Virtual Golf in Winter
The weather is finally improving. A whooping 6*C (43*F for our American neighbours) in my hometown today and we are finally able to breath some fresh air.
After lamenting our Canadian Winters in a previous Travel Post, we end up spending time at more and more indoor golf simulators that are popping up in town. Most of us are familiar with with the AboutGolf system- it’s the one used on the Golf Channel and in the sim rooms at Golftown. (I think they are upgrading/switching to GC2 for some reason.) Of course, Golftown’s simulator are never consistent- I’m convinced they’re jacked up to encourage enthusiastic club sales.
Last night, we visited a newer location in town that uses the GolfZon simulator.
I follow the definitive forum on golf simulators and never really heard of this GolfZon setup before.
I do suspect whoever named this system doesn’t like the letter “e”:
A little research shows that GolfZon is apparently one of the biggest simulators in Asia and specifically, Korea. In Canada, we are locked out of the frozen greens for 5 months out of the year and are forced to look for alternatives. In Korea, a round can go for $200-300 while GolfZon sim rounds are closer to $30 and may actually be the only way locals are able to enjoy a round of golf outside of driving range memberships. In fact, many golfers in Asia play golf confined at the driving range and access to simulators are the closest they get to playing a full 18. As such, GolfZon appears to be pretty big in Korea and now we are starting to see it pop up in Canada and the US.
The first question is how realistic is the system? The system uses cameras to read ball spin and than extrapolates and plots everything out in a simulation.
For driver and irons, the carry number seems pretty accurate and true to life. The misses and shot shape are generally accurate as well. I find the fairways roll out quite a bit more. A 220y carry may roll all the way out 30ys to 250 which is quite generous.
Chipping and pitching is much more difficult to guage how hard to hit a specifc 43.5y shot when there are no horizontal flat landing spots. We were all over the place.
Putting seems to measures the putts accurately but again, is very difficult to judge putting into a vertical screen and making mental adjustments to “as if” on a flat horizontal surface.
Finally, the play is fast. It takes about 1 hour for 1 person to play all 18 holes.
Not ever searching for (lost) balls is the best thing ever and something I could get used to.
Where as AboutGolf is all about realism and simulation, GolfZon really feels more like a virtual reality video game. The courses looks good enough but there are enough cartoony graphics overlay to jar you out of the reality and back into virtual. There are also lots of little video arcade game touches- from the way the voice over says “nice par” to how the ball falls into a metallic sounding cup to make you feel more like playing a game than pure simulation. That being said, GolfZon is alot of fun and quite accurate, being a worthy alternative to other hyper realistic golf simulations that are currently available.
GolfZon reminds of a virtual version of this Hot Shot Golf game
Other Cool Features
Automatic Ball Tee-er Upper
Okay, a video is worth a thousand words for this one:
How cool is that?
By default, cameras will record your swing and you can replay it and slow it down. I find the video a bit lower res but good enough in general for you to see your own form. Here I am trying to stay balanced and not fall over hitting a 7 or 8i.
Stuck in the frozen north, we’re just happy to see any new options and alternative to snow and cold. AboutGolf is more realistic and less video game like so it feels more suitable for working on my game or playing North American courses. However, I can see the video replay feature also being helpful. Either way, I’m happy to see different takes on the golf sim and hopefully more innovation will come and help the rest of us living in the cold or with very little green space to enjoy this game all year round.