Are you looking for a high-end launch monitor, the type used by golf pros? If you have up to $30,000 to spend on your dream set-up, the Trackman and GCQuad is where you should be looking.
The GCQuad is significantly better valued, offering a stand alone launch monitor for $14K and a full sim set up for around $21,000. The Trackman costs at least $49,000 for the full sim set up, but prices from $25,000 for the launch monitor as a stand alone unit, so your decision will be influenced by budget.
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Trackman vs GCQuad – In summary
Both the Trackman and GCQuad deliver a full spectrum of real-time ball and club data, but they are priced miles apart at $25,000+ and $14k respectively. Both are serious pieces of kit for professionals and coaches.
The big question is whether the cheaper GCQuad can do the same job as the Trackman for significantly less. The answer is yes, but it does things differently.
For example, with the GCQuad, the launch monitor itself shows key data on an built-in display. This is much more convenient than needing a separate device as with the Trackman, which needs to be connected to a smart device.
Another big benefit to the GCQuad is it requires significantly less space, which makes it the better launch monitor indoors, such as garages, or, wherever space is limited.
However, the Trackman precisely tracks the ball for its full flight, from launch to landing and everything in between; including launch angle, spin rate and curvature.
All things being equal, both the Trackman and GCQuad are exceptional launch monitors. And whilst Trackman is considered the industry standard, the gains you’ll get in comparison to the GCQuad are minimal, whereas the price difference is not.
If budget is NOT a concern (so, $25k+ for a launch monitor), maybe you are looking to set up a commercial golf simulator experience? We’d head for the Trackman. However, if you’re looking for data that rivals Trackman at a much cheaper price ($14k), we’d be heading for the GCQuad; a popular choice for those building a golf simulator at home.
Photometric vs Doppler technology
The big difference between the Trackman and GCQuad launch monitors (and the reason their prices are so far apart) is because they use different technology.
The Trackman is equipped with a doppler radar system. A doppler system tracks how your ball flies and where it lands and then calculates why it went there. This is considered to be the best type of technology for tracking ball flight .
The GCQuad is equipped with a photometric camera system. A photometric system measures what the ball is doing after impact and then calculates flight path and distance.
- Very little space needed (only enough to swing a club, so, perfect for setting up an indoor home golf simulator)
- No calibration is needed. Just place the device on the ground and start striking
- An alignment stick is needed outdoors so that the device can detect targets properly.
- Lighter than the GCQuad (6.5lbs vs 7.5lbs), meaning this is more suited to outdoor golf
- Requires significantly more space – 20ft or more
- Needs to be calibrated for indoor and outdoor use in order for technology to work correctly.
Launch Monitor Picks: Indoors & Outdoors
So, that gives you an overview of how the Trackman compares to the GCQuad in terms of technology and price. But, which is the best launch monitor for indoors, and which is the best for outdoors?
If you have limited indoor space, most likely for a home golf simulator, the best launch monitor is the GCQuad.
There are several reasons for this. The first is that while the Trackman’s radar system requires around 12ft from Trackman to ball position and 13ft from ball to impact screen to work, the GCQuad only needs enough space to swing a club.
Secondly, the Trackman requires more adjustment to get going. You can’t just plop it down and get striking. You need to adjust it to factor in its angle on the mat. Combined with those distance requirements, the process can be tiresome.
The GCQuad is much simpler, not to mention, offered at a much lower price. All you need to do is put the device on the ground and tee or place the ball within the hitting area. No calibration is needed.
Outdoors, the GCQuad requires an alignment stick to help it adapt to the angle of the ground. The Trackman needs adjusting for outdoor use, but no alignment stick is needed.
Performance and accuracy outdoors are similar between the two golf launch monitors, however, the Trackman certainly has the edge.
The Trackman is unrivalled over long distances due to its ability to track the ball for its full flight. This is thanks to the doppler radar system which measures the ball over a far greater distance than the GCQuad’s photometric system.
Simply put, the Trackman is better than the GCQuad for tracking ball flight data and this is why it’s a popular choice with touring professionals, pro coaches, and those offering golf simulator experiences to locals.
Data Sets and Tracking Capabilities
Comparing the two launch monitors side-by-side, they produce very similar results.
We can establish that the Trackman compiles more accurate ball flight data because it tracks the ball’s full flight. The GCQuad tracks it for less time and predicts ball flight, rather than a definite calculation.
Does this matter? To a touring professional, certainly. This is why the Trackman is so popular. However, the GCQuad’s predictions are very accurate. They are within a few percentile of the Trackman, so you still get very accurate results.
Here’s what you need to know:
If you want to compare club delivery data, the GCQuad is equal to the Trackman, and in some areas, it is superior (so long as you add the “club” add-on).
As standard, the GCQuad measures:
- Ball speed
- Angles for horizontal and vertical launch
- Spin (including side spin)
- Carry distance
With the “club” add-on, GCQuad also measures:
- Smash factor
- Club path
- Impact angles for lie and face
- Attack angle
- Closure rate
- Clubhead speed
- Loft at impact
- The location of impact on the clubface
We love that the GCQuad can measure where the ball impacts the clubface. The accuracy of ball speed, carry and spin is also incredible. The accuracy of the data is up there with the very best and comparable to Trackman.
If you want ball flight data, the Trackman is superior to the GCQuad because it tracks the ball for its full flight. Otherwise, the measurements are similar.
As standard, the Trackman measures:
- Ball speed
- Club speed
- Spin rate
- Smash factor
- Launch angle
- Attack angle
- Club path
- Face angle
- Dynamic loft
Overall, the ball flight tracking capabilities of the Trackman are unbeatable (but the GCQuad doesn’t lag too far behind). The dual radars collect accurate data about the ball and the club. The radars also track your swing, giving you valuable coaching feedback.
Trackman vs GCQuad: Practice and Play
There are two big differences you need to know about:
- The Trackman requires significantly more space than the GCQuad
- The Trackman is positioned behind you while the GCQuad is positioned in front of you (or in-line, depending on your perspective)
One of the significant advantages of the GCQuad is it has an in-built display that shows measurements and data in real-time. The Trackman syncs with your smartphone or tablet, so you need to whip out another device to see the data.
Another advantage (although it isn’t an advantage if you have lots of space) is the GCQuad only needs enough space for you to swing a club, perfect for a home golf simulator setup. The Trackman requires 12-13ft from ball to screen and 12ft from Trackman to ball position.
The Trackman and GCQuad offer very similar performance, accuracy and results based on the same data sets. It’s very difficult to choose between them. Given the price (a saving of nearly around $10k), we choose the GCQuad.
However, there are scenarios where each system comes into its own:
The Trackman is superior. It tracks the ball for its full flight. The GCQuad predicts ball flight based on data sets over a shorter distance.
Club delivery data
The GCQuad is superior. The stereoscopic cameras measure accurate details of club delivery including face angle, lie angle and impact location.
The Trackman is superior. It tracks the full ball flight and the doppler radar system tracks the ball accurately with no discrepancies. It also has dedicated putting software (although you can also get a Putting Add-On for the GCQuad).
The GCQuad is superior in some scenarios. Its focus on club delivery data means it’s great for understanding how you deliver the club to the ball.
However, the Trackman is available with Tracy, an AI software that uses a database of over 500 million shots to help you improve your game.
Software and user experience
The GCQuad is better to use on the fly because of its in-built screen which gives you a real-time view of all measured data. It will send data to your smartphone or tablet too – you just need to download and sync the FSX Mobile app.
FSX Pro is the performance insight tool you’ll use. FSX Pro is simple but effective. You can filter data sets, add 3D visuals, and create gap tests to improve your game and see data in interesting ways. FSX 2020 simulation software is also included.
The Trackman has no in-built screen, which makes sense since it’s positioned way behind you. If you want to see the data you need to open your phone or tablet (this isn’t much of a problem for us because we always have a tablet next to us).
However, we have to say we prefer Trackman’s software. Trackman Go is the app software, and it gives you full access to putting data, full swing and all data points.
There’s also Tracy, Trackman’s AI software. It uses a database of over 500 million shots to help you improve your game. This is unparalleled and industry-leading. It’s genuinely useful and makes golfing even more enjoyable.
Pricing and value for money
The Trackman costs around 45% more than the GCQuad which itself costs $14k. So while both devices are expensive, the Trackman’s price is on another planet.
This price difference increases more for a full sim set up. The GCQuad will set you back around $20k for a full sim while the Trackman will be at least $49k.
Is the extra price worth it? Touring professionals might argue they get more from the Trackman because of its ability to track the full ball flight. But 45% more value? We doubt it.
Personally, for the average golfer looking to boost their game, the GCQuad will offer more than what you need, and save you a chunk of cash in the process.
And, if you’re not looking to spend big bucks, we suggest looking at our guide to cheap home golf simulators here.
- Launch monitor: $14k
- Clubhead add-on: $4k
- Putting analysis add on: $2.5k
- The estimated total for simulator setup: $20k+
- Launch monitor: $25k+ (indoor & outdoor model)
- Simulator setup: Starting at $49,995
The Trackman and GCQuad are both professional-grade devices that require significant investment. Based on the individual features, and the comparable performance, we have to say the GCQuad represents better value for money overall.
Overall – which should you choose?
This comes down to whether you want to prioritise club data or ball flight data.
If you want club data…
For club data, the GCQuad is superior. This is because the GCQuad shows you the changes your strikes make with the ball and club, not just the results.
If you want ball flight data…
For ball flight data, the Trackman is superior. This is because it measures the full flight of the ball, thus providing “true” ball flight data. Having said that, the gain here, isn’t worth the extra cost.
Otherwise, it’s a toss-up…
So, which launch monitor should you buy? Both launch monitors produce near-identical data results in terms of ball speeds, spin numbers, and carry distances. For fitting and coaching, both systems could be used interchangeably without significant differences.
You also have to consider where you will use them. The Trackman is better outdoors where space is unlimited and the GCQuad is better indoors where space is limited. But both can be used indoors or outdoors, given the right conditions.
If we had to choose one launch monitor, we’d choose the GCQuad. Not only would we save $20k on a full sim set up, but we’d be content with its performance and features. It’s better value and the in-built display is incredibly useful.