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Do Golf Store simulators Lie?


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Are they juicing the simulators at the golf stores to make you want to buy drivers?

Normally I hit my drives with a slice... its been a major problem for me. Lately I'm straightening out and will generally carry 210-220 then drop dead. Occasionally if I hit a downward sloping fairway I've hit as far as 240, but never past that.

Yesterday I'm in the simulator at Golf Galaxy hitting hybrid clubs, when I spot a Cobra somethingorother 9.5 with a regular shaft in a draw configuration. Since I've been wanting to try a 9.5 I decided to give it a whack. Well, I made a good contact and hit the ball right down the center. (In real life I'm sure it would do my normal trick of going 150 out then turning right).

The simulator says "277 yard drive with 243yard carry."

Um...

I'd love to think I could hit it that far, but somehow I think the simulators are not that accurate.

PS. The moment I hit that shot and saw the result I looked at my wife. She promptly said: "you aren't getting it."

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All the ones I have hit off are the exact oposite, I always hit shorter and hit a draw acording to their computer. I have told numerous people that that is so far from truth.

Most people will agree they are faulty in many ways.
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All the ones I have hit off are the exact oposite, I always hit shorter and hit a draw acording to their computer. I have told numerous people that that is so far from truth.

Well, one thing is for sure: I'm going to have to try that same driver at a real driving range. If I could carry 243 with a nice easy tempo swing I'd be in heaven.

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I could see the golf retailers setting up their sims to read long drives. I think some can be setup to read downhill. Hitting 290 in a sim with a new club when you could only hit 260 on the course would be a great selling tool.
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It is true to sometimes the simulators will 'lie' because they will not capture the spin on the ball as well as a launch monitor will so shots can show as longer and straighter than normal. There are other ways the simulators can 'lie' as well that involve the configuration of it.

One thing that often happens is they have it set for 'irons' instead of 'driver' (or vice versa) which impacts the data it gives you because it adjusts for more spin with irons so the flight is more accurate with them. Because of this the driver seems to come off on a low trajectory and looks to the machine like it was caught a little 'thin' so less spin is expected.

Another common issue is just that it's out of calibration. They need to be checked and adjusted regularly or you'll get some weird readings. I've seen some that show every shot as a fade or draw when in reality the shot was exactly the opposite. One I was trying irons on over the winter showed every slice as almost straight, fades as draws and draws as bad hooks. When I got on launch monitor (which was beside the simulator) I was able to see what it was going.

I have also seen people accusing the stores of setting the simulators up with a tail wind or something like that to show distances as being longer than what they really are but I've never seen that myself.
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They are inaccurate. I belong to an indoor golf facility that has the Trackman setup. The first thing I notice is that the bounce and roll gives you more distance than you typically get out on the course.
I'll hit a driver with my normal swing and it will read something like "ball speed - 150, 260 yds total, with a smash factor of 1.45". I'll then take a bigger swing and really go after it, and it will read: ball speed - 163, 264 yds total, smash factor of 1.5". This happens all the time. I just can't believe that when the ball comes off the club measureably faster and hit more on the sweet spot with all other conditions being equal, that I only get 4 more yards.
Last night I'm on the course and come up to a 293 yard par 4. There was a slight tailwind, and I hit my driver on the screws and ended up pin high. I can hit like that every now and then, but under no circumstances could I achieve that on the Trackman.
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All the ones I have hit off are the exact oposite, I always hit shorter and hit a draw acording to their computer. I have told numerous people that that is so far from truth.

I have noticed the same thing. I was getting my launch angle and swing speed checked last week at Golfsmith and I think the longest drive I hit was 185. Granted I am not the longest hitter (220-240 avg over the course of 20 rounds verified by my garmin GPS) but I take the measurements in the shop with a grain of salt. What I recommend to people that are looking at a new driver if they know (I mean know, not guess) what their carry and overall distance avgs are is to hit 10 balls with their current driver to create a baseline number and measure the % difference between the two clubs to determine how the new club would behave on the course.

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I don't know what to make of the sims. I tend to hit the ball really well at Golf Galaxy compared with Golfsmith. I don't know why this is, but it is definitely a fact when I compare impact patterns from both places. I just don't feel comfortable at Golfsmith. I'm sure part of the issue is the balance, as I feel like I'm about to fall off the mat. Another issue is the proximity to the Vector LM. It makes me do weird things to my swing so that I can get the Vector to take a good picture. The sim tends to draw my attention out rather than down. So I tend to swing flatter in the sim, vs. steeper with the Vector on the ground.

Other than that, I have seen some weird numbers before. One particular shot carried 300, but the spin was 4500 RPM. I don't know how hard you would actually have to hit it to get to carry 300 with that high a spin rate, but I'm pretty sure it's beyond my average ability. I remember the shot had like a 10 second hangtime. I tried to hold my finish, but got bored and felt weird just standing there. Another time, I saw the Vector claim 285 carry, 301 total, but the clubhead speed was only around 98. The other numbers looked good: ~14 degree launch, 2100 RPM spin, ball speed 155. I'd love to think you could carry 285 by only swinging 98, so I wouldn't have to swing 115 and could save my energy for basketball, but it seems like it's not happening.
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Look at it this way: the same simulator can be sold to a shop in Los Angeles, California that is sold to a shop in Boulder, Colorado. The two are at very different elevations, and the simulator has to be able to account for it by affecting ball flight, carry, and so on. So yes, in order to make an accurate product , it has to be able to be set to allow more carry than a simple spin and speed reading would indicate. And, of course, golf shops can set it up so that you hit it farther in there.

Just like if they were trying to sell you a particular driver, they could have you hit yours 10x and keep all the results, and then have you hit the for-sale one and nix the bad ones. All of a sudden, the one for sale looks better on average.


Short answer: they can be set to lie.
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I agree 150% - my standard 6-iron yardage ranges from 125 to 257 yards. I should feel pretty confident with a 6-iron in my hand on virtually any par 3.
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I agree 150% - my standard 6-iron yardage ranges from 125 to 257 yards. I should feel pretty confident with a 6-iron in my hand on virtually any par 3.

..and shorter par-4s.

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The one at my Golf Galaxy makes me look like Bubba Watson. I've hit a handful of 300-yard drives in my lifetime at the course. At GG, every drive is 350+ with a few being 400+. I'm not saying my GG is trying to scam me. They may be as incompetent setting up that machine as they are at just about everything else there.
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Don't know about the sims but the putting greens at many golf stores sure do lie. I swear they're sloped to the hole like a trough. Makes every putter seem like the one to fix all your problems.
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Are they juicing the simulators at the golf stores to make you want to buy drivers?

Most of them are BS - I only use them to judge whether or not I'm hooking the ball.

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