Oct. 1, 2012
CINCINNATI - The University of Cincinnati men and women's golf programs have recently introduced a virtual golf simulator as a practice and training tool for their student-athletes. The simulator is an aboutGolf Indoor Golf Simulator, based out of Toledo, Ohio, and is endorsed by the PGA Tour.
"It is a fantastic piece of equipment," said men's golf team head coach Doug Martin. "Just for our players to utilize that and have it on campus is something significant, not only for the existing players but also for potential recruits."
This state-of-the-art, technologically advanced simulator reads out balance points in the user's feet so that it becomes a great teaching tool. It also will allow the student-athletes to do everything from driving, to full-swing shots, chipping, short-game shots, and putting so they can simulate play on the course.
The equipment provides a great resource for the Bearcats golf programs to continue their training in the cold weather months when there are fewer opportunities to get on the course. A trend has developed among northern schools to include simulators in their practice facilities in an attempt to keep pace with schools in the south that enjoy quality practice time on the course virtually year-round. UC coaches were able to gain some valuable advice about the benefits of the simulators from fellow BIG EAST coaches.
"We kind of learned a lot about the simulator from Betty Kaufmann at DePaul University," said women's golf head coach Janet Carl. "They had installed one and she was trying to talk to us about the benefits of having it."
One particular benefit that the UC coaches learned of is the potential to use the simulator in tournament qualifying for their student-athletes in the winter months. These added features of the equipment provided a great selling point as to the positive impact it could have on the program.
"It really kind of peaked our interest when we started hearing that they could do qualifying in it in the winter months, said Carl. "What we kind of learned is that this simulator is very different from other simulators in that it captures the ball at impact, versus other simulators where the ball actually has to hit the screen in order for it to transfer data. This one picks up the data from the impact of the ball, along with that, it gives us feedback for the student-athletes such as launching, goals and spin ratios and direct club head path and club face direction."
With the equipment being so new and the student-athletes still getting used it, the extent to which they will use it for qualifying is still uncertain, but it seems to be a valuable tool in evaluating and training the players.
"I want to see how the kids feel about doing it and get some test scores to see if it is comparable to what they shoot in normal qualifying," said Martin. "It definitely is an opportunity for us to learn and it is going to be a great set up for us."
Initial impressions of the equipment among the student-athletes are resoundingly positive and as they become more familiar with the equipment, the possibilities to improve their individual games and in-turn the play of the team are there for the taking. The coaching staff sees the introduction of the simulator as a vital cog in the future development and improvement of each player and is a great resource to be able to utilize for the program now and into the future.
"The players love it," said Carl. "It is still new, so they are spending a lot of time in it. We want to get to the point where we can get some practicing done in it besides just experimenting with it because that's another piece that's going to benefit us as a team."