on February 4, 2013
DEC 2014 UPDATE I'm upgrading it to 4 stars today:
The GolfPRO's worthy competitor is Dancin Dogs OPTISHOT. The OPTISHOT has dropped in price to $200 and is being replaced by a New Version 2 system which will allow online play amog other improvements. That's going to drive the price down on this product or force an ONLINE version 2 update. Although I doubt we'll see much new development on this product as it seems to have little North American support. The add-on courses are a bargain at $10 (Optishot's are several times more >$40) but they are all primarily Europeon courses...
The included software is great. The product is fun and entertaining and a great way to introduce golf to a 'noob'. The build quality is excellent with one exception. The included tethered Surlyn golf ball, net and tethered tee are not very durable and will need to be replaced every 15-20 rounds(a $50 cost). However, there are options that will greatly extend the life of the 'moving parts'. You can avoid damaging the Tethered ball and net this by using an indoor type golf ball for your hard swings (drives and long approach shots. SFEARGOLF.COM makes a odd but effective indoor golf ball (http://www.practicerange.com/Golf-Training-Aids/Sfear-Three-Ball-Sleeve.aspx) Safe for most drywall interior surfaces, the SFEAR golf ball works well and won't cause wall damage while giving a good indication of the ball striking and shot launch characteristics. You could then continue to use the SFEAR for the long game and switch to the built-in tether ball for the short game, chips and putting. Playing this way would dramatically increase the durability of the moving parts and greatly reduce upkeep costs. The tethered tee can be replaced by a variety of rubber tees, the style designed for 'winter use' being ideal (typically these are colored tees ranging in height from 1/2" to and 1.25" that resemble miniature 'volcanoes' and come tied together with a cord) The base unit and turf is otherwise very durable. Customer service is great.
Golf Sim or?? At shipping time - don't expect a precision swing measurement, many 90+ mph drives will register at below 80mph, some below 70 and thee are occasional nonsensical reports. I generally have to claim 'shenanigans' and play mulligans about 15 times a round. Not sure why, but the device just often underestimates swing speed. I have verified this with a Medicus powermeter. The jury is out on how it reads club face angles, it seems to do a decent job, but I can't really say for sure. There are times where the system seems to be wildly inaccurate for all swing parameters, but after 5-6 do-overs it seems to settle down. The putting is very good, even though there are rare computer glitches. The system includes a wireless remote 'caddy' that allows you to select clubs, aim your shots and also allows video replays, rehits (mulligans) and drops. The software is top of the line by CreativeGolf3D.com, the courses look and play beautifully. The software can show you the ideal line for your putts, and you can putt the on board Surlyn ball at an angle to achieve it, no re-aiming required (a cool playable feature and with the feel of a 'real' golf ball on your putter it is fairly convincing).
The basis of a low 3 star rating is the durability of the tethered ball, net and tee but mostly the inconsistent/inaccurate club head speed and questionable strike angles the GolfPro Launchpad reports. Competitive products such as OptiShot and Unex Golf simulator are likely just as inaccurate, as they use a similar engineering concept and have no clue what the launch angle is. Therefore many functionally horrible yet straight swings can register as 'good' when in fact you just topped the ball or whiffed completely. As I suggested earlier, play with the Sfear golf ball (they look like white silcone sea urchins) and you'll get a better feel for a good clean hit.
If GolfProSimulators tweaks the software interface and perhaps adds user 'tuning' to calibrate the swing speed this system will offer a great value at this price.
on April 12, 2016
I worked at GolfPro and know first hand that the simulation is FAR from accurate. it's designed to give you an illusion of a proper trajectory, but it's very flawed. They basically take pictures of the club as it hits the ball, so you don't get accurate spin or lift, they can only calculate the speed and the angle of the club. It also has about 6-10s delay between the time you hit the ball and what appears on the screen. Also note, you need your OWN tv screen and computer to use this.
It's also a hazard in the house, the ball tends to snap off and break whatever you have in front of the device. Definitely do not recommend this product. it's NOT SAFE!! avoid if you have children or pets at home!