Posted by bret richards on August 13, 2016 0 Comments
One of the most important things to consider when choosing an indoor golf simulator is the technology. Equally important, of course, is your budget.
For the greatest level of accuracy, and the highest price tag, most serious golfers opt for golf simulators that used a dual-track tracking system – those that tracks both the club and the ball for its simulation. Traditionally, these systems have performed much better in terms of accuracy compared with other systems that employ only club-tracking or ball-tracking technologies.
For golf simulators that employ just one of the prevailing technologies, ball-tracking is inherently more accurate than club-tracking systems, and usually comes at a significantly higher price point. As a system that utilizes club-tracking technology, the P3 ProSwing is trying to buck the trend – offering a high level of accuracy at a budget-friendly price.
At a price point considered to be entry-level for the golf simulation market, the P3 ProSwing is proving that you do not need to spend a lot of money to get a great indoor golfing experience that is not only accurate and realistic, but also incredibly valuable at improving your golf swing.
What’s in The Box?
For this review, we had a look at the entry-level Pro Economy package which retails for around $1,000. The Pro Economy ships with the following items:
- P3 ProSwing Sensor Unit – Commercial Grade Grass Top
- Full Software Suite
- Full Swing Analytics
- Ability to Play Online or Offline
- Video Capture Capability
- Launch Angle Capability
- 20 Courses
- Accessory Pack
- Power Supply
- 15’ USB Cable
How it Works
The P3 system uses patented technology incorporated into its golf simulator and swing analyzer system that results in extremely accurate data of the club before, at, and after ball impact. The sensor pad features 65 infrared sensors that reflect light off of your clubs and back into the sensor - providing detailed information about your swing. The P3 system analyzes your club, and captures club data four inches before impact, at impact and four inches after impact with the ball.
It’s important to point out that unlike simulators that use ball-tracking technology, the P3 ProSwing calculates the ball flight based upon data captured from your swing. This information is then used to show the flight of your ball on a driving range, golf course, or putting green. As part of the setup, the P3 ProSwing requires you to place tape on the bottom of your clubs to ensure a consistent, accurate surface to take readings from while the club passes over the sensor.
What it Tells You About Your Swing
The P3 ProSwing provides a full range of information that will help you understand the mechanics of your club through your swing, and the resulting ball flight calculations. It either measures directly, or calculates, a broad range of metrics that are essential to improving your golf swing, including: hit distance; carry distance; club speed (entry and exit); ball speed; swing tempo; left/right of center; left/right of path and toe/heel heights.
In addition, the P3 ProSwing has what they call a ‘12 Point Swing Analyzer’ which is designed to produce a digital picture of your swing through the impact zone. You will be able to see the point of impact and gain additional insight into your club swing and point of impact. Visually, you will see your swing path and whether it was square through impact. You will also see if your club face was square as you made contact with the ball, and what your angle of attack was at impact.
Final Thoughts from The 19th Hole
At around $1,000, the P3 ProSwing (Pro Economy package) is still considered entry level pricing in the golf simulator industry.
As a practice tool, the P3 ProSwing is nice. It will improve your swing more quickly and identify problems in the impact zone more efficiently and effectively than simply hitting balls at a driving range.
On the downside side, the P3 ProSwing will require stickers be placed on the bottom of your clubs to ensure accurate readings. And some of the graphics don't quite live up to industry standards. But the P3 ProSwing is loaded with features and it is one of the more accurate club trackers on the market.
Posted by bret richards on August 13, 2016 0 Comments
Let’s begin by addressing the obvious first question. What is a launch monitor? A launch monitor is a piece of equipment that provides precise analytics on what happens to a golf ball when it’s struck by a club. More expensive launch monitors tend to provide more in-depth, detailed and accurate data to improve a golfer's swing, often used as part of a lesson or during the custom-fitting process for new clubs.
Up until very recently, there were really just two types of launch monitors. One type uses Doppler radar systems that measure ball-flight data and calculate club data. A second type of launch monitor uses camera-based systems to measure club data and project ball-flight data. Both systems then use their own algorithms to provide a range of data and projections.
