Believe it or not, it is possible to have the best home golf simulator on the market for under $500. That is right…UNDER $500. Golf can be a very expensive sport and time-consuming sports so if you are anything like myself, you look for inexpensive ways to improve. The Optishot 2 Golf Simulator is just that…an inexpensive way to play golf and improve. Hands down the best home golf simulator you can find for under $500. Yes, you could go with the R-Motion simulator, Tittle X or others but if you are really looking for the most affordable and versatile simulator, Optishot 2 takes the cake.
Best Home Golf Simulator For Under $500
Optsihot 2 Review 2018
Over 10,000 golf balls hit and countless hours practicing on my Optishot 2 has given me great insight into this product…both the GOOD and BAD. The Optishot 2 has its issues but the value it provides for under $500, far outweighs the problems. It is the best home golf simulator for the price. This article is an honest review of everything Optishot.
The Optishot is a virtual golf simulation system that plugs into your computer and allows you to play golf at home. It consists of sixteen high-speed sensors that tracks your golf swing before and after contact with the ball to gives you “instantaneous feedback on every shot”. You can project your shot onto an impact screen to simulate playing on a real golf course. A fun, simulated golf experience.
Optishot 2 cost around $300 for the system and 15 courses. This is one the most inexpensive golf simulators that you can actually hit real balls and play real courses. I really only found two other simulators that were comparable in price (see table). You can play on your Optishot right out of the box for around $300. Other budget simulators will nickel and dime you with add-ons and add-on.
Comparison (Budget Simulators) SimulatorOptishot 2R-Motion (14 Clips)Tittle X P3ProSwing (Economy)Skytrak (Game Improvement) Price$300$300$200$999$1,695 Add-On Costs (Software, Licenses, etc)$50 (Online Play)$400 (E6 Courses)$200 (Ball Spin License)$99 Year (Advanced Features) Accessory Costs (Mats, Turf, etc) NoneNone$35 (Country Club Elite)
As you can see, you can add more courses and begin playing online (Mini Tour) for $50 a year. I do recommend getting this add-on as it will make your experience more fun but I will talk about that more later. As far as price, its is hard to beat the Optishot simulator.
Everything You Need To Know
Why Get A Golf Simulator
The first question you have to ask yourself is “what is the purpose of getting a simulator”? In an earlier article, I talked about some of the reasons why you should get a golf simulator. It listed 10 reasons that I wanted to get a simulator. With the exception to “liking to build”, I really believe the Optshot has checked all those boxes for me. I really love golfing on a course but being able to play at home with my kids was a huge plus. The Optishot golf simulator is the best home golf simulator because, not only can i improve my game, but I also get great family time. This simulator is simple enough that my son can play and enjoy it. In fact, one night we stayed up past midnight practicing our putting of all things.
Beside the great connection i have made with my kids, there are other huge benefits of having a simulator. Improvement, competition, an escape, or for just plan entertainment, the Optishot can give you all of them with one package for under $500. If you are scratch golfer already or need the best graphics and “smash factor” type stats then maybe a higher priced Trackman or Skytrak is more your cup tee. For me, I am looking for fun, competition and improvement all in a budget simulator.
The first thing you will find is that the Optishot is so EASY to use and setup. You need a space that is around 10 x 10 and has a ceiling over 8 feet high. For me, the garage was the place I had decided (convinced my wife) to put our simulator. Yes, I do have to park outside now but it was well worth it.
Once you have your simulator in place, all you need to do is download the software on your computer and plug-in the USB cord from your computer to the swing pad. The lights on the swing pad will light up. You should see ONE green sensor light letting you know you are ready to go. You can get up and hitting in less than an hour.
One of the cool things about the Optishot and why it is the best home golf simulator is that you can hit real golf balls, hit foam golf balls or no balls at all. This gives you great versatility on where you can put the Optishot. It can go in your living room if your ceilings are high enough.
The first thing I replaced was the turf top of the Optishot. The turf that comes with the system is awful. It is razor-thin and does not feel like hitting off real grass. If you are just hitting foam balls or not using a ball at all then you can probably use the original turf. My suggestion is to buy a thicker turf top so you can get a better feel and protect the sensors of the pad. In fact, in my first year using the original turf, i BROKE my Optishot twice. Get the thick turf top, you won’t be disappointed. Still not convinced?? Read some of the reasons why HERE.
The best home golf simulator better be able to help me improve. The main reason I decided to get a golf simulator in the first place was to become a better golfer. I had this great desire to be able to break 80 consistently and get rid of my crazy slice. My swing needed to improve and I didn’t want to have to take lessons. So, I began researching on how to hit a draw and what the best drills were to make better contact. What I found was that by looking at my Optishot swing stats, I could make subtle tweaks to my swing and improve it.
The best part about the Optishot swing stats is that they are easy to understand. Other golf simulators try to impress you with all the stats that they have, from smash factor to launch angle. Well for me these stats complicate a game that is already complicated enough. The simple stats that Optishot provides are easy to understand and put to use. You can sort through stats from your current session to a week ago to all time. You won’t be overwhelmed with messy stats.
Some of the stats I use:
These are the most important stats for an average golfer like me. In my practice sessions, I really focused on my “Swing Path” and “Clubface Angle”. I would do drills in an attempt to get my swing path inside out and my clubface under 2 degrees open. Doing this helped me get a nice little draw. The Optishot can help you become a better golfer if you focus on the right things.
One of the big benefits of having a golf simulator in your home is that you no longer need to spend money or time going to the range. The Optishot driving range provides any golfer the chance to get better. You can hit any club in your bag and hit from any distance with a simple click. The Optishot range has all the feel of a real driving range but you never have to leave your home.
The best part of the Optishot range is the Pinpoint accuracy concept. You can use the Pinpoint system with your irons or for driving. For your irons, you will see 4 target rings around the green. The “white target ring” is 15 feet from the hole and then they go out from there. A great way to practice is to pick a distance and see how many shots you can get inside the 15 ring.
Another aspect of the Pinpoint range is used for driving. This has lines down the fairway at varying distances apart. This helps with your driving accuracy. The Optishot range will save you hundreds of dollars and is a great tool to improve your golf game.
Want to practice hitting balls on a real course? No problem. Optishot is so versatile that you can go to ANY hole on ANY course and practice hitting ball after ball. One of the thing that I have found to help me is to go to a tough hole with a tough green (such as the one below) and practice my putting. Being able to practice on a real course is fun as well as rewarding.
The best home golf simulator should be accurate. Many say that since the Optishot only tracks your club passing through the sensors and does not track the ball that it can’t be very accurate. I do agree that the one big fail of this simulator is in the accuracy department. It is very frustrating at times.
Here are some of the times that it tends to be inaccurate:
– Many times if you shank a shot off the toe or heel, you will find that the ball actually flies ok on the simulator.
Shots That You Hit Down Too Much
– Many times if you have really steep swing, the Optishot may register a 350 yard shot. Ouch!
Out Of The Bunker
– Bunker shots tend to come out of the trap as bump and run shots, no chance of loft. (I actually have gotten pretty good at them lol)
– Many times when you are behind a tree or bush it does not have much of an effect on your actual shot. Rarely do you hit a limb or branch
– It you top a ball the Optishot will not pick it up. Your topped shots will be good shots many times.
Here is a great video on Optishot miss hits:
These situations happen a few times a round and can be really irritating. I recommend allowing for a mulligan just in case. Other than those situations, the Optishot is as accurate as the average golfer needs in my opinion. If accuracy is a true issue for you, then I suggest spending the extra money on a higher end simulator.
Optishot 2 comes with some of the finest courses in the world that you can play. The original system comes with 15 courses but you can purchase more. I have found that the 15 courses that come with the simulator are more than enough to keep me busy. The graphics for each course are good but some of the higher end simulators may do it better. One suggestion if you want more courses is to join the Mini Tour (see below) for $50 a year and enjoy many of Optishot’s premium courses.
Par 3 Tees
One of my favorite features of the best home golf simulator is that you can play each hole in a round as a par 3. In the “manage player” settings you can adjust your tee box (back, middle, front and par 3). I like to move the tees up to the par 3 and play every hole on the course as par 3. When you start a round, the system will move the tee box up to a distance about 150 to 100 yards away from the pin. You then get to play from that spot. Par for a round becomes 54 and you can really dial in your irons and putting.
Peer To Peer
One of the best features of a home golf simulator is that you don’t have to leave your house. You can play a round of golf with anyone at any time. When you sign up for online play with Optishot you can play against anyone online. This is called a peer-to-peer game.
It is super easy to create a round on any course and invite friends to play. Set the rules, wind and tees and play anytime. You can also join a public round with random players. You can see everyone’s scorecard and if they are on the same hole as you, you can see their shot or where their ball lies. Just like playing on a real course but in the comforts of your own home.
The Mini Tour is Optishot’s version of online tournaments. By joining the tour, you get access to premium courses and 2 events a month. After a few years of practicing on the Optishot, I decided it was time to join the Online Mini Tour. I was craving competition and wanted to see all my hard work pay off on the Tour. Well, this is where I think Optishot has missed the mark (even though i won the drawing for $100). It just wasn’t fun. After just 2 events, I decided I was done. Read my full review of the Mini Tour HERE.
In fact, after I stopped playing on the Mini Tour I started an Optishot League using the Peer to Peer feature. Much more entertaining.
1Safeway OpenPalm Desert (Mountain)5002World Golf ChampionshipBlack Mountain (Thailand)5503Sentry Tournament of ChampionsWest Maui (Plantation)5004Farmers Insurance OpenTorrey Pines (North)5005Waste Management Phoenix OpenThe Golf Club At Scottsdale5006Sony OpenWest Maui (Plantation)5007MastersBarsesback Golf Club6008Honda ClassicWarrick Hills5009US OpenTorrey Pines (South)60010Canadian OpenThe Canadian Club50011PGA ChampionshipLong Island Black60012BMW ChampionshipTwisted Twig2000
I hope you can now see why the best home golf simulator is the Optishot. With its easy setup, simple stats, pinpoint range and multitude of course and ways to play, the Optishot is a steal at $300. The value that this simulator gives golfers can not be found unless you purchase one of the high-end machines. It is a huge jump to the Skytrak (the simulator upgrade that I would do if money was no object) which is almost $2000. With the Optishot you will have fun, improve AND save money.