The men’s and women’s golf teams are planning to improve their winter practices with a new golf simulator available on campus.
Bill Allen, CEO of Showplace Cabinetry in Harrisburg, donated a brand new golf simulator to the Augustana golf program. Allen’s son, Will, is a freshman this year and plays for the men’s golf team.
The simulator is a little box that tracks the ball and the club based on impact with each hit. The player stands in front of this box, facing what looks like a big movie projector screen. After they swing, their ball hits the screen and their metrics are projected on the sides of the digital course in view. The screen looks similar to what you would see in the golf video game on Wii Sports. The simulator offers a variety of digital courses and games that players can use to practice throughout their rotations.
Golf coach Coralee Jorgensen said the donation of the simulator has already greatly improved the practice and performance of the team. This addition is a step forward for the golf program, specifically during the winter months, because players have to practice indoors, as the teams prepare for spring.
“The simulator is awesome,” senior golfer Sophia Salter said. “It totally takes off-season training to the next level.”
Before Augustana had the golf simulator, the players relied on the feel and the sound of hitting the ball to judge and adjust their form. How and where the club hits the ball on impact changes the sound pitch of the hit. With the new simulator, an exact, accurate reading of the player’s hit will allow each individual to clearly identify how and what they need to fix their swing.
The simulator measures distance, speed, direction, shot shapes, ball directions and more. It identifies precise degrees in error and accuracy for each player individually and shows the results on a virtual playing setting.
“In golf, the all-important moment of a golf swing is the impact of the ball,” Jorgensen said.
Winter practices will especially see improvement because the teams do not have the ability to practice outside in winter conditions.
“I have gotten to hit a lot of different shots I don’t usually get to in the winter,” Salter said.
Even though the winter months are technically their off-season, they still practice daily. The golfers will continue their typical off-season practices with rotations involving putting, chipping, full swinging and their weight training and workouts.
Previously, the teams worked with nets inside the Kirby Indoor Golf Center and occasionally Great Shots during their off-season. Nets provide an alternative for hitting indoors but do not provide metrics like the simulator does. Also, in comparison to the readily available simulator on campus, Great Shots is not accessible daily for the teams.
Improvement in the players’ skill has already shown in the first couple weeks of using the simulator.
“Already we have seen a nice change in being able to improve the skill of the player,” Jorgensen said.
This year during spring break, the women’s golf team attended a competition in Palm Desert, California. There they trained and competed in a two-day tournament at the Desert Willow Golf Resort. This was their first official competition since the simulator has been used. Although each player is noticing skill improvement from the simulator, it is too early to tell if there was a noticeable difference from this conference in comparison to previous seasons’ competitions, Salter said.
In May, at the end of the spring semester, the teams will have to take down the simulator so that away football teams can use the space as a locker room. However, once football season comes to an end, the simulator will be placed back up in the indoor golf center for use.
By having the simulator available to golf teams, Augustana hopes to see positive outcomes in future seasons. In this coming spring season, the golf teams will work to hopefully be champions in the NSIC conference, followed by regionals and finally nationals, Jorgensen said.
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