Tech News on G4
Optishot 2 Golf Simulator
Dec 17, 2015
By Greg Gazin - Apple Gazin' - G4 Canada
If you're going to swing at a golf ball, there's something to be said for using your own golf clubs and actual golf balls, unless you're a devout gamer who feels naked without an actual joystick. And why not get some practice improving your game through layouts of actual replica courses, instead of trying to be or simply beat a PGA player.
Well, you can - sort of. All you need is a place in your home or basement with enough room to allow you to swing a golf club and the Optishot 2 Golf Simulator. It consists of an AstroTurf enhanced durable swing pad simulator, 3D simulation software, rubber tees, and a USB connector cable and foam practice balls (You can use real balls too - more later).
The Optishot 2 tracks your club before your swing, during and after your contact through a series of 16 48MHz infrared sensors. Each sensor is calibrated to your club enabling you to get accurate feedback on how well your swing was. It measures speed, tempo, club plane and path of your hand. Data is then transmitted in real-time from the simulator to your Mac running OSX 10.8 or higher or a PC running Vista or higher via USB.
Practice and Play Modes
The software gives you visual feedback allows you to work in two modes; Practice mode is designed to track your personal data and get feedback on your progress and Play mode allows you to play full rounds from a course library of real mapped golf courses. You can play 18 holes solo, with your favourite foursome or with others over the Internet.
What's nice is that you don't have to play a standard game. You can vary it at least a half-dozen ways like stroke play, best ball, skins and more. You can also get the benefit of not being there through multiple camera views, adjust for right/left play, custom clubs, add a little challenge through weather adjustment, drop ball and more. When it's time for a brew at the clubhouse or a beverage from your bar fridge in the basement, you can save your game and resume later.
I'm certainly no expert so it might be hard to vouch for its pinpoint accuracy, although for me the long game seems pretty consistent with what I hit and where I hit it out at the range and the few times I hit the fairways. The short game I'm a little less sure of, but again it could be me.
HD Replica Courses
The interface has beautiful 3D HD graphics so the replica courses look pretty awesome. But it appears to focus more on functionality and accurate course replication than real-time realistic rendering so avid gamers might find the interface somewhat rudimentary or a tad dated - but then again, it's not necessarily designed to be a game.
Optishot 2 retails for $499.95 US and comes with 15 standard golf course simulations, some of which include: Palm Desert Mountains, Black Mountain, West Maui Plantation and The Canadian Club. If you are in the market for yourself or a gift, Optishot is offering some serious incentives like a 55% discount. So it's $350 US (about $475 CAD) and includes 10 bonus Platinum courses like Old Scot, Whispering Dunes and eight more which are normally $29.95 US add-ons.
You can play with the pad alone, but if you really want to push the experience, an optional 4' x 5' mat will run you $300 US and a hitting net will set you back $100 US. I think you will need at least the latter if you want to use real golf balls and keep them from cratering holes in your walls and taking out windows. If you really want to get fancy and maximize the experience, you might want to have a projection system on hand so you can have the course right in front of you rather than off to the side so you can easily see where the ball is going, rather than looking up at a notebook display.
Then again, you could actually take your Optishot 2 with you to the driving range.
The Optishot 2 Golf Simulator makes sense if you are serious about improving your golf game, something you can't do with a Wii. It might also make a great holiday gift for some golfing families who live north of the 49th Parallel and wish that they could golf 12 months a year. It might just be more practical, convenient and economical rather than heading off every winter to Palm Springs. On the other hand, if you're just a looking to have some occasional golfing fun, it might be a little pricey. You might be better off going to a bar that has a simulator or find an indoor Golf Dome.
Rating: 4 / 5
About G4 in Canada
G4 launched on September 7, 2001 as the ultimate television resource for technology news, information and entertainment. Co-owned by G4, Rogers Media Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc., G4 is Canada's first television channel 100% dedicated to technology, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The channel features the latest technology news, information and entertainment in an exciting and high-energy format. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite.