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Foresight Sports GC3 Golf Launch Monitor Review: No Subscriptions! But Is It Worth it?

Foresight Sports GC3 Golf Launch Monitor Review: No Subscriptions! But Is It Worth it?

Can you get a better, more accurate launch monitor for your indoor golf simulator for the price of the GC3? Our golf reviewer Marc gives you the straight story on this most affordable Foresight Sports GLM!

The Foresight Sports GC3 certainly isn’t the only great golf launch monitor option.

But it’s definitely one of the best.

When you combine that with the fact that it’s also one of the only choices you have that allows for top-level accuracy without the need to pay an ongoing annual subscription, it might be the obvious choice for a lot of golfers serious about long-term improvement and golf simulator fun.

But I already knew all of that before I ever tried the GC3. Its reputation as a super legit golf launch monitor is well understood by anyone following the space. Hell, just turn on the TV and watch the pros warm up on the range, and you’ll see a lot of Foresight Sports technology by way of the GC3’s big brothers, the GCQuad and QuadMAX.

With the opportunity to finally get hands-on with the Foresight Sports GC3, I wanted to confirm all of those things that I had read about as well as learn whatever I didn’t already know. I wanted to see, firsthand, just how easy it was to set up and operate, how accurately it recorded shot data, and if there were any hidden pain points that I didn’t know about.

Now, I’ve got those answers, and I’m going to share my findings with you. Read on for my no-holds-barred, in-depth review of the Foresight Sports GC3. If you’re shopping for a golf launch monitor, there’s a lot of information here you’ll want to consider.

Foresight Sports GC3 vs Bushnell Launch Pro

The Foresight Sports GC3 next to a Bushnell Launch Pro golf launch monitor for comparison in an indoor golf simulator on a golf hitting mat next to some golf balls

First things first, let’s knock out the biggest confusion about the GC3, which is how it compares with the Bushnell Launch Pro. In my opinion, the branding and marketing geniuses at these companies haven’t done us any favors in helping us understand these two products and how they differ. And if you search online, you’re in for a wild ride of varying information.

I’ll say it as clearly as I can: The Foresight Sports GC3 and Bushnell Launch Pro are the exact same golf launch monitor. They both use the same three cameras to record the same data metrics. They’re the same shape and size. They set up and work exactly the same. It’s a whole lot of the same.

The difference between the two is entirely related to price. Basically, with the Bushnell Launch Pro, you pay as you go. And with the Foresight Sports GC3, you pay once, and you’re done. It’s as simple as that. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like to be nickeled-and-dimed and doesn’t want to keep track of a subscription account, you’re probably a much better candidate for the GC3 than you are for the Bushnell Launch Pro.

You’ve got three options with the GC3. You can get just ball data plus 25 built-in simulator golf courses. Or you can get ball and club data with the same sim options. Or you can buy a version that gives you ball and club data, those same simulator courses plus an additional 10 premium simulator golf courses. Each option also includes Awesome Golf. Here’s how the GC3 pricing breaks down.

  • GC3 Ball Enabled Bundle (Ball Data Only) with 25 sim courses and Awesome Golf = $5,999.00
  • GC3 Essentials Plus Bundle (Ball and Club Data) with 25 sim courses and Awesome Golf = $7,999.00
  • GC3 Players Plus Bundle (Ball and Club Data) with 25 sim courses PLUS 10 premium courses and Awesome Golf = $8,499.00

I’ll get into what those built-in simulator golf course options include as well as whether the 10 premium golf courses are worth the additional cost later in this review.

Here’s how the Bushnell Launch Pro pricing works:

  • Ball Data Only Launch Pro = $1,999.99
  • Ball and Club Data Launch Pro = $3,499.99
  • Gold software package for simulation capability with either Launch Pro model = $499 per year after a free 14-day trial.

So with the Launch Pro, if you want to play simulator golf, you’ll have to pay $500 every year. With the GC3, you’re good to go the day you get the unit and for everyday thereafter.

You’re probably wondering how we ever got to the point of having two identical products with different brand names and different pricing models.

In 2021, Bushnell’s parent company, Vista Outdoor, bought Foresight Sports. At that point, Foresight was already selling the GC3. So rather than just leaving things as they were, Bushnell decided to re-brand the GC3 as the Bushnell Launch Pro, all while continuing to sell the GC3.

Like I said, the whole thing is a ball of confusion. But who really cares? What matters is that we’ve got two kickass golf launch monitors. And if you hate subscriptions, the GC3 might be the better choice for you.

That is, of course, if it works as well as advertised. Let’s find out.

Setting Up the Foresight Sports GC3: It Doesn’t Get Any Easier Than This

The Foresight Sports GC3 laying on a table at PlayBetter in its open box

I’ve tested a lot of golf launch monitors. And the GC3 and Launch Pro are, without question, the simplest and most convenient to use.

