Golf simulators have come a long way from the Dave & Buster days of golf simulation. New technology has driven the golf simulation to new incredible heights. The new realistic simulators are allowing golfers to practice and play golf indoors when the weather will not cooperate.
Golf simulators come in many forms and sizes. Models range from Wii Golf, which uses the Wii remote to replace the golf club and ball. On Wii Golf, players swing their arm to control a simulated golf club on the screen. The flight of the ball is displayed on either the user’s computer or TV screen.
The most-advanced golf simulators use computer vision-based camera systems that use high-speed cameras to track both the club and the golf ball after the golfer hits a regular golf ball with their own clubs. Other types will use a laser tracking system to track the ball and club.
These systems generally use a projector to display the golf shot on a large screen displaying either a photorealistic or computer generated golf course image in front of the player. Golf simulators are installed in a wide rage of locations including private homes, business offices, golf retail stores and new type of business, indoor golf centers.
Indoor golf centers typically have two to 12 golf simulators installed and offer golfers a way to play golf when the weather makes playing outside impractical. Some simulator companies are including video capability and pressure plate technology for teaching purposes that indoor centers are offering.
Some lower cost golf simulators use sensors contained in a golf hitting mat to monitor the club and ball contact zone and calculate the resulting golf shot. One of the most critical features for people considering installing a golf simulator is ceiling height. To be able to safely swing a golf club indoors requires a ceiling height of at least 10 feet, otherwise there is a real risk that some tall players might hit the roof with their golf club.
At the PGA Merchandise show last week, displays from most of the major golf simulator manufacturers were on hand to introduce their new innovations.
1. aboutGolf Limited
aboutGolf uses its proprietary 3Trak ball tracking technology to track the ball and club. That 3D machine vision technology, known as 3Trak, was released in May 2008 and has since revolutionized the indoor golf experience.
3Trak begins gathering club data as the club approaches the ball, and begins gathering ball data at the moment of impact. High-speed, 3D cameras gather images of the ball and the club at up to 2300 frames per second.
“The 3D realism of aboutGolf is second to none,” said Theodore Stechschulte, COO of aboutGolf. “We are dedicated to producing golf environments that feel, look and play like the real thing. We render all courses in full three dimensions using the latest in 3D graphics advancement. 3D environments, unlike photo-based systems, do not limit players to the areas of the course for which there are photographs. And aboutGolf 3D graphic environments allow the shot location to be a valid 3D position, resulting in a seamless play experience.”
The images provide direct measurements on extensive data related to the ball and club, providing useful information for instruction and improvement. The measurements are also used in conjunction with true-trajectory physics to accurately replicate the shot — regardless of its speed, direction or shape.
COST: aboutGolf simulators run from $39K to $90K, and 41 courses are available.
Advanced modules available – 1.) aG Flix video swing analysis, 2.) aG balance Pro force plate
2. Full Swing Golf
For more than 25 years, Full Swing Golf has dedicated itself to delivering the most innovative, high-quality, realistic and enjoyable golfing experience available on an indoor system. Some of the world’s most respected golf professionals also use Full Swing in their teaching and training regimens, such as Hank Haney, Ian Poulter, and Mark Wilson.
“Full Swing Golf has developed a new extension to its existing infrared tracking system,” according to Chad Coleman, Vice President of Sales for Full Swing Golf. “Utilizing a single high-speed camera to focus solely on ball spin and club head data, Full Swing Golf has truly mastered the art and science of ball flight. The ION camera captures detailed spin data using regular, unmarked balls including back spin, side spin, and spin axis. Displaying this information on-screen allows you to make better shot decisions. The ION camera gives you club head speed, club face angle, and club path information with intuitive on-screen illustrations of your club,so you can improve your swing.”
COST: Full Swing simulators run from $45,000 to $65,000 and 80 courses available.
Advance models include – 1.) Swing Catalyst, which includes High Speed cameras and Balance plate technology, 2.) SwinGuru, which will record, replay and analyze your swing in 3D.