With the recent introduction of the TrackMan 4, a new, and very expensive, standard for launch monitors has been established.
The Launch Monitor Evolution – TrackMan 4
More than three years in development, TrackMan 4 is proving to be the most powerful and accurate launch monitor ever built. TrackMan 4 is unique in that is employs a dual-radar system to achieve maximum data quality and increased pick-up rates. The dual-radar technology helps capture even more data, particular at the moment of impact.
One radar system tracks everything the club does before, during, and after impact - from commonly known parameters like Club Path and Face Angle to Swing Direction and Spin Loft. The other high-frequency radar tracks the ball – from launch to landing, measuring various parameters including Launch Angle, Spin Rate and Curvature. Put simply – TrackMan measures everything you need to know to improve your swing, lower your score, and make the most of every minute you spend practicing the great game of golf.
TrackMan 4 measures and displays the full trajectory of any shot, from 6-foot pitches to 400 yard drives, pinpointing the landing position with an accuracy of 1½ feet at 160 yards (150 m). It also maps the shot's trajectory in real time and in three dimensions, together with 26 impact and ball flight parameters, including Smash Factor; Spin Rate; Launch Angle; Carry; Ball Speed; Club Speed; Dynamic Loft; Attack Angle; Club Path; and Face Angle.
Is it Worth the Price?
TrackMan is, beyond question, the most accurate piece of technology designed for the sole purpose of improving your golf swing. It’s one of the most trusted pieces of technology amongst PGA Tour professionals. In the right hands, it can do wonders. It can simplify the way you adjust your swing and make practice sessions more efficient. However, the operative words are ‘in the right hands.’
For those that make a living from the game of golf, TrackMan 4 is well worth the investment. But for those that pay for the privilege to knock a ball around 18 holes, the argument for purchasing a TrackMan 4 is difficult to make.
Having access to the data is one thing. But being able to interpret the data, and make the necessary adjustments to your swing, requires a level of knowledge and expertise that some, but not all, recreational golfers possess. To be honest, for the average golfer, it makes much more sense to seek out a coach and TrackMan-licenced facility. Today, there are more than 350 TrackMan-licensed facilities in the United States, making this expensive device increasingly accessible at rates that can start at around $100 an hour. A lesson with a teaching professional who has access to a launch monitor will help the golfer better understand their ball flight, and what they can do to control and improve it.
Final Thoughts from The 19Th Hole
With pricing starting at around $19,000 for the indoor model, and just under $25K for the version that can be used outside, the TrackMan 4 is an impressive tool for working on both distance and accuracy with each club. Trackman can be used for simulated play using Trugolfs E6.
Any serious golfer, not necessarily just a low handicapper, will benefit from using a launch monitor like the TrackMan 4. To make the most of your time with one, however, Golf Simulator Guys recommend you let a certified golf instructor interpret the shot data to explain what you should be working on.
Posted by bret richards on June 01, 2016 0 Comments
If you are considering a golf simulator for your home, you have a lot of options. And some important decision to make. Thankfully, the Golf Simulator Guys are here to help.
Are you interested in a launch monitor, or would a full golf simulator be a better choice for improving your swing and making hours of practice feel more like a game?
Technology is important of course, and in many ways, your budget and expectations for an in-door golfing experience will determine whether its best to chose ball-tracking technology, club-tracking technology or a combination of both.
And, of course, don’t forget the game simulation software. Though software does come bundled with golf simulators, there are options for selecting stand-alone gaming platforms. For example, TruGolf's E6 game software works with a wide range of devices, including Trackman, Full Swing Golf, Pro-Tee United, Sports Coach, FlightScope and Golf Simulators of America.
There is, however, another important consideration when creating your new in-home golfing experience – the impact screen. There are many options when it comes to impact screen, and the material used is an important consideration. The selection of the right impact screen material is key to the enjoyment and longevity of our indoor golf studio.
