- Foresight and Bushnell have launched GC3 and Launch Pro launch monitors.
- The GC3 is a pay one-time option while the Launch Pro is largely subscription-based.
- Prices range from $2,999 to $6,995.
It’s an exciting time for Foresight sports, which means it’s an exciting time for golfers. The company recently was acquired by Vista Outdoors for $474 million. That brings Foresight under the same corporate umbrella as Bushnell Golf. The timing couldn’t be better as Foresight and Bushnell are partnering on the release of two … well, one, but kinda two … new compelling offerings in the personal launch monitor category.
Launching simultaneously are the Foresight GC3 and Bushnell Launch Pro launch monitors.
Foresight GC3 / Bushnell Launch Pro – Technical Details
Let’s get the technical bits out of the way. Both the GC3 and Launch Pro are manufactured by Foresight Sports. The San Diego-based company recently expanded its headquarters where the new launch monitors are assembled. It now has the capability to produce well over 200 units a day to help keep up with the anticipated demand.
Both the GC3 and Launch Pro are photometric (i.e, camera-based) systems. As you might surmise from the name, three cameras give the devices the ability to accurately capture both ball and clubhead data.While that’s not quite a GC Quad, the new device is more powerful than Foresight’s prior-generation GC2. Not bad for what’s being loosely billed as consumer-grade, or at least prosumer-grade, equipment.
The reality is that camera-based systems are invariably more accurate indoors and in limited-flight environments. They’re also able to more accurately capture spin rates in any condition. For most golfers looking for a launch monitor solution, a camera-based system is going to be the better choice.
Foresight GC3 Versus Bushnell Launch Pro
At this point, you may be a little bit puzzled. GC3 … Launch Pro … What’s the difference?
Most notably, one has badges that read “Foresight Sports” and “GC3” while the other’s badges read “Bushnell Launch Pro” and “Foresight Sports.”
Seriously, that’s the biggest physical difference. The stuff that actually matters, the stuff on the inside—the circuitry, the cameras, every last bit of hardware and software—it’s 100-percent identical.
The obvious follow-up question is: If they’re the same, why are there two of them?
The answer boils down to price and functionality.
GC3 and Launch Pro Pricing
As far as the pricing part goes, the Foresight GC3 will set you back $6,995. I think we can safely assume that not everyone has $7K to spend on a launch monitor. I’m pretty sure that’s about what a new Yugo cost back in the day.
The Bushnell Launch Pro is priced at $2,999 and, while that’s still more than a lot of golfers are able to spend, we’re at least in the ballpark. At a minimum, it makes premium camera-based launch monitor technology accessible to significantly more golfers.
For sure, $3,000 is a big jump from the $500 (give or take) price point of entry-level, radar-based (tiny Doppler) units but, as I’ve been saying for years now, reliable accuracy comes at a cost and that cost is, realistically, quite a bit more than $500. Sorry, that’s just the reality of where the technology is today.
As for functionality, well, that’s where the products diverge a bit.
The Foresight GC3 is an out-of-the-box, pay one-time, fully functional device. It gives you access to absolutely all the ball and head data the device can capture as well as fully functional FSX simulation and practice software with course bundle, Foresight’s Fairgrounds gaming package and access to online play.
As far as the specifics of the ball and head data are concerned, the breakdown looks like this:
GC3/Launch Pro Data
- Launch Angle
- Side Angle
- Ball Speed
- Total Spin
- Back Spin
- Spide Spin
- Spin Axis
- Carry Distance
- Total Distance*
- Offline Distance*
- Descent Angle*
- Peak Height*
* through FSX or FSX Pro Software only.
- Clubhead Speed
- Smash Factor
- Club Path
- Angle of Attack
The dataset isn’t nearly as robust as what’s offered by the GC Quad but, given the price difference, you shouldn’t expect it to be. Foresight wasn’t willing to compromise on accuracy and so, in addition to the more robust hardware, the point of differentiation between the GC Quad and the GC3 is the number of metrics provided.
It’s worth a quick mention that the GC Quad requires four fiducials (reflective stickers) on the face to capture head data. While the data points provided by the GC3 aren’t as robust as what you get with the significantly higher-priced Quad, only a single fiducial is required.
That’s the Foresight GC3 in a nutshell.
Bushnell Launch Pro Subscription Options
The more budget-friendly Bushnell Launch Pro is a subscription-driven offering.
$2,999 gets you a Bushnell Launch Pro with basic functionality. In this case, basic functionality means all of the ball data metrics, no head data and output that is limited to a single shot on the Launch Pro’s LCD display. There’s no ability to store, export or otherwise retain data.