3. High Definition Golf
Interactive Sports Technologies™ out of Vaughan, Ontario, Canada is the manufacturer of High Definition Golf™ simulators set a new standard in accuracy and realism for indoor golf. The simulator utilizes advanced computer vision technology to provide the most comprehensive and precise shot analysis in the simulator industry.
It has the unique capability to measure all critical ball and club parameters including: ball speed, club speed, launch angle, club face angle, ball spin and spin axis at high accuracy. These factors have made High Definition Golf™ simulators the system of choice for PGA Tour pros such as Stephen Ames and top golf Instructors like Jim McLean.
“In addition to pioneering computer vision technology for ball and club tracking in the golf simulator, Interactive Sports Technologies also developed a new method of 3D modeling for their simulators,” said Todd Richardson, President and CEO of High Definition Golf. “This revolutionary process combines high resolution digital images, satellite data and geophysical data into 3D models of golf courses that not only look real–they are completely accurate everywhere on the course. Every tree, bunker and hazard is faithfully reproduced exactly as you would see it if you were playing the actual course.”
COST: High Definition Golf simulators run from $35,000 to $65,000 and 25 courses available.
Advanced models include – 1.) Video swing analysis, 2.) Weight transfer analysis, 3.) Jim McLean’s 8 step swing module
4. X Golf Simulators
XGOLF out of Los Angeles, California was founded in 2000, and since then more than 3,000 systems have been sold worldwide, providing golf enthusiasts with a unique experience that emphasizes innovation coupled with honesty and integrity.
Industry firsts such as the variable lie stance platform and the automatic ball teeing system have allowed XGOLF to pull away from the pack. These distinguishing features, along with 19 patents, present a very special value proposition to its customers.
“Our goal is close the gap between reality and virtuality and in doing so, we distinguish XGOLF from the other golf simulators,” according to Ryan D’Arcy of X Golf USA. “Our XPLATE (Variable Lie Platform) and XBALL (Intelligent Auto-teeing System) are two unique features that will bring your golf simulation experience to a new dimension. X Golf also has sensors that capture 1 million data points per second. Proprietary software makes 6,000 calculations per second to measure ball and club data.”
The hardware and software innovations such as dynamic weight balance, short-game playability (12″ putts for example), 3D Collision that provides real geometric reactions to when a ball makes contact with an object, are all examples of how XGOLF has listened and adapted to address the needs of the most discerning golfers from around the world.
COST: X Golf simulators run from $35,000 to $65,000 and close to 100 courses available.
Advanced models include – 1) X Plate, variable lie positioning, 2) X Ball, intelligent teeing system, 3) X Balance, weight transfer plate, 4) X Birdie, video analysis
The very latest in golf simulator technology, the GolfBlaster3D Golf System out of Tampa, Florida allows golfers to play on some of the most famous golf courses in the world and use their own standard golfing equipment.
The GolfBlaster3D software has been created using the very latest graphics engines to allow the display of natural elements such as trees and bushes the highest level of realism. Not only are they portrayed in the highest level of detail but also they demonstrate tremendous realism when reacting with the wind.
“The GolfBlaster3D is so advanced and accurate,” said Jan Burger, Owner of GolfBlaster3D. “The system deploys a unique dual sensor tracking method that gathers information from both the golf ball and the club head. Therefore it is capable of detecting every possible kind of shot played with the ultimate of accuracy. Hooks, slices, fades, draws, lobs, pitches, putts etc are all reproduced with fantastic realism. We cannot imagine any other system having the same amount of accuracy and realism.”
COST: GolfBlaster3D simulators run from $25,000 to $55,000 and 40 courses available.
TruGolf out of Centerville, Utah offers affordable golf simulators.
The Technique consists of three different models: Technique Personal, Technique Pro, and Technique Prestige. Each Technique consists of an easy to assemble aluminum frame with netting, their TruTrac Dual Tracking System with Integrated Swing Analyzer and are loaded with technology previously only available with very high-end systems.
