more on that later…
I’m docking a couple points here because the accuracy of the shot tracer and shot direction/path is just OK. With no ability to edit for the landing point it looks awkward if you’re not hitting on a flat surface and without spin measurements it’s only ever going to be a guess anyway, but overall the yardages seem solid in aggregate even if some individual shots are off. I actually had purposely not looked at the summary stats until writing this section so I was pleasantly surprised to see the figures matching up and making sense.
see here the tracer isn't starting at impact, or even within the range of the "hit zone" on this one. I had more than a few shots like this:
On-Course (25 out of 30 points)
At the range getting ready to play is pretty simple. Open the app, move the icon over the spot to where you’re hitting, and set your heading. Then all you have to do is line up your unit and make sure the hitting area is within the box on the screen. I can’t say that it interfered with my normal practice routine at all. I could make my swing, watch the flight, and then turn around in time to see the some/all of the replay and see the numbers. It worked out well because I could see if the MLM picked up the shot shape and get a gauge as to if I felt it was a good shot or not. I didn’t really get along well with the “Smart Club Recognition” but it was simple to select the right one, or even edit post practice if I forgot (I usually work through my bag with all even or odd clubs so it’s pretty clear when I changed based on the numbers.
Compared to my old way of playing at the range I didn’t really change much. I normally will use my rangefinder to get the distances to flags or markers and go from there. One thing I did do differently with the MLM is set up in line with the middle of the range which has a 100 yard marker. Then I would try to hit all my balls over that flag to get the distance as I was warming up, which was great with the unit for tracking accuracy and distance, then get to my target practice in the second part of my practice.
However, I did run into some issues/limitations with the MLM while out on the range. The unit does not like high contrast situations. At one of my practice sessions it was hot and humid, and I was able to hit in a covered bay to keep myself, and the MLM a little cooler. However the MLM failed to capture probably close to 25-30% of swings that session as the ball was starting in the shade and jumping out into a bright clear sunny day. The unit was unable to track this so it must be using both its radar and your mobile phone to track and lost the ball from transition from shade to sun.
The unit also did not seem to like my Hybrid very much, missing a noticeable amount of shots with that club, including several that were just straight, medium trajectory, boring shots. I still can’t quite figure out why, but it was enough to notice the trend.
While I can’t say I play better or worse since including this in my practice, my range sessions or definitely more enjoyable. It’s also fun to use the long-drive feature as @Lacassem and I did. I recorded that with the intent of creating a video to share with everyone, but it was windy and the audio came out like absolute trash… and my competitor was trash that day too. 😉
Miscellaneous (7 out of 10 points)
Speaking of the long drive/closest to the pin built in challenges…. They need to work on the UI for that a bit. So I’m deducting 2 points. First, the results are not saved in your shots or sessions. When Mark and I completed the long drive challenge we wouldn’t have been able to back and see the totals for each round had I not set up a screen record. It is not saved in your session, and you cannot review the swings after. On top of that, there is barely a final page or summary screen at the end. I’d love to see Longest from each round and longest overall or something with the averages… something more than just our names in first and second and then once the page clears it’s gone forever. Although that’s probably how Mark wanted it since it was a clean sweep for me. *Side note: maybe next time you show up for a long drive competition don’t be wearing work boots.*
Nothing really much to mention otherwise. Shipping was quick. We were all hoping to get to try out the coaching feature, but were not able to get access to coaches during the testing period (-2 points) despite our mod’s best efforts (thanks Jamie!). But we did get a full year of premium from Rapsodo (+1 point). I may investigate the coaching feature in the Spring, or maybe over the winter if I find some indoor practice time, but with the prices varying wildly from coach to coach I may be better off getting in front of an actual coach the old-fashioned way, face-to-face, so they can see my particular inconsistencies IRL and not just a selection of my best and worst swings.
Rapsodo INSIGHTS. This has some real potential and now that I’ve seen what it is I feel like I can’t un-see the gap that was there before. Insights in a new AI driven addition to the MLM app that gives you feedback (sort of like strokes-gained) on your practice sessions as a whole. It takes the MLM from being a “toy” to being a real “tool” that can be used for improvement in my opinion. Data like left/right misses and distance compared to other golfers of varying skill levels should help you focus your practice much like strokes gained analysis will point out your on-course weaknesses. I’m excited about this addition and look forward to seeing more added to it for even better practice sessions.
Here are some of the summary screens you get with Insights, it really does take the MLM to the next level:
Play it or Trade it? (15 out of 20 points)
This is a tough question for me to answer. So I’m going to break it down into a few parts for the unit and the subscription. I think that the unit is great, and see no reason to not continue using it. Despite a few challenges with the technology working great my numbers are pretty spot on in aggregate and I think it’s one of the best personal launch monitors out there for its cost.
When we factor in the annual subscription things get a little less clean for me. I think $99 per year is a bit much for cloud storage and some expanded analysis. I also feel that the base level does not include enough storage for the asking price of the unit.
Regarding coaching (which is not factored into the score here as I did not test it, but as an aside) the prices vary significantly from instructor to instructor, which you’d see just the same if you were looking at different coaches at a few places near you, but Rapsodo does a good job of having the coaches offer both standalone, lesson packs, or unlimited monthly offerings. It also looks to have limited slots for coaches which is good, because it gives me the sense that the coaches will have the correct amount of time to dedicate to each student.
The most natural competitor I can think of to the Rapsodo MLM and other personal launch monitors using this base plus subscription model would be Arccos’s shot tracking system or Shot Scope. I think both the PLM and On-Course data gathering are both means to the same end of improvement for golfers. If we take a look at this as a three year investment the MLM will cost you around $800, While 3 years of Arccos is going to run about half of that.
Now I know they are not the same tools, but if someone came to me asking which one they should get FIRST, my answer would be Arccos or Shotscope. I feel that the on-course data and strokes gained analysis is going to be money better spent for golfers. However, if you’re like me and already have on-course shot tracking, well, then the Rapsodo MLM is a powerful tool that can partner with your on-course data to help measure improvements during practice. I hope that in the next few years costs can come down, but the Rapsodo MLM is not high priced compared to some of the other units that it is competing against considering the accuracy of the results.
Rapsodo has an absolute hit with the MLM unit and slick operating iPhone/iPad app. It works well in most conditions, and if you know where it doesn’t work well you can generally avoid setting it up that way. I’m not sure there is a more accurate unit available in its price bracket, and while I’d like to see either a reduced annual subscription fee, or more features for the base plan, I can see that Rapsodo is putting the money into R&D as the new INSIGHTS platform is a welcome addition to post-practice analysis.
Overall, I like it, but I don’t love it. However I think it will be a very useful tool for my future practice sessions and I’m excited to see if I can improve my game a little bit from the insights analysis and my on-course tracking during normal rounds. Insights is a massive release for analyzing your practice sessions and I also feel that many of my issues with it can be address via software updates. I am confident that the folks over at Rapsodo are working hard to stay ahead of the competition with constant improvement and updates.