Lamkin Grips

| 35 Comments

Golfers have been searching for a device for years that could assist with training and allow for fun, all the while being cost effective. It seems as though over the last few years, golfers have always had the same choice to make…”Do I play a video game such as the Nintendo Wii or do I spend thousands and thousands of dollars on a simulator? (assuming space is not an issue)”. A couple of years ago, a company by the name of Dancin’ Dogg came up with an idea for a portable and affordable solution that may give consumers the ability to have their cake and eat it too. They launched the Optishot Simulator for indoor use and it arrived at the consumer friendly point of $399.95 which brought smiles to the faces of golfers everywhere. The one question that everybody wants to know the answer to in evaluating this device, is it a game or a training aid? Is the device accurate enough to be called a true simulator? Read on for more information.

What is Optishot
In theory OptiShot is an affordable, accurate and portable home golf simulator. It is designed to give the golfer:

Accurate Swing Analysis
Club head speed
Face angle at impact
Swing path
Distance travelled
Face contact
Visual feedback of each shot

Simulator
Play with up to 4 players
Hit all shots from tee to green
Crystal-clear graphics
Ability to tune settings specific to your club set
Practice shots from anywhere on any course

Setting Up Device
All you need to get started is a room with high enough ceilings, your golf clubs, the Optishot simulator box and a Windows computer. Setting up is an absolute breeze as you just install the program, connect the USB cord from your PC to the hitting mat and you are basically done. I would like to add that if you have a Mac, you are not going to be able to use the Optishot Simulator. The device is not Mac compatible and according to the company there are no plans for a release of a Mac version anytime soon. The company recommends 8.5 foot ceilings, but in our measuring, you might want to consider something a little taller than that. The Optishot kit comes complete with foam balls, a rubber tee and everything else needed once setup is complete. One other thing to note is that you must have a room that is fairly dark. More on that coming up later.

Using the Device
We set up the device in our golf room at THP HQ and were quickly reminded that the high levels of light were messing with the sensors. One swing would have a reading of 105 MPH swing speed and the next would be somewhere around 65 MPH. It was causing havoc in our minds and with the score, so we quickly navigated towards a darker area. Once setup in the darker room, you really get the feel that you are ready to play some golf. On the first tee I was armed with the latest driver THP has been testing and when the light went green I put a swing on the “ball”. Before I get into the results, I wanted to say that I chose the current driver because of the fact that earlier in the day I was on the range with our VectorX launch monitor and happen to have all the statistics in place. On the launch monitor, swing speed was coming in at around 105 for my normal swing and with the fitted shaft, my launch angle was right where it should be. As you load up the system, you choose the preferences you would like such as wind, tees, and whether you would like to use a ball or no ball. We decided to go with no golf ball for the 1st session. Back to the results…I would love to say that with the first swing, we saw instant results and it was like using a full simulator. Unfortunately, it did not start out that way.

For some reason it kept reading my swing speed at about 75 MPH. No matter if I swung hard or soft, the results were the same….Slow swing speed, with a big draw. I could come in with a huge fade swing or open club face and it was still giving us the same slower swing speed and a big draw. The distances were all over the place as well. First swing was a 75MPH club head speed with a .8 degree closed face and a 216 carry drive into the rough on the left. Next was a 77 MPH club head speed that was square at impact yet it carried 231 into the trees on the right. Figured it was time to do some more research.

After a few hours, I decided to go back and face the gadget again and this time use the foam balls that were supplied. Once using the foam balls, the results were a little better. I found the club head speed to still be off by a pretty large margin compared to an actual simulator or our launch monitor, but the face angle measurements were quite good. We have tried using the device numerous times and have enjoyed the rounds of golf and swinging in the comfort of our own home. You can get the feel of playing an actual round of golf with the Optishot in your home during those winter months where you cannot get out to the course. It offers the same joys of hitting that good drive down the middle of the fairway and the same frustrations of missing by just a groove or two and ended up long or short on your approach.

