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Lower half of golf reviewer Marc in front of a GolfJoy GDS Plus in an indoor golf simulator

GolfJoy GDS Plus Review: Does It Compete With the Best Golf Launch Monitors of 2024?

Can this popular top-seller in China compete with the best golf launch monitors of 2024? Find out why our golf reviewer, Marc, says the GDS Plus is worth considering. A why it might not be the right fit every golfer.

Just when I thought I had a handle on all of the best golf launch monitor and simulator options of 2024, along comes a product that, while not entirely new, isn’t yet firmly established in the United States.

GolfJoy comes to us from parent company Shenzhen Greenjoy Technology Co., Ltd, a Chinese golf equipment manufacturer. It seems that the photometric GDS Plus launch monitor and the company’s radar-based Waver device have been popular sellers in China for a while. But I had never heard of this brand or these products until January’s PGA Show in Orlando.

That’s where they attracted at least some stateside attention, mostly due to the extremely crisp, detailed, lifelike graphics of their simulator software. At the show, those graphics were stunning and definitely piqued some interest in seeing if the accompanying hardware was legit. 

Front view of the GolfJoy GDS Plus launch monitor on a wooden table

Over the past few weeks, I’ve finally had the opportunity to get hands-on with the GDS Plus. And at the risk of spoiling the suspense, I’ll say that it does have its place on the list of golf launch monitors worth considering in 2024. There’s a lot that I really love about it. And for certain use cases, I think it could be a good buy.

But there are also some things I really don’t like about the GDS Plus. And a few of those things are going to be deal-breakers for some consumers. For those reasons, which I’ll explain in detail, I don’t think this device is going to be a great fit for everyone.

Here’s what we’ve got with the GDS Plus:

  • A photometric golf launch monitor that costs less than competitors like the Foresight Sports GC3, Bushnell Launch Pro, and SkyTrak+.
  • A launch monitor with an impressive array of ball and club data metrics.
  • A device that has third-party simulator software compatibility and that features its own very impressive proprietary software package.
  • Subscription fees for those who want to access that awesome software.

If that sounds like a familiar snapshot, it should. It’s a similar story to the selling points and drawbacks of several of the best golf simulators available today.

The job here is to figure out where in the pecking order the GolfJoy GDS fits. Is it worth the asking price? Does it work worth a damn? Is it worth buying this over other options?

As always, I’m on it. Let’s get to it.

Unboxing the GolfJoy GDS Plus Golf Launch Monitor 

The contents of the GolfJoy GDS Plus package on a wooden table

OK, so my first impressions here are something of a mixed bag. Let me explain.

First of all, the GDS Plus is no joke. It’s a legitimate, hardy, robust, extremely well-built product. Size, weight, and build quality are all on par with the Foresight GC3 and Bushnell Launch Pro. And I’d actually rate the fit, finish, and feel of the GDS Plus ahead of the SkyTrak+.

I really like the design of the launch monitor itself. It’s super sleek, clean, and classy. It’s actually shaped very similarly to the GC3 and Launch Pro.

But it gets better.

What those other golf launch monitors don’t come with is a carrying case. Not only do you get one with the GDS Plus, but you actually get what might be the very best golf launch monitor carrying case I’ve ever seen. It’s a full-fledged, highly-functional, quality backpack, complete with tons of pockets, storage areas, and a molded space that perfectly fits the launch monitor itself.

Side view of the black GolfJoy GDS Plus backpack sitting on a table

Seriously, this backpack is a beauty. I’m certainly not saying its reason enough to buy the GDS Plus, but I am saying that it absolutely does add some value. That’s especially true if you plan to use this golf launch monitor both indoors and outdoors. Transporting the GDS Plus, for as large as it is, couldn’t be easier thanks to this backpack. I love it.

View of the GolfJoy GDS Plus unit and accessories in the open backpack laying on a table

There’s no built-in handle on the neck of the GDS Plus the way that there is on the GC3 or Launch Pro. But the backpack more than makes up for it.

But there’s something that’s a little weird when you first see the GDS Plus. And that is that it looks identical to the OptiShot BallFlight launch monitor. Incidentally, OptiShot has a launch monitor called the Orbit that looks identical to the Swing Caddie SC4. So there’s that.

Clearly someone is manufacturing this hardware and it’s not exclusive to just one brand. Is that a deal killer? I don’t think so. I say that because the software from these different companies is definitely different. So they certainly are different products. But it is something that’s worth noting. And if I’m being honest, it is something that introduces a bit of a “knock off” kind of vibe to the equation when you’re considering whether or not the GolfJoy GDS Plus is a best golf launch monitor candidate.

And, finally, the last thing that jumps to mind as soon as you see the GDS Plus is that it has only two cameras. Because it looks so similar to a GC3 and Launch Pro, your brain (or at least mine) looks for that third lens. But with the GDS Plus, there’s only two.

