Is your SkyTrak slow?
A slow Skytrak is very frustrating, but it is fixable! A Skytrak shot delay is manageable but if you’re experiencing a delay of five seconds, ten or even more then there is a problem. This article will explain why a shot-to-show delay happens and how to fix it.
Skytrak users experience a delay between hitting their shot and seeing the results on screen. Skytrak shot delay happens due to the time it takes for the data to be acquired, transferred and processed. This delay is likely to be at least two seconds.
Longer Skytrak shot delays (> 4s) occur when you don’t have enough computing or graphics power to run Skytrak or the simulation software. The type of connection and external factors such as lighting and surroundings are more minor causes.
In this article we examine the factors that affect the length of the SkyTrak delay in more detail and offer tips on how to reduce the delay you experience in your SkyTrak simulator.
Should you expect ZERO delay with SkyTrak?
Anyone who has used Skytrak before, or watched videos about Skytrak will have noticed there is a delay between hitting your shot and seeing the result on your monitor or screen.
Of course, the ideal scenario is that there is no delay. However, this is unrealistic, especially at Skytrak’s price point.
Your Skytrak setup works as follows:
- The Skytrak launch monitor takes high speed images of the golf ball at impact
- This image data is transferred to your device via whichever type of connection you’re using
- Your device uses image processing technology in the Skytrak app or 3rd party application (such as TCG) to calculate initial ball flight parameters including ball speed and launch angle and then runs it through it’s modelling software
- The device software then works out the data parameters that were not directly measured but inferred by modelling
- The device software uses the recorded and modelled data to render a golf shot in 3 spatial dimensions
- There are checks and re-checks (just before the shot becomes visible) to ensure that the data and the rendered shot match each other
This process takes some computing power, and some time.
You should not expect a delay between the ball impact and Skytrak rendering and displaying your shot, of less than two seconds.
The Controversial Skytrak Advert
Lots of Skytrak users felt frustrated that they couldn’t replicate the immediate shot rendering that was apparent on the Skytrak advertisement.
I understand that the SkyTrak team had to fit their advert into a certain time and decided to cut the shot delay and even speed up the ball flight in order to get everything in.
I imagine it is hard to produce an advert with all the imagery and information included whilst sticking to a strict time, but any SkyTrak users with a significant shot delay will be frustrated watching the advert.
SkyTrak really is a fantastic launch monitor, I love mine! You can have a great golf simulator just like the guy in the advert, just with a slight delay before the shot shows up 😀
How powerful is the device on which you’re running SkyTrak?
Computing power is the most likely reason you’re experiencing a delay with shots on SkyTrak.
I researched golf simulator forums extensively for this post and some of the responses were from a representative of SkyTrak, who reported that:
There is no processing that happens on the unit itself, we’re just sending images. With each new processor release (iPad and PC) it naturally gets faster, but we are always working to get the shot-to-show time down. We’ll be working with each sim company to make sure it’s as optimized as possible.Skytrak’s representative, commenting on Golf Simulator Forum
However, even if you had the world’s fastest supercomputer, the process described above is naturally not instantaneous. Improving computing power should reduce the delay down to a natural low of around 2 seconds.
Minimum vs Practical vs Ideal Requirements for Skytrak
You may have read the minimum system requirements for Skytrak before, but these are exactly as they sound, minimum requirements.
Golfers who choose to run their simulator with the minimum acceptable computing power, or close to it, will have to accept compromises along the way. A time delay in the recording and rendering of your shots is one of these compromises.
I recommend aiming your system requirements towards that which will run 3rd party simulation software (see below). This means you will comfortably run the Skytrak app without problems, hopefully including any excess delay. Remember the expected delay of around two seconds will remain.
If you have a powerful computer or device and are still struggling with excess delay then read on to learn about alternative reasons your Skytrak may be slow.
Skytrak delay times when using 3rd part simulation software (eg TGC or e6 Connect)
Is there a difference between delay time on the Skytrak app and your simulation software? You probably have enough computing and graphics power to run the Skytrak app but not your simulation software.
Let’s take an example – The Golf Club 2019 Minimum System Requirements:
The following are the recommended settings for The Golf Club when run on a PC. This is an example of the computer system you’ll need for TGC or any of the similar programs. You should check out their requirements when you’re in the planning stages for your simulator.
