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
. Many of you have likely seen the infomercials on the Golf Channel since it is being offered through Revolution Golf.
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. Most products that have been pushed as infomercials on the Golf Channel are junk. I wrote about many of the popular ones over the years in my mini expose. On top of that, the PRGR looks cheap compared to the slicker units out there.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
You can purchase the PRGR launch monitor here
Here are other articles I’ve written on launch monitors:
SuperSpeed Golf has become one of the most popular golf training aids in the past few years. I tested it when it first came out, and since then have used it to help generate more speed in my swing. A lot of readers of the site have become interested in their Overspeed Training system, and want to know more about their training methods.
Recently, SuperSpeed added a bunch of new protocols to its training library. It allows golfers to continue training for almost two years. There is a lot of research behind the exercises, and I’ll highlight a few details behind their core drills.
The step-change drill is one of the fundamental exercises to develop more speed with SuperSpeed clubs. I’ve done it many times in their level 1 training protocols.
Here is a video showing how it works:
The benefits of the step-change include:
Common tendencies are:
The kneeling drill is one of the new exercises in the SuperSpeed library. You start with your knees positioned directly under your hips, press the club forward slightly, then swing back and through aggressively.
It’s important to note that your swing speed will be about 20% less than standing swings.
The benefits of the kneeling drill include:
A common question is how to modify the kneeling drill for older golfers, or those who might feel pain or discomfort. Instead, you can place your feet together using the following drill:
Also, since the kneeling drill is a more advanced protocol, golfers should wait until they have completed protocol one training before doing this exercise.
The heel-stomp drill has gained in popularity over the last year, particularly on professional tours. It’s part of the level 4 training
You start in normal golf posture, then press the club forwards slightly, swing the club back lifting the lead heel, start your downswing and stomp into the ground with the lead heel, and then swing through aggressively. Here is a video of the heel-stomp drill:
The benefits include:
If you’re interested in learning more about all of the training protocols from SuperSpeed, you can check this page out. For golfers who are serious about wanting to increase their swing speed, and are willing to put the work in, I believe this is the best system available. There are a lot of other products on the market, but many of them are quite gimmicky and don’t work. So beware of a lot of the claims out there!
Practical Golf readers can receive 10% off their SuperSpeed Golf purchase using coupon code practicalgolf at checkout.
TRUE Linkswear recently released their TL-01. Over the past couple of years, they continue to create some of the most interesting golf shoes in the industry. While comfort is the brand’s number one focus, they’ve done an impressive job at tapping into some of the latest design trends in footwear, and applying them to the golf industry.
The TL-01 is another attempt to create a crossover shoe that can be worn on and off the golf course. Off the heels of their successful TRUE Knits, golfers now have another lifestyle option from their line. While the TRUE Originals and Majors are more dedicated golf shoes that you likely would not wear to work or elsewhere in your normal life, the TL-01 has some features that make them a solid choice for your next round, or if you’re headed out to dinner with friends.
When TRUE Linkswear re-imagined their brand a couple of years ago, one of the main focuses was sourcing the best materials they could find that would hold up to the elements. I can tell you from personal experience that all of their recent releases have held up to their claims even well over a year after wearing them.
The TL-01 focuses on minimalism, comfort, and versatility. At only 8.7 ounces, they are TRUE’s lightest shoe yet. They feature a full-grain Nappa leather that is weatherproof, giving a premium appearance and offering breathability for various temperatures.
The zero-drop sole, which is one of the brand’s original features, is back in the TL-01, which helps offer a more natural stride. Also, the sole has a bit of cushioning built-in with an EVA midsole, which is a common cushioning feature in premium walking shoes that focus on comfort.
Additionally, TRUE Linkswear has built quite a bit of tread into the bottom of the TL-01 so they can stand up to various conditions on the golf course. One thing that is different than some of their other shoes is that TL-01 has a traditional width fit. They say that over time, the leather will mold to your foot similar to a baseball glove breaking in overtime.
