Swing Caddie is one of the leaders in the affordable launch monitor space. Recently, they released their SC300 launch monitor which is an upgrade over the SC200 model that has been out the last several years. I've been impressed with the accuracy of their other releases, and interested in finding out how the new model stacks up.
The SC300 has several new features - a dedicated mobile app that stores your data, and the addition of launch angle and apex height. As always, my goal in testing is to establish how accurate it is. Additionally, I want to help you decide whether or not it's worth spending the extra premium over the SC200, and how it compares to other products in this space.
Update: The SC300 has been discontinued and replaced by the Swing Caddie SC300i, you can read our full review here.
What Does the SC300 Measure?
The promise of the SC300 is impressive. For under $500 it will display the following metrics:
- Swing Speed
- Ball Speed
- Smash Factor
- Carry & Total Yardages
- Launch Angle
- Apex (Max Height)
- Spin rate (using mobile app only)
When I first saw the SC300 at the PGA Merchandise Show, I was impressed by its appearance. It's a slick piece of hardware that looks more substantial than their prior releases.
Additionally, you can now sync your data via Bluetooth to your phone or tablet, which is a new feature. I found the app very intuitive and well designed. It allows you to store data of your practice sessions and you can see your shot statistics almost immediately. What I liked most was that you don't need to use the app if you don't want to. I think this is a better option than products like the FlightScope Mevo, which requires you to use their app.
As with the SC200, the launch monitor quickly speaks your yardages and displays other data almost immediately after impact.
They Kept It Simple Again
One of the main reasons I loved the Voice Caddie SC200 was its simplicity. I think the newer model delivers the same user experience. Simply turn the SC300 on and select what club you are currently hitting, and you are ready to go.
You'll want to follow the directions on how to space the unit out, especially indoors. The SC300 requires about 11-12 feet total to measure accurately. Since the launch monitor is using radar technology, it requires enough space to see the ball travel. Additionally, you need to select the club you are hitting and the correct loft to get more accurate numbers. You can do this easily with the provided remote, and I did not find it to be too much of a hassle.
The Swing Caddie SC300 has two modes during your practice sessions. The practice mode will display your info after each shot, while the target mode allows you to pick a distance to hit to. The SC200 did display a score after hitting ten shots in target mode, and also offered another "approach" mode which randomized target distances. I was mildly disappointed that they dropped those features, as I felt they added a little more structure to your practice session (if you need it). Overall, I wouldn't consider it a deal-breaker though.
If you are looking for a quality net to go along with the Swing Caddie SC300, we recommend reading our Spornia SPG-7 review.
Is The SC300 Accurate?
Whenever I test any launch monitor, I am most concerned with accurate carry distances. I believe this is the most important metric to judge any product by, especially if you are using it for practice at home.
I also remind people in these reviews that no launch monitor is perfect. They all have different ways of measuring your ball flight and calculating each metric. Specific models are better indoors because they are using camera technology such as SkyTrak and Foresight Sports.
Generally speaking, the more money you spend, the more features and accuracy you can expect. However, I've been on launch monitors that cost between $10,000 - $20,000 that make mistakes from time to time and struggle with specific measurements.
People purchasing launch monitors in the $500 and below category certainly need to temper their expectations. But I have found that many products do offer reasonable accuracy in this price range and can be great practice companions.
I tested the Swing Caddie SC300 indoors versus my SkyTrak. I have found SkyTrak to be very accurate since it uses high-speed cameras to measure. But at $2,000 it's a significant investment and offers far more data such as your simulated ball flight, spin rates, and several other metrics.
Here is a summary of my findings:
- The SC300 did an excellent job of measuring carry distances. I saw similar results on ball speed as well, which is another important metric to measure
- Launch angle was "in the ballpark," but I believe that the SC300 was overstating my launch angles slightly
- The SC300 struggled quite a bit on apex height. It was showing distances almost double of the SkyTrak and thought it was overestimating them too much. This could be a limitation of the unit indoors.
Overall, I found the SC300 to be very accurate in the carry distance/ball speed department (similar to the SC200). The newer metrics were less accurate, but I still believe the launch angle was close enough that you could get some valuable data. Based on what I saw on apex height, I could not say this was a reliable metric. I am going to try the SC300 outdoors to see if there are any meaningful changes in apex height and update the review when the weather warms up.
Update: I tested the SC300 outdoors. As I expected, I found it to perform better when it had more room to see the ball travel. My carry distances were more consistent, and I felt that the launch angle measurements were closer to what I see on SkyTrak. However, the apex height was still very inconsistent.
The only caveat was that I was using premium range balls that were brand new. Range ball quality can vary greatly, which I explore in this article - so golfers should be aware that practice balls might not be entirely accurate.
How I Would Use It
Budget launch monitors are best used to work on distance control in my opinion. If you are hitting into a net at home, this is a great way to map out your bag and get real feedback on your shots. Instead of guessing how far you are hitting it, now you can get reliable data that can help improve your decision making on the course.
My favorite way to work with any launch monitor is to dial in my wedge distances from 50-100 yards. If this were the only kind of practice you did with the SC300, it would pay huge dividends in your game. My advice is to work on specific yardages to get the feel of each of them and then test yourself by randomly selecting yardage to hit towards.
Since the SC300 is now offering launch angle, you can work on increasing your driver distance. Generally speaking, if you can launch the ball higher with more ball speed (and not too much spin), you will increase your driving distance. I am always trying to launch the ball at around 14-17 degrees. I can't say there is a right number for all golfers because there are multiple considerations, but this could be a good goal for many of you (if you're hitting the ball too low or way too high).
SC300 vs. SC200
The big question on a lot of golfers minds will be whether or not they should spend the extra money on the SC300.
The SC200 is an excellent value at just under $300 - you can read my full review here. It gives reliable yardages similar to the SC300. Spending roughly $200 more will get you the app (which I liked), and the addition of launch angle and apex height. Are those features worth more than $200? I guess it depends on the golfer and their budget. They are both very good at what they do for the price.
Wrapping It Up
The SC300 is another excellent release from Swing Caddie. I think their products offer some of the best value in this category. If you're looking for a great practice companion, especially at home, this will do the trick.
While the accuracy is not perfect, there are plenty of positives that outweigh several of its shortcomings. I loved the addition of the app, and getting your launch angle can help golfers who know what to do with that data.
Typically, the SC300 retails for $549, but you can purchase it here for $449, which is the lowest price you'll see online.