Our product team is obsessed with golf simulator accuracy. If you get them started, they will give you an in-depth physics lesson and then delve into the inner workings of machine vision (which we have distilled for you in a non-overwhelming version here). When we spoke with Todd Thibodeaux about his in-home golf simulator, we knew the engineering team would be thrilled to learn their quest for pinpoint precision is appreciated.
If you want to work on every aspect of your game—and we’ll remind you that the bulk of the game takes place at less than 150 yards from the pin—accuracy is a must-have.
How Machine Vision Compares to Other Methods
In a recent (long) conversation with engineering, we discussed why aboutGOLF moved away from using one-dimensional cameras plus radar. While radar is good at estimating distance, the lack of spin measurement results in an unrealistic shot shape.
Todd Thibodeaux’s personal experience echoes what engineering discovered over the years.
"Radar driven launch monitors are okay for speed and distance, but they still don't pick up an array of shot types. It doesn't pick up the spin as well, so the shot shapes just don't look as real. I know what my shot shape should look like when I hit the ball, and radar-based technology didn't mirror my shot as well. And the putting and short game is not even close to what aboutGOLF can do."
Infrared can pose similar issues. Multi-layered infrared can significantly help reduce issues with launch angles. Add in a camera, and you’ll be even closer to your original shot shape. Unfortunately, people often comment on the misalignment with the arc of the shop shape—an aspect that is primarily driven by spin measurements.
“I tried some of the E6 software simulators with infrared, and all three didn’t pick up shots correctly. You might hit a perfect shot, and it would fail to catch it. Or maybe you hit a shot you thought was well hit, and it would record it as a slice or a hook. They weren’t accurate or consistent,” said Todd Thibodeaux.
Advice to Prospective Sim Owners
We asked Todd Thibodeaux what advice he’d give prospective golf simulator buyers.
"If you’re just hitting long shots and want a practice tool, you could get away with different technology. But if you want something where you’re actually playing real golf—shooting real scores—don’t even look at the other stuff. You have to invest in a high-end system. And I’d advise you to get an aboutGOLF system. I’m perfectly satisfied. I’ve paid back the money I spent on the system 50-100 times over in terms of green fees. It’s paid for itself many times over.”
“The accuracy is night and day compared to competitors. The ceiling mount is completely out of the way. I don’t even think about it. It makes it more like playing real golf than these things where you’ve got to position the ball in a very particular spot, and you have to tell it what club you’re hitting, and you have to clean the diodes to make sure the IR sensors aren’t covered up by the mat. With aboutGOLF, you simply go in, turn it on, and play. It’s just like going to the course as opposed to these other systems that require a lot of maintenance to make them work effectively.”
“What About My Ceilings?”
Todd added that one of the biggest fallacies of investing in a golf simulator is that you need super high ceilings and a lot of space.
“With a launch monitor system that sits on the floor, I would have had to take out my back wall in the attic. With the ceiling mount, my 15’ L x 18’ W x 9.5’ H room has plenty of space to swing comfortably both right- and left-handed, and I’m 6’1.”