You can see them in action in this video:
When I first saw the TL-01 prototype at the PGA Show back in February, I was struck by the design. I really like the simplicity and the way the leather looks. I can envision myself wearing them with shorts, jeans, or any of my golf clothing. They don’t look like a golf shoe, so you can wear them in pretty much any situation you’re comfortable with.
My first impression is their lightness. You don’t feel like you have too much on your feet, but the comfort and stability that fans are used to from TRUE’s other releases are still there. There is plenty of support for your feet – these shoes will certainly hold up to walking around all day on or off a golf course.
One of the reasons I’ve gravitated towards TRUE Linkswear on the course is because I have wide feet. A lot of other golf brands have done a poor job at addressing this market, in my opinion. While not every golfer has this issue, it’s one of my favorite parts of their Originals.
The TL-01 offers a more traditional fit, which I thought might be a problem for me. I’ve solved this issue with the thickness of socks I wear, and I believe this is an essential consideration for anyone who is considering purchasing them. I’ve found that wearing thinner socks allows me to get my feet in there quickly and prevent me from feeling like they are too tight around the sides. While I haven’t had a chance to break them in a lot, the shoes will likely get wider for me over time. Also, it’s worth noting that this style of the shoe seems to be designed to be worn with no-show socks, which has become more of a trend. I’ll leave it up to you whether or not you want to.
While this is more of a subjective choice, I will likely wear the TL-01 off of the golf course. That’s not to say you can’t play golf in them. The TL-01 has plenty of comfort and support, and I am very impressed by the traction on the bottom as well. However, since I have TRUE Originals and Majors, I feel they address my needs better for the kind of features I want on a golf course. TRUE’s last crossover release, The Knits, also created a similar situation for me. While I could play golf in them, they have become my primary warm-weather casual shoe.
Overall, the TL-01 look slick, are very comfortable, and I think they can stand up to their claims of a real crossover golf shoe. With this release, TRUE Linkswear continues to build out the versatility of their line. They have two great shoes that are primarily for golf, and now two crossover models that fit in with the rest of your life.
They are currently offered in white and black, and a grey model is slated for late July. At $149, I think they are reasonably priced when you consider the quality of the materials used and other features of the shoe. TRUE Linkswear also offers a 30-day risk-free trial, so if you’re not happy with the size or fit, you can exchange them or get a refund. You can purchase the TL-01 on their website here.
If you are interested in reading some of my other reviews on TRUE Linkswear you can check them out here:
Every year when I visit the PGA Show, I am often most impressed by the products that small, independent companies are creating. I try to keep my eye on all of the up and coming apparel brands because I know many of you who read the site are looking for new options outside of big brands that get most of the attention.
In this article, I’ll be introducing many of you to the athletic brand called Redvanly. Since 2013 they’ve been focusing on creating superior fabrics and unique designs serving the golf world and beyond. I got a chance to wear a couple of their polos and their different take on golf shorts. Overall, I was very impressed and think they should be on your golf-fashion radar.
Redvanly’s beginnings are similar to many other startups in the golf world (and beyond). They felt they could do something better in the marketplace than what was currently being offered. Co-founders Andrew Redvanly and David Pagana were both post-college athletes who were still active outside of work with sports like tennis and golf. Their initial goal was to create a better golf polo to market to their own demographic. Eventually, they wanted to branch into other sports and activities.
Back in 2013, they decided their best chance to compete with the more prominent companies was to invest heavily in fabrics. They were tired of cheaper feel from mass-produced brands and wanted to find out if they could do better. David Pagana, the co-founder of Redvanly, told me that it took a ton of research to learn how to source materials, create a logo, and launch the business. The whole process was bootstrapped from day one without outside help from major investors. As I’ve found with plenty of other upstart golf companies, there were plenty of setbacks and learning moments along the way – but almost six years later, their company is starting to gain steam.