Impact Screen – Key Considerations
Choosing the right impact screen material for your indoor golf simulator is critical to achieving the realism of playing a virtual round of golf. In addition, the sign of a quality impact screen is one made with material that is not only durable and projects well, but minimizes bounce back as well.
It’s important to select a golf impact screen that is designed for high definition imagery and provides a clear, vivid and crisp image. If you are like many of our clients, you want an indoor golf simulator to be something the whole family can enjoy – even those that are not interested in the game of golf. If you chose the right impact screen material, and purchase a high quality projector, transforming your indoor golf simulator into a home theatre is a straight forward endeavour.
Golf impact screen can be built into full enclosures, are remain as stand-along units. And in many cases, side panels or netting is used to prevent stray balls from doing harm to the surroundings. They also improve the aesthetics of in-door golf studios – an important consideration.
Impact Screen Material from the Golf Simulator Guys
The material used in the Golf Simulator Guy’s impact screens can be used for any type of impact screen on the market, including real ball screens, foam ball screens, hanging screens and tension screens.
What separates our impact screen material from other impact screen materials on the market is the high picture quality. Other materials on the market only use a mesh fabric, resulting in poor picture quality. We have 2 tightly woven pieces of fabric separated by thousands of fibers creating a 3D fabric. This 3D fabric results in better durability and superior picture quality.
Our impact screen fabric is the best on the market. It can easily withstand the impact of a golf ball at the same time producing an image worthy of the high-end HD projectors. And even in tension screen designs, our fabric has limited trampoline affect.
The high definition impact screen material from the Golf Simulator Guys holds light extremely well, can be used as either a hanging or tension screen, and is extremely durable. In addition, it can be used with grommets. And unlike many golf simulator screens on the market, our golf impact screens contain no seams.
Final Thoughts from The 19Th Hole
Choosing the right material for your indoor golf impact screen is an important consideration to creating the ideal environment.
The high definition impact screen material from the Golf Simulator Guys is designed to perform exceptional well in a wide range to applications – from high performance training environments like teaching academies and country clubs to inside your own home.
Posted by bret richards on May 10, 2016 0 Comments
There have been some epic, and intense, three-way rivalries throughout sport, entertainment and business. In basketball, we had Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and a young Micheal Jordan just beginning to exert his dominance on the hardcourt. In the world of entertainment, three great monster franchises battled it out for supremacy – Frankenstein, Dracula and my favourite, Wolf Man. And, of course, in an area that is pretty close to all our hearts, PlayStation, XBOX, and Wii battled it out for years trying to claim video-game supremacy.
Today, a similar competition is taking shape in golf simulation gaming software.
The Golf Club is the golf simulation software available with ProTee – considered by some to be the most advanced and affordable 3D golf simulator system available. With TruGolf golf simulators, you receive the E6 golf simulation software – the #1 selling golf simulator software used by a number of golf simulators. And threatening to take the mantle from older, more established competitors, we have Perfect Golf from Perfect Parallel.
A small, independent game developer established in 2011, Perfect Parallel is the new kid on the block. It focuses on developing sport games using real world, geo-located data. If you’ve watched a recent PGA tour event on television, it’s likely you’ve seen their simulation software. Currently available as a download on STEAM, Perfect Golf is Perfect Parallel’s first gaming title. Let’s take a closer look at each.
The Golf Club
Featuring stunning, high-definition graphics in up to 4K Ultra HD, beautiful scenery, bright textures and natural lighting, The Golf Club software comes with more than 92,000 pre-designed golf courses. It also features a Greg Norman golf course designer where you can design and build your own golf courses. Other features include free online play, tournaments, tours and online sharing.
Earlier this year, the simulator version 2.9 of The Golf Club Simulator was made available for download. It includes an additional 6,000 courses, incredibly realistic mowing patterns and new apparel, like shirts, pants, hats and shoes, to differentiate the look of the on-screen golfers.
At Golf Simulator Guys, we really love this software. Its graphics are the best on the market – no question about it. We love the fact that you can play against your own previous rounds, or versus other players online simultaneously, without having to wait for your opponent to play.
