Golf simulator comes to RIT

Virtual play on famous courses and driving competitions planned

A. Sue Weisler

Margaret Gray, right, a data science major from Silver Spring, Md., tries out a new golf simulator installed in the Student Life Center for students, faculty, staff, and alumni to practice their swings and play virtually at more than 170 courses around the world. Mela Yunana, left, a fifth-year mechanical engineering student from Nigeria, and Aaron Osebre, center, a second-year graduate student in business administration, from Ghana, look on.


A new state-of-the-art golf simulator has been installed in the Student Life Center and will enable students, faculty, staff, and alumni to experience virtual golfing on more than 170 courses around the world.

“There’s a huge golf community here. There are a lot of people looking for something like this,” said David Stevens, director of the Center for Recreational Sports. “Our golf classes are always filled.”

The simulator has been installed on the ground floor of the Student Life Center, in a former 800-square-foot racquetball court. Green turf is on the floor, along with a few putting holes.

An overhead projector, a computer program, and radar will let a player select images from actual golf courses which are displayed on a 14-by-9 ft. screen. The users can just practice their swings from 10 feet away from the screen, play “closest to the pin” challenges with others, or play an entire 18-hole course with a foursome if desired.

But the real attraction are the 27 data points the computer will monitor and display, such as face angle, smash factor, attack angle, and spin of the ball. The information will help players improve their game. Players may also compare their swing to the swing from a previous visit, or to professional golfers.

Instructions and data information are displayed on the screen, as will be occasional “smack” comments about the quality of their game.

The experience is so lifelike, some environmental noises, including bird sounds or the sound of a splash if your ball goes in the drink, are included.

The simulator will be used in wellness classes, intramurals, by the RIT Club Golf team, faculty, staff, and alumni. Stevens said students taking classes remotely can also participate in the golf wellness program by playing on another simulator somewhere and submitting their scores.

Reservations may be made during any open recreation time for $25/hour for students, $35/hour for faculty, staff and alumni. Golf clubs will also be available for rent.

Stevens said incoming students will get the chance to participate in a long-drive competition during their orientation week. Future plans could include one-on-one instruction and eSports competitions.

And a second simulator may be added next to it within the next three years.

Jack Eastman, a fifth-year biomedical engineering major from Honeoye Falls, N.Y., is RIT Club Golf president. He said the team can’t wait to use the simulator.

“It will be a great way to practice on days with bad weather or when people have limited time after or in between classes,” he said. “When we compete in national tournaments, we are at a disadvantage playing against schools in the south that have warm enough weather to play year-round. This simulator will allow us to practice in the winter so we will be ready to go in the spring against these other schools.”

Eastman said the simulator will also promote team bonding and enable them to stay on campus to golf together as a team. And he’s sure the simulator will encourage more students to become interested in golf.

“I think that is what college is all about, trying and learning new things and making connections with new people,” he said.

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