My SC300i Is “Meh,” But I Can Still Gather Data… (Updated)

I got back out to the lab today and the biggest takeaway I have from the session, which I’ll remember to reiterate when discussing my data collection, is that the SC300i portable launch monitor is not really working to my satisfaction.

Other than the ball speed, which I would assume is accurate because it uses Doppler radar, I don’t believe any of the other data is reliable, however I know how far the yardage is off (and it seems pretty consistent).

Why I’m Talking About This

I’ve never fudged yardages, ball or club speed while doing my research, because my focus has always been on how fast one can swing or how far one can hit irons or drive the ball with a proper swing model – giving BS numbers only to be shown up and embarrassed when called upon to demonstrate what I say I can do with a golf club is not my idea of building credibility.

I’ve given seminars and personal consultation – here’s a little aside for amusement’s sake – I remember the first thing a young college freshman who was having swing issue did when I flew to California to check out his swing (it was at his pop’s request, so I chuckled when it happened), was to hand me an 8 iron and say, “Let me see what you can do…” before he would listen to a word I had to say.

I didn’t mind. If I could drive the ball as far as he could before I even met him, I’d want to see what some swing consultant could do as well, before I paid him any mind.

I grabbed the club, hit a couple of balls, at which point he nodded and said, “OK, let’s get to work!”

Incidentally, I out-drove him that week on a hole when he was playing a practice round with me following him around, and he challenged me on a tee.

I shrugged, climbed out of the cart, took his driver and let fly:


To be fair, I caught it perfectly and he didn’t catch his quite perfectly… but that’s the fun you can have when you don’t BS your numbers.

It’s about research and reliable data, not trying to impress people with dishonest claims.  There are forums filled with that rubbish but you won’t find it on this blog.

So let’s take a dive into the numbers from today.

Data On Irons

When I was warming up, I was hitting my 9 iron at the white flag and getting distances in the 130s carry yardage, with say 3 or 4 initial balls. The balls were landing slightly in front of the raised green, and bouncing/rolling up onto the green.

That was when I grabbed my laser range-finder and discovered to my surprise that it was actually 170 yards away!  That meant I was flying my 9 iron roughly 160-161 yards away, and the readings were 130-131 carry.

I actually then hit a 9 iron flag-high and yup, the 300i gave me a 139.9 yard carry reading.

I was put off (I didn’t spend that kind of money for a toy), and then I began to hit some 7 irons which the 300i was reporting as in the 165 yard carry range – except the balls were flying directly over the 170 yard flag and green, so I was comfortable with an estimate of 195 yards with the 7 iron (I had one reading of 175 so 205 would seem about right on that one, as I flushed it).

Moving on to the 5 iron, I laser measured the black flag at 244 yards, and my balls were landing just short of the green and bouncing/running onto it.

Let’s check the 300i – sure enough, it was giving me 190-ish carry (220 eyeball estimate knowing the flag yardage would have been OK by me) and 210-215 total yardage, which if the balls were rolling onto the green, sounds about right at 235-245 yards total distance.

Anyone who has read the blog for any time or been with me hitting balls would know that my estimate that the 300i seems off by a consistent 30 yards, give or take, is much more likely than not – I can’t remember the last time I hit a 9 iron 135-140 yards, but it was surely before I ever took a lesson back in the 90s!

The Driver

With the driver, I measured the mound directly in front of me and was getting maximum carry distances in the 290s with total yardages around 305 – except I actually saw the balls run to the base of the mound (I can tell because the balls seems to go up at the end and stop, indicating they’ve come to rest on the lower slope) – and that mound, I lasered the midway spot at 335 yards.

As an added measure, I pulled one drive that landed partway up a mound to the left of my target mound, where the ball hopped up it and disappeared over the top of it – I measured that one at 322 yards.

So again, roughly 30 yards off, which means I was driving the ball around 330 yards last week with my best drives after a 10 month layoff!

Smash Readings Are Way Off…

Another factor, which doesn’t mean much at all except to mention in passing, is that the Smash Factor goes off the scale when I go over 170 mph ball speed – it starts giving readings of 1.52 or 1.51, which we know is impossible because maximum Smash is 1.50 on a dead center hit and there’s no way I’m driving the ball 330 yards with 112 or 111 mph club speed!

Plus, I know when I catch the ball solidly (which I really haven’t done yet with this driver, and I’m starting to not like it very much the way I loved my dearly cracked Rocketballz driver which preceded it), and I’m not buying any Smash reading higher than 1.45 right now.

Come to think of it, a 170 ball speed with a 1.43 to 1.45 Smash rating would equal about 118-119 mph club speed – now ask yourself if I’m likely to be swinging at 111 or 118 mph club impact speed…

So, I may be able to get useable data by calculating the difference between the 300i readings and my actual estimated carry/total yardages based on the laser range finder (it’s a Bushnell so enough said there), and I will continue to gather the data as needed.

I will of course always give the actual readings and my estimates based on laser measurements, because two data points for one ball are better than one!

2 thoughts on “My SC300i Is “Meh,” But I Can Still Gather Data… (Updated)

    1. DJ Watts Post author

      Cheers Barry – I’m a little miffed at the money I spent on this thing. Of course, if the Doppler is catching ball speed accurately, it will serve some purpose. I’ll just hit up a fitting facility when I need to get solid data on the rest of the metrics.

      Appreciate you finding this! 🙏🏽😊

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