Graphics
The graphics on the Optishot simulator are quite good. A faster machine might smooth out some edges here and there, but overall the presentation of the golf course and the rendering of the holes that were presented to us are pretty top notch. Having a notebook computer with an HDMI out made it very easy to connect our Optishot right to a large LCD TV which showcased once again the nice renditions of some incredible golf courses.

Highlights
Playing golf in your living room in the middle of winter would be a joy for our northern friends.
Fairly accurate with face angle and swing path.
Extremely easy setup.
Ability to use every club in your own bag and watch it come to life on the monitor.
Graphically speaking, it was a hit.

Lowlights
Definitely must have a darker room.
Found the club head speed pretty baffling at times
Accuracy was not on par with the simulators we have tested and/or our launch monitor

Overall

The Optishot Simulator is far more sophisticated than a Nintendo game device, but in my opinion, not quite on the level yet with full golf simulation or launch monitor statistics. It is enjoyable despite some early trouble and one can enjoy a round of golf in their own home regardless of what the weather is like outside, but it will not replace an actual round of golf in terms of realism (nor should we expect it to). The opinion of those at THP that tried the device out is it ranks somewhere above a game and below a full simulator in terms of realism and accuracy. With a price point of $399 for the entire kit, it might be worth a shot to take a look at. For more information on the Optishot Simulator, check out their website at www.dancindogg.com.

Till Next Time

Josh B.

Did you like this? Share it:

Category: Accessories, Equipment, Headlines & News

About the Author ()

Josh is the Publisher of The Hackers Paradise and co-founder of THP Media with his wife Morgan Babbitt. Together they share a passion for golf, and they travel the country along with their two dogs in the THP Tour Van bringing their love and knowledge of the game to golfers everywhere.

Comments (35)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

Sites That Link to this Post

  1. Optishot reciews | Rentoblog | July 11, 2012
  1. Dmb012 says:

    Nice review, JB. I have used one of these before and noticed some inconsistencies in it too. Over all it was just to use, but I just felt sometimes the numbers were wrong.

  2. Rb says:

    Great review. I think that it would serve us northerners well just to be able to see ball flight and the path. If only we had 9 ft ceilings:).

  3. TC says:

    i can certainly see a place for a device like this, and i think that’s what’s the most important thing. for a little more than a gaming unit, you at least have something that allows you to swing actual golf clubs. i won’t be looking at one any time soon, mostly b/c i don’t have the space for one, but i know there are a ton of folks that would love something like this.

    thanks for the review.

  4. MaryC says:

    Great review. I’ve been wanting to know the real scoop on this device & now I do. As a Northerner stuck in the house but longing for golf this sounds like a good solution. I don’t have space for it right now but will be keeping in mind a place for it in my next place

  5. biggsy says:

    Nice review THP. I feel that with more sensors the light issue might be a non-issue. That’s too bad, I had high hopes for this one. Looks like it’s price is right on with what you get; The ability to swing a full club, just don’t put too much stock in the numbers it feeds back.

  6. ddec says:

    Nice review JB. If I had the room I would consider it. For 400 bucks it would help get me through the winter months without losing swing.

  7. Ryan H. says:

    For the price point, I think it sounds decent. I didn’t really expect you to say that it was as accurate as a launch monitor. I think it still has entertainment value and you are able to swing a real club while using it.

  8. Yoccos says:

    Great review. I like the idea behind this simulator and it could be something to lookin into once I have room for it. Even living in a great golf weather state, there are times where practicing from home would make things a lot easier on me.

  9. One-T says:

    I have been waitng for this review and it was well worth the wait. I thoroughly enjoyed that. I like the idea to have this gadget in the winter months. Thanks josh, great review as usual

  10. Puttin4Bird says:

    Thanks for the review, way to cut through the marketing hype they seem to push on the commercial and give it to us straight. I do believe that someone stuck in the mid west with a foot and a half of snow on the ground would really benefit from having this. Now someone looking to get fit for a new driver…not so much. Thanks again!