Perfect for the golfer desiring a year-round indoor golf experience with less cost, but designed with the teaching pro in mind. Portable, affordable, and feature rich, the Technique is unmatched in quality.
TruGolf also can integrate TrackMan or FlightScope with their premium systems for home and business models.
“Built for lasting performance in a commercial environment and flexible in design to appeal to any aesthetic; our system is fully customizable, allowing you to create an environment the entire family can embrace,” said Dave Ashby, executive vice president for TruGolf.
COST: TruGolf simulators run from $7,995 to $55,000 and 83 courses available.
7. Foresight Sports
The company’s motto is “Not just Simulation. Performance Simulation. ”
“The same innovative thinking that went into developing the GC2 Smart Camera System has gone into the simulation solutions that it powers,” said Rick Cuellar from Foresight Sports. “The result is Performance Simulation™ by Foresight Sports. Built on a strong but lightweight modular aluminum frame and finished with impact-resistant nylon-based materials, our simulation solution delivers durable, long lasting performance that lets you get the most out of your GC2-powered simulation experience. And like the GC2, our Performance Simulation solutions give you everything you need at a fraction of the cost of comparative solutions. Our Performance Simulation solutions deliver unprecedented accuracy and performance-enhancing analysis that matters – including verifiably accurate back and side spin data that gives you a true-to-life depiction of each and every shot. Used by the biggest names in golf. Featured in the corporate and VIP fitting studios of Cobra/Puma, Cleveland Golf, Adams Golf and Fujikura, as well as the R&D labs of TaylorMade and PING, GC2-powered Performance Simulation solutions are used by the most trusted and respected brands in golf. “
Following on the revolutionary GC2 Smart Camera System, Foresight Sports out of San Diego, California introduces HMT – Head Measurement Technology – a ground-breaking innovation that combines with the GC2 to precisely capture club head data with an ease and accuracy never before seen.
With HMT, a complete picture of your swing analysis and club head performance is now at your fingertips. Instantly see critical data such as club head velocity, horizontal club path, smash factor and dynamic loft and lie — even impact location — with the same unmatched accuracy you’re used to in the GC2.
COST: Foresight Simulators run from $35,000 to $75,000 and 80 courses available.
8. Dancin’ Dogg Golf
OptiShot out of Traverse City, Michigan is an affordable, accurate and portable home golf simulator.
“Until now your only option to practice at home has been to hit into a net,” said Brandon Theophilus, President/CEO of Dancin’ Dogg. “If you’re practicing into a net, you’re missing out on observing your ball’s flight. This means you’re not getting the critical feedback needed to improve your swing. You’re left guessing as to what’s actually happening to your golf shots and will end up practicing the wrong thing over and over again. With OptiShot you can practice with accuracy – great for longer clubs, keep it on your target line, practice with precision – helps you get closer to flags, more birdie puts, see the pattern of your shots – dispersion feature and track progress through time – full session data display. Whether you’re on the driving range in Practice Mode or challenging yourself to a championship course in Play Mode, you will get realistic and accurate feedback. The combination of shot analysis and shot tracer technology puts the information right in front of you so you can make the adjustments necessary to routinely hit better shots with every club in your bag.”
Sixteen advanced optical sensors accurately measure your club through the impact zone capturing shot impact conditions and instantaneously transmitting them through the USB cable to the software.
COST: OptiShot models run from $399 to $4,000 and 21 course available.
9. Unex Golf
A new company to the portable simulator market has emerged.
“Practice your golf swing, right from the comfort of your own home or office!” said Andi Upson from Unex Golf. “No need to run back and forth to the keyboard between shots — use the built-in buttons on the golf pad to control the game with your foot.You’ll get detailed visual feedback after each shot.You can practice with the weight and size of your real golf clubs. UNEX plug and play is easy to operate. Just launch the program and plug your USB cable into the computer and swing pad. UNEX may also be routed to your television or projector through HDMI.”
Accuracy — UNEX Anyshot Golf Video Software gives you precise measurements of your shot and difficulty levels can be adjusted for game purposes verses skill enhancement. Practice on different courses — a variety of course will give you the maximum skill-building benefits. Our virtual software is so advanced that with panoramic projectors (not included), the UNEX software can project on three screens and put you inside the panoramic golf gaming experience. Enjoy the detailed, realistic graphics on your desktop monitor or laptop screen.
It’s easy to adjust your settings using the UNEX Anyshot software for a totally customized golf game.
COST: Unex AnyShot goes for $399 and 14 courses are available.
Story written by Christian Alderucci
Members’ Choice: The top-5 drivers that golfers want to test in 2018
Golf’s “off-season” is upon us and the PGAM Show in Orlando is quickly approaching in January, which means it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming driver releases.
We’ve seen a few companies launch their “2018” lines already — such as Cobra with its new King F8 and F8+ — while speculation swirls around the companies who have yet to announce their newest products. For instance, we’ve spotted a new “TaylorMade M4″ driver, and a new “Rogue” driver from Callaway. If history repeats itself and Titleist remains on a two-year product cycle, then we’ll see a replacement for the 917 line sometime in 2018, as well.
The question we posed to our GolfWRX Members recently was, which new or unreleased driver has you most excited heading into 2018? Below are the results and a selection of comments about each driver.
Note: The comments below have been minimally edited for brevity and grammar.
Titleist (7.39 percent of votes)
BDoubleG: I know it’s well down the road, but the Titleist 919 is what I’m most looking forward to. I played the 910 until this year and loved it, but I realized that I wasn’t getting much in the way of distance gains with the 915/917, and I was just leaving too many yards on the table. I know it’s a cliche, but I was seeing considerable gains with my G400LS, then my M2 I have now.
I feel like Titleist has been hurting in the driver market share category (and probably elsewhere), as I think a lot of people think that the 913, 915 and 917 have been minor refreshes in a world where almost everyone else has been experimenting with structure (jailbreak, turbulators) or with COG (spaceports, SLDR, G-series extreme back CG). I think if Titleist is going to recapture some of their market share, they will need to start taking an interest in stepping outside of their comfort zone to catch up with everyone else. Maybe I’m hoping for too much, but a D2-style head with ample forgiveness and low-spin (maybe a back-front weight), with the same great sound of the 917, and hopefully getting rid of the “battery taped to the sole” look would be a huge hit in my book.
I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with…and I hope I’m not disappointed.
Mizuno GT-180 or otherwise (8.87 percent of votes)
mrmikeac: After thoroughly testing the Mizuno ST-180 and seeing the distance gains I was getting from my Epic, I can’t wait for the GT to get here. Cobra would be next in line for me, but Mizzy really did something special with that JPX-900 and it seems to look like they’re going the same route with these drivers. Excellent feel, forgiveness and simple but effective tech.
Callaway Rogue, Rogue Sub Zero or otherwise (17.73 percent of votes)
cvhookem63: It seems like we’re not getting a lot of “NEW” this time — just some same lines “improved” on a little. I’m interested to try the Rogue line and M3/M4 line to see if they improved on their previous models. The Cobra F8+ is intriguing to me, as well. I’d like to compare those three to see how they stack up.
tj7644: Callaway Rogue. It’s gotta make me hit straighter drives right? It sure can’t be my swing…
Equipto: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero, and that’s about it. Most of my testing will be with shafts I presume.
bangabain: Excited to give the Rogue a shot, although with the hope that there’s a little more fade bias despite the lack of sliding weight.
TaylorMade M3, M4 or otherwise (27.09 percent of votes)
DeCuchi: TaylorMade M3 of course, and the F8+. I’m more interested in the fairways this year though. TaylorMade M4 fairways and Rogue fairways are top of my list.
elwhippy: TaylorMade M3 and M4. Not owned a TM driver for several seasons and want something with a bit more power than the Ping G Series…
cradd10: M3. Still rocking an OG M1. Super solid driver. Curious to see if the updated version can beat it.
