Virtual golf is not a new concept in Australia, with facilities rapidly popping up all over the country. Being able to fine-tune your swing at any time of day or night, in any weather conditions is an attractive proposition for those who are time-poor.
In Sydney, a new player has entered the market, and in the process has lifted the bar in their field. The GolfZon Virtual Golf Centre, in Sydney’s inner west, has taken the traditional virtual golf concept to the next level. Inside Golf headed out to Strathfield to see what sets GolfZon apart.
The first thing you notice when you step inside the private room is the size. A group of 6 or 8 people would comfortably fit in the room, with grandstand-style seating (complete with synthetic grass) and a small area for food and drink. As our host set up the driving range function, we noticed the set of the latest model golf clubs available for use, free of charge, which is great for those slipping in after a hard day at the office. Once the setup was completed, we were away. After a few swings, it became apparent that the accuracy of the system was spot-on, with all participants commenting on how close the distance was compared to their actual game.
A huge range of statistics is available after each swing—face angle, launch angle, spin rate and carry distance and video recording for swing analysis—making it the perfect training tool. In fact, in Asia (where GolfZon’s head office is based) many Japanese and Korean Tour players use GolfZon facilities for training purposes.
Next, it was time for a round of golf. We were faced with a tough decision – are we heading to Scotland to play a round at the Old Course at St Andrews or to Hawaii to take on the Plantation Course at Kapalua? Perhaps Mission Hills in China would be fun, or maybe Pebble Beach? There are over 200 golf courses to choose from, with more being added regularly, including some Australian courses on the way.
The Old Course got the nod, and we were staring down the wide fairway on the first hole. The automatic tee pops up at your preset, preferred height and once the ball leaves the clubface, a high-definition screen shows my ball travelling down the right side of the fairway, with my usual slice. For my second shot, I am around 90m out, on what appears on the screen to be a slight side slope – at which point the floor of the simulator raises and tilts to simulate that very situation! A couple of swings later, I land on the green and am faced with a 10-foot putt. In my experience, putting is generally where virtual golf disappoints. However, the feel and accuracy of the putting at GolfZon is extraordinary, due to the laser beam focussing on an area just past the hitting zone – meaning the pace of the ball is measured more accurately and able to replicate a far more accurate putting experience.
Throughout our round, we play a variety of shots, from the rough and bunker mats, from uphill/downhill lies, all the while competing in a live tournament against other GolfZon customers in other rooms simultaneously, and those who have played earlier in the day.
The live tournament function will soon allow play against players of similar GolfZon-issued handicaps around the world in real time, competing for prizes and vouchers and global bragging rights!
Overall, the accuracy, life-like features and fun factor of GolfZon’s setup makes this one of Sydney’s best alternatives to physically hitting the fairways, and is a great training tool. GolfZon also have great value offers for driving range and course play, with a yearly membership option that provides even greater bang for your buck.
GolfZon is located at Tenancy 4, Building G, 3 George Street, North Strathfield, NSW. Call 02 9746 8858 to book or head to www.golfzon.com.au. Or visit www.facebook.com/GolfZonAustralia