Optishot 2 Golf Simulator
Teacher’s Comments: Loads of fun. Might even improve your game.
Optishot 2 Golf Simulator Review:
The Optishot 2 Golf Simulator is something I’m going to use a lot in the upcoming winter months. I’m hoping that it helps to slow some of the golf rust that accumulates over the passage of four to five months of golf inactivity. The Optishot 2 is like a home version of those very expensive golf simulators you see at fancy pro shops and golf simulator studios.
At the core of the Optishot system is a heavy base unit that has sixteen 48MHz infrared sensors. As your club swings over the sensors, it sends swing data via a USB cable to your computer. The software tracks a variety of data, including:
- Club head speed +/-2.0 MPH
- Face angle +/-1.5
- Swing path +/-1.9
- Distance traveled
- Face contact
- Swing tempo
- Shot shape
To use the Optishot, set up over the base exactly as you would for a real golf shot. The infrared sensors activate as you bring your club back, and then tracks the data through the swing. The Optishot 2 can be used with, or without a ball. I use it with a tee in the base to give myself something to swipe at.
One thing I’ll note is that the surface of the unit is about an inch tall. This means that for a swing, the ball is always above your feet. I think that what I’m going to do is to get one of those anti-fatigue standing mats to raise my feet to the same level. Otherwise, I’m afraid that by Spring my sense of the bottom of the club is will be fatally flawed.
When your swing is complete, the results show up on the computer screen. If you have access to an LCD projector, as I do, so much the better.
I think that a player could do a lot to improve a swing with all of this data. I especially like the fact that it tells me about swing path and face angle. I think I can use this to help to groove an inside-out swing over the next several months. I hope to also be able to get my swing speed up. Flight path is shown with the tracer line.
Optishot offers a variety of different courses in two different modes: Play and Practice.
The screenshot you see above is from a practice round.
In Practice Mode:
- Turn any OptiShot Course into your own practice range
- OptiShot PinPoint Practice tracks and records your progress
- Six different target greens improves your shot accuracy
- Precision rings & accuracy grid get you closer to the pin
- Driving-accuracy mode fosters straight fairway shots
- Set up the same shot over and over or follow the ball to the hole
- Visual feedback of each shot, includes full session data display
In Play Mode:
- Choose from an exclusive library of world-class OptiShot Courses
- Experience a fully-immersive and realistic playing experience
- All swing data tracked and stored for analysis
- Play full rounds with up to four players
- Par-3 tees included for all courses
Unlike some of the high-end golf video games from Sony Playstation and similar units, not all of the courses included with the Optishot are officially licensed, exact matches. Thus the names of many are suggestions of what is represented to one degree or another, if not exactly: The Golf Club Scottsdale, Long Island Black, Torrey White, Torrey Black, Palm Desert Mountains, Palm Desert Canyons, Barsebäck Golf Club, Black Mountain, The Canadian Club, Österåkers Golf Club, West Maui Plantation, Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club, Twisted Twig, Fylde Links, Cogs Corner.
The look of the courses on screen is pretty good, but if you’re expecting Sony Playstation 4 graphics, disappointment is on the menu.
On the other hand, I don’t think that the “accuracy” or “realism” of the courses matter. In my mind the Optishot 2 is less about pretending you’re playing Torrey Pines than it is getting some useful indoor practice and feedback. For me, the courses are good enough to offer some flavor and to give my brain and eyes something at which to aim and judge distances.
Setup for the Optishot 2 was effortless. I downloaded the software to my computer, installed it, plugged the unit into a USB port and was ready to go. Without reading any of the instructions, I was able to navigate the menus and get playing within a few minutes.
One thing to note is that using the Optishot 2 requires room to swing a club. That means high ceilings and open horizontal spaces. My house simply doesn’t have that sort of space. In the end, I was able to use it in my classroom after school, with all the desks pushed aside. Even then, I worry a little about hitting one of the lights.
I’m going to have a lot of fun with this over the next few months.