Golf launch monitors have come a long way in just a few short years. It wasn’t long ago that top of the line units required an AC power source, laptop and all the cables to connect everything together. These devices were obviously not very portable, and often cost well over $20,000. Only PGA Tour pros, upper echelon golf schools and world-renowned teachers could afford them.
That was then, this is now. Founded in 1989 to measure projectiles for the defense industry, Orlando, Florida based FlightScope has just introduced a new Doppler ball tracking monitor called the Mevo, and it aims to bring launch monitor technology to the masses. MEVO is an acronym for Measure your distance, Evaluate your game, Visualize your improvement, Optimize your performance.
What separates the Mevo from the competition is how FlightScope has managed to pack its Doppler radar technology into such a small package and offer it all for about a much as a new driver. Measuring 3.55” x 2.76” x 1.18”, the Mevo isn’t much bigger than a pack of cigarettes. It weighs only 200 grams and can easily be carried in your pocket. With a retail price of $499, it is affordable for just about anybody.
Using a smartphone with a Bluetooth connection and the intuitive Mevo Golf app, the unit presents golfers with data such as club head speed, ball speed, smash factor, carry distance, vertical launch angle, spin, height and flight time. Future software updates will likely add features and functionality as the Mevo platform matures. For now, this tiny little device works great for collecting most of the information you’ll probably need, but it wouldn’t be fair to compare the FlightScope Mevo to more advanced (and much costlier) devices like the Trackman 4, Foresight GCQuad and FlightScope’s own X3.
Where the more expensive launch monitors differ is that they can track almost the entire flight of the golf ball and collect more information about its flight, as well as giving you much more information about the club path and impact conditions. For high-end club fitters like True Spec Golf or professional golfers and their instructors, spending $15,000 on a FlightScope X3 may be a worthwhile investment. For the weekend golfer, it’s probably pointless.
The $500 FlightScope Mevo clearly isn’t meant to compete with devices that cost 30 times more, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be used as a serious tool to improve your game. It offers three modes for indoor use, outdoor use and chipping. Using the app, you can set up your phone to record your swing on video, then it will automatically detect when you start your swing and superimpose the launch data on the screen. It also uploads your session data to your personal portal page at myflightscope.com for later review, which is a great feature.
In an early testing session of around 100 shots with various clubs, I found the Mevo to be very accurate with the kind of numbers I typically see with other launch monitors. As can be the case with less expensive Doppler units, spin rates can sometimes vary greatly from shot to shot. I’ve noticed that carry distance numbers can also vary from brand to brand, but the carry numbers from the Mevo were consistent with my typical distances. When comparing with a friend, our carry distance difference measured on the Mevo with a driver was about the same as we observed on the golf course. I can’t tell exactly how accurate my carry distance numbers were given the small sample size and less than ideal conditions on a cold, windy day in Daytona Beach, but I suspect that the Mevo will continue to impress with more testing.
Given the price, portability, ease of use and powerful software that FlightScope designed into the Mevo I think they have a real winner. This tiny little launch monitor is perfect for dedicated golfers looking to measure progress without an information overload and golf instructors that want an ultra-portable device for lessons and impromptu club fittings. For what it was designed to do, the FlightScope Mevo excels. Pardon the pun, but this launch monitor should be on any golf tech nut’s “radar.”
John Duval is the editor of www.intothegrain.com, a popular golf blog he founded in 2009 as a project that combines his experience from careers in information technology and golf, both of which he has been involved with for over 20 years since moving to Port Orange, Florida from his native country of Canada.