One of the most important pieces of information a golfer can have is accurate data on how far they hit the ball. Most golfers inflate their club distances, and it’s part of the reason why you will see the average player miss the green on the short side.
I believe that if you can figure out how far you actually hit the ball, and then use that information to make smarter decisions on the golf course, then you will lower your scores. It’s that simple.
Update: Swing Caddie recently released the SC300, you can read my full review here.
How do you find out your distances?
Before recent breakthroughs in technology, you would need to do some guesswork on the range, or rely on fuzzy memories of your rounds to figure out your exact distances. That’s not the case anymore. You can use a product like GAME GOLF to track your distances during your rounds, or invest in a launch monitor to use during your practice sessions.
The problem is most launch monitors are EXTREMELY expensive. You can spend over $10,000 on Trackman, Foresight, and other systems that will give you all kinds of data. That’s absolutely bonkers for the recreational golfer, and you don’t need all of that data. They are best used by teaching pros, and club fitters because they give superior accuracy on a number of factors.
I often hit balls into a practice net in my backyard, and I don't have much feedback other than how the ball feels at impact. I wanted to know how far I was hitting the ball each time to see how consistent my ball striking is.
I recently started testing the SC100 Swing Caddie from Voice Caddie, which is a portable launch monitor that has been on the market for over a year. At $150, it’s a reasonable price to help you figure out how far you are actually hitting the ball. The most important thing about this product is if it’s actually accurate.
This is a finely crafted device as you can see from the photos below.
Everything about the SC100 down to the box is neatly polished, and your first impression is that this is a quality product.
It takes almost no time to set up the SC100. You just put the batteries in, and turn it on. It comes with a remote control which allows you to select which club you are hitting without having to manually change it on the device. All you have to do is make sure it is about 1 - 1.5 meters behind the ball, and you are good to go.
I recently had a club fitting session a few weeks ago, and this was the perfect time for me to test the SC100 Swing Caddie. I had my data from a Foresight system, so this would be the benchmark I would test against.
I used my 7-iron and driver as the controls, and had 22 shots to use. I generally strike the ball pretty consistently so this was more than enough to see if the SC100 is accurate.
The SC100 gives you your carry distance, and does not account for how much the ball will roll. Here are the averages I got between the two launch monitors:
Foresight: 7-Iron Distance: 159.3 SC100: 7-Iron Distance: 160.8
Driver Distance: 261.7 Driver Distance: 271.4
Percentage Difference: 7-Iron = 0.94%
Driver = 3.7%
The accuracy with your shorter clubs is pretty staggering overall. I know I hit my sand wedge 100 yards on the dot, and it registered right on that number almost every time. You can see that the margin of error with the 7 iron is below 1%.
You will start to see a larger difference with your hybrids and woods from what I observed, but overall I think this is pretty remarkable considering the price difference between the two systems. I noticed a similar trend with both the swing speed as well as ball speed.
Overall, I would say the unit is extremely accurate. Is it absolutely perfect? No, but you don’t need perfect if you’re within 1% on the clubs you are using for approach shots. Those are the distances that are most important to get right.
How I would use it
I’m very excited about this product for a few reasons. First, now that I know it’s accurate I can have a much better understanding of how well I am striking the ball during my practice sessions.
I am even more excited because I think it can help you make your practice sessions more meaningful by using a couple of it’s features. I believe that the best way to practice is to make a game out of it, which helps you focus on each shot.
There are two modes with the SC100 that will allow you to play a little game against yourself. The first is target mode, which sets a fixed distance. You will then hit 10 shots, and each time you will receive a score out of 10 based on your distance accuracy.
The next mode, which will set up perfectly with my Ultimate Wedge Test is the random setting. You will get 10 random distances for each club, and test how well you can control your distance. Using this mode alone with your wedges is probably the #1 feature for this product in my opinion, and if you use it for just that I believe it will get you to focus on one of the most important skills as a golfer - wedge distance control.
For $150, I think this is a product that can help you focus during your practice sessions, and also provide you with accurate information about your club distances that will allow you to become a smarter course manager.
You can purchase the SC100 Swing Caddie on Amazon here ($150).