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
Top 10 most iconic driver and fairway wood shafts of all time
If there is one thing we love as golf gear junkies, it’s driver (and fairway wood) shafts!
From the early years to today’s modern designs, materials, and profiles, there are some shafts that have maintained steady popularity—like a Ping Eye 2 lob wedge. There are a lot of graphite shafts that have stood the test of time, and they bring back memories of great driver combos gone by.
This is my top 10 list (in no particular order) of the most iconic driver shafts of all time.
Fujikura 757 Speeder
Launched more than two decades ago, you could arguably say it’s the shaft that started the shaft craze. Built from advanced materials in a profile that was designed to work for stabilizing larger driver heads of the time—you know when 300cc was HUGE. The Speeder 757 was an instant hit among PGA Tour players, most notably Fred Couples, who used the shaft for over a decade and was said to have at one point remove all the remaining stock from one of the equipment vans for his personal use.
One of the very first “low-spin monsters,” the Aldila NV took the PGA Tour and retail by storm when it was introduced. The unique green paint made it easily recognizable, and thanks to the many weights it was offered in, it was just as popular in fairway woods as it was in drivers. Honorable mention goes to its cousin the NVS (orange version) that was softer in profile and easier to launch. At a time when most off the rack drivers had three shaft options (low, medium, and high flight-promoting shafts), the NV was the staple as the low-launch option in many OEM offerings.
Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board
Originally very hard to find, the Diamana Blue Board was a shaft that fit a large variety of golfers. Its name was derived from the blue oval that surrounded the “Diamana” on the all silver/ion painted shaft. Just like others on the list, the Blue Board came in a variety of weight options and was made particularly popular by Tiger Woods. Best known by most shaft junkies as being extremely smooth, it is one of the first sought after shafts in the aftermarket.
True Temper EI-70
It’s hard to picture a classic 900 series Titleist Driver without an EI-70 shaft in it. The EI-70 was lower torque—when that was a big talking point in shaft design—and it had a fairly stout profile, which in turn made it very stable. Unlike others on the list, it was much more subdued as far as its paint and graphics, but the green shaft was a mainstay for many years on tour and in the bags or recreational golfers.
Graphite Design Tour AD DI-6/7
It’s hard to figure out if it was the design and performance of the shaft or the performance of a certain golfer (a certain Mr. Woods) that to this day makes the Tour AD DI-7 so popular. Painted BRIGHT orange with a bend profile that offered a lot of stability and playability for a variety of player types, it can still be spotted on tour every week. You could call the DI-7 the grandchild of the YS6/7, which should also get an honorable mention for its well documented smooth feel.
The aptly nicknamed “Lakers Shaft” because of its original gold and purple paint job, this was another shaft that was just as popular at the retail level as it was on the PGA Tour. As driver head sizes were going up (400cc ), players were looking for stability and this offered it. The most notable player to use it was Jim Furyk, who won the 2003 U.S. Open with one in the bag.
Henrik Stenson and the Grafalloy Blue in his 3-wood. Name a more iconic duo…(I’ll wait). An updated and stiffer version of the Prolite, the Blue stood out for a couple reasons—its color, and its extremely low torque. Most golfers wouldn’t consider the Blue a very smooth feeling shaft, because it took a lot of speed and a quick tempo to maximize its performance, but it did birth another shaft for average player: the Prolaunch Blue, which is still available to this day.
Matrix Ozik TP7HD
$1,100 bucks! That was the original asking price for the Martix Ozik TP7HD. Matrix thought of this design as a concept car of shafts and threw everything they had at it including exotic materials like Zylon, and the fact that it was wrapped on a 16-sided hexadecagon mandrel. Some golfers said it had a fluid-like feel (we golfers can sure be weirdly descriptive) but it still had a LOT of stability thanks to the materials. Although never as popular as many on the list, if you did spot one of these in the wild you knew its owner was VERY serious about golf gear.
True Temper Bi-Matrix
Bi (two) matrix (a surrounding medium or structure). The first and only truly notable shaft to be made from putting two very different and distinct pieces together. The bottom portion of the shaft utilizes a steel tip section that serves to add stability and additional weight. This shaft is quirky, which is something that could also be said about Bubba Watson, who has used this shaft for over a decade now in MANY different Ping drivers (although Tiger did give it a go for a short period).
This shaft might seem like the underdog of the bunch, but if you talk to any longtime club builder and get into “vintage” aftermarket shafts, undoubtedly the Accra SE-80 is going to come up at some point. Originally launched in 2006, the SE-80 combined a very low torque rating with an active tip section to help increase launch—yet feel extremely stable. Even though this shaft design is officially a teenager now, you can still find it in the bag of PGA Tour winner Ryan Palmer, who uses it in a TaylorMade R15 5-wood.
Editor’s Note: Let us know any shafts you think should be included in the comment section, WRXers!
Forum Thread of the Day: “TaylorMade Albertsons Boise Open putter covers”
Today’s Forum Thread of the Day showcases TaylorMade’s Albertsons Boise Open putter covers. The covers have impressed our members, who are hoping that the new additions will now come to retail.
Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire thread and have your say on the covers at the link below.
- Green In Reg: “Name your price TM!”
- chrisokeefe12: “Those are super cool. Would be sweet if they did one for every major college.”
- Titletown: “Those are great.”
Justin Thomas’ winning WITB: 2019 BMW Championship
Driver: Titleist TS3 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana BF 60TX
3-wood: Titleist TS3 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Blue 80TX
5-wood: Titleist 915Fd (18 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 9.2 Tour Spec X
Irons: Titleist T100 (4-iron), Titleist 718 MB (5-9)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100
Wedges: Vokey Design SM7 (46, 52, 56 degrees), Vokey Design SM6 (60 degrees)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400
Putter: Scotty Cameron X5
Grip: SuperStroke Pistol GT Tour
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord
Tommy Fleetwood’s bag is as awesome as he is (Tommy Fleetwood WITB)
Shane Lowry’s winning WITB: 2019 Open Championship
Tour caddie shoots 202 in U.S. Am qualifier and gets DQ’d after the event
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Why do Tour players prefer fades over draws from the tee box?
Matthew Wolff’s winning WITB: 2019 3M Open
Collin Morikawa’s winning WITB: 2019 Barracuda Championship
Brooks Koekpa’s winning WITB: 2019 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational
Tiger Woods opts for lead tape on his Newport 2 rather than a heavier putter: Here’s why it makes sense
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