The first fabric they created was a poly/spandex blend that is currently still featured in some of their shirts. It took several years of cold calling and networking to grow a network of wholesale accounts to get the business to a point where it could sustain itself. Now that they have a base of accounts, they are focusing on creating new designs and growing the brand online through direct sales through their website.
I got a chance to wear a couple of Redvanly polos on the course and try out their “pull on” golf shorts. The thing that impressed me the most is the quality of their fabrics, which you can read about more here. Additionally, their designs are unlike many of the other golf brands you’ll see out there.
My style is a bit more conservative, so I’m not willing to take many chances. Some of Redvanly’s line isn’t for me, but they’ve got plenty of looks that suit the crowd that looks for the basics.
The Pierrepont Polo was a natural choice as it’s a mostly solid color, but with a couple of stripes on the collar. This shirt features their PUREpoly, which is their first blend that took almost two years to develop. It’s easily one of my favorite materials I’ve tried – extremely lightweight, stretchy, and it holds up nicely on those humid summer days.
I’d put it right up there with Rhoback, which was also one of my favorite golf performance shirts. These are the kind of polos I prefer to wear if I know I’m going to be sweating on the course.
I also got a chance to try out the Hamilton Polo. At first, I was wondering if I could pull off the stripes on the sleeves, but after some initial encouragement from my wife, it’s definitely one of my favorite shirts in my closet now. The Hamilton Polo is made from a blend of polyester and fiber called TENCEL, which is sourced from raw wood. The shirt has plenty of moisture-wicking properties, softness, and stretch. It’s not as lightweight as the Pierrepont, but it is also a pleasure to swing freely in warmer conditions. The Hamilton is more of a fitted style, which I liked because I often find regular golf shirts are a bit too bulky if you want an athletic look.
Redvanly’s newest release, and perhaps most unique offering, are their golf shorts. They claim to be the first ever pull on golf short, and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen another company try this concept. While it sounds weird, they are fantastic.
One thing that annoys me about clothing sizing are inconsistencies in waist sizing. I’ve tried enough shorts on at this point to know that all waist sizes are not created equal, even within the same brand. Personally, I don’t like the feeling of shorts that are too tight around my waist when I play. I want a little bit of breathing room and comfort. You would never know that the Hanover Golf Shorts have an elastic waist by the looks of them. I chose to wear them with a belt even though I didn’t need one.
They are very lightweight and stretchy, especially around the waist. You almost feel like you’re not wearing anything. Now I know why my wife loved wearing elastic jeans so much when she was pregnant! They’re easily one of my favorite golf shorts I’ve ever tried. I’m not surprised that they have been selling out of them consistently since they came out this spring.
Overall, I loved what I saw from Redvanly. While not all of their designs are for me, they have plenty of styles to accommodate everyone. I’ll give them an A+ on their fabrics – in my opinion, that’s what really sets them apart from what I’ve seen in the golf market. They also have plenty of other choices for tennis and other activewear. I also should note that their offerings fall into the premium category, so expect to pay a little extra, but I’ve found you get what you pay for in terms of shirt performance and longevity.
You can learn more about Redvanly and see their current line of clothing on their website here.
There are a few topics I avoid on this site:
Many other golf outlets do this well, and I’m happy to let them have at it. I’m going to partially break all of these rules because I believe this topic is so essential to your development as a golfer. It involves Tiger Woods and a seemingly insignificant finish to the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
At this point in his career, Tiger seems focused mostly on two things – playing golf pain-free, and continuing to chip away at Jack’s record. He’s experimenting with a reduced schedule that can accommodate both. Through the U.S. Open, he has only competed in 9 PGA Tour events this year, and it’s likely he won’t crack 15 for 2019.
With 82 PGA Tour victories, adding a few more to the list isn’t going to move the needle much from a historical perspective. It’s pretty much majors or bust.
People had high hopes for Tiger at Pebble Beach (myself included), but somewhere during the second round, all signs pointed to him not winning the tournament. It’s becoming clear that Tiger’s body can’t get loose enough for him to control the ball like it is accustomed to when the weather is cooler.
When he teed off on Sunday, many viewers noticed him wearing KT Tape on his neck, which Tiger confirmed was a nagging injury since March that seems to get worse in the cold. I watched some of the shots earlier in his round, and after six holes, he was +4 and looked miserable. He couldn’t control his distances, and you could tell he wasn’t feeling well physically.
Tiger could have easily packed it in, shot somewhere in the mid-70s, and left the tournament with another missed opportunity. But then he did what he always has done. He dug deep somewhere within himself and managed to go six under on his remaining 12 holes to shoot a 69 and finish for a respectable T21.
Whether he knew it could have been his last major tournament at Pebble, or if he was trying to prepare mentally for his last shot of 2019 at The Open – he grinded it out.
From February of 1998 to May of 2005, Tiger Woods never missed a cut. For 142 straight tournaments he managed to make it into the weekend, and I believe it’s one of the most impressive records in all of sports. For anyone who obsessively watched Tiger as I did, you remember the cut-line magic. There were plenty of Friday afternoons where he was playing terribly, and he could have easily given up as many tour players do in that position. But he always found a way to close out with a few birdies and get it done. He took pride in it.
In my opinion, Tiger’s ability to stay engaged in rounds that were going poorly, and grind out a score, is one of the main reasons he was able to win so many majors. He knew that he was building towards something much more significant on those Friday afternoons, and would use that experience at a later time.
If there is anything I’ve learned from watching Tiger’s career, it’s his grit. I’ll never hit a golf ball like him. Pretty much the only thing I can mimic from his game is his ability never to give up and keep trying.
I’ve discussed this topic in many different ways over the past several years. I will keep doing so until I am blue in the face because it’s so important. For too long, I was a golfer who would give up on my round at the first sign of trouble. I’ve also been around plenty of players who succumb to the same problem.
Recreational golfers aren’t chasing greatness and history like Tiger is, but many of them want to know how they can get better and lower their scores over the long run. Every round you play is an opportunity to learn and build towards something better down the road. When you give up and pack it in mentally for the day, it’s a missed opportunity to improve.
The hardest thing in golf is to stay engaged and keep trying when things don’t go well. I go through this battle myself all of the time. We all have rough patches during a round and hit embarrassing shots. But I can guarantee all of you who are reading this that if you make it a habit to never give up on your rounds (or at least the majority of them), you will become a better golfer. You have to find some way to tell yourself:
This is way easier said than done, but it’s the truth. As I’ve said before, you can’t have it both ways if you want to get better. If you’re a golfer who wants to have fun and not even keep score, there’s nothing wrong with chalking it up to a bad day, forgetting about the golf, and enjoying your walk. However, if you’re serious about getting better, you need to find a way to keep your head “in the game.” For me, I am committed to going through my routine before every shot. I know if I can do that, there’s a far greater chance I can save the round. If I can’t save the round, then at least I can take pride in the fact that I didn’t give up. That habit has served me well, and I know it can help you too.
So if it’s not beneath the greatest (or second greatest) golfer of all time, you can get down in the dirt and grind it out too.
Statistics can have a way of putting things quickly into perspective for golfers. For the most part, the golf world is used to seeing what players are doing at a professional level. Many times I like to use PGA Tour stats as a way of managing expectations for recreational golfers. In this article, I’d like to share some interesting data that Shot Scope, one of the leading shot-tracking companies, has compiled.
Over the last few years, they have amassed a database of more than 18 million shots from golfers all around the world. I’m going to review a few stats from tee shots and approach shots that I think you’ll find interesting. It will also give some insight into what you might need to do to reach the level of golf you’re looking to achieve.
