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Nine months with Optishot2: Was it a toy or a training tool?

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When I first set up my garage simulator, I didn't say anything on this board due to the overall negativity towards Optishot2.  Being new the the board back then, I would have never put out this post--but now it's time.  I'll avoid getting into the weeds on this initial post, but I'll bullet a few key takeaways over my journey with this device for anyone interested in setting up a golf simulation for their juniors (or even for a little alone time for yourself).


Why did I buy Optishot, with several other more capable devices available on the market?


-Bought for about $170 on eBay, this was one of the cheapest ways I could set up a golf simulator for my kids.  Full disclosure--I actually bought an original Optishot brand new-in-the-box and updated the software to Optishot 2.  Same sensors and hardware as OS2.  By the time I bought a screen, cheap projector, matt and A/V cart (the most expensive part, wife wanted a nice one) it ended up being about an $800 investment.  I used my old VAIO laptop as a dedicated machine for it, and it stays in the garage with the setup--which can be torn down or set up in under 5 minutes.  As a bonus, I also take Opstishot, the matt and the laptop with us when we spend our 3 months per year in Tallahassee.


Do the kids use it?  Do they like it?  Does it help as a training aid?


-Through May, we used the simulator a lot (3x week). The kids have only used it about eight times this summer, though, because the garage is insanely hot anytime past about 11 am even still.  We got a deal on a local club's summer membership, so we actually got out of the course quite a bit until recently and we played plenty of golf.


-Yes, the kids like the simulator.  Having a visual is important to them and it keeps them interested.  My kids dislike the range in real like, but even the range on the simulator is mildly entertaining to them.  The course selection is quite good--we played Augusta during Masters week when it was included then, and I just got my six handed to me by Chambers Bay just now.  We back it up to 50-80 yards for approach shots and have closest to the pin contests or near the green for chips--this is their favorite feature, and also the best part of their respective golf games.  They recognize the simulator is a supplement for going to the course when we are short on time, energy, motivation or in bad weather.


-The short answer is, yes, Optishot2 is a nice training aid for my kids.  Long answer, is that it is not a consistently great simulator when it comes to giving accurate feedback on anything over an 8 iron.  My kids and I recognize the shortcomings of the machine, and we practice to its strengths.  For example, it doesn't pick up their F9 drivers well at all--so we just forgo using them on the simulator altogether.  It also can be hit-or-miss as a putting simulator, so we play it purely for entertainment--and it can really be fun.  We use the Callaway foam balls, as I haven't laid any turf in front of the screen for hitting real balls safely.


Is there a downside to the Optishot2 other than I've explained?


Aside from not being able to swing a driver (I don't feel like taping it) on it, I feel the real downside could be developing the habit of topping the ball.  Since it tracks the club and not the ball, the machine has no idea if you've topped it or not.  I have no idea if there will be a lasting impact because of this, but they have seen a pro off and on over the past year and get a fair amount of course time.  If this was their only golf outlet, then perhaps it would be a bit concerning.



Am I happy with Optishot2, or will I upgrade to something better?


-Yes and yes.  Maybe in another year, given the kids are still into it, we'll upgrade.


I bought this machine to help my kids practice and it has done that.  Optishot2 has been a valuable practice tool for their short/approach game, IMO, as they've spent hours hitting shot after shot at greens they can see on 15-20 different courses so far this year.  That I'm able to play Chambers Bay in my underwear is a real bonus, especially when I can walk away after five holes of frustrating green complexes not having to worry about greens fees or what my playing partners think.



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When I first set up my garage simulator, I didn't say anything on this board due to the overall negativity towards Optishot2.  Being new the the board back then, I would have never put out this post--

I run a SIM GOLF discord channel if you wanna join and ask questions about simulators.  We have about 100 members.    

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