  11. Alan says:

    A little steep in price for me until they work out more kinks, I think. That and I only have 8 ft ceilings inside the house and probably don’t want to spend a ton of time out in the garage in the winter. :)

  12. couldbeu says:

    Great review JB! For $399 I’d love to try to find a spot for this in my house… especially to practice 125 yds and in…

  13. 9-Iron Man says:

    Great review JB. I like the idea of this, but have some reservations about it. This is defintiely something I could use for the long winters up here. Definitely something to look into when I get my new place.

  14. mdbuschsr says:

    Great review. I can’t use it in my current home, but perhaps somewhere down the road, I’ll have a space for it.

  15. Smallville says:

    Thanks for reviewing this product. Like others, it won’t work in my home with the lower ceilings. The accuracy of the system would prevent a lot of people from getting this I would think, but for $400, you can’t expect it to perform like a better quality, more expensive simulator/launch monitor.

  16. Dr. Teeth says:

    Great write up! It sounds like it performs exactly how I expected it to, good but not great. But at that price point I would not expect great. I think this product is very intriguing and I think a lot of people are going to be finding space for one in their homes.

  17. skeurton says:

    I just got one of these for Christmas. The review and comments are pretty much spot on. It’s definitely not accurate 100% all of the time. But this is to be expected for the price point it was set at. However, it is a lot more fun that just hitting balls into a net.

    Some other things that might be worth pointing out:

    1. If you like to take divots, then your swing speed will suffer. This makes sense because you physically can’t take a divot. The Optishot is really solid and it will feel more like you just chunked a shot, which in turn slows your club down as it passes over the decond set of sensors. My swing speed readings are most accurate when I’m able to pick the ball of the turf.

    2. The unit itself is approximately 1.5 inches thick. I would strongly suggest getting something to stand on. I bought a commercial grade 4 x 5 hitting mat that is just about even with the Optishot. Then I cut out a section to place the unit. This also keeps it from moving around. This is very important because the better aligned you are and square with the unit, the more accurate your results.

    3. If you’ve gone through all the troubleshooting methods and still have trouble, you can edit some parameters within the software. For instance, if your swing speed is consistently lower than you expect, you can compensate by entering in a knock-up factor in percentage format. The default value is 100%. So if you’re consistently getting readings of 60mph with your 7-iron, but you know for a fact that you swing it at 75mph, you can enter 125% and it will not spit out readings of 75mph. But if you happen to hit the ball perfectly and the sensors pick it up perfectly, then you’ll get a reading of 94mph. You can also put in percentages for distance, which I haven’t tried. Likewise, if you think the dispersion doesn’t match what you typically see in real life, you can edit the club offsets to compensate.

  18. skeurton says:

    I apologize. In #3, it should say: “…you can enter 125% and it will NOW spit out readings of 75mph.”

  19. hanks says:

    Great stuff JB. Too bad accuracy isn’t better at $400 which is no bargain but not a complete drain on the wallet either. Hopefully this is the start of making this technology more accessible to the consumer.

  20. Brandon says:

    Dear THP and Forum Members,

    Thank you for the in-depth review of the OpitShot Infrared Golf Simulator by Dancin’ Dogg Golf. We are extremely proud of the accurate, realistic platform we provide golfers of all ages and abilities, for a fraction of the cost of launch monitors and other simulators.

    As we constantly develop new technologies, consumer input is taken seriously and we appreciate all of the feedback on this site.

    We urge you to try OptiShot for yourself, it’s the ideal way to hone your game all-year long. OptiShot boasts game-improvement features and an incredible fun factor that’s perfect for beginners to scratch players. It will become a fixture in your home, office or garage.

    Thank you again and play well,

    Brandon Theophilus
    CEO, Dancin’ Dogg Golf

  21. Drumdog says:

    Great job on the review JB !
    I am really disappointed in the club speed accuracy of this unit.
    I was ready to pull the trigger on this till your review.
    This one will not show up in my toolbox until the accuracy is improved.

