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
Austin Cook’s Winning WITB: The 2017 RSM Classic
Driver: Ping G400 LST (8.5 Degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Speeder 661 Evolution TX-Flex
3 Wood: Ping G400 Stretch (13 Degrees)
Shaft: Fujifuke Motore Speeder VC 7.2 TX-Flex
Hybrid: Ping G400 3 Hybrid (19 Degrees)
Shaft: Matrix Ozik Altus Tour H8 91X
Hybrid: Ping G400 4 Hybrid (22 Degrees)
Shaft: Matrix Ozik Altus Tour H8 91 X
Irons: Ping S55 Orange Dot (5-PW)
Shafts: KBS Tour S-Flex
Putter: Ping Sigma G Tyne
Grip: SuperStroke Mid-Slim 2.0
Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Jon Rahm’s Winning WITB: 2017 DP World Tour Championship
Driver: TaylorMade M2 2017 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75X
3 Wood: TaylorMade M1 2017 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75TX
5 Wood: TaylorMade M1 2017 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 8X
Irons: TaylorMade P-750 (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X 6.5
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52 and 56 degrees), TaylorMade “Hi-Toe” (60 degrees)
Shafts: Project X 6.5
Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red
Golf Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
See what GolfWRX Members are saying about Mizuno’s new ST-180 driver
Mizuno has recently released a new ST-180 driver that we spotted on Tour at the 2017 RSM Classic. The company’s “wave sole” technology makes an appearance for the first time in a Mizuno driver; the design is used to push weight low and forward to reduce spin rates, and the construction contracts and expands during impact to increase energy into the golf ball. The result is a lower-spinning driver, especially for those who hit down on the golf ball, and increased ball speeds across the face.
The ST-180 drivers have a new Forged SP700 Titanium face insert that allows the faces to be made thinner — saving weight from the face while increasing ball speeds — and they feature what the company calls a “Internal Waffle Crown” that saves weight to help shift CG (center of gravity) low and forward in the head.
There’s a slew of custom shafts available for no upcharge. The stock grip is Golf Pride’s M31 360, and the drivers are selling for $399.99, available in stores now.
Note: The posts below have been minimally edited for grammar and brevity.
GolfWRX Members comment on the new Mizuno ST-180 driver
TeeGolf: I’ve seen the ST180 driver [in person] and it looks like it sits perfectly square to me. And this is coming from someone who has been playing a Titleist driver set 1-degree open for the past 3 years. It doesn’t look closed at all.
trhode: I’ve been playing the M2 all year. In comparison at address, the ST is very closed. I had 3 customers look at it yesterday too and they all had the same reaction: closed. That being said, I did play 18 on the simulator and hit some monster drives. The head, with the Raijin shaft, seems to be just a little lower spin than my TaylorMade M2. The blue finish doesn’t bother me either.
akjell: Hit this yesterday at the Mizuno demo day yesterday at Eagle Ridge in Gilroy, CA. Far from a hook machine but definitely a bomber. The Mizuno’s reps put me in a Mitsubishi Tensei White 70X and I could hit this this driver on a string possibly a bit better than my M1. Of the Mizuno drivers of late, this has to be the best one.
odshot68: Ordering it today. Was fit and played a round with it. Optimal launch and spin. Tensei Blue 70x at 9.5 degrees. This is definitely not left bias; first Mizzy driver ever.
nmorton: Hit this today and it’s going in the bag. Just a classic head shape that suits my eye. Been messing around with a number of drivers over the past year and haven’t singled one out. Last long term driver I had was the 850. The ST checks all of the boxes for me…looks great down by the ball, sounds solid and performs as good as any other. What really sold me was how well slight mis-hits performed. I had the 12.5 dialed down so it definitely sat open a bit. Didn’t hit the fairway but it looks sharp as well.
evoviiiyou: Had a chance to test the driver with a couple shafts last night. The head is definitely deeper than the JPX900 and the footprint seems bigger from he set up position, very confidence inspiring like the JPX900 but a little improved. Finish and graphics are very similar to the 900 which is very nice if you like the satin Mizuno blue and I do love it just like the satin black I recently had done to my JPX driver and 3 metal.
regiwstruk: My current gamer is a Titleist 917D3, and this is definitely replacing that. I used a JPX 900 from November 2016 through June 2017 — biggest differences are the sound and that the distance is up there with at least one of the leaders in the market. Anxious to see how it does on the course!