All golfers want to know how to get more distance, especially off the tee. There’s no question that it’s easier to post lower scores when you can hit your tee shots farther, and have a shorter approach shot to the green.
Shot Scope compiled some data surrounding driving distance based on common handicap levels (8, 14, and 20), which you can see below. The green bar represents the average distance of all shots, the blue bar represents a well-struck shot, and the purple indicates the longest drive.
You can see that there is a clear correlation between handicap level and distance off the tee with either a driver or a 3-wood. I can speak from personal experience that being able to add yards off the tee is a strong component of lowering your handicap. I’ve also discussed some reasonable steps you can take to get a little longer off the tee.
Shot Scope also has insights into what wayward tee shots will cost you. The image below shows how many shots it costs a typical golfer when they miss the fairway as well as laying back with a 3-wood.
Interestingly, a fairway bunker is even more penal than missing a drive into the trees. Additionally, laying back for accuracy with a 3-wood can cost you the equivalent amount of strokes for missing the fairway into the light rough.
I’ve written before about tee shot strategies, and essentially you want to hit the ball as far as possible while taking into account major trouble such as hazards or trees. There are some instances where it makes sense to take less club, and also times where it makes more sense to hit driver rather than being too conservative. For this reason, I always suggest golfers evaluate courses they play beforehand to come up with a tee shot strategy that takes into account smart target and club selection.
Approach shot strategy is one of my favorite topics. It’s also been proven by leading statisticians like Mark Broadie to be where the majority of scoring takes place. Long story short, where you land your approach shot has a huge influence on what your score will be for any given hole.
I believe the following image is very powerful information:
According to Shot Scope’s database, 80% of golfers are missing their greens on the short side. It’s one of the reasons I suggest that most players should play to the back yardage. Also, when you keep track of your own shot data you can see where the majority of your misses occur. Taking that information and making smarter strategic decisions on the course is a way to hit more greens in regulation (and lower your scores).
Whenever golfers ask me what the secret is to lowering scores I often tell them that they have to build their game around hitting more greens, especially if you want to break into the single digit handicap range.
Currently, my handicap is a + .7. It took more than two decades to officially say I’m a scratch golfer. The cornerstone of my game is making sure I am giving myself an opportunity to hit as many greens as possible during a round. It took a combination of working on my ball striking, choosing an optimal strategy off the tee, and making sure I am choosing conservative targets on greens (no pin hunting!).
Let’s take a look at how golfers at various handicap levels are faring at hitting greens:
You can see that the gap between a 14 and 20 handicap is only seven percentage points, versus over 16 percent between an 8 and 14 handicap. I’ve noticed this trend before and it’s often why my advice changes when I’m talking to golfers who are looking to break 100, 90, and 80.
At higher handicap levels, lowering scores is often about eliminating mistakes such as three-putting, poor wedge play inside 100 yards, bad strategic decisions, and avoiding the chunks/skulls/mishits. A lot of them are low-hanging fruit that can be corrected to turn a 102 into a 95.
However, as you get down to golfers who want to shoot more in the 80s and 70s your progress can be impeded by ball striking. All of the aforementioned concepts for higher handicaps are still important, but you can’t get around the GIR statistic. Of all the statistics golfers can measure their progress by, I believe it’s the most important one to focus on. Hitting one or two more greens per round on average can make a huge difference in your scores, which you can see in these trends from Shot Scope.
The good news is you don’t need to be a PGA Tour player and hit 75% of your greens. You can post some really good scores while still missing the majority of your greens during a round, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
Over the last several years, I’ve written numerous articles on how keeping track of your stats is a good idea. You can find out how far you are actually hitting each club, see your tendencies on various parts of your game, and use that information to optimize your decisions.
It’s easier than ever to record and analyze information with shot tracking systems. If you’re interested in learning more about Shot Scope you can visit their website here (they are currently having a Father’s Day sale). I also wrote this review on their system, which I believe is one of the easiest to use on the marketplace.