The Foresight GC3 launch monitor fits into the category of ‘mid-range’ launch monitors, between the expensive Trackman and GCQuad and the cheaper models like Mevo or Bushnell Launch Pro. Let’s be clear it is still seriously expensive, but under half the price of a TrackMan 4.
I have had the chance to work with the GC3 quite a bit and learn what it’s great at and where it struggles. The GC3 can track both ball data and club data. Whether you are looking for this as a personal launch monitor or to help with training, or a coaching tool, I’ll give my insights on what to expect and whether or not it’s worth it.
When you buy a Foresight Sports GC3 launch monitor, you get the FSX Play software and the FSX 2020 Software. The unit comes with 10 courses, all the cables you need, and a one-year warranty on the unit.
The GC3 is very easy to use, highly portable and has a long battery life (5-7 hours). It is under half the price of a GCQuad and TrackMan, but a few thousand more than a SkyTrack or FlightScope Mevo Plus.
It is far more accurate than cheaper options and highly comparable to the GCQuad and TrackMan when looking at the data. However, the key difference is that the GC3 doesn’t measure club face angle at impact.
The GC3 is great for working on your technique, as long as club face angle isn’t a core metric for you.
The highly accurate ball data makes this a brilliant option if you are after a highly accurate launch monitor to power a home golf simulator.
Foresight is a big name in golf technology and the GC3 is their push to make great tech more affordable they made a few tweaks to the highly successful GCQuad.
- Custom built-in camera lens technology
- FSX performance and gaming suite
- Durability and quality control
Custom Built Camera Lens Technology
Foresight Sports worked to develop a specific camera lens for the Foresight GC3. There are three total cameras that work to pick up the ball and club data. To get club data, you do need to have stickers on the club head.
The stickers are not bothersome when hitting and are on the club head’s edges. However, if you want club data from lots of different clubs during a session it can be a pain to keep marking them up.
FSX Performance and Gaming Suite
I use the GC3 at a practice facility, so most of the work I do with it is working on ball data parameters and some club data parameters. I don’t have the simulator setup where I can play rounds of golf.
However, one of the great features of the GC3 is the true to life simulator it offers. In addition, you won’t need a subscription as there are courses that come included with the launch monitor. A nice feature for those looking to keep long-term costs down.
With FSX performance, there are global competitions and practice and skill-building games to increase the value you get here.
Durability and Quality Control
The Foresight GC3 is durable. When you have to move it around and put it in the correct position, it feels solid, heavy, and in great condition. These are used at my club all day, every day (by people who understand golf and golf technology, and those who don’t) and we’ve yet to have an issue.
The only trouble I’ve seen is Wi-Fi connectivity at times, but that is usually quickly fixed. Bear this in mind if you are planning to use this in a basement or garage.
Data & Functionality
The GC3 comes set up for a right-handed golfer, but it’s really easy to use the touchscreen display to switch the unit to left-handed.
When hitting with the GC3 launch monitor, you have to have the ball slightly behind the unit so that it has a chance to pick up on your golf club and golf ball data. The same goes for left-handed golfers, so you have to adjust the launch monitor setup before you swing.
Below we cover the key data the GC3 tracks before we discuss its accuracy.
- Ball speed
- Launch direction and launch angle
- Total spin
- Peak height
- Carry distance
- Club path
- Angle of attack
- Smash factor
- Club head speed
Ball speed data refers to the speed at which the ball leaves the club face.
Launch Direction & Launch Angle
Launch direction and launch angle are both measured in the number of degrees. launch direction is how far left or right the ball launched, and the launch angle relates to the vertical launch angle.
Total spin measures the amount of spin on launch, measured in rpm.
Peak height is pretty self-explanatory.
Carry distance is how far the ball has carried through the air and is calculated based on the launch conditions above.
Club path gives us an idea as to whether the club is moving left or right as it comes through impact.
Angle of Attack
The angle of attack tells us about the ball’s flight as the club is coming into impact. The angle of attack for an iron is usually between -2 and -6 as we want to get that descending blow with the golf club.
When using the GC3, I’m always hitting off of a mat, and I have a tendency to catch the ball just a little heavy off the mats.
