Indoor Golf @ The Golfers Academy
Indoor Golf simulators
A golf simulator allows golf to be played on a graphically or photographically simulated driving range or golf course, usually in an indoor setting. It is a technical system used by some golfers to continue their sport regardless of weather and time of day in a converted premises. Simulators have been available since the early 1970s, and systems range in cost from compact units costing well under $200 dollars that work with a computer or video game console, to sophisticated ones costing tens of thousands of dollars. Advanced systems may utilize a dedicated room, hitting screen, projector and other paraphernalia.
Simpler simulators typically do not possess built-in software, but measure the movement of the hand-held sensor and feeds the information to the video game. The information received is then translated into an action of some sort, usually hitting the ball. More advanced simulators often come with their own software, allowing the user to use the system as if they were on a driving range. Relying on a battery of environmental sensors, the software tracks each shot and represents the entire shot, from impact to how the ball bounces visually on screen. In this way, the golfer has a detailed analysis of the entire flight of the ball which can be used for practice or training.
It utilizes a projected landscape, sometimes with natural images. A computer calculates the expected trajectory of the golf ball from data gathered on the swing, which can be obtained by infrared, ultrasonic, or radar measurements. The image of the golf ball is then simulated on the screen via a projector. Different systems obtain different data measurements. Some utilize the velocity and trajectory of the golf ball as it is hit, while others measure the velocity and direction of the club. Some systems analyze the swing as well. This data is then fed through complex algorithms to determine the ball's trajectory. Simulators will usually offer options for an 18-hole game, played realistically, in addition to a driving range mode. The standard equipment utilized by a modern golf simulator includes some method of measuring a hit, a computer, a projector, and an impact-resistant fabric, which catches the ball. Matches may be played with traditional golf balls and bats, including woods, irons, and putters. The first golf simulators already existed at the beginning of the 1980s. The typical dimensions of a golf simulator are about 4 × 6 meters in the area and just over 3 meters in height, allowing freedom of movement whilst swinging.
Advantages Of Indoor Golf
The principal advantage of a golf simulator is the ability to conveniently play and practice in a controlled environment. Often this means the ability to play without any pressure, green fees, or tee times; however, the advent of "indoor golf centers", which provide simulators for commercial play, bring many of these competitive and social aspects into the simulated game. For those who live in wintry climes or urban settings, golf simulators offer the ability to play and practice year-round or within the confines of their locale. The space requirements can range from just needing an 8-ft ceiling to an entire wall upon which the game's screen is attached.
There are a number of different technologies in use presently. Principally they either track ball flight or club head motion. Ball flight is typically tracked via wavelength (infrared), audio, and/or laser sensors. These instruments serve as a means by which the ball's flight properties are tracked, namely launch angle, ball speed and ball direction. Club motion is similarly tracked via wavelength sensors or other devices such tethers, cameras, or lasers, which record the speed and direction of the club's head as well as the impact point of the ball on the club's striking surface. In some cases, based on the location of the sensing devices, it is now possible to capture data on both ball and club for most accurate speed and directional information, and simulated ball flight behavior.
The data collected is extrapolated to provide ball flight trajectory and roll out according to certain calculated relationships to the ball's flight performance per the tracked motion of the ball or club, adding environmental aspects through which the ball is projected, including terrain, wind, rain and other such influences or obstacles.
The way that the information is tracked varies as much as having a wall-sized screen recording ball speed and placement upon impact, to sensors that record the moments before, during and after the impact between the ball and club, in which case, the ball is held by a tether.
A key attribute of any simulator is accuracy. Ball flight is the primary determinant of a system's accuracy. Speed of the calculations and a predictable projected image of the ball in flight is one measurement of a system's accuracy. Predictability or the plausibility of prediction is a measure according to known ball flight properties among golf experts.
A ball's flight depends upon many things, including the ball itself, the strike and impact of the club upon the ball, the ball's launch angle, direction, spin rate and velocity, as well as the hitting surface from which the ball is struck and the simulated environment through which the ball virtually flies, suggesting wind, rain, and other environmental aspects that may affect ball flight. The battle for superiority in this market exists between the technologies utilized to track ball flight or club motion.
Combined with accuracy, realism is a collection of factors that make the simulation seem realistic and life-like. Factors such as the graphical realism of the course, 3D motion graphics, sound and visual effects such as the sound of the ball when it strikes the green or splashes into a lake make the game that much more realistic and lifelike. New developments such as auto ball feed and changes in the slope of the hitting area now allow the golfer to experience the feeling of playing the ball where it lies, no matter where it lies. This creates the feeling of thinking like you are on a golf course, rather than playing on a golf simulator - it is the feeling of planning your next golf shot, and not your next simulator command.
One such facility is The Golfers Academy in Burlington, Ontario Canada www.thegolfersacademy.com
The facility utilizes a PGA Tour simulator by Aboutgolf which is the leading simulator maker on the market today. The system uses a high speed camera system called 3trak
The ISU is a sleek, self-contained unit that installs quickly and offers superior serviceability. It integrates aboutGolf’s most advanced version of its proprietary 3Trak ball and club tracking technology, as well as specialized lighting.
3Trak is proprietary, three-dimensional machine vision that tracks nearly every element of the club and the ball. The consistent, reliable and definitive data enables true playability, resulting in enhanced improvement and maximum enjoyment.
3Trak is a unique kind of machine vision with a superior rate of image collection, high resolving power and no minimum ball flight requirement. The result is the highest-quality tracking available, with virtually no missed shots and accurate shot recreation every time.