PRGR Launch Monitor Review: Surprising Performance From An Unexpected Place
Over the last couple of years, the hottest gadget category for golfers is personal launch monitors. The $500 and below group has more competition than ever. The latest entrant is the PRGR launch monitor.
The PRGR is actually a launch monitor that has been on the market in Japan for several years already under a different brand name. It was recently repurposed for the US market and is only being offered $199 as a means to capture budget buyers.
I’ve tested almost every single launch monitor that’s out there, and I have to be honest that I had my suspicions.
Like any other product that comes through my door, I give it a fair shake and focus on its performance rather than looks. The PRGR surprised me. After testing it indoors and outdoors, I was surprised by its accuracy. I’ll go over its performance, some drawbacks, and where it fits in amongst its competition in this review.
Update: We have a special bundle here for Practical Golf readers from PRGR. You can purchase the launch monitor plus get access to our Insider Membership and a copy of our best-selling book.
How the PRGR Performed Indoors
I tested the PRGR launch monitor both indoors and outside. Typically, I have found most radar-based products to struggle when hitting inside because they don’t have enough room to see the ball travel.
As a control, I used my SkyTrak launch monitor inside. While SkyTrak is not perfect, I’ve found it to be within 1-3% of accuracy when compared against enterprise-level products like Trackman and Foresight Sports. SkyTrak also costs $2000, which is 10x the cost of the PRGR. If you read my review of SkyTrak, you’ll see it offers far more features.
What I am mostly looking for is ball speed and carry distance discrepancies. Swing speed is not directly measured by SkyTrak and is estimated.
On the whole, I was impressed, and to be quite honest, shocked at the PRGR’s performance inside. When I was able to get the correct distance behind the ball and have enough space between the net and myself, the readings were quite accurate.
Here is a summary of the differences I saw going through my bag:
|Club/Launch Monitor||Carry Yards||Ball Speed||Swing Speed|
|LW - PRGR||67||62||58|
|LW - SkyTrak||67.25||64||61|
|9i - PRGR||138.5||102.75||74.5|
|9i - SkyTrak||143.25||103.25||78|
|6i - PRGR||183.25||123||85|
|6i - SkyTrak||185.75||122.75||85.25|
|Driver - PRGR||263||154.5||101|
|Driver - SkyTrak||255||150.75||102.75|
Every launch monitor has tendencies. My instincts told me that indoors the PRGR was quite accurate on wedge shots inside of 100 yards, which I have found to be the case with many budget launch monitors (and typically the kind of practice I encourage). I felt that it was slightly underestimating my carry yardages with shorter irons by 3-5 yards. Interestingly, on longer shots, such as my 6-iron, the yardages were almost spot on.
Also, I found that SkyTrak has a tendency to underestimate my carry yardages with my driver. The PRGR actually was showing my ball speeds and carry distances that I’m used to seeing on more expensive launch monitors like the Foresight GCQuad.
Outdoor Performance and Some Other Considerations
When radar-based launch monitors have more space to see the ball travel, they typically perform better. I found that to be the case with the PRGR as well. Although range balls aren’t the best way to get exact ball data for your game, I found that the PRGR did an excellent job of showing carry distances that I was seeing on the range. It registered almost every shot with relatively accurate yardages I hit with few exceptions.
Again, don’t expect perfection. No launch monitor, regardless of the cost, gets it right every time.
One thing you should be aware of with this product is that everything has to be set up correctly. You need to play around with how far the PRGR should be behind the ball (it recommends anywhere from 3-5 ft). Additionally, you want it to be exactly behind the ball. I found that it has a very narrow measuring zone – so if you hit some shots offline a bit to the right or left, it might have difficulty reading the shot.
Perhaps the most critical feature to get right is choosing the correct club. The PRGR launch monitor allows you to select the club you are hitting before each shot, and this is a must if you want to get accurate readings. My preference is that it allows you to choose the lofts of your irons. Some of you might find that if you have more modern irons with lower lofts, you would have to select a club lower on the device. For example, selecting an 8-iron when you are hitting a 9-iron. This is a feature you should expect to play around with a bit to find numbers you are used to seeing.
Lastly, I found that the PRGR (and many other products in this category) perform best when you’re striking the ball relatively well. If you’re hitting a few “duds” out there, expect it to struggle with reading. Although, you should have a pretty good sense if you’ve had an extremely errant swing anyways.
A lot of golfers are trying to increase their swing speed using SuperSpeed Golf’s Overspeed training system. Early in my testing, I was able to figure out that the PRGR was able to register your swing speed without hitting a golf ball. Instead of putting the unit behind me, I found that if it were placed just in front of me, it would give me accurate swing speed readings.
If you are a SuperSpeed user, this is an added benefit of this launch monitor. You can benchmark your progress during your sessions to see if your speed is increasing.
Where Does the PRGR Launch Monitor Fit In?
I have to say I was legitimately surprised by this miniature launch monitor. The PRGR doesn’t look very impressive, but it is very good at providing carry distances, ball speeds, and swing speed data that is relatively close to what I know are my average numbers. The versatility of using it indoors and outdoors is a plus, though you might see varying results based on how much space you have inside.
I would say the PRGR is for those looking to buy a launch monitor that is very basic and doesn’t cost much. It is definitely a no-frills offering. There is no accompanying app that models like the Swing Caddie SC300, Rapsodo MLM, or FlightScope mevo have. Another budget model that costs a little more is the Swing Caddie SC200 Plus, which has a remote control to adjust the club you are using and does display loft (along with a few other features).
For $199, you can’t expect much, but I’d say this is an entry-level product that’s core value is its carry distance accuracy. The competition has more features if that’s what you’re looking for.
Here are other articles I’ve written on launch monitors: