First time I ever visited X-Golf, I instantly loved the vibe. Good music on the sound system, a bar up front serving food and drinks, friendly employees, inviting couches, several big screen TVs, and a lineup of hitting bays.
But what really caught my attention: The technology. The hitting screens’ colorful graphics are nothing short of dazzling. I admit I was slightly intimidated for about a minute – until an X-Golf associate familiarized us with how to use everything. From that point on, it was not only simple to understand but also very helpful to my golf game. And trust me, if I can get the hang of it quickly, you definitely can. So even if you have no idea what a launch monitor is, you’ll still feel right at home with the incredible data displayed on the screen after every shot.
You’re visually guided all along the way. After you decide which golf course you want to play, the fun kicks in. Prompts show you whose turn it is to hit, the current score, and of course which hole you’re playing. One of the underrated cool things about X-Golf is its automatic ball teeing system on the hitting mat. You can easily specify and adjust a unique tee height for your driver or fairway woods. And it remembers your tee height preference the entire round. What you see on the screen is a phenomenal computer-generated version of the course you’re playing – with every shot shown life-size from your hitting perspective. Although you can always just step up and shoot, you can also choose which direction you want to hit your shot, via the player controls. So if you want to stay right of a tree or lake, you just shift your perspective by pushing a button. Super simple. Then once you hit a shot, X-Golf’s patented system of lasers and high-speed cameras kick in. Your ball appears to travel seamlessly from the physical world into the digital realm, in an instantaneous and visibly realistic way. I’ve been playing golf long enough to know where and how I’m missing shots, and am confident that X-Golf’s simulator was capturing my shots with razor precision. Several times I felt that I hooked or drew a shot – my most common miss – and sure enough that’s what happened on the screen with my shot. When I perceived that I made thin contact, the digital shot behaved accordingly. This is not coincidental, according to company officials who tout that their 15 years of engineering the sophisticated combination of laser, light, impact and camera sensory technologies to collect raw data at and around the impact zone is the key here.
Even the short game is realistic. I was blown away by the realism of my chip shot length, height and roll-out – thanks to the system’s advanced graphics and computer power. Whether on putts or chips, the virtual golf ball reacted to breaks and slopes on the green just as if I was on the real course.
If you’re into quantifying your golf swing, you can set up the system to display all of your hitting data immediately after every shot – including club path, clubhead speed, club impact location, ball direction, launch angle, ball speed, smash factor, backspin rate, sidespin rate, total shot distance, carry distance, shot peak height, and trajectory apex location. Following the laws of physics, these measurements are gauged instantly to perfectly reflect what happened during your swing and with the actual ball flight. The accuracy is uncanny.
You can also run a video analysis of your swing, via the side and rear cameras – activating a side-by-side comparison of your swing against the world’s best golfers – in slow motion, frame-by-frame or real-time speed. Plus you can save it electronically, so that the on-site golf pro can help you improve. You can also take any course, any hole, any distance and make it your own private practice range. The system can lay all of your ball flight paths over each other, helping you see your consistency on the way to improving.
Oh, and as a side note: After you hit each shot, you don’t have to reach down to collect the golf ball after it bounces off the screen. It automatically gets funneled into a bin below the floor and feeds into the automatic tee system.
Trust me, this is the most effortless and pleasant indoor golf experience I’ve played. And I’ve played plenty. Even if you aren’t tech-savvy, you will likely be impressed with how X-Golf technology embraces you.