However, The Golf Club does have some limitations. It lacks some important option found on rival software systems, including the ability to select tee boxes, and rough penalty.
E6 has long been considered the gold standard of golf simulation software and comes from the creators of Links – the best-selling computer golf franchise of all-time.
At one time, E6 graphics were the closest things you’d experience to actually playing a round of golf. The most recent version (version 1.6) comes with some fairly impressive enhancements, including improved lighting and textures. TruGolf’s E6 software comes with a virtual driving range, target practice, putting and chipping area, as well as a long list of options, to make every round a new adventure. You can alter the weather, time of day, wind conditions, tee-boxes, and ‘gimmie’ distances.
However, like a professional athlete losing a step or two to its competition, E6 is getting ‘beat to the hoop’ when it comes to graphics. If you compare the detail and richness of E6’s graphics with either The Golf Club or Perfect Golf, there is no question that E6 is not up to their level.
However, despite being overtaken in terms of the quality of its graphics, E6 still exerts its dominance in terms of options and functionality that will help it maintain relevancy in the world of golf simulation software for years to come.
Here at Golf Simulator Guys, we run a 12-man league in our showroom using the E6 software platform. And not everyone in our league plays at the same level. Truth be told – we have some real hackers. But with E6, we have the ability to level the playing field.
The E6 software gives you a lot of option to customize your play, including removing rough penalty, auto-aligning the putting arrow, and changing the firmness of the course. In addition, each player can create their own profile for handicapping and see their previous rounds and statistics. And since The Golf Club currently doesn't allow for multiple profiles, we would have to calculate the handicaps using a separate software.
Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf
As mentioned earlier, Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf is available for download on STEAM. It takes a separate license to unlock Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf for simulated play. Before we go any further, we need to stress that this software is very much a work in progress. It will continue to develop, and improve. But we are very impressed with what we’ve seen so far. The graphics are exceptional, and the ball-flight physics are as true as we’ve ever experienced in a virtual world.
Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf comes with a driving range, practice facility and more than 12 courses. You can also access user created courses with an upgrade in the software purchase. Perfect Parallel likes to highlight the fact that all courses are ‘fully georeferenced to the real world.’ What does that mean? Well, for example, it means that the sun will rise and set at the precise point on the horizon based upon the time of day and day of year.
Perfect Golf comes standard with 20 different game play modes, including stroke play, match Play and skins. The game supports many team-based modes of play, including foursomes, alternate Shot, better ball and scramble. And if you are playing with golfers of varying skill levels, Perfect Golf offers five difficulty levels, and unlimited assist customisation, to allow anyone to set the game up to play as easy or as difficult as required.
Final Thoughts from The 19th Hole
Whether it’s sport, entertainment or business – we all have our heroes. But not everyone, or every product, service or company can stay at the top of their game forever.
Many golfers will still opt for the E6 software due to its large number of options available to customize play – despite it’s aging graphical capabilities. Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf is slowing emerging as one of the better simulated golf experiences available today. But, if you are looking for the best virtual golf experience you should consider The Golf Club which could become one of the best golf software franchises over then next several years.
Posted by bret richards on April 19, 2016 0 Comments
Considered by many to be the industry’s benchmark in terms of overall performance – the ProTee golf simulator offers an exceptional combination of accuracy and impressive software graphics at an initial price point of around $5,000. Founded in 2001, ProTee United specializes in developing, manufacturing and distributing indoor golf simulators for commercial, professional and private, in-home use.
It’s important to point out from the outset of this review that ProTee has a dual-track tracking system. It tracks both the club and the ball for its simulation. This compares very favourable to other systems that employ only club-tracking or ball-tracking technologies.
Does ProTee have one of the most accurate golf simulation technologies available at it’s price point? How impressive is its game software – the Golf Club? We’ve got some answers for you - read on and find out what the Golf Simulator Guys think about the ProTee golf simulator.
