Going for par with golf simulators
Golf simulators are a popular form of recreation overseas, and they’re starting to make some headway locally. Paul Skelton looks at everything an integrator needs to know if asked to install one here.
In 2012, professional golfer and Las Vegas native Scott Piercy won the Canadian Open by one stroke. When asked about the key to his success, he said a signifi cant factor was his 2011 purchase of an aboutGolf PGA TOUR simulator.
“aboutGolf has put a tremendous amount of research and development into producing the most accurate and realistic golf simulator on the market,” Scott says.
“I am confident it has been the best technology to help me develop my game.”
While not yet mainstream in Australia, especially considering how we’re not that short on space… or golf courses, this and similar success stories have ignited growing interest in the platform, particularly among amateurs and enthusiasts.
As a result, installers need to know how to identify a good quality golf simulator and what is required for installation.
aboutGolf is available in Australia through The Golf Clinic in WA, Henry- Griffi ths in NSW and Queensland, and Guru Golf Technologies in Victoria.
aboutGolf president Chuck Faust says a good simulator needs to be assessed on some key characteristics – accuracy, realism, reliability, enjoyability and easy-to-use features, the variety of desirable golf courses to play, practice range features, the reputation and dependability of the selling company, and price.
“Ultimately, the buyer should consider whether their choice of simulator is a sustainable investment by comparing these key areas of performance,” Chuck says.
“A quality golf simulator involves a sizeable investment and if the user does not experience results that closely match what they see outdoors it will not be of much value to its owner after the initial novelty wears off. aboutGolf prides itself on the value of its simulators because our products can truly be used for many purposes – playing, practicing, teaching/taking lessons, fitting golf clubs, competing, contests and events, promotional activities and more.”
The company touts two proprietary technologies as the foundation of its success – 3Trak ball and club tracking technology and the ONYX operating software.
“3Trak technology uses very high-speed cameras (>2,500fps) and machine-vision accuracy to measure club and ball data in approximately 1m of physical space as the club approaches the golf ball and the ball leaves the tee in the simulator.
“The data provided is comprehensive including providing ball spin in three dimensions with accuracy that is unmatched in the industry.
“The ONYX software includes proprietary physics algorithms, state-of-the-art graphics rendering and easy-to-use controls enabling the user to experience extremely accurate distances, shot shapes, golf club fitting capabilities, lesson teaching, fair competition and much more. The result is that aboutGolf provides the most realistic and accurate golf simulator experience available in the world today.”
Recently, the company adapted its technology to accommodate smaller spaces and budgets, with the new aG one system.
The company’s standard simulator allows home owners with space limitations, as well as commercial facilities wishing to optimise floor space, the ability to own a first-rate simulator without making sacrifices in impact and playability. Additional space-saving options include,PGA TOUR Compact Classic – measuring 3.6m wide x 4.8m long x 3.2m high –features a full singlescreen system designed for durability and image quality.
The PGA TOUR Compact SimSurround – measuring 4.5m wide x 5.48m long x 3.2m high – offers a three-screen experience ideal when space is a premium, yet a fullyimmersive experience is desired. aG one – a standard simulator measuring 4.5m wide x 5.48m long x 3 high – offers predetermined courses, features a single-screen simulator and can be cost-effectively upgraded over time.
aboutGolf has also recently introduced ‘Ball Smarts’ – an interactive ball comparison application. Ball Smarts is a comprehensive application that uses a combination of ball data gathered through the company’s 3Trak technology and preferences indicated by the golfer to identify the most compatible balls for a particular player’s game. In addition to basic ball recommendations, Ball Smarts enables advanced analysis testing of each recommended ball to allow the golfer to assess the ball based on speed, independently-gathered compression ratings and costs.
“For installers, a typical commercial installation will involve installing turf, stance mats and a hitting strip on the floor; a frame covered by fireproof material to separate the simulator from the surrounding area and a special white screen that displays the projected course images and withstands the impact of the golf balls,” Chuck says.
“The electronic components include a computer, projector(s), touch screen for controlling the system and the aforementioned 3Trak tracking system.
“For a residential installation, aboutGolf offers many options to allow the customer to integrate the simulator into their recreation environment and connect it with multimedia control systems or home entertainment equipment.”
Installation training takes two days to complete. This ensures the end result fully meets the specifications agreed upon and satisfies the customer’s requirements.