As an avid golfer, I’ve always been intrigued by the at-home golfing simulators. I received the PhiGolf simulator for Father’s Day this year from my wife and kids. It was a pleasant surprise as I’ve seen this in stores, but I was always skeptical regarding its accuracy and feel. For those who aren’t familiar with this new toy, it gives you a chance to play World Golf Tour by swinging a club instead of timing the buttons.
The package comes with a fake club that weighs something similar to a real golf club. It also includes a sensor attachment that you put inside the hole of the grip. The cool thing about this is that it can be used on real clubs as you hit a ball. It is easy to remove the sensor off the club and put on another club. The experience with the PhiGolf sensor has been mostly positive and really provides an excellent alternative to getting some swings in without leaving your house.
World Golf Tour is one of the leading web-based golf games. It has a wide range of courses you can play, tournaments you can join, and you can even challenge random online opponents for short matches. The game has a ton of cosmetic equipment licensed to give you a way to keep you involved in leveling up. The game is normally played with a three-click button system (start meter, set power, nail accuracy). The button method is the traditional method of playing the game. However, with the PhiGolf accessory players are now able to swing either a real club or the one provided to hit the ball. Just like the normal game, you can play versus other users who are swinging the PhiGolf club as well. It really provides another alternative when playing the game.
PhiGolf Review – What I Like
Setting up the PhigGolf sensor was really easy. It uses the Bluetooth on your mobile device. The sensor goes inside the head of your club whether it’s the club provided or your real club. You don’t notice the sensor being there at all during your swing.
I really was skeptical about the accuracy of the PhiGolf sensor. For example, would it show my natural draw? I became pleasantly surprised how well the sensor seemed to portray my swing. I really felt the sensor did a good job of analyzing my swing during practice sessions. One of the coolest aspects of the sensor is that it could be used on real clubs when hitting real balls at the range. I was able to take the sensor to my local driving range and compare the results of the actual ball to the virtual driving range. I would estimate that 8/10 times the results would match.
Playing World Golf Tour using the PhiGolf peripheral is a fantastic way to experience the game. You can get through a match pretty quickly. I was able to get through 18 holes in under 45 minutes. You can really notice the difference when you compare that with a real life round of 4-5 hours. The game uses the mobile version of the game that you can mirror to a smart TV without any cords needed. I have a Samsung Galaxy S10 and was able to mirror that to my TV easily via Wi-Fi. You still rely on your phone to navigate through the game, but once you start playing you can do mostly everything using the PhiGolf club.
You are able to control your aim using the sensor and the club by pushing the button on the sensor and rotating the club. I found this method of aiming much easier than relying on your phone. It’s better to play with someone and take turns controlling the phone and the club. It can be done solo, but you will need to use your phone a little to navigate throughout the game.
The controls are relatively easy to understand. You line up the club and hold it still for a second until you are given the go ahead to swing. Once you swing, you will see your result in the game. The feedback gives you your club speed and how far you hit the ball. You need to take different strokes depending on if you are taking a full swing, pitching, chipping or putting. I wasn’t sure how accurate putting would be using the PhiGolf sensor. Putting definitely takes some time to get used to because it’s hard to determine how hard to hit the ball. That being said, I will say after a couple of rounds I was able to consistently two putt.
You are able to play 24 real courses in World Golf Tour for a monthly payment of $1.99. It really is a great deal when you consider the courses are available to be played at any time. Some of the courses are Bethpage Black, Pinehurst No. 2, Pebble Beach, St. Andrews and Wolf Creek. The courses look beautiful and provide a chance to play some of the most famous courses in the world.
Another application you can use the PhiGolf for is the PhiGolf app. There you can play a course and head to the virtual driving range. I really loved the virtual driving range because of the feedback you receive after every swing. You can get head speed, swing tempo, distance, swing path, face angle and attack angle. The really cool thing about this feedback is it’s color coordinated to show you the preferred levels. It also provides you a way to analyze your swing whether it’s the back swing or down swing. The PhiGolf app really shines for analyzing your swing, whether it’s taking a full swing or even analyzing your putting stroke.
PhiGolf Review – What I Don’t Like
The one major concern I did have after a lot of testing is that the distance calculation is a little off. I felt like the formula for determining how far the ball went would always short change me by at least a little. For example, I normally hit my 9 iron about 150 yards. However, in the game I can barely hit it the ball 110 yards when using that club.
There is also definitely a learning curve to understand how hard you need to swing the club. It is not like a normal golf game that tells you “at 100 percent power this club will go X distance.” I understand that everyone’s swing is different so they can’t give you a range, but it still definitely takes some time to get used to these inconsistencies. You can’t really use real life yardage situations, so that means you generally need to play a couple clubs up from what you normally use when using PhiGolf with video games.
Another issue is that there is a little lag between the time you finish your swing and the moment you actually see it on the screen. Rather than having that slight delay after you complete the swing, I would love if the club had a little lag on the front end of the swing instead. That being said, this isn’t a big deal because I am sure the game has to analyze your swing and provide you with a result.
One final thing I didn’t like was that you needed your mobile device to change clubs. However, I normally just used the club that they suggested because I wasn’t sure of the distances anyway.
PhiGolf Review – Bottom Line
The PhiGolf simulator kit is perfect for golf enthusiasts who want to be able to swing a club at home. I can already picture some great setups in the garage or basement. I really feel the swing analyzer is an underrated feature of the PhiGolf kit. As someone who has never received a professional golf lesson before, I also really enjoyed looking at my swing for the first time. It was great seeing the metrics of my swing and analyzing what I needed to work on. I really got a good look at my swing path, and as I made changes I noticed them in the results.
The PhiGolf simulator is an excellent way to get some swings in at home. The transition from an Android mobile device to smart TV is easy. It is a little harder to get it on the TV from an iPhone but it can be done. The club feels great in your hands and does a great job of providing you some feedback on your swing. Playing the World Golf Tour is a lot of fun with the PhiGolf stick. The PhiGolf stick has a high replay value because you can use it multiple ways, whether it’s on the range trying to analyze your swing or getting your best crack at the island green on 17th hole at Pebble Beach.
Have you used the PhiGolf club before or heard of it? Do you have any interest in this sort of peripheral? If you have used it, please let us know how it portrayed your golf swing and if you had any issues with distance control.