What you get
When you purchase the ProTee Base Pack, you receive a high-speed sensor system, vertical camera, impact screen, halogen overhead-light system, USB to serial convertor, universal power supply and game software. In fact, you get two pieces of game software - the ProTee Golf 2.0 and The Golf Club Simulator Edition. For added accuracy and increased functionality, you can purchase separately a second high-speed camera as well as a putting system.
A Decade in Development
In development for over 10 years, the ProTee features high-speed optical sensors built into the mat to track club head and ball speed data. The mat features synthetic grass – a feature that we will expand upon later in this review.
The ProTee’s sensor-mat system utilizes 101 sensors - up to six times more than the competition. This all but guarantees one of the most accurate and complete swing analyses available. The ProTee measures 17 different elements of every swing. Now that’s pretty impressive, and a great beginning to improving your golf swing.
The sensor mat detects club-head speed, swing path, club face angle, sweet-spot position, swing tempo, ball speed and ball path. In addition, based upon these measurements, it calculates ball launch angle and spin rates.
The high speed camera tracks the ball’s trajectory, and when combined with the information from the sensor pad, delivers very realistic ball-flight trajectory. As mentioned above, the baseline ProTee golf simulator comes standard with one high-speed camera, but you have the option of adding a second camera that’s mounted vertically to the sensor mat.
Seriously, That’s A lot of Courses
The ProTee includes two software packages – the ProTee Golf 2.0 and The Golf Club Simulator Addition.
The Golf Club features stunning high definition graphics in up to 4K Ultra HD, beautiful scenery, bright textures and natural lighting. At last count, the software came with more than 92,000 pre-designed golf courses to play. It also features a Greg Norman golf course designer where you can actually design and build your own golf courses. Other features include free online play, tournaments, tours and online sharing.
Earlier this year, version 2.9 of The Golf Club Simulator was made available for download. It includes an additional 6,000 courses, incredibly realistic mowing patterns and new apparel, like shirts, pants, hats and shoes, to differentiate the look of the on-screen golfers.
With ProTee, you also get the ProTee Golf 2.0 golf simulation software with 100+ courses available out of the box, the ability to play online and offline with up to 8 players, full swing analysis displayed after every shot, advanced practice modes, longest drive and nearest to the pin competitions.
In addition to the two software options that are included, users of ProTee can also play on TruGolf’s impressive E6 game software for an additional cost. It’s incredibly hard to describe the truly impressive E6 graphics. Suffice it to say, it’s probably one of the closest things you’ll experience next to playing a real round of golf.
Downsides, But With A Silver Lining.
There is a lot to like about ProTee. A lot of people will purchase the system because of its great tracking technology and multiple software options. However, there are a few downsides.
The ProTee studio does not have the level of quality most golfers would expect from golf simulation technology at this price point. In addition, some of the accessories leave a lot to be desired. For example, it’s turf top is a brand called ‘fiberbuilt.’ It’s durable, but a bit of an eye sore. It is not a lot of fun to hit off of, and doesn’t match any of the existing turfs on the market today.
But there is a ‘silver lining’. The Golf Simulator Guys are working on a new turf-top prototype custom designed to integrate seamlessly with the ProTee. And our quality studios are a perfect fit for the advanced technology of the ProTee.
Final Thoughts from The 19th Hole
Some systems are good at tracking either the ball or the club – ProTee does both very well. And as a result, users can have confidence in knowing not only what their ball did, but why as well. With it’s dual-track tracking system, ProTee delivers exceptional ball-flight accuracy and swing analysis that’s sure to help lower your score.
It’s also important to highlight that ProTee provides uses with three software options. This is a feature currently unavailable with any other in-home golf simulator.
To say that we are impressed with the ProTee golf simulator would be an understatement. In fact, we like they technology and game software so much, the Golf Simulator Guys will be carrying the product starting Spring 2016.
Posted by bret richards on April 06, 2016 0 Comments
If you’re in the market for a golf simulator and have a budget of $16,000 or more to spend, then you absolutely must consider a TruGolf golf simulator - long considered one of the leaders in indoor golf simulator technology.
