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My brief review of the ES Tour Plus.

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  • My brief review of the ES Tour Plus.

    OK, I did a lot of research on looking for a launch monitor for my Sim environment that would work. My primary issue was the distance from the screen. I have a number of low-end LMs that work very nicely in my space. But Mivo+ was ruled out due to the need for a flat floor, I'm working on an elevated mat, but primarily the space between the Mivo+ and the tee. They recommend 10ft for that. I had a wood frame closet that was really messing made my backswing, and it made me rule out most optical LMs, but even with that obstruction is gone I'm still short with only 8-9ft clearance behind the tee. The second choice was Skytrak which is the device everyone seems to throw love at. I was almost there, but the wait until Sept (now Oct) nixed it. SkyTrak can have issues with putting and has occasional misses with chips and other swings from lighting. My lighting will vary from the time of day, and a window makes sure of that. So what I found that fit was the ES Tour Plus (and updated rebuilt ES16 Tour). It met the short space requirements and quality numbers I was looking for. It's IR Optical stereo and quad radar-based; having over-under stereo radar coming and going. I've yet to open the system, but I suspect it may even have some computational assistance from FPGAs and other Image processing type hardware tricks.

    So, basically following the simple instructions that came with the unit, I was up and swinging on the ES driving range in about the time it took to download the software. It talks via Bluetooth (BT) so just put the USB cable away in case you needed it to access the USB-serial interface it has onboard. Anyway, the system itself masks all of its tech with a simple and easy to use driving range software, perfect for club fitting. I think Jay noticed this but because the ESTour stands about a foot from your ball, it's kind of intimidating. But all swings seemed to be right in the grove with everything else I've used. It has a little lag in the launch but it's not unlike what you see with Skytrak. Compared to say the Tittle. the feel is much more robust because you can aim! That is probably the coolest aspect of an advanced LM in a SIM environment. So for me, when I see a ball strike the screen on the left side of center, I know for sure it will fly left. Same for right, left, up, down. I saw no flaws in the distance, ball flight, and carry with iron play, woods, or hybrids. Putting was just extraordinary for me. I've been using the EXPutt to sharpen my putting lately, and this was playing nearly as well. Someday, I'll have to do a head-to-head of the ESTour. It was that good at putting and something I know the Skytrak folks will be envious of in the future.

    You will notice I did not include Chipping or Wedges. If the wedge shot calls for a normal golf swing for a 50 - 80 yards with SW, it's fine. It works great. If it calls for SW and you play it too lightly, there may be a chance it will miss and not register a swing at all. What frustrated me was if it did register the strike for the wedge and it registered the swing, it may sometime only go half of what you expected (Note; I'm talking about E6 Connect with terrain penalties on so it plays roughs very hard). As an odd note, I resolved this in-game by playing a PW and using the same swing. Chipping was the challenge. Most all fell what short of what I expected on ball flight carry, and roll out. I would sometimes even see backspin on a chip-n-roll attempt. So clearly the software developers at Ernest Sports have just a few parts of the simulation in need of a revisit and revision.

    That said, I was able to do a firmware upgrade that fixed some issues so the software lifecycle is promising. If there were anything on my wishlist of the ES16 tour, it would be to change the LCDs to something more visible. I would do the orange-reversed-LCDs for visibility (the old black on grey LCDs are just so the 1980s). Second, in the calibration of the unit, there are many other parameters accessible. ES should document them and make them available to the customer along with the factory-tuned defaults setting. It could be presented as a certificate of calibration that engineers often get with a device. I would also like to see documentation on how to access the serial-USB interface with the unit. Lastly, I would love to see or have the ability to see an image from all of the sensors in a stand-alone diagnostic tool. This would allow me to isolate or remove issues in the environment that would be interfering with the operation of the unit. Lastly, in standalone mode, it would be nice to get more info from the unit that smash-factor, club-head speed, and ball speed. it would be nice to get some of the extended data that ES Tour provides in the (reversed orange LCD) like club data, and ball spin data.

    All said the ES Tour plus is one sweet unit even with the flaws. I know of no other SIM that can track as much as this unit, in the price range, and with the multiple levels of technology it's using. It's a very cool piece of engineering and with some minor efforts, it could become the king, the favorite unit of choice. I hope I see lots of firmware updates coming.
    Last edited by Chuck; 09-28-2020, 02:06 AM.

  • #2
    Awesome Chuck - I would like to see a comparison of putting with ES Tour Plus vs. ProTee Putting Sensor. I'm still finishing off my build, but I'm hoping that once I'm done that the putting sensor will give me so much accuracy I'll be able to line up putts from any distance to points on the screen (aiming left/right) and try to hit breaking putts that way, rather than the old 'straight putt every time' after aligning the putt on the screen to the break point. I just don't think that is realistic enough to help me improve.

    I think you're right, for the price, ES Tour Plus may be hard to beat, have to see how long it takes for firmware updates and changes. There have been quite a few complaints up here, and I'm not sure I could trust ES - until they show a steady (consistent and timely) year of updates/improvements to a product, and have someone like you report on it.


    • #3
      That's a really cool idea Brettster. I've not had a chance to try the Pro-tee putting sensor sadly, but I do have an EXPUTT, and It would be cool to have an EXPUTT vs ES Tour Plus in a putt off. I consider the EXPUTT the gold standard of putting simulation. It's very very very good and the ES Tour should be able to work on the EXPUTT mat without issue. Should be fun and I should be able to show how the toe-in affects the sim(s). Actually, it will be sim-vs-sim thinking about it. I'll let everyone know what I find.


      • #4
        Love to see the 'putt-off' Chuck - have you had a chance to compare them yet? Make a video?