Winter golf in the Northeast while sometimes possible is usually not much fun and occasional trips to warmer temperatures just don’t cut it, so what’s a conrmed golf-a-holic to do? A good answer (though not necessarily an inexpensive one) is take advantage of the latest in computer technology of a golf simulator at a local facility or installation in your home. As the name says, simulators “simulate” playing a round of golf on a course layout projected on a screen or for the less expensive units on a computer.
Simulators are great for a family fun night or playing an entire round competing against your friends or simply keeping your swing ne tuned when there’s snow on the ground. In choosing a simulator take the time to research how the unit depicts shots. Most simulators give a realistic screen image but it’s also important how each unit stores and displays swing data so you can use them as a self-teaching tool. Additionally some models have the capability to double as home theaters or video game play stations and come with sides that fold out of the way making them potential ‘man-cave’ must haves.
The bottom line is golf simulators are a lot of fun to use and may even help you improve your swing while providing hours of entertainment, but do your research and thoroughly check out features and pricing.
AboutGolf makes several models of simulators but unless you have an abundance of room the compact basic one is a good choice. e enclosure may be customized with hard walls and the unit has a durable full screen plus a 19” touch screen to display data and their proprietary 3Trak machine vision software. is is a serious system with good graphics and the standard launch monitor data collection. It all fits into a manageable space of 12’ wide by 16’ long by 10’ 6” high. e company has been in business for over 20 years with worldwide marketing and has endorsement deals with the PGA Tour and the Golf Channel. Entry level pricing is $21,500 but of course that depends on how many bells and whistles you need.
Full Swing Golf
The Champion version simulator from Full Swing has some very nice features including the E6 live motion software package. Full Swing prides itself on making the golf experience realistic and their E6 software makes use of powerful graphics hardware and software. As the company says, “Waves crash at Pebble Beach, clouds drift at St. Andrews, and rain showers fall at Kauri Clis in New Zealand.”
Full Swing in-house CAD ensures each installation will fit the space requirement with the basic enclosures measuring 20’ long by 13’ wide by 10.5’ high. Included is a 17” touch screen for controlling the system. Of interest is the option to add Swing Catalyst that includes swing balance analysis to the usual club and ball data collection.
High Definition Golf
Based in Canada, High Denition Golf simulators run the gamut of technical sophistication and do not require a special sub-oor for sensors and retractable soft sides. The frame and screen are self-supporting using floor bolts with no wall or ceiling modifications. The Executive model take a space 9’ high by 12’ wide by 20’ long to set up and makes use, as do all the company’s simulators, of Interactive Sports Technologies 3D modeling for that combines high resolution digital images, satellite data and geophysical data into 3D models. This means the screen images are accurate everywhere on the course showing every tree, bunker and hazard. The computer stores detailed shot data with video swing analysis display on an easy to use plug and play touch screen. Pricing starts at $40,000.
Dancin’ Dogg – OptiShot
The practice mat with 16 infrared optical sensors is the heart of this system and it may used with regular or foam golf balls (3 included). For $399 the basic unit includes software for a Windows computer, a 10 foot long USB cable and 14-preloaded courses, including host sites of the 2010 U.S. Open (“Monterey Classic”) and PGA Championship (“Whispering Dunes”), as well as The Players Championship (“Ponte Vedra”). Swing data is reported for clubhead speed, face angle, swing path, distance, tempo and contact (toe/center/heel) plus there are play and practice modes. They offer a premium package which includes a hitting net, a driver (not necessary but specially design for use with the unit) and more course layouts.