I do notice the angle of attack gets a little high when this happens, and it makes sense that the GC3 would read this through the hitting zone. Overall I have no reason not to trust the club head data from the GC3.
The smash factor is displayed as efficiency when using the GC3 golf simulation software. The smash factor is determined by dividing ball speed by club speed. The efficiency factor that you would love to get to is around 1.5.
Club Head Speed
Club head speed is how fast you get the club moving through the ball. I have noticed that the club speed is very consistent, with there being a variation of about 2 to 3 miles per hour between swings.
I did some of my own experiments, too, with ways that I know how to generate a little extra club head speed, and I found that the GC3 responded accordingly.
In other words, it does a great job tracking club speed as long as you have the sensors on the club.
What is missing?
The big variable that is missing vs TrackMan and GC Quad is face angle at impact. Face angle is very important for start direction and the difference between face angle and swing path is the key factor in determining curvature on all of your golf shots.
How Accurate is the GC3 launch monitor?
We’re yet to get GC3 and Trackman in the same room together. However, when testing both separately, and doing some research, we found a few key takeaways.
The first is that the ball speed and distances are very accurate between the Trackman and GC3, both are known for being incredibly accurate. Both tend to give very similar data for shots inside 160 yards, over this range we see the following differences:
- In outdoor settings where TrackMan tracks the flight of the ball they stay similar.
- If you are using indoors we feel TrackMan slightly overestimates carry and total distance.
Spin rates from GC3 feel a bit more accurate than the Trackman and this explains the point above. TrackMan can underestimate spin rates over short distances and calculate lower drag and more distance.
Lastly, some golfers have had issues with the club data and, most specifically, the club speed.
I was hitting 7 iron shots and getting between 71 and 75 mph with these shots. The last time I took a golf lesson, the lesson was conducted with a Trackman, and the numbers were between 73 and 76 mph.
I did not notice this issue with club speed, but it is something that others have struggled with in the past with the GC3. I was using this at an outdoor hitting facility, and maybe that plays into it a bit, but my club speed was consistent between the two devices.
In addition, I know what my distances are when my club speed gets up a little, and those numbers were clearly reflected in the GC3 data that was displayed.
A final note on side-by-side testing
Few testers know or mention this important fact. TrackMan and Foresight launch monitors measure impact at different times…yes this is possible. Impact is actually a period of time, TrackMan calculates data at the point of impact. GC3 and GC Quad calculate data at the point of separation.
For this reason, there will be a difference in club head data. However, ball launch data should be pretty similar between the two.
If you’re looking for the best launch monitor to work on your golf swing then the GC3 is certainly one to consider. The accuracy of club and ball data is a level above the SkyTrak and similar launch monitors in the $2-4k range.
However, you need to give careful consideration to what you are working on. For shot outcome data, ball spin and launch this is as good as a GC Quad and TrackMan. The same is true if you are working on distance control or increasing swing speed.
However, if you are working on reducing a nasty slice or hook, club face and club face-to-path data will be the key metrics you want to track. The GC3 gives you club path, but not club face data, meaning you can estimate these from your ball flight, but won’t get precise numbers.
The GC3 line runs in tandem with FSX Play, Foresight’s latest advancement in true-to-life golf simulation. After testing this at Foresights UK headquarters I can tell you it is really good, and you’ll likely be blown away if you’ve never had access to indoor golf simulators before.
However, after using TrackMan for the past year I’d say FSX play is a touch behind for graphics, and despite the range of golf courses being good on FSX, it doesn’t match the 500+ golf courses you have on TrackMan.
Usability & Portability
The Foresight GC3 has a power cable, so you can use it endlessly if you have access to power. However, when you are at the driving range and want to bring the individual unit, you get about 5 to 7 hours before it needs to recharge (that should be enough for even the most obsessed golfer).
In addition, the fact that the data points are displayed on the screen of the unit makes it really easy to use the Foresight GC3.
Once you become accustomed to how the screen works and the navigation, it’s really easy to use. The more I’ve been around different portable launch monitors and simulation software, the more I’ve learned to appreciate a simple touchscreen display with data.
