Sensor technology really breaks down into, how the raw data from the swing is collected and communicated to the system to determine how the golf ball was hit and how it is shown on the course. This breaks down into three major categories of sensors: Radar, Camera and Infrared based systems. In my personal experience infrared and camera based systems tend to be more accurate and will give more feed back through the swing analysis software.
The data is collected in much of the same way a radar gun collects its data. In my option it is not very accurate and is poor for giving feedback for a swing.
Camera technology can be great due to the fact all of the data is collected when the ball passes through the view of the cameras (a small area) and requires no sensors in the ground. I would recommend this system to the people who cannot dedicate the floor space to an infrared based system (sensors in the ground or walls).
Infrared systems will give the best feedback for club fitting and swing analysis. I have found the best simulators use infrared based technology and I prefer an in-ground sensor. The data for a swing analyzer is most accurately taken at the point where the club meets the ball, again advantage in-ground infrared. The in-ground sensors make putting much more realistic. The draw back is the floor space which is required for these types of systems.
Putting can be the most frustrating part of playing on a golf simulator, much of this is due to the placement of the sensors. On a radar based system the sensors are usually placed above the ball striking area. Many golfers’ upper body will block the sensors and this tends to lead to miss reads by the sensors. Camera and infrared systems are the best for putting, but beware there are many simulators where the sensors will impede the path of the putt. Again creating errors and misreads, better have those mulligan’s ready. Be weary of systems which have any sensor on the putting surface, the ball will not travel over the sensors accurately. The best system for putting is an in-ground infrared based system.
Sensor technology will have a major impact on the overall performance and playability of your simulator.
There are also two more articles on the topic of “Three Main Factors in Choosing a Golf Simulator” Please feel free to contact me through the website if you have any questions on golf simulator sensor technology. My company, Sports Entertainment Specialists, Inc., sells and services golf simulators for TruGolf and Visual Sports. We offer many different options in the exciting world of simulated gaming.