It’s all about the built-in LCD display on the launch monitor itself. With other products, you have to interface with an app to see the results of your shots. This incredibly useful feature comes into play mostly when you’re outdoors at the driving range. With the GC3, you can see your data immediately after your shot, without having to pick up your phone or look back at a computer screen.

Now don’t get me wrong. You, of course, can connect your GC3 to the Foresight Sports software. And you’ll want to do that when you really want to study your shot data or when you want to play simulator golf. But for those times when you just want to work through a quick range sesh and get your numbers so that you can see if your distances and spin rates are where you expect them to be, this is my absolute favorite device.

Another thing I love about the GC3 is how easy it is to align. This part of the setup process can be a real pain with other devices, especially radar-based units that sit behind the ball and have to be perfectly in line with the ball and target. With the GC3, you basically just set it down and start firing shots. You should put an alignment stick down to make sure your GC3 is reading the same shot direction as where you’re aiming, but that literally takes just a few seconds.

Then there’s the build quality of the GC3. It is an absolute tank. It seriously makes some of the other really good golf launch monitors in this price range feel cheap by comparison. The GC3 is so solid and well built that it is the one golf launch monitor anywhere near this price point that when I pick it up, even before turning it on, I feel like it’s a high-quality product worth the asking price. In other words, the GC3 makes a hell of a first impression.

Now, let’s fire it up.

Foresight Sports GC3 Data and Accuracy

The Foresight Sports GC3 launch monitor being held in the hands of a PlayBetter employee over its packaging above a table

Here’s where we get to the really good stuff. If you’re going to spend thousands of dollars on a golf launch monitor, it needs to be accurate. And, of all the launch monitors under $10,000 that I’ve tested, the two that are the most accurate are the Foresight Sports GC3 and the Bushnell Launch Pro (remember, they are the exact same thing).

I have used the GCQuad and QuadMAX, and those units are the ultimate in accuracy. But they also cost a lot more money. Stay tuned for my complete reviews of those launch monitors.

What I’m trying to say is that if you want better accuracy than the GC3, it’s going to cost you more than what some people pay for a new car. And unless you’re a tour-level player, or just require the absolute best that money can buy, I don’t think you can do any better in terms of accuracy than the Foresight Sports GC3.

The Ball Data Only GC3 reads:

  • Carry Distance
  • Ball Speed
  • Total Spin
  • Horizontal Launch Angle
  • Vertical Launch Angle
  • Back Spin
  • Side Spin
  • Spin Tilt Axis

The Ball and Club Data model adds:

  • Clubhead Speed
  • Club Path
  • Angle of Attack
  • Smash Factor

For the GC3’s triscopic high-speed camera system to accurately read club data, you have to apply a small circular sticker to the top of the face of each golf club. I definitely don’t love that, but it’s also not a big deal. And the stickers are very durable. I’ve had them on my clubs for several months, ever since I reviewed the Launch Pro, and they are still intact and working even after repeated clubface washings.

If you play competitive tournament golf, the club stickers aren’t legal, so you’ll have to take them off and reapply new ones. But I don’t have that problem. I’m on more of the charity event scramble circuit than anything approaching serious, competitive golf.

I’m blown away by the accuracy of the GC3. And I’m impressed with the data set. But I do think that the data metrics could be a little bit better for the price. For example, with the FlightScope Mevo+, even before you add the Mevo+ Pro Package, you get 20 data metrics right out of the box, including things like clubhead speed, smash factor, and angle of attack. Then again, the Mevo+ is more finicky to set up than the GC3, and for as great as the Mevo is, I give the accuracy nod to the GC3.

But the real pros and cons of a photometric unit like the GC3 versus a radar unit like the Mevo Plus come into focus when we use these golf launch monitors indoors. And I’ve done just that.

Using the Foresight GC3 in a Golf Simulator Studio

 

The Foresight Sports GC3 golf launch monitor on a golf hitting mat in the PlayBetter warehouse

 

With its three-camera system, the GC3 reads golf shots from the side of the golf ball. This makes for a huge space-saving advantage. It means that you only need enough room behind you to comfortably swing a golf club.

Radar golf launch monitors sit usually at least 8 feet behind the golf ball. Think of how much extra room depth that requires. Also, radar units need several feet between the ball and hitting screen or net in order to accurately read the shot. But the GC3 gathers all of the information it needs at the moment of impact. That means that you only need enough space in front of you so that the ball can hit the screen or net without ricocheting back into your body.

While room size requirements, especially ceiling height, will vary depending on the height and length of the golfer, our general room-size recommendations for comfortably using a Foresight Sports GC3 indoors are:

  • 10 feet wide
  • 10 feet deep
  • 9 feet tall

Something like the Mevo Plus is probably going to require as much as 21 feet of room depth. That means that if you’re tight on space, the GC3 might become that much more of a no-brainer.

