If you're like most journeyman golfers, hitting balls on a driving range is like trying out your best pickup lines on a mannequin – there's just no palpable reward for your efforts.
Enter OptiShot, the indoor golf simulator that turns laborious practice into as much fun as you can have at home without attracting the local authorities. Why hit into a cow pasture when you can play a couple of dozen great courses – and get valuable feedback on your swing?
Like chickens and eggs, much discussion is made over whether this $399 simulator is more a high-end video game than it is a scientific golf swing analyst. After all, it's easy to spend $10K on the kind of gizmo you'd find in a teaching pro's bay at the country club. In its favor, OptiShot's 16 optical sensors do measure clubhead speed, face angle, and swing path with a great deal of accuracy, data you can use to improve tempo, shot shaping, and distance. No video game does that.
All you need is a bag of clubs and a golf swing – not even a ball is necessary for OptiShot to do its job. A swing pad is provided, and the software and USB cable – add a nice HD screen to provide the gorgeous backdrops and fire away.
Best of all, the fine folks at OptiShot are true golf enthusiasts, and have taken pains to faithfully replicate famous courses one can only dream of playing. Versions of The Golf Club Scottsdale, Maui's Plantation Course, and twenty-some others ensure that you'll never get bored playing garage golf. Customize the weather conditions, invite three pals over to make it a foursome, and break out the beer and pretzels. The golf may be virtual, but the fun factor is for real.
By comparison, the Tiger Woods 13 game for Xbox Kinect may look like the real deal, but you don't even have to make a proper golf swing to play. OptiShot isn't about name-brand avatars and crowd noise, it's about making shots with all the clubs in your bag. Fore! [$399; dancindogg.com]