This year, a record six golf simulators were on display at CEDIA 2016. And that doesn’t even include the Laser Shot shooting simulator and a couple of racecar simulators at the show.
So what’s the difference between one indoor golf course and the other? Well, I had my own favorite and it was Swing Track, but that’s just because it was the only one that simulated real sports such as soccer and basketball (sadly, not Frisbee), and I don’t play golf.
For the real review, we enlisted longtime integrator and seasoned golfer Bill Maronet, principal of ETC in West Palm Beach, Fla. He begrudgingly accepted our challenge, even realizing that it would cut into his time reviewing HDMI cables and productivity software.
Does ETC sell golf simulators to its wealthy clients? Maronet tells us the company has sold two in the past, but it’s a “tougher sell in Florida” because of the good weather and ubiquitous outdoor courses and the systems “require a LOT of room.” – JJ
Maronet on the Indoor Links
I REMEMBER WHEN my goal at our industry shows was to see everything just in case there was some new product that would help us with sales or support. I would spend the time to evaluate each, so that I understood the pluses and minuses and could make an informed product choice decision.
This year I had five others at CEDIA that are smarter than me. It was their mission to evaluate all that was there and get me a synopsis of what they recommend.
I had a different mission. Julie Jacobson enlisted me to spend time to evaluate golf simulators and give my opinion on them.
I am a fairly good golfer with a 5 handicap. Importantly for this mission is that I have a very good recognition of how I hit the ball. I know it should have moved right, left, been longer, shorter, etc. Not that by knowing this can I always hit the shot I want, but I do know after I hit it what the ball would do.
Every year the simulators are better and this year was no exception. They all have great graphics of many wonderful golf courses we would all like to play (Pebble Beach, St. Andrews, etc). The technology and algorithms continue to improve and provide more accurate results in predicting the golf ball’s actual results.
I tried many hits with each simulator, deliberately hitting shots to curve the ball right or left (draw/pull or fade/slice) and based my evaluations on the results the simulators showed.
Any of the simulators that I tried would be good for average golfers. For the better golfers though, there were two standouts in terms of accuracy.
The High Definition Golf (HD Golf) simulator is very realistic. It uses multiple high-speed HD cameras to analyze ball contact – club head open/closed, path of the club head approaching the ball, club head speed, and I think most importantly the ball speed, direction and spin after it has left the club head and is on its way.
I wasn’t that impressed with the putting accuracy though.
The Full Swing simulator was my overall favorite. It utilizes high-speed HD cameras as well as infrared to analyze all of the ball characteristics and does a wonderful job of it. It is extremely accurate, which is very important to the better golfers.
They are all approximately the same price, around $40,000 and they all have dealer referral pricing so that dealers can make money on recommending the system.
I wish I had room for one at my place because sometimes it does rain in West Palm Beach.