  22. David says:

    I have a question…..I read “another” review where it says the sensors are designed to reflect off “polished” bottoms of irons. I notice in the above post, they are using a driver. Would this affect the “inconsistent” readings? The bottom of my R9 is pretty non reflective (black). The “other” review I read mentioned about using a special “optishot” driver. Just a thought.

  23. Administrator says:

    David,
    We found that with irons we found a little more consistency, but still very little realism as it relates to off shots that were “fat” or “thin”.

    As a whole we struggled with the accuracy of the unit. We think the company is on to something in terms of the device overall, but feel as though it needs to get far more accurate if it is going to be called a “simulator”.

  24. David says:

    Thank you.. I understand. One more question…. Does this simulator require you to use “tape” on the bottom of the clubs? I am looking at another similar simulator, but it seems they sell tape in their products page. Thanks again for the quick reply.

  25. Bubba22 says:

    I have the Optishot but have upgraded to the ProTee Golf simulator. I also tried the P3pro but was not happy with the accuracy and thecourse playability. I think the Optishot is a good sim for the pricepoint but I completely agre with your review. It is not high end and certainly has a lot of inconsistencies in the clubhead especially with the woods. It was not good enough for me that is why I switched. The P3pro was better but again just not enough. Since getting the ProTee, I can say that the simulator experience has been awesome. I would highly recommend the ProTee United simulator.

  26. Avinash Kumar says:

    I have been using for about a month now, I’m really happy with this. I think the above inconsistencies with club-speed would go away,as long as there is no shadow on censors, and make sure that you use florocent light bulbs.

  27. steve says:

    hi guys,

    good review but i think i can help with the varied wood readings. David, you are on the right lines with the R9 and darker coloured woods. As the unit works on light sensors it relys on the clubs reflections. Darker clubheads can mess up the actual readings and also as david mentioned shadows can cause problems. Make sure you have an artificial spotlight pointing at the sensors to get best results.

    The biggest problem with woods is the unusual lines and curves etc on the bottom of the woods. When the club swings over the sensors the lights then reflect and bounce in different directions because of the cavitys, curves etc on the club headand causes misreads. I myself use the R9 and found this inconsistency. I then taped over the bottom of my R9 with some silver tape to smooth out all the curves etc to produce a smooth finish woth no cavitys etc. I found this really helped the simulator and my readings are now spot on! Dancin Dogg now sell a driver and if you view it on their site you’ll see it has no cavity or curves and has a polished bottom. Nobody likes to have to tape clubs but a quick piece of tape on the sole of the club head on just your woods will get you the results you’re looking for.

    hope this helps!!

  28. Hello, i think that i saw you visited my weblog thus i got here to return the favor?.I am attempting to to find issues to enhance my website!I guess its ok to make use of a few of your ideas!!

  29. Jimmie says:

    Once when I was about 15 I was sitting in the back of my mom’s van while it was parked. I was waiting for her to get back from shopping. Both vehicles parked to the left and right of the van that I was in began to back out of their parking spots giving the illusion that the van that I was in was rolling forward. I had an adrenaline spike like you wouldn’t believe. I dove from the back of the van landing with some insane crawling movement to press my hand on the brake. I moved my foot up to replace my hand and looked around, noting what had really just happened. Derp.

  30. Rich says:

    Well jimmie i did not start drinking or doing dope at 15 years old,, sounds like you had some pretty good hooch that day

  31. Hi
    I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss the feasability to interface our Mind training system as well as our body/club 3D system with your simulators.
    Cheers

  32. Ed S says:

    Most of the accuracy problems noted by others seem to be related to one of two things when using irons. First, if there are ANY shadows across the sensors, (golfer, club etc.), you will tend to get some erratic readings. The sensors need consistent lighting with no shadows, (florescent works great). Second, you must be properly aligned to the target line to get accurate shot results. The majority of amateurs have alignment problems to begin with. If your swing cuts across the target line due to poor alignment, it will report inside/out or outside/in swing. Your club face may be reported open or closed as well. So, those with poor alignment are missing their targets in real golf as well as on the Optishot. Hint: If it says you have an outside/in swing, try hitting the same shot with a really flat swing plane. If it still says outside/in, you’re cutting across the target line due to bad alignment.

