We, as golfers, have no doubt seen plenty of course simulators over the years, at golf clubs and sports bars, at teaching centers and off-course retailers. And it is hard not to be impressed with their size and graphics and the many ways they can replicate playing a round on various courses.
But the price tags for those puppies are often pretty big – up into the thousands of dollars – and more than a little prohibitive for the individual golf fanatic pining to have a simulator of his own.
Enter the Dancin’ Dogg OptiShot Infrared Golf Simulator. Created by a pair of Seattle software developers, who say they couldn’t get enough “real” golf between work and the famously damp weather of the Pacific Northwest, it features a small, artificial turf mat into which a row of 16 advanced infrared sensors are imbedded. Plug the mat into a Windows computer or television, and then begin to take your swings once images from Dancin’ Dogg’s vast library of courses appear on the screen.
Players can use their own clubs and either a real golf ball (if they have a net), a foam ball (three of which come with the OptiShot) or no ball at all. According to company technicians, the device will accommodate as many as four players and show clubhead speed, clubface angle, swing path and tempo, as well as readings on yards traveled, clubface contact and ball flight.
The basic price for the OptiShot simulator is $399.95 (U.S.), though the company also offers a premium Silver Package for $899.95 (U.S.), which includes the simulator as well as a 10-foot by 8-foot hitting net, a 5-foot by 5-foot commercial grade hitting mat and an OptiStix driver that is designed specifically for use with the product.