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The Alphaland City Club’s High Definition Golf Simulator

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The golf simulator has been around a long time. I had my first experience with one back in 2005 and although it somewhat replicated the golfing experience, it felt more like a big video game than a real game of golf.

Then a few weeks ago I got a call from Alphaland’s Rafael “Apa” Ongpin who extended an invitation to try their golf simulator. I must say at first I was underwhelmed. But I jumped at the chance to see the new City Club situated on Ayala Avenue Extension and Malugay Street in Makati City. I’d heard a lot about it and was chomping at the bit to see it.

I got more than I bargained for.

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High Definition Golf is a Canadian company that is committed to providing most realistic indoor golf experience in the world. That commitment to quality engineering and components is the reason why their golf simulators are known for being extremely reliable and virtually maintenance-free.

By combining high-resolution imagery with geophysical and satellite data, the HD Golf Simulator provides a high-definition 3D photo realistic reproduction that is so crystal clear and faithfully reproduced, you’ll swear that you’re standing on the actual golf course. I got a chance to play a few holes at Pebble Beach on the simulator and although you can’t feel the wind or smell the ocean, I’d say the experience is the best I’ve had on any simulator.

You can also play TPC Sawgrass, Bethpage Black, Torrey Pines and a selection of some of the most famous courses on the PGA Tour. There might not be as many courses to choose from as there are with some other simulators, but because of the complexity and detail that goes into digitalization of a championship golf course, the process does take a little while. More courses will be available down the road but for now what is available is plenty.

The system uses four cameras; one tracks the path of the clubhead through impact and measures the angle of the clubhead to within a tenth of a degree. Another tracks the compression, launch, spin (within 25 rpm) and spin axis of the golf ball. The other two are arranged stereoscopically and they capture the horizontal and vertical axes and the speed of the ball.

I warmed up on the simulated driving range. The yardages I was getting on the simulator were pretty consistent with what I’d expect to hit on the golf course. I was able to hit draws and fades as I would in the real world. The bonus is that I had instant feedback as to the distances that each shot carried. This makes it a great practice aid.

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Beyond the novelty of playing the top golf courses in the United States and the virtual driving range, the HD Golf simulator provides a remarkable learning experience. A 5th camera is added to the hardware configuration to capture a down-the-line view of the golf swing. The system allows you to compare your swing to a professional golfers by superimposing a silhouette over your image allowing you to diagnose and fix what ails you on your own or with the help of a qualified professional.

It even has a facility to compare clubs. The data generated compares favorably with the most modern launch monitors. I brought two of my latest drivers and after just a few hits we were able to determine that given the same clubhead speed, one generated greater ball speeds and flew further with less spin. It would make a remarkable fitting tool if used in the presence of a master clubfitter.

The HD Golf simulator is remarkable. The proprietary technology creates an experience that’s as close to the real thing as I’ve ever had on a simulator. You can play a round of golf with your buddies, work on your golf swing or compare clubs to see which one suits your game the best. It is undoubtedly the most advanced simulator on the market and is a major draw at the City Club. You HAVE to try it if you get a chance. The experience is that good.

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