The TruGolf golf simulator comes with the amazing E6 simulation software. E6 is the gold standard of golf simulation software and comes from the creators of Links – the best-selling computer golf franchise of all-time. It combines jaw-dropping graphics with precision analytics to deliver one of the most realistic, game-enhancing experiences around.
Impressive Accuracy Just Got Better
TruTrack is, without a doubt, one of the most accurate golf simulation technologies available on the market today. Utilizing a combination of infrared sensors and sonic ball sensors, TruTrack works equally well for both right and left handed golfers.
TruTrack has a dual-track tracking system. It tracks both the club and the ball for its simulation. To track the ball, TruTrack uses sonic ball tracking. To track the club, it uses three rows of optical sensors placed in the mat system. Combined, it delivers top-shelf accuracy and swing analysis that’s sure to help lower your score.
Many systems are good at tracking either the ball or the club – TruTrack does both very well. And as a result, users know with confidence not only what the ball did, but why as well. Both are required in order to get the level of feedback necessary to make score-lowering changes to your swing.
TruTrack tracks and provides data on drive distance, launch angle, backspin, club head speed, ball carry, ball trajectory, ball direction, ball speed, side spin, club face angle, club head path & swing. An interesting feature of TruTrack is its integrated swing analysis which highlights important characteristics of every swing. This feature is available in both practice and game modes.
Not to be forgotten is that because of the use of the three rows of optical sensors, you don’t have to tell the system which club you’ve selected before each shot – a time saving and convenient feature.
The original TruTrack system comprised a single, integrated unit that was placed just beneath the hitting surface. With the recently introduced TruTrack², the sensor board remains in the same location, but the hardware that’s most susceptible to damage due to club impact is housed in a separate control box and situated further from the hitting area, but still below the mat. This new enhancement is expected to improve durability, shot detection and reduce misreads.
The Vanishing Line Between Virtual and Real
It’s really hard to describe the truly impressive E6 graphics. It’s probably one of the closest things you’ll experience next to actually playing a round of golf. The most recent version (version 1.6) comes with some fairly impressive enhancements, including improved lighting and textures. The marketing guys at TruGolf like to use the word “immersive” to describe E6 – I can’t think of a better word. Once they figure out how to simulate the smell of grass and the warmth of sunshine, I suspect many golfers will skip the drive to their local course in favor of the shorter trip to the TruGolf golf simulator in their basement or entertainment room.
TruGolf’s E6 software comes with a virtual driving range, target practice, putting and chipping area, as well as a long list of options, to make every round a new adventure. You are able to alter the weather, time of day, wind conditions, tee-boxes, and “gimmie distances” to name just a few.
It’s important to highlight that you don’t necessarily need to buy the TruGolf’s tracking technology in order to play a virtual round of golf on the E6 software platform. E6 works with a wide range of devices, including Trackman, Full Swing Golf, Pro-Tee United, Sports Coach, FlightScope and Golf Simulators of America.
How Deep Is Your Love (And Your Pockets)?
To be honest, there isn’t much not to like about TruGolf golf simulators. The technology is exceptionally accurate, and now expected to be more durable. The software is the closest thing to reality available on the market today.
For many, the cost of the system may be a significant hurdle. At roughly $16,000, it may be difficult for many to justify. But if you love the game of golf as much as we do, and are committed to improving your swing (and having fun doing it), you can’t go wrong with a TruGolf golf simulator. As we like to say here at Golf Simulator Guys, top-shelf products usually come with top-shelf pricing.
The Last Word from the 19th Hole
The precise analytics and photo-realistic graphics of TruGolf’s simulator is hard to beat. With virtual simulations of over 85 world-renowned golf courses and 36 modes of play, you can treat yourself to a different experience every round of virtual golf. And, as an added bonus, your TruGolf golf simulator can double as a state-of-the-art, home entertainment system.
For those in the market for a home golf simulator with the budget, and drive to utilize the latest technology to lower their scores, and have fun in the process, a golf simulator from TruGolf is an solid choice.