In that respect, the presentation of data is similar to what you get with many of the entry-level units. The difference here is accuracy, especially as it relates to your spin axis and total spin numbers.
From there, additional functionality can be enabled via annual subscription.
The first upgrade option (the Basic plan) will set you back $99 per year (the first year is free with GC3 purchase). It includes the ability to connect to an iPad and show 2D ball flight on a range similar to what originally came with the GC Quad. You can save up to 1 session locally and another 10 in the cloud.
Provided metrics are limited to Carry Distance, Ball Speed, Total Spin, Horizontal Launch Angle, Vertical Launch Angle, Clubhead Speed, and Smash Factor.
For $399 annually (Silver Plan), you get all of the functionality of the $99 package with the addition of a basic simulation package. It gives you the ability to connect (to a computer) and project (to a screen). There’s no access to online games, but you can play virtual golf (5 courses are included) and practice on the range. Up to 4 players can play at once. With the FSX or FSX Pro (FSX Pro not included) software packages, you also get data for Total Distance, Offline Distance, Descent angle, and Peak Height.
Additional courses are $150 (standard) or $250 (premium). Zombie golf and Foresight Fairgrounds games are an additional $125 each.
You can save up to 5 sessions locally and 20 more in the cloud. This should meet the home practice needs of most golfers.
The $799 Gold Plan (also billed annually) effectively turns the Bushnell Launch Pro into a GC3. You get all the bells and whistles: full simulation capabilities (up to 8 golfers at a time), as well as all of the ball and clubhead metrics offered by the GC3.
Additional courses for Gold package users are $125 (standard course) and $200 (premium course). Zombie golf and Fairgrounds are $99 each.
The $799 Bushnell Launch Pro package puts the device almost on even footing with the Foresight GC3. Both include the ability to connect 3rd party simulation software like e6.
The primary difference between the two is simply a matter of how you choose to pay to get there (and, of course, the badge on the unit itself).
GC3/Launch Pro Accuracy (Versus GC Quad)
While price is no doubt a consideration for many of you, the biggest question should rightfully be: “Is it accurate?” The short answer is yes. Regardless of which name it goes by, the Foresight GC3/Bushnell Launch Pro is the single most impressive launch monitor we’ve seen outside of the enterprise-class.
In our preliminary testing, which involved shots hit both indoors and out, the numbers displayed on the device were much closer to the GC Quad than anything we’ve tested to date.
To give you just a taste, the following charts compare a series of three shots collected during preliminary testing.
With the driver, reported carry distances varied by three yards on average, ball speeds were within one mph but, perhaps most impressively, average differences in spin rates differed by less than 100 rpm. For consumer-grade launch monitors that report spin, those values are often off by several hundred RPMs and occasionally by a few thousand. It should go without saying that the accuracy of the GC3/Launch Pro data is significantly better.
In our brief 7-iron comparison, the GC3/Launch Pro again exceeded expectations. Distance numbers were scary close. Ball speed numbers were again all but identical. Reported launch angle differences were negligible and the accuracy of the critical spin measurement dwarfs anything we’ve tested to date.
Finally, we tested with a 50-degree wedge. As you should probably expect by now, carry, ball speed, launch angle and launch direction measurements were effectively identical. For reference, with other personal launch monitors we’ve tested, it’s not uncommon to see distance numbers vary by several yards, ball speeds differ by a few mph and launch angles off to the tune of five degrees. With the higher spin of wedges, we do see a bit more variation in those numbers but, on percentage, the numbers are still really close and from the perspective of the end-user, well within the realm of reliability.
This is by no means a complete evaluation. It’s not meant to be but what we’ve seen so far is exceptionally encouraging. A full review with more data is in the works and should follow shortly.
You can certainly wait for the review, though if you’re in the market for a personal launch monitor, I’d have no reservations about buying now. Regardless of whether it’s the Foresight GC3 or the Bushnell Launch Pro, the preliminary data we’ve collected suggests it’s the most accurate consumer-grade launch monitor we’ve seen to date. The fact that it works equally well indoors and out and in both full flight and limited flight (including into a net) makes the offering that much sweeter.
The price point is likely higher than many of you want it to be but it’s the first device we’ve seen in the category (even if it’s on the extreme edge of the category) that delivers accuracy on par with the enterprise-class. And frankly, what good is a launch monitor if it isn’t accurate?
The Foresight GC3 and Bushnell Launch Pro are available for order beginning Oct. 3 through Foresight Sports and Bushnell Golf.
For those looking for complete simulator solutions, Sim-in-a-box options are also available.
For more information, visit Foresightsports.com or Bushnellgolf.com.