Paul065: It is high launch, low spin yes but I wouldn’t say it was targeted at the average golfer. It’s basically their version of Callaway Epic Sub Zero. Rory used the Sub Zero.
Tommyj: I went down to Carls yesterday specifically to look at the ST180. I’ve read some comments that the face looks closed. When I picked it up it was in the 10.5D position and did look slightly closed but then looked perfectly square at 9.5D and also square at 10.5D which seemed sort of odd. The shape is not for me, I had a Cobra F6 and while the ST180 footprint isn’t that big its still substantial. I like blue on drivers and the ST180 has a real quality look to it with the matte finish, having said that I’m not sure I’d want to be looking at that shade of blue all the time. The sound was an absolute killer for me, it was completely unexpected because I always associate Mizuno with being traditional and understated… ST180 launch was lower than G400 in the neutral setting, about the same when I lofted the Ping down. ST180 was noticeably lower than D2. Longest driver of the three was G400, followed by ST180 then D2. For me the ST180 had the widest dispersion with G400 being the most accurate (by a wide margin).
Discussion: Read more comments about the ST-180 driver here
TaylorMade and Sergio Garcia part ways after 15 years… where to next?
Check out Tiger’s new golf swing and prototype “TGR” blade irons
Return of the K Sig: Costco’s Kirkland Signature golf ball is back
Spotted: A TaylorMade “M4” driver (via Instagram)
Costco “K Sig” golf ball buyers, don’t forget who you’re hurting
Match of the Ages: 30 Years of Tech Goes Head to Head
Callaway (finally) launches new Apex MB and X Forged irons
Former employee at “The Oven” confirms Nike made Tiger’s TGR blade irons
See what GolfWRX members are saying about Titleist’s new AVX golf balls
GolfWRX Members Vote: “Which manufacturer made Tiger’s TGR prototype irons?”
Distance increases “horrible” for all golfers, says USGA’s Mike Davis
From Tiger Woods, to tour heads, to company executives, everyone seems to be talking about rolling back the golf ball...
European Tour commish: We have to look beyond 72-hole stroke play tournaments
Keith Pelley, European Tour commissioner, whose preference for innovative golf formats is nearly as well known as his preference for...
Are advanced stats overrated? Some GolfWRX members think so.
On the instruction side of our fair game, we see plenty of impassioned exchanges between the anti-Trackman set and proponents...
Billy Horschel, Brandel Chamblee battle on Twitter re: Tiger’s swing
Yes, friends, Billy Horschel and Brandel Chamblee traded barbs on Twitter. And while the specific issue, Tiger Woods’ swing, gets...
Equipment2 weeks ago
Spotted: A TaylorMade “M4” driver (via Instagram)
Opinion & Analysis3 weeks ago
Match of the Ages: 30 Years of Tech Goes Head to Head
Opinion & Analysis3 weeks ago
See what GolfWRX members are saying about Titleist’s new AVX golf balls
Opinion & Analysis2 weeks ago
Hybrids or Long Irons? A Teacher’s Perspective
Equipment6 days ago
10 things you need to know about Cobra’s new King F8 lineup for 2018
19th Hole2 weeks ago
Tiger Woods: I can’t go back to my 2000 swing, so stop asking me to
Opinion & Analysis4 days ago
The numbers behind “full scholarships” in NCAA men’s college golf
19th Hole6 days ago
Tiger Woods is hitting it past Rickie Fowler in practice, people are predictably going nuts