Accusport VectorX Personal Launch Monitor
By Kickntrue on 5/6/10
oobgolf isn't entrusted very often with a $3000 piece of equipment, but Accusport was kind enough to send a launch monitor for us to share our thoughts on. I'm not an expert on launch monitors in general, but that is kind of the point. Accusport is trying to take the launch monitor game from high end pro shops and specialty golf stores to the golfer's home. Any old idiot can pull it out of the box and start learning more about the nitty-gritty details of their game such as swing speed, ball speed, ballflight and much more. With a $3000 price tag, the VectorX certainly isn't for everybody but if you have the scratch, it could be a nice little "toy" to add to your arsenal. The only problem will be keeping your friends out of your house to use it for their game improvement.
The VectorX Launch Monitor from Accusport is a an all-in-one unit. The computer and all of it's stats and readouts are directly on the device. You can enhance your experience by connecting it to additional Accusport software, but all you need is the VectorX. It is a camera based launch monitor (versus a Doppler system) which means it can be used indoors versus needing a full driving range. I'll share some reasons why in a bit, but I think it's probably best to only think about using the VectorX in a situation where you can setup an indoor hitting bay.
Here is what the VectorX actually measures:
On to my experience. I received the launch monitor in a box packed just as if I had purchased the unit. I had no special instructions or advice from the guys at Accusport. It felt a lot like Christmas, except for the small thought that in the back of my head I had to send it back (sorry- it's NOT going to be the next Addict giveaway). Normally with a new electronic I'd start by plugging it in or messing with it before reading any instructions. Accusport advertises the fact that you can get going out of the box in about 2 minutes. I decided to avoid disappointment to read a couple instructions before heading out to the range. As I found out- I really wouldn't have needed to- because it was charged and ready to go and really didn't take any setup. Because the computer is built into the unit- as long as you have juice- it's instantly usable. Any settings you may need to adjust are handled on-board.
The one "catch" that could put you in an awkward situation is that the VectorX uses a photo system to measure your swing stats so it has to have a frame of reference on the ball. Most range balls have some sort of consistent marking on them but as I found out- they're not really the best to use. It's best to have a ball with a single thin solid line (like you'd mark your own ball) and a lot of practice/range balls have thick or multiple lines on them. Unfortunately, I didn't find out until after I spent an hour or so with the unit that the major source of my frustration was nearly unavoidable unless I was willing to pull my own balls out of my bag.
My experience with taking the VectorX to a public range was nothing short of a pain, but there were a couple positive signs that made me think in the right situation the device could be an ace. First- the experience. I continually had trouble getting the readouts to be even close to what could be correct. About 1 in 3 shots would not read data at all because the ball wasn't in the right spot in front of the monitor. There is a pretty specific (and small) area that the ball has to sit to get a proper reading. As I hit on real grass, I had to setup in a different spot with each shot to not practice out of my divots. I did get some positive results that showed what seemed to be good data and it was great info, but all in all- I walked off the range pretty discouraged, and I could only the imagine if I'd spent $3k on it.
Driving back from the range I called Mark DiMare, President of Swing Labs, a company that specializes in taking data from launch monitors and helping consumers find the correct clubs for their swing. He's an expert in launch monitors but doesn't work for a launch monitor company so I knew he'd give me the straight talk. He explained to me that a lot of my frustrations were valid but that my situation wasn't ideal for the strengths of the photo based VectorX launch monitor. Learning about the single line versus the multiple line or bar markings on the practice balls made things easier to understand. The machine shoots images in microseconds so a 2cm bar versus a line a couple mm wide makes a big difference and confuses the machine easily. The problem is- I'm not going to use my own balls at a driving range, especially not the kind of balls I want the machine to test. That fact probably caused 90% of my pains. The other 10% was caused by hitting off grass instead of a mat. The ball needs to be about 18 inches away from the camera every shot. When hitting off of grass you move the ball 2-6 inches all the time just moving around your divots. Unless you want to move the VectorX each shot you're fighting an uphill battle.
While the VectorX launch monitor does work indoors and outdoors one of the biggest advantages of a photo based launch monitor over the Doppler systems is that it doesn't need space to operate. In short- it's perfect for an in-house hitting bay where you can setup your VectorX beside a mat and you can hit each club from the same spot every time with your own balls that you mark and don't lose downrange. In fact- in that scenario not only do you get to learn about your swing, but you can actually learn about the balls and other equipment because the rest of the variables (other than your faulty swing) are identical. You can actually see if you create more spin with a ProV1 or a Bridgestone B330.
So- would I pay $3,195 for an Accusport VectorX launch monitor? No- but I'm not their target audience. If anything, I'd probably argue that's the biggest flaw in their whole plan to reach individual consumers. How big is their target audience? I'm spending 3 large on golf in a lot of ways before it would go to a swing monitor. Realistically their audience is pros, aspiring pros, teaching pros, collegiate players with wealthy parents and other wealthy individuals who really care about their golf game. I'm sure those people exist, unfortunately, I'm not one of them. If you are (please provide your account and routing number) the VectorX could be something you're pretty interested in. With the correct setup and time to tinker with your equipment and swing there is no doubt in my mind that the VectorX could help your golf game.
Accusport VectorX Home
[ comments ]
That's pretty cool. If I were a teaching pro, or a high school/college coach, I'd definately go after it somehow. Actually, if I had an extra 3k lying around that I didn't need for something, I might get one anyway.
Sounds like R&D missed the boat on the practice ball markings - that seems to be a pretty big 'swing and a miss.' I've looked into the cheaper launch monitors for something to continue work in the off season into the practice net, but not sure 3K's worth of work - that would cover a nice golf vacation in the winter.
The issues with outdoor use and unique balls would be a no-go for me. I never feel right swinging indoors anyways. If I were going to spend that kind of money, I would pitch in another 600 bucks and buy the PureLaunch in the Zelocity line.
We use one of Accusport's other Vector launch monitors and its pretty cool. It's not the best, because you have to play with it to learn it, and then play with it to get the right delay down. There are definatly better ones out there, but this one isnt bad. I have not used the one pictured above, but I would bet it would be the same, if not better, than the other one.
i would give a kidney for that thing, but i would have to give up another organ i don't really need to get the 'ideal' indoor setup. that this would be McDreamy to have though. i could use all my spare time hitting with it and trying to improve the game. i could wish.
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