But before you make that decision final, just consider who is going to be using your golf simulator studio. If you plan to play indoor golf regularly with both righties and lefties, the GC3 is going to present a problem. That’s because you’re going to have to move the launch monitor from one side to the other every time you switch between a righty and a lefty. That’s not a very practical way to play a round of simulator golf. If that’s going to be a common scenario for you, you might be better off with a radar launch monitor that can stay in a fixed position behind the ball.

Using the Foresight Sports GC3 Outdoors

The GC3 weighs 5 pounds and is a foot tall, so it’s not like it’s portable to the point of being able to easily slide into your golf bag. But it does include a built-in handle that makes transport really simple.

All that to say that moving the launch monitor back and forth between your indoor sim studio and the outdoor driving range is kind of a mixed bag. It’s easy, but not something you’ll probably want to do all the time.

Once you do get the GC3 outdoors at the range, it’s a dream. I told you about how simple it is to set up, which is a great feature when you just want to get some quick numbers pre-round.

Another awesome advantage is that the GC3 can easily and accurately read shots hit off of both artificial and natural grass. A launch monitor like the SkyTrak+, by comparison, really struggles to get numbers when you’re hitting off of real grass. No such issue with the GC3. To me, that’s a big deal. If I’m outdoors at the range, I want to hit off of the same real grass that I’m going to play from out on the course.

Foresight Sports GC3 Golf Simulator Software Options

Foresight Sports GC3 being held by a hand over a golf hitting mat

Each of the GC3 bundles comes with:

  • FSX Play Software
  • FSX 2020 Software
  • FSX Pro Performance Software
  • 25 Golf Courses (an extra 10 premium courses with the Players Plus Bundle)

That means that you can play full-blown, really realistic simulator golf on the very same day that you get your GC3. And I’ve found that experience to be totally awesome. The graphics, especially with FSX Play, are stunning. If you’ve got a nice projector and impact screen, you’ll be blown away by how realistic you can make your indoor golf experience using the GC3.

One thing to note is that you will need a gaming computer to run the FSX software. So keep that in mind (and budget) if you’re planning a golf simulator studio.

As for the simulator golf courses that are included with the GC3, the 25 that come with each bundle are good but not great. There aren’t any household names included. The courses are still fun to play, and the graphics are great. But things get much, much better if you get into the Players Plus Bundle.

That’s where you add some of the biggest-named golf courses on the planet, including:

  • The Old Course at St Andrews
  • Pebble Beach
  • Spyglass Hill
  • The Links at Spanish Bay
  • More

It makes stepping up the Players Plus Bundle really tempting. Honestly, I think that if you’re going to set up a really nice sim studio, I think you’re just going to want to bite the bullet and go for it. To play these kinds of golf courses with graphics as realistic as what you get with FSX Play is just such a dream. You might never leave the house.

GC3 Subscriptions?

In most of my golf launch monitor reviews, this is around the time I like to talk about what subscriptions are required to get the most out of the launch monitor. But, of course, that’s not necessary with the GC3. So this will be the shortest section ever. How refreshing to be able to own a golf launch monitor without having to pay up every single year after you buy it.

But before you get too excited, just remember that if you want to play simulator golf with something other than what’s included in the Foresight Sports software offerings, you’re going to need to pay some kind of subscription to a third-party simulator software provider, like the $250 a year required for GSPro.

Should You Buy the Foresight Sports GC3?

I’m not going to spend your money for you. And I respect that the GC3 might be pushing the top end of a lot of prospective golf launch monitor users’ budgets.

But if you can afford it, and especially if you’re planning an indoor golf simulator setup that has room depth limitations, you’re not going to find a better and more accurate launch monitor for the price.

But, of course, the same can be said about the Bushnell Launch Pro. In settling that GC3 vs. Launch Pro debate, I think it’s fairly straightforward. If you only plan to own the launch monitor for a few years, get the Bushnell Launch Pro. But if you are in it for the long run, and especially if you despise subscriptions, then go with the GC3. It might sting at the time of purchase, but then you'll be done and free to play as much subscription-free golf as you want.

There are a lot of great golf launch monitor options available today, so do your research. But I think you’re going to have a hard time finding a better long-term solution than the Foresight Sports GC3. At the very least, I recommend making friends with someone who owns one.

About PlayBetter Golf Reviewer Marc Sheforgen

Marc "Shef" Sheforgen is a golf writer whose passion for the game far exceeds his ability to play it well. Marc covers all things golf, from product reviews and equipment recommendations to event coverage and tournament analysis. When he’s not playing, watching, or writing about golf, he enjoys traveling (often golf-related), youth sports coaching, volunteering, and record collecting.

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