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There are a number of different golf simulators out there at different price points. I’ve been wanting to build my own golf range at home and these four simulators are what I narrowed things down to.
The two most popular devices are the Optishot and the Rapsodo R-Motion. My original plan was to get one of these but I started to hear some decent things about the P3proswing and the Phigolf system. What we’ll be talking about are the features of each and what system I ended up going with.
Basically, what I looked at when I was comparing them was how well they performed for the price. I wanted something that was going to be fairly accurate in terms of yardage and accuracy. If those two boxes weren’t checked then I wasn’t going to buy it. Let’s get started.
PhiGolf Simulator Features
This is the cheapest of the four simulators and could be your best bet if you’re on a budget. It’s currently priced at around $250 USD and it can be used at home or on the range (which is a big plus).
The simulator comes with one sensor that can be attached to your own club or you can use it with the club they give you. The club that comes with it is small and you can’t use it to hit the ball. That’s the big downside to the system.
If you’re setting things up at your house and don’t have a net to hit into, you’ll probably use the included club. It’s short so you can take a full swing and not hit your ceiling. You can attach it to one of your real clubs and hit the ball too. This is the way to go if you can make it work.
You can play a virtual round of golf at some of the more popular courses around the world or you can just practice with the range or putting program. The overall graphics were actually a lot better than I first thought.
It’s not going to be 100% accurate when it comes to distance but it was better than I thought. It might not show as much draw, fade, hook, or slice as you’d normally hit but it’s not too bad. It’ll also show you your swing stats like club speed, tempo, angle, and distance.
Who Is The PhiGolf For?
The Phigolf system was really fun to play and is going to be ideal for someone who’s tighter on a budget, is buying it for their kids, or someone who just wants something fun to do with friends.
The reason I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who wants to improve their game is that the yardages were about 15 yards off with my 7 iron. It’s not that bad and it’s actually better than I thought it would be for an inexpensive simulator.
I still do think it’s better than nothing and it could help your game. All I’m saying is that there are better options out there, in my opinion.
Optishot 2 Features
The Optishot is probably the most popular home golf simulator right now and is currently priced around $299. The main difference between this and the Phigolf system is that you’ll actually have to hit a ball with the Optishot.
Since you need to swing a real club you’ll also need a spot in the house you can make a full swing. You’ll also need a net or something to hit the ball into (you can use real, foam, or plastic balls).
It comes with a swing pad, tees, foam balls, and a USB cable to hook up to your computer. You can then connect your computer to a projector and get the entire golf experience. If not, you can just use your computer or laptop.
It comes with 15 real courses and you can buy additional courses too (some of the popular ones). Again, you can either play the courses or you can practice on the range.
It’s not 100% accurate but it’s really good for the amount it costs. It’ll give you distances, ball stats, and a few other numbers to see where your game is at. I found it to be better quality and more accurate than the PhiGolf system.
Who Is The Optishot For?
If you’re looking for a golf simulator and don’t want to spend a fortune (Skytrak/Trackman) this will be a great option for you. It’s not perfect and it’s not the most accurate, but it’s close enough for me and is super fun.
If you’re someone who needs exact yardages and club stats then this probably won’t be for you. There are other simulators on the market that are almost perfectly accurate but those are going to cost you 10x more.
It wasn’t the best when it comes to using your driver, wedges, or putter. You’re going to need high ceilings to use your driver and it sometimes didn’t pick up on the short chips and putts.
Other than that, the Optishot was one of my favorite simulators and I do think my game has improved since getting a simulator. This was our favorite multiplayer system.
Rapsodo R-Motion Features
Next to the Optishot, the Rapsodo is one of the more popular devices on the market. It’ll give a lot of the same info as the other simulators and is priced around $299.
It’s pretty similar to the Optishot but you’ll have to purchase a few additional items. The first thing you’ll need to get is some sort of hitting mat and then something to hit the ball into.
One of the big downsides to this system is that it only comes with one sensor. You’ll have to clip the sensor onto your clubs and then switch it every time you want to change clubs.
It’s probably not as good for multiplayer as the Optishot, since you have to swap the tracker. We also found it to be a bit more accurate and consistent compared to the Optishot system.
NOTE. It seems like they’ve focused their efforts on a newer product and might not support the R-Motion anymore. I don’t think I’d buy this device anymore.
Who Is The Rapsodo For?
Whenever I was looking at the R-Motion I found it to be a bit more accurate than the Optishot 2 and thought it might be a better option for someone looking to take their game to the next level.
Apparently, the simulator doesn’t have the greatest support anymore and a lot of people have been complaining. That’s why I wouldn’t recommend getting the Rapsodo.
The P3proswing is the most expensive of the four simulators and is currently priced at around $1300. It’s completely portable and it comes with 20 different courses.
Since it does have a higher price tag, it also comes with a hitting mat, hitting net, and golf balls. All you have to do is connect it to your computer, set everything up, and start swinging.
That being said, I probably wouldn’t recommend the P3proswing either. The first reason is because of the price. If you’re going to spend that much then you might as well get the Skytrak.
The second reason is that it always seems to be out of stock. I don’t know if they’ve stopped making it but it never seems to be available. Also, the graphics weren’t even as good as the Optishot or Rapsodo and the quality wasn’t as good either.
Pros Of These Devices
- They’re great devices to play with your buddies.
- I ended up practicing more than before and it’s helped me improve my game.
- Some of the data is quite accurate (not perfect).
Cons Of These Devices
- They’re getting a little bit on the expensive side (but not too bad).
- They aren’t 100% accurate (but close enough for me).
- Hitting into an artificial pad isn’t the best way to practice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What computer do I need?
A. They list the requirements on their websites. Optishot is pretty much any newer computer. Rapsodo requires a pretty good computer.
Q. Can you play on a TV or projector?
A. Yes, you just have to connect the computer to the TV or projector (pretty simple).
What’s The Best Budget Golf Simulator?
The two best golf simulators are the Optishot 2 and the Phigolf system. Both of these provide a great amount of value for the cost and aren’t going to break the bank.
The simulator you decide to go with will depend on what you want to use it for. If it’s for the kids, or it’s something fun to use every now and then, go with the Phigolf system.
If you want to hit real balls, work on your game, or play multiplayer, go with the Optishot 2. It’s a bit more accurate and I do prefer it slightly.
Let me know your thoughts and any questions you have. Like this article? Feel free to give it a share!
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