That, of course, begs the question of whether or not the two-camera GolfJoy GDS Plus is accurate enough to be considered on the same level as some of the more proven competitors.

Another Space-Saving Golf Simulator Option

One of the best things about golf launch monitors that measure shots from the side of the golf ball rather than from behind it is that they require a lot less room space.

A radar-based launch monitor — something like the FlightScope Mevo Plus, Full Swing KIT, or Rapsodo MLM2PRO — can require as much as 21 feet of room depth to operate properly indoors. That’s more space than many people have to dedicate to a golf simulator studio.

With a photometric launch monitor like the GDS Plus, you really only need enough room to swing the golf club without damaging anything and so that the ball can hit the screen or net without ricocheting back into the golfer.

The tradeoff, of course, is that a photometric unit that sits to the side of the ball will need to be moved back and forth if you’re playing with both righties and lefties at the same time. A radar unit can stay in its fixed position.

But aside from the righty/lefty issue, it’s very nice to have another space-saving golf simulator option. We’ve really only seen a handful of these types of monitors, and some of them are very expensive. To now have the GDS Plus, which starts at $1,890, is a nice addition to the list of choices. The more legitimate products that come out, the better chance that all of us will enjoy the most competitive pricing and feature sets.

Outdoors on the range, the GDS Plus did pick up the golf ball consistently and reliably. Granted, I was hitting from short, fairway-like driving range grass. But to have a photometric monitor that can easily track outdoor shots off of natural turf is a big plus. Not every golf launch monitor does that very well.

Now it’s time to find out if the GDS Plus brings more to the table than just good looks, a great backpack, space-saving opportunities, and outdoor reliability.

GolfJoy GDS Plus Data Metrics and Accuracy

The GDS Plus comes in two different model options. For $1,890, you get the ball data-only model, which gives you:

  • Total distance
  • Carry distance
  • Roll distance
  • Ball speed
  • Club speed
  • Smash factor
  • Deviation
  • Launch angle
  • Back spin
  • Apex
  • Landing angle
  • Launch direction
  • Side spin
  • Hang time
  • Spin rate
  • Spin axis
  • Center line
  • Curve

That’s actually a really impressive list of metrics. There’s a ton of really useful information possibilities from this data.

Then, for $3,599, you can get the ball and club data model, which adds:

  • Attack angle
  • Face angle
  • Club path
  • Face to path

It does feel a tad steep to me to add more than $1,700 to upgrade from the ball data to the ball and club data. Foresight Sports charges another $1,000 to step up from the ball data to ball and club data model. For the Bushnell Launch Pro, it’s $1,500 for the upgrade. But for the GolfJoy GDS Plus, it’s another $1,709. Ouch.

But the real issue with the GDS Plus has mostly to do with the reliability of that data. From my experience and findings, I’d put the accuracy in the “good not great” bucket. 

The biggest problem I had was with the club data. On several shots throughout my testing both indoors and outdoors, the GDS Plus was spitting out club path measurements that would suggest, for example, a massive pull to the left with a severely closed club face. But the Foresight Sports GC Hawk that I was using at a commercial simulator space reported numbers that were much more in line with the slight pull that I was feeling and seeing.

The club data inaccuracies weren’t constant, but I couldn’t track down what variables led to the discrepancies. Sometimes the numbers from the GDS Plus would nearly match the GC Hawk, and other times they were way off. Whenever there was a big difference, it was obvious that the Hawk was the more correct of the two. To me, too often the club data was not trustworthy.

Overall, the ball data on the GDS Plus was very solid, but carry distance was concerning at times. It wasn’t on every shot, but I can say in general that the carry distances I was getting throughout the bag with the GDS Plus were between 3 and 6 yards shorter than what I saw with the GC Hawk. But then, somewhat randomly with shorter clubs, the GDS Plus would report a carry distance that was 10 yards or more longer than the Hawk.

Metrics like smash factor, ball speed, and club speed were generally spot on with the GDS Plus. Impressive actually.

To me, 3 to 6 yards of carry distance discrepancy is a fairly big deal on most clubs up to maybe the woods and driver. I’d like to see the tolerances a little tighter.

That said, as we’ll get into, if you’re trying to play some really fun and visually appealing simulator golf, the GDS Plus could make a lot of sense. If that experience is your biggest priority, you may be able to overlook that slight carry yardage inaccuracy and the suspicious club data.

GolfJoy GDS Plus: The Simulator Software May Be the Standout Feature

I saw GolfJoy’s full-blown simulator software on display at the 2024 PGA Show, and it was gorgeous. I’m talking impressive on the level of some of the best from Foresight Sports and GSPro. Extremely sharp graphics and beautiful detail that includes tree leaves and branches fluttering in the breeze.

But there are a couple of things that are a little frustrating about the GolfJoy simulator software. One is the information that’s available. There’s a lot about the GolfJoy communications experience — the instruction manual and portions of the website, especially — that clearly was translated into English. It’s not always super intuitive to follow the English instructions and information and get a handle on exactly what’s going on.