Posted by bret richards on April 01, 2016 0 Comments
When it was launched near the end of 2014, SkyTrak was heralded as a “complete practice, play and entertainment system.” Weighing less than 2 pounds and under 7 inches tall, SkyTrak promised to deliver “commercial quality ball flight simulations that reflect a golfer’s actual performance for game improvement and entertainment” at a fraction of the price of comparable alternatives.
The SkyTrak launch monitor has been in the hands of consumers for nearly 16 months and, for the most part, has lived-up to the hype. A photometric launch monitor with commercial-grade accuracy, SkyTrak uses high-speed cameras to accurately captures thousands of data points, including ball speed, launch angle, back spin, side spin and side angle. It then uses this information to simulate the ball’s flight.
It’s important to begin this review by highlighting that SkyTrak employs ball-tracking technology, as opposed to club-tracking technology, or a combination of both. Ball-tracking technology is inherently more accurate than club-tracking systems, and usually comes with a significantly higher price tag to match. Until SkyTrak came along.
What You Get
What do you get when you open the “box?” A photometric launch monitor that delivers unprecedented accuracy at a price point of approximately $2,100. With it’s rechargeable lithium-ion battery, the unit connects via Wi-Fi to a wide range of Apple products. But you will need to download the SkyTrak App first, which is available for iOS and PC.
SkyTrak comes packaged with a simulated driving range, and includes various challenges to keep practice fun, including closest to the pin, longest drive and targets. During the 2016 PGA Merchandise Show, SkyTrak unveiled a few enhancements, including the addition of practice greens of various shapes and difficulty levels to its driving range program.
But if you want to play a virtual round of golf using data captured from your SkyTrak launch monitor, you will need to reach for your wallet. More on that later on in our review.
Cost vs Accuracy
Over the past 16 months, a lot of exhaustive testing has been done comparing the results from SkyTrak with other, much more expensive launch monitors on the market, including TrackMan and GC2. Here at Golf Simulator Guys, we’ve completed our own rounds of testing, comparing the performance of SkyTrak against multiple products, including TruGolf.
The general consensus is that there is very little difference in the performance data between SkyTrak and that of significantly more expensive launch monitors, including those employing Doppler, radar-based technology.
SkyTrak promised to be the first, highly-accurate, low-cost ball-tracker on the market. And they delivered.
Pay to Play
SkyTrak is, first and foremost, a launch monitor. It can be used at home with a net, or taken to a local driving range. It does include a virtual practice driving range with some interesting features, but if you want to play a virtual round of golf, you will need to spend some additional money.
SkyTrak has been designed as an open platform with the expectation that developers would create simulated-play software utilizing its ball-tracking data. WTG Golf completed its integration with SkyTrak in October 2015 and includes two game modes for time and practice flexibility – closest-to-the-hole and full-stroke play on courses from around the world. SkyTrak is also integrated with The Golf Club. TruGolf’s E6 software, which is considered by many to be the industry standard in simulated play software, is in the final stages of integration with SkyTrak and should be available sometime this year. Additionally, Perfect Parallel Golf is designing simulated software as well.
However, with choice comes additional expense. WTG Golf will cost you additional $100 to $300 per year, depending upon which package you chose and the incentives available at the time of purchase. And an annual subscription to The Golf Club will cost you just under $500.
SkyTrak is very accurate, cost effective, and with multiple simulation-software options, it’s a very exciting product. And its fun to use, which will make practice more enjoyable and productive. The App that comes with the unit is intuitive and easy to use. And at $2,100, SkyTrak is a fraction of the cost of comparable competitors.
One small drawback - SkyTrak sits on a mat system, parallel to the target line. This makes it very inconvenient for right and left handed play at the same time during simulated play. In addition, after impact, there is a delay before the simulation appears. So far, it appears as though this delay exists regardless of the simulation software chosen.
All things considered however – SkyTrak is a tremendous value and is highly recommended by the Golf Simulator Guys.
