Editor's Rating

The OptiShot provides a cost-effective simulation to quell your golf obsession.

8.5

Avid golfers can lay down four Benjamins and still not come up with enough cash for the green fees at some of America’s most loved public-accessible courses. Lay down a lesser $300 for the OptiShot Infrared Golf Simulator and you can be teeing it up in your own home 24/7 with 11 scenic layouts for the taking.

Dancin' Dogg's OptiShot Infrared Golf Simulator

Dancin’ Dogg’s OptiShot Infrared Golf Simulator

Even better, you can play in your pajamas (or not), set your own tee times, laugh at the outside weather, keep your car in the garage, play as fast (or slowly) as you want and get in as many swings as your free time and relationships allow.

The OptiShot can never replace a real-world round of golf, but it is an affordable and believable simulation that goes a long way in satiating your year-round golf obsession.

All that is required is plenty of room to swing, a Windows-based computer, and the provided OptiShot software, infrared sensor hitting platform and yellow foam golf balls.

There is no gimmicky shortened club or other quirky controller device that is required to play. You pull clubs from your own golf bag, which allows you to get in realistic swings that can ultimately improve your game.

First, choose a course to play. Among the replicated courses are iconic major championship layouts such as Torrey Pines and Whistling Straits. Additional courses are available for purchase. Next, choose practice mode or to play your favorite game be it Stroke Play, Best Ball, Skins or Match Play.

The heart of the OptiShot system is a turf-covered swing platform approximately 14-inches long and 10-inches-wide (see photo above). Infrared sensors on the front and back measure your swing details and send the digital data to your PC via a 10-foot-long USB cable.

The computer monitor shows the course in front of you. The OptiShot can also be hooked from your computer to a television or projection monitor for larger and more realistic simulations.

Select your club. Determine your distance. Check the wind direction and speed. Choose your aiming spot. Block out the incessant birds chirping in the trees (a default software setting that can be turned off) and take your swing.

Turn back to the monitor and watch your ball flight. Details picked up by the infrared sensors are relayed to the screen. Swing data displayed includes your clubhead speed, face angle, shot path, distance hit, distance left to the pin, swing tempo and face contact.

My first swing with the OptiShot was tentatively taken in fairly tight quarters. I wanted to make sure no ceiling plaster or wall sheetrock was involved in the game until I got comfortable with my surroundings. My initial swing resembled that of Charles Barkley on a bad day. The OptiShot was brutally honest in its feedback on my hacked motion. The Face Contact reading was “Extreme Toe” and the graphic rendering escorted me directly right into inescapable weeds. I quickly discovered that pushing the M(ulligan) key on the computer keyboard let me extricate myself from multiple beginner mistakes.

A fortune could be made if only there was an M key in a real game of golf. …

OptiShot also allows users to play course superintendent if they choose. Speeds of fairways and greens, for instance, can be adjusted with the click of the mouse.

A driving range feature lets you work on your OptiShot-simulated and real-world golf games. Your shot patterns and shot dispersions are among the data displayed and recorded, and you can track your history and improvement.

Considering there are golf simulators on the market with price tags meant for the nouvea riche, the OptiShot is a cost-effective and enjoyable option for budget-minded golfers wanting to get in a satisfying round of golf inside the comforts of their more humble castle.

Pajamas are not provided.

Find the OptiShot Infrared Golf Simulator at www.golftech.com.

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