Also, for what it’s worth, if you do have questions, you’ll need to interact with customer service via email. They don’t provide a phone number, which may be an annoyance for some people.

Another frustration is the same as it is with several of today’s best golf simulators: subscriptions. The GolfJoy Gold software license gives you:

  • 25 simulator golf courses
  • Two driving ranges plus chipping and putting ranges
  • Four mini games
  • Online match play
  • 2K image pixels

But it costs $439 per year. Ugh…

As for the simulator golf courses, they do have Pebble Beach. And it looks beautiful!

Configuration requirements to run the GolfJoy software:

  • Operating system: 64-bit Windows 10 or higher
  • Processor: Intel i5-10600 or higher are recommended
  • Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 or higher
  • Memory: Minimum of 16GB system RAM

One great thing about the GDS Plus is that it’s compatible with third-party software, including from GSPro and E6 Connect. That’s a big plus for a lot of users.

You can also use the GDS Plus without paying for any simulator software subscriptions. They have a free app, called GolfJoy Lite, that is very basic but totally functional. You’ll get a simple driving range, a combines section that allows you to set distances and offline allowances to dial in your accuracy, and long drive and closest-to-the-pin skills challenges.

For the most part, I’ve liked using the GolfJoy Lite app. It’s easy to fire up, and it’s super responsive. The delay times from when you hit a shot to when the shot tracer shows up on the range are next to nothing. It’s as immediate as I’ve seen in a golf simulator.

I will say that the shot tracer itself looks flat and a little 2D compared to what I see with other golf launch monitor software. On the GDS Plus, it tends to look like every shot you hit is a low stinger. You just don’t get as great of a feel for the height of the shots.

Another drawback of the GolfJoy Lite app is that, while your range sessions are saved and the data is available for you to review, the shot tracer replays of your shots are not stored. So you can’t go back and relive the visual of your ball flights.

The combines and skills challenges features in the app are pretty basic, but they work well and are definitely game-improvement useful.

Seeing as the graphics of the full-blown GolfJoy software are the real showstopper here, you’re probably going to end up paying the annual subscription if you do buy a GolfJoy GDS Plus. So, is the GDS Plus retail price plus the subscription fee worth it? Let’s examine it compared to a couple of competitors.

GolfJoy GDS Plus Price and Value Proposition

Again, you can get the GolfJoy GDS Plus ball data model for $1,890. Or the ball and club data model for $3,599. Then, to access the best of the GolfJoy simulator software, you’ll have to pay $439 annually.

You can get a Bushnell Launch Pro ball data only model for $2,629.99 or a ball and club data model for $4,129.99. Then, to play simulator golf, you’ll need to pay another $499 per year after a free first year.

So the GolfJoy GDS Plus does offer some savings over the Launch Pro, which is a similar style golf launch monitor. The problem for the GDS Plus, I think, is that the Launch Pro is a better product.

It really comes down to how good of a golf launch monitor you need. I think the Launch Pro is more accurate than the GDS Plus, but is that worth several hundred dollars? Not for everyone. Especially when you consider the beautiful simulation experience with the GDS Plus.

At $2,995, the SkyTrak+ is another good comparison. It includes both ball and club data. And its top-level subscription is only $249 per year. In that regard, it looks on the surface to be a better deal than the GDS Plus. However, the SkyTrak+ struggles to pick up the golf ball when you’re hitting off of natural grass. So for those golfers who want to use their launch monitor both indoors and outdoors, the GDS Plus may be preferable.

Then there’s something like the Foresight Sports GC3. It’s the same launch monitor as the Launch Pro only without any annual subscriptions. Instead, you can get a ball data only model for $5,999 or a ball and club data model for $6,999.99. Each of those comes with 25 simulator golf courses and Awesome Golf. Ultimately, the GC3 is likely the way to go if you want the best accuracy and you plan to own the launch monitor for several years.

Should You Buy the GolfJoy GDS Plus?


I actually think the GolfJoy GDS Plus is priced about right. It’s less expensive than the GC3, Launch Pro, and SkyTrak+. But it’s also not as good of a golf launch monitor as those competing products.

There’s a lot to like about the GDS Plus. The gorgeous simulator software, the build quality of the launch monitor, the included backpack, the fact that you can hit off of natural grass. I think all of those are great selling points.

GDS Plus accuracy, especially with the ball data and carry distances, are not good enough for top-level players.

The golfer who I think is a fit for the GDS Plus is the one who doesn’t require pinpoint-perfect accuracy, who wants to save a little money, who may be tight on indoor space, and who wants a really entertaining golf simulator experience.

In the end, I think the GDS Plus delivers on fun and entertainment but comes up a bit short on game improvement for real hardcores. I think it is a worthy candidate for someone who wants to save some money and doesn’t mind sacrificing a little performance. It’s nice to have that kind of option on the golf launch monitor market.

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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