Cobra F8/F8+ (33.66 percent of votes)
WAxORxDCxSC: I sure want to like the F8 based on looks (I understand I’m possibly in the minority on that one at GolfWRX).
TWshoot67: For me, it’s three drivers: the Cobra F8, F8+ and TM M4.
The General: Cobra F8 is going to dominate everything, just wait, on the F8
Ace2000: Definitely F8/F8+. Love my Bio Cell+ and can’t help but wonder if these perform as good as they look.
True Linkswear goes back to its spikeless roots
True Linkswear is getting back to its roots, while expanding the singular golf shoe brand’s reach at the same time.
The Tacoma, Washington, company’s Director/Partner, Justin Turner, told us that with the release of the two new models, the company is course-correcting from a move toward the mainstream, spiked golf shoes, and a loss of identity.
In addition to durability issues, Turner said the core True Linkswear customer didn’t appreciate the shift — or the deluge of models that followed.
So, in a sense, the two-model lineup both throws a bone to True devotees and casts a wider net.
Turner and company asked: “If we wanted to restart the brand….what would we value?” A commitment to the brand’s core outsider identity, style as articulated in early models, and an emphasis on quality led Turner on multiple trips to China to survey suppliers in early 2017. Eventually, the company settled on a manufacturing partner with a background in outdoor gear and hiking shoes.
“We’ve spent the last few years scouring the globe for the best material sourcing, reputable factories, advanced construction techniques, and time-tested fundamentals to build our best shoes yet. No cheap synthetics, no corners cut.”
Eventually, True settled on two designs: The Original, which, not surprisingly, has much in common with the zero-drop 2009 industry disrupting model, and the Outsider: a more athletic-style shoe positioned to attract a broader audience.
True Linkswear Original: $149
The company emphasizes the similarity in feel between the Original and early True Linkswear models, suggesting that players will feel and connect to the course “in a whole new way.”
- Gray, White, Black colorways
- Waterproof full grain leather
- Thin sole with classic True zero-drop heel
- 12.1 oz
- Sockfit liner for comfort
- Natural width box toe
True Linkswear Outsider: $169
With the Outsider, True Linkswear asked: “What if a golf shoe could be more? Look natural in more environments?”
- Grey/navy, black, white colorways
- EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning
- Full grain waterproof leather
- 13.1 oz (thicker midsole than the Original)
The company envisions both shoes being worn on course and off.
True Linkswear introduced the more durable and better-performing Cross Life Tread with both models. Turner says the tread is so good, you can wear the shoes hiking.
Both models are available now through the company website only. True Linkswear plans to enter retail shops slowly and selectively.
Sean O’Hair and Steve Stricker’s Winning WITBs from the 2017 QBE Shootout
The team of Steve Stricker and Sean O’Hair closed the QBE Shootout with an 8-under 64 for a two-shot win over Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. O’Hair made a timely eagle on the par-5 17th hole at Tiburon Golf Club to lock up the first place prize of $820,000 ($410,000 each).
Here’s a look at their bags.
Driver: Titleist 917D2 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White Prototype 60TX
3 Wood: Titleist 917F2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Limited Edition 70TX
5 Wood: Titleist 915F (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana S+ Limited Edition 80TX
Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (4-iron), Titleist 718 AP2 (5-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 prototype (50, 54 and 58 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400
Putter: Scotty Cameron prototype
Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Related: Sean O’Hair WITB
Driver: Titleist 913D3 (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 8.2X
3 Wood: Titleist 915F (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Tensei CK Pro White 80TX Prototype
Hybrid: Titleist 816H1 (17.0 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 9.2X
Irons: Titleist 718 CB (3-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour Prototype
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM6 (46, 54 and 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 w/ Sensicore
Putter: Odyssey White Hot 2
Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Related: Steve Stricker WITB 2017
Note: We originally reported Stricker had a Scotty Cameron putter in the bag, per Titleist’s equipment report. Stricker did, however, have a Odyssey White Hot putter in play during the final round of the QBE Shootout.
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