Optishot 2 Golf Simulator Review

Our first golf simulator and it comes at a perfect time! Want a holiday gift for your favorite golfer? Stay tuned to our review.
 
One of the best gifts you can give is golf all season long and the Optishot 2 from Optishot does just that. It is a ball-tracking golf simulator that allows you to play a round swing for swing, without leaving your house. 

Sounds expensive right? Well its not as expensive as it seems. For less than $500 its a budget-friendly option to make of the $5,000-$25,000 alternatives. There is a difference but is it worth ten-times the price? Lets break it down.

First let's start with the unit itself. It's a patch of astro turf some sensors on a motherboard surrounded by plastic. Some heavy-duty plastic that is. Included in the basic package is the platform, a long ten foot USB cable to connect to the computer running the free software, two plastic tees (one long and one shorter), two foam practice balls and the Optishot 2 Software.

The hardware is the same as Optishot 1, however it’s the software that is vastly improved. If you have an older version you can upgrade for $100. The free software can be installed on PC or Mac and is an easy install. We used a Macbook Pro laptop during our review and had no issues. You do need some sort of projector or nearby screen. We used the 13' laptop screen and didn't have as great of an experience as if we would have had a projector. That is a good and bad thing about the Optishot 2. You can customize your setup, but you HAVE to customize and spend on your setup.

Going back to the heavy-duty hardware. During our testing we beat it up, not on purpose but we got a chunk of the platform every now and then. There was nothing but a loud bang from each strike. TheOptishot 2  showed no signs of scratches, dents, broken sensors, or other wear. It took the lickin' and kept on tickin'. And if you are worried about damage or are stronger than I, it comes with a 180-day warranty.

SETUP


As mentioned above the software was easy to install but the user experience and look is a little dated and Optishot 2 saw most of its upgrades on the software side. After installing all of the courses all I had to do was plug the sensor into my computer and it worked. Next up was a calibration sequence that is HUGELY IMPORTANT to ensure as accurate of an experience as possible. Before you take your first swing make sure that where ever you are has high enough of ceilings for your swing. You don't want to be worrying about that all round. The minimum recommended height is 8.5 feet – but honestly, unless you want to stress about every swing, you might want to make sure you’re at 9+.

HOW DOES IT WORK?
You may be asking, what is the Optishot 2 measuring with its sensors? It is taking into consideration your clubhead speed, face angle, swing path and distance. This is, in theory, enough info to make a strong prediction on where the ball is going. Its not fool proof, its not as accurate as a ball tracker but the sensors are firing at about 10,000 pulses per second, so that isn't too bad.

Again this is a club tracker so if you top it, shank it or otherwise biff it, the sensor isn't really keen to that. Other than angle, path, etc... the Optishot 2 is in the dark so that makes it tough to get feedback on and practice punch, flop or other technical shots. The OS2 is forgiving but that makes it better as a party game and less of a golf trainer. Someone with nearly no golf experience can compete against a 10 handicap and have a good time.



The biggest part of the game is actually the least realistic. Putting is a challenge. Trying to putt foam balls in a hole that doesn’t exist, off a simulator mat leaves a lot to be desired. Not sure what else OS2 could have done with this setup but all simulators have this type of issue. Your best bet is to spend more money and set up an indoor putting mat so you have some guidance to where you are headed.

Customizing is a huge strength and really allows you to tailor your experience to your preferences and practice desires. From weather and wind to fairway and green speeds you can tweak OS2 to fit you. You can also change gimme distances and tee boxes, right or left handed players, in depth practice settings and more. 
What Courses Does it Have? 
The Golf Club Scottsdale – (TPC Scottsdale)
Long Island Black – (Bethpage Black)
Torrey White – (Torrey Pines North)
Torrey Black – (Torrey Pines South)
Palm Desert Mountains – (Bighorn Mountains)
Palm Desert Canyons – (Bighorn Canyons)
Barsebäck Barseback Golf & Country Club -(Sweden)
Black Mountain Golf Club – Thailand
The Canadian Club – (St. George’s Golf Country Club)
Österåkers Golf Club – Sweden
West Maui Plantation – (Kapalua, The Plantation Course)
Warwick Hills Golf And Country Club – Michigan
Twisted Twig Golf Club - (Crooked Stick Golf Club)
Fylde Links – (Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club)
Cogs Corner – (Cog Hill Golf & Country Club)

 
Downside to the course offerings is for a ridiculous $29.95 per course you can also purchase replicas of these courses:
Riviera Country Club
Pinehurst #2
Pebble Beach
TPC Sawgrass
Valhalla
St. Andrews
Gleneagles
Royal Liverpool
East Lake Golf Club
Kiawah Island (Ocean Course)
Merion Golf Club
Atlanta Athletic Club
Whistling Straits
Congressional Country Club
Medinah #3
Royal Melbourne
Muirfield
Royal St. George’s
Olympic Club


Why not offer a flat rate for all of them? Luckily you can preview each of the add-on courses and play three rounds for free.

OPTISHOT LIVE


One of the coolest features is the live multiplayer offering, Optishot Live.

You can take on other OS2ers from all around the world in challenges, matches and the weekly Tour promos they have going on.

In a nice touch the Optishot folks will open up premium courses
non-premium members during the PGA season. There always seems to be people playing online, so finding a game isn’t hard – especially when they’ve got a new free course to play.

It’s a great feature, and if you don’t want to shell out the cash for new courses, this is a nice way to get your fix and mix it up, all while seeing how your game stacks up against the Tour pros on the same course.

CONCLUSION

In a market that sees competition in the thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars, its a breath of fresh air to see the Optishot 2 Golf Simulator at just $499. That is still a little bit of cash but its a value considering the high-end sims can get up to $25,000. 

The OS2 is not a ball tracker and rather a club tracker but the accuracy is good enough to keep you from paying at least ten times the price on a ball tracker. The graphics are good and the courses are vast and varying (for a price). The OS2 doesn't serve as a primary training tool, you will still need to head to the range once and a while. But you have a golf course in your house, so there is that.


GRADE: B+

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