- SkyTrak’s Game Improvement Plan ($99.95/yr) and The Golf Club 2019 Subscription
- OS: Windows 7, 8 or 10 (all must be 64 bit)
- Processor: Intel Core i5-760 @ 2.80GHz or equivalent – i7 processors recommended
- Memory: 4 GB RAM – 8GB recommended
- Graphics: NVidia GTX 670 or equivalent – NVidia 970X or higher recommended
- DirectX: Version 11
- Network: Broadband Internet connection
- Hard Drive: 30 GB available space
Does CPU or GPU matter more?
You need a bit of both. They both matter. In general, you need computing/CPU power to process the launch data provided by Skytrak and you need graphics/GPU power to render the shot and play the game at an acceptable resolution and frame rate.
Do the display settings on my software cause increased delay?
This is where your graphics card comes into play big time.
Those golfers with a substandard graphics card, or substandard graphics technology on their tablet or phone, will struggle. You will see the game jutter and lag, which is another definition of the experience being ‘slow’.
This will affect your golf simulator experience even more than the ‘shot to show’ delay.
To play TGC or similar software on 4K resolutions and achieve an acceptable frame rate, you need plenty graphics power. Skytrak came out several years ago now and the premium graphics cards of 2014 and 2015 are now quite middle of the road.
The minimum requirement for graphics power to run TGC with Skytrak is the NVidia GTX 670 or equivalent. They recommend the NVidia 970X or higher for a better experience.
To comfortably play TGC on Skytrak with higher graphics settings, and hopefully minimise any shot delay, I recommend the following hardware set up as a minimum.
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 or equivalent will play games at 4K resolution comfortably. If you really want to max your settings out and play the game in 4K AND achieve high frame rates, then aim for an even more powerful graphics card.
I must stress you can get away with a much cheaper graphics card if you aren’t as fussed about maxing out the settings. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 is an excellent compromise.
The minimum requirement for CPU power to run TGC with Skytrak is the Intel Core i5-760 @ 2.80GHz or equivalent. They recommend the i7 processors or equivalent/higher for a smoother experience.
To comfortably play TGC on Skytrak with more ambitious or max settings, and hopefully minimise any shot delay, I recommend i7 or equivalent processors.
Again I stress that you can run TGC on Skytrak with a mid range i5 or equivalent computer processor. However, if you’re experiencing significant Skytrak shot delays and you’ve addressed other options then an upgrade of your computer processor could be the way forward.
What if my tablet or phone is struggling to run Skytrak?
You can’t really replace the graphics system or processor in a tablet or phone without extensive knowledge of the hardware. If you’re struggling with Skytrak shot delay or buffering using your device then the options are as follows:
- Use a different simulation software (difficult if you’ve already paid for one. World Golf Tour is designed for tablet use.
- Attach your PC and install Skytrak and assess whether the delay remains or goes away. You could always use a friend’s laptop or newer tablet to check this too.
- If you’re sure your device is the culprit then you’ll need to invest in a newer model or PC.
Does the type of connection between SkyTrak and your device affect the delay time?
Before I set out researching this topic, I expected to find that the connection type (and speed) one of the most prominent factors in determining Skytrak’s delay time.
From my research I found that it is really one of the more minor causes of delay and is a more likely culprit for missed shots altogether, than delayed shot rendering.
Sure, if you’re using network connection mode and have a very slow Wifi connection, then this will have a greater negative effect. Any golfer with a normal internet connection (in 2020+) should be able to transfer the data via network mode effectively. Using USB or direct mode should work without unnecessary delay.
Many people have suggested that using Skytrak with a USB 3 connection will improve the data transfer speed and reduce Skytrak shot delay. However, Skytrak does not have USB 3 compatibility and so using such a cable and port will only run as USB 2.
Skytrak’s representatives in the Golf Simulator Forum a couple of years ago:
“Just to clear this up, it’s not the transfer of data that takes the time – it’s the image processing on the computer/iPad before we can fly the ball”Skytrak’s representative, commenting on Golf Simulator Forum
Check out our Ultimate Guide to Skytrak Connection Problems here. You’ll find lots of information about the different ways to connect to Skytrak and how to diagnose and fix your network issues.
Does Skytrak have a greater shot delay than competitor launch monitors?
At Skytrak’s price point, I think you have to accept some delay.
There is a big jump in price up to the next level launch monitors such as Uneekor and GC2.
Foresight’s GC2 does all the computation in-house, in the launch monitor itself. Therefore there is no need for a device or a connection unless you’re using simulation software.