    It is also worth noting that if you fat or top the ball on the Optishot, the MPH readings will be greatly reduced (I suspect that is because it takes the club longer to travel from the back sensor to the front sensor). Generally, whenever I get a rather low swing speed, I believe that I have fated the ball, (even slight fat seems to reduce the swing speed some thus shot distance). Occasionally, thin shots will show up at reduced swing speeds as well. Divots after contacting the ball do not seem affect the swing speed much at all.

    Here are some suggestions to gain greater accuracy using the product.

    1. Lighting – My system is installed in the garage. I put up thick curtains to block outside light, (infrared light from the sun will affect the Optishot sensors). I installed florescent bulbs in the overhead light. However, because the Optishot was not perfectly centered under that light, there were still shadow issues. I bought a $20 adjustable floor light and installed a 100W florescent bulb in it. I placed it so it shines down on the Optishot , (and no it does not affect the swing area and it has a shade), and wham…no more shadow issues! The erratic readings went to almost zero. Remember… ELIMNATE all sources of outside lighting (including regular light bulbs) and install consistent florescent lighting so that all shadows across the sensors are eliminated. The result after making these changes: The swing speed matches pretty closely to my Doppler radar readings. Generally, it will read within 0-4 MPH (consistently within 2 MPH)of the Doppler readings (which are accurate and I have tested it at the golf store).
    2. Alignment – You should start with your club face parallel with the back sensor. Then align your feet to the target line. If you consistently get outside/in or inside/out (slice or hook) and that does not match what you consistently do on the course, check you alignment first!
    3. Clubs – I recommend that if your driver produces erratic readings that you get a roll of metal repair tape. That tape is light and flexible. I put a small piece and both the toe and the heel of the bottom as both were curved quite a bit. I also cut pieces to cover the Burner “B” and the red painted design things around the bottom edges of the driver. Optishot now sees the driver much more consistently and the readings track the radar readings fairly closely. My radar readings on the driver go from about 110 to about 118 MPH. Optishot generally reads from about 105 to about 116 MPH.
    4. Irons – I was able to get my 2009 Burner Irons to read MUCH more consistently by putting metal repair tape on the bottom of the irons. The tape was installed from toe to heel in 3/8″ strips from the leading eadge of the iron back. This apparently provides much better (straighter) refelctions to the sensors. I checked with Optishot tech support and they confirmed if your iron bottoms are “brushed”, (kind of dull brushed aluminum look), they may not yield consistent straight reflections. The metal repair tape apparrently makes it easier for the sensors to get the straight relections required.
    5. Set Up Your Clubs – Start with a stock set of clubs and hit some iron shots. Game improvement will probably work best for most cavity back clubs. If you’re a low handicap and use blades, there are a set for those as well. Play with the clubs until you find a stock set that performs the most consistent. With my Burners, game improvement did the trick. I entered the loft, offset and club length for each and away I went.
    6. Netting – Consider getting a net to hit into. I purchased the Calloway 6×7 hitting net for about $70. That works wonderfully using the Almost Golf Balls. I would recommend you grabbing a box. They are rated at about 1/3 the distance of real balls and will not break anything. They are really durable. You get a sufficient feel from them to tell if you hit them on the sweet spot, toe or heel. You may get a flat spot or two on them, but that will not affect your Optishot results.
    7. Hitting Mat – Be sure you get a hitting mat designed for the Optishot. You can order one for about $180.

    Hope this helps you out and have fun with your new Optishot…I have had a blast and play almost daily (sometimes hitting 300-400 balls a day…lol)

  33. Doug s says:

    Can you run it on XP on your computer. Do you need 7 or better

  34. Larrybud says:

    The other problem that nobody has address is the distance calculation in your test. No way in the world a 77mph club head speed is going to give you 230 yard carry.

Leave a Reply