Sometimes you just want to be out on the range with a little bit of tech but not another big bright screen to stare at. The GC3 weighs five pounds (2.3 kg), so it’s not a burden to carry around.
I only have one major complaint about the usability and functionality of the Foresight GC3. Essentially before you hit a shot, you have to make sure that the ball is in the hitting zone. A checkmark appears on the screen when it’s in the hitting zone, letting you know it’s time to swing.
This hitting zone can be a little difficult to work with.
Mostly it’s because there is a slight time delay from the time the ball is put in the hitting zone for the GC3 to realize it’s in the right place.
If you like to rapid-fire shots at the driving range, you may have to slow your pace a little as you play with the perfect positioning of the ball. Eventually, you will see this trapezoid-shaped area where you can place the ball, and you will be able to find it every time.
However, if it takes you a few sessions, don’t feel like you are alone.
How should I use this to improve my golf?
I think one of the best possible ways to use the Foresight GC3 is to develop more consistency in your golf game.
The data you get from the GC3 is accurate from one swing to the next. However, if your game is all over the place, the GC3 will display this as well.
Try to learn which numbers on the screen are outliers. Are you missing shots left, and the club path is off every time? Are you hitting the ball with a lower peak height and losing carry distance? The golf launch monitor is not a magic fix to a golfer’s game. Instead, it’s a learning tool that gives you feedback to help you determine what keeps you from reaching your goals on the golf course.
I’ve recently been working on getting some more swing speed. I know what moves I have to make to get the speed, but when I practice with the GC3, I can see if they are working.
The Foresight GC3 is about half the price of the GCQuad and even less than half the price of the Trackman.
It’s not a cheap launch monitor by any means, but it is certainly one of the best launch monitors for the money.
I think aspiring professionals, amateurs who care about technology and data, and even some golf coaches and trainers would greatly use the GC3. However, if you are specifically looking for club-fitting data and parameters, the GCQuad is likely your better choice with a bit more information and data like lie angle and club face angle at impact, etc.
I didn’t purchase the GC3 myself, so it’s hard for me to say that I feel like it was worth the money. However, if I was putting together a simulator setup and wanted something accurate, fairly priced, and helped to make game improvement a bit easier, the GC3 would be at the top of my list.
Golf Insider verdict
Since practicing with the GC3, I’ve noticed that my understanding and knowledge of my golf game have greatly improved. I can tell you I’ve honestly always been a feel player, but the GC3 is teaching me how to incorporate feel and data to become a better player.
If you can afford the jump up from a $2-3k to launch monitor to the GC3, you will not regret it. The accuracy of the data is another level, this will benefit how you practice and the accuracy of shots when playing golf.
If you are looking more for fun and just want to play some indoor golf, maybe save some cash and opt for a cheaper launch monitor.
Finally, the one big thing missing from the GC3 compared to the GC Quad and TrackMan is club face data. For most, this won’t be a big issue, but for those really wanting to dial in their swing mechanics, or using this for coaching and club fitting this is a big loss. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if it’s worth doubling your spend to get this with a GCQuad or TrackMan 4.
Frequently asked questions
Below are some frequently asked questions when considering buying the Foresight GC3 and similar launch monitors.
Is GC3 launch monitor worth it?
For golfers wanting really accurate data for practice and play the GC3 is the best value launch monitor out there. If you want more of a fun golf simulator set up you can probably save some money and opt for the SkyTrak or FlightScope Mevo Plus.
Can you putt with GC3?
Yes you can putt with the GC3 launch monitor and get the same data that you would for long game shots.
What is the difference between Foresight GC quad and GC3?
The main difference between these two is that the quad has four cameras and the GC3 only has three cameras. The main difference in performance is that the GC3 cannot track club face data, whereas the GCQuad can.
Does GC3 need dots?
The GC3 does need dots if you would like accurate club head data. However, for ball data and using the GC3 for golf simulator use you will not need to apply dots.
Does GC3 measure face angle?
The GC3 does not measure club face angle, this is the biggest drawback of the GC3 when compared to the GCQuad and TrackMan 4.
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