You have to pay for this extra functionality though. For those who want the extra immersion afforded by an ultra-quick shot to show time, check out the Uneekor QED launch monitor here.
Note that unlike Skytrak, Mevo and GC2, as of the time of writing (mid lockdown) the Uneekor launch monitors are available for immediate dispatch.
We have so much content planned for the next few weeks and months about the Uneekor Range of Launch Monitors. Keep checking back to My Golf Simulator regularly!
Does Skytrak have a greater delay with some clubs than others?
Skytrak can take longer to process the data from a high wedge shot than any shot with a lower trajectory. Your Skytrak setup may also take longer to process an extremely low shot too.
There is a ‘viewing window’ just after impact in which the ball travels it’s first few inches. Skytrak takes numerous images at high speed whilst the ball is travelling in this window. If a ball leaves this window through the top portion because the launch angle is too high, Skytrak may struggle to take enough good images.
Delay may occur with extreme launch angles because these shots require checks and rechecks at various points in the image capture and shot rendering process. Skytrak has been designed to make doubly sure that shots outside the window of expected launch angles and speeds are reading correctly.
Skytrak’s representatives have previously suggested:
“I believe the image processing does a ‘second look’ at shots that may fall outside average launch conditions – just to make sure it is reading correctly. There are checks and rechecks in place for accuracy, hence why we can’t just be instantaneous.”Skytrak’s representative, commenting on Golf Simulator Forum
If you’re struggling with delay particularly with your wedge shots, try moving the ball very slightly forwards from the red dot, down your target line.
This will ensure that the ball doesn’t rise up and out of the Skytrak ‘viewing window’ too early, allowing Skytrak to more effectively record the ball speed, launch angle and ball spin.
Can some Skytrak delay be a good thing?
Bare with me on this one!
I am totally in agreement that excess post shot delays will reduce the immersiveness of a golf simulator, especially for those using projectors and impact screens.
However, every cloud has a silver lining.
The 3-4 second delay in my Skytrak setup allows me to ensure I complete my swing properly, making a proper follow through without lifting my head to see where it has gone. I am able to retrieve my ball and take a break between shots too.
I believe in deliberate, targeted golf practice. You need to be able to work on a specific drill or feeling in your practice.
My short Skytrak delay is noticeable but it allows me to make the most of the shots I do hit. I know I would end up hitting more balls if I had zero delay but I do question whether I would gain anything extra from doing so.
You have to make sure your slower, more targeted practice doesn’t translate into slow play on the course though!
Is a 2+ second delay the end of the world?
Some people will exhaust our checklist of causes of Skytrak post impact delay and still experience a delay of between 2 and 4 seconds. This will cause further frustration. Delays greater than 4-5 seconds should prompt you to seek further assistance from Skytrak support.
I would ask though, is a short delay really the end of the world? Of all the problems you could face, this is quite a minor one.
If you still have a frustrating delay that is ruining your golf simulator experience then take a look at the ‘next step up’ launch monitors.
They’re a relative newcomer to the golf simulation market compared to Skytrak. Their QED launch monitor fills the gap between Skytrak and the GC range from Foresight.
Skytrak Delay Prevention Checklist
Okay, let’s recap.
These tips will help you identify why you’re experiencing a delay between your golf shot impact and the shot becoming visible.
- First, address the device on which you’re running the Skytrak app or simulation software. You should have plenty computing power with which to run Skytrak.
- You could borrow a friend’s more powerful device (computer or tablet), install the Skytrak app and set up. If the delay falls away then you know the device is your problem.
- Ensure your device and Skytrak application is up to date
- Check your Wifi connection on an alternative device. You can use a broadband speed checker to ascertain your connection speed isn’t glacial.
- If you’ve been using network mode, try either Direct Mode or USB mode and see if there is a dramatic difference. If the delay improves immediately then it actually was your network that was the problem
- Those golfers still experiencing a delay can contact SkyTrak support, or even look at upgrading their launch monitor.
Despite everything we have said in this article, I would say that if you have a modern computer setup or a good tablet in 2020, that you stand a decent chance of having enough computing power.
Skytrak was released in november 2014. Computing power has come on quite a bit since then so you don’t need such a relatively high end PC to run the setup as you did back then.
My goals are to improve the experience of everyone with a home golf simulator, and to provide all the information needed for prospective buyers before they make their choice.
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