Trackman, the golf swing analyzer, has been a boon to golf instructors, especially since the introduction of dual radar technology in 2015. This is a powerful device that tracks all sorts of data used by instructors to fine tune your game.
Problem is the price is outside the reach of most amateur golfers, coming in at around $20,000. Everyday players still want the kind of feedback you can get from the Trackman, so a void existed in the market. It wasn’t long before that vacuum was filled with more affordable, albeit less powerful, swing analyzers.
Among that group is the Swing Caddie SC200 from the company Voice Caddie. While it is true that this device is not as powerful as Trackman, it is priced at a tiny fraction, costing you a few hundred dollars. So what do you get for that price?
The SC200 shows statistics for each club, including distance, swing speed, ball speed, and smash factor. Smash factor is merely ball speed divided by club speed. According to Trackman’s website, you should aim for a smash factor of 1.5 with your driver. Smash factors indicates how efficiently you are transferring speed from the club to the ball.
When in stats mode, the SC200 will show you either the statistics for each club from today’s usage, or a cumulative average from your last 100 shots. If you are wondering why it stores stats from just your last 100 swings with each club, remember that you should be improving as you practice. Showing stats from the old you at some point becomes less useful.
The device provides instant feedback, gathering data using Doppler radar technology. Yes, that is the same technology used by weather forecasters. Both take advantage of the Doppler Effect, where the frequency of waves change as the distance increases or decreases. If you have ever heard the sound of a siren change as it approaches you, then drives away, that is the Doppler Effect.
Included in the box with your swing analyzer is a remote control and user manual. It derives its power from 4 1.5-volt AAA batteries that last about 20 hours. This is a much smaller device than the Trackman, as the SC200 weighs just a bit more than 200 grams and is roughly the size of the average male adult hand.
It operates in temperatures ranging from -10 to 50 Celsius (roughly 14 to 122 Fahrenheit). If you are playing golf in temperatures outside that range, you may need more help than what any swing analyzer offers.
The SC200 comes in both white and black.
The data is displayed on an LCD (liquid-crystal display) that is easy on the eyes. You also get an audible voice output.
All of the below is displayed on the screen:
- Total shots with each club
- Total practice time
- Remaining battery life
- Total distance
- Club swing speed
- Ball speed
- Smash factor
- Club selection
- Loft angle
Mode, club selection, and loft angle can be adjusted manually or with the remote control. You can also switch between metric and imperial measurements.
There are three modes available: practice, target, and random.
In practice mode, the SC200 displays immediate feedback on your last shot. This mode is good for when you are trying to establish your benchmarks while on the driving range.
Target mode allows you to set a specific distance to aim for. The SC200 will display both your target distance and your actual distance to compare. It will then award you a score based on how closely you came to your target distance.
Random mode is similar but instead of you choosing the target distance, the device chooses the distance for you.
It is quite important for you to set up this device properly for the best performance.
Some users have complained about a lack of accuracy, but that is likely due to a few factors. They may not have the device set up in the correct place. You should place the device within 4.5 feet of the ball and facing the target. If you are hitting into a net or screen, you need at least 6.5 feet of open space in front of the ball.
The ball and the device must be on the same level for it to record accurately.
Other discrepancies could occur because the device is set up to record carry distances and not run out.
You may also get a lower yardage result due to the lack of quality in range balls.
Other potential usage issues:
- The range of the remote control may be reduced in direct sunlight.
- Practice swing data is not recorded.
- Shots far off line or not getting airborne are not recorded.
If you do have issues with the device, it comes with a one-year warranty. Also, a toll-free number, email address, and website are all available for customer support.
Should you buy this product? Is it worth the price? You can buy a used one for just a bit more than $300. If you compare the SC200 to a Trackman, then you will clearly be disappointed. It simply does not match up in robustness or accuracy to the Trackman.
Of course, it is not intended to be a competitor to Trackman and instead be an alternative. Given that, we should evaluate the device based on its own merits.
Based on online reviews, it seems the SC200 has a spotty record. There are enough poor reviews about accuracy that it cannot be ignored. It is unlikely that all the purchasers who complained about this issue are all simply using the device incorrectly.
There are a number of glowing reviews to come to the conclusion there is an inconsistency issue with the SC200. If you are unwilling to take that chance, it’s understandable. However, there are little to no reports with getting a refund. Given that, the more adventurous of you might take a chance and end up with a useful device.
If it works as intended, the SC200 is well worth the money.