Posted by bret richards on March 11, 2016 0 Comments
Released in 2015, OptiShot2 is a significant upgrade to the original Optishot indoor and home golf simulator. Featuring enhanced software, Optishot2 is aiming to be a budget-friendly alternative to the more expensive golf simulators on the market. With the original model released more than five years ago, an eternity when it comes to software, an update was due.
It’s important to begin this review by highlighting that Optishot2 employs club-tracking technology, as opposed to ball-tracking technology, or a combination of both. It’s simplified, and less expensive, club-tracking hardware relies on two rows of 48MHz infrared sensors, 16 sensors in total, that fire at 10,000 pulses per second. As a result, you receive important information about your swing, including swing path, club-head speed, face impact angle, shot shape, swing tempo, distance and face area contact.
OptiShot2 does not claim to match the level of accuracy of much more expensive golf launch monitors, like those that employ sophisticated camera and Doppler radar technology. But at a price point of under $500, this should not be much of a surprise.
What You Get
The product comes with the infrared optical swing pad, two foam balls, two plastic tees, a 10-foot USB cord, and the all-important software. You’ll also need a PC or Mac to run the software, preferably one with an up-to-date graphics card. A display device, like a television or projection screen, and an indoor area large enough to allow for a full golf swing, are also required. The manufacturer recommends at least 8 ½ feet ceilings, but you would probably be more comfortable if you can place the unit in a room with a ceiling height of between 9 ½ to 10 feet.
Probably the very first thing you will notice about the Optishot2 is its construction. The unit is heavy, and incredibly well constructed. I suspect that it will stand up to the test of time, but if you have any concerns, they should be put to rest since the unit comes with a 180-day warranty.
Optishot2 comes with a solid selection of 15 courses to play, including The Golf Club Scottsdale (TPC Scottsdale), Long Island Black (Bethpage Black), Torrey White (Torrey Pines North) and Torrey Black (Torrey Pines South). Additional “platinum” replica courses can be purchased for around $30. On line play is also available. To make each round of golf different, you can select from a range of game formats, including: match play, better ball, stroke play, best ball, stableford, skins and alternate shots.
One of the most powerful features we found in with Optishot2’s software is the extent of customization.
You can adjust weather settings, like how hard the wind is blowing and from which direction. You can pretend to be mother nature and chose brilliant clear skies, or chose to play in more challenging cloudy or foggy conditions. In addition, you can alter the trajectory of your shot with five different settings – high, medium high, medium, medium low, and low.
Another handy feature, for those of you for those who want to squeeze a quick round or don’t have the ceiling height required to swing a driver, is transforming any course to a par 3. Additional setting that can be customized include tee boxes, right or left handed players, green and fairway speeds, and rough difficulty. And since simulating the putting experience is not a strength of the OptiShot2, more on that in a minute, the ability to pick your distance for an automatic gimmie is a particularly handy feature.
Fun, But Not A Fix For Your Short Game
The Optishot2 is one of the best home golf simulators, and will likely help you focus on, and improve your golf game and many elements of your swing. But it’s not a fix if you short game is a mess. The OptiShot2 wont help with your putting or chipping – two disciplines that demand practice on a real green.
The short game requires lots of different shots and techniques, including raising or lowing the balls trajectory by opening or closing the clubface. From our experience, it did not seem like the OptiShot2 was able to determine whether your clubface was set up for a lob, or the difference between a pitch or chip.
Putting is also not a strength of the Optishot 2. Thankfully the ability to adjust the game’s settings to allow for gimmies from any range eliminates the need to go through multiple putts on every hole.
Optishot2 is an ideal product from those who have limited time to practice or who have limited indoor golf simulator budgets. The graphics are good, but not great, and the system provides enough realism and data to make you care about every shot you take. It should help you iron out some of the kinks in your swing. But it won’t do much for your chipping and putting.
Many point to the low cost as one of the strongest attractions of Optishot2. However, the purchase price of just under $500 is really just the starting point if you want to create an ideal indoor golfing environment. You will probably want to purchase a practice net as well as a turf-hitting mat to keep your feet level with the device. At the end of the day, you will likely end up spending closer to $1,000 to create your indoor golfing experience.