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Innovation in Golf: GolfStream

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Lasers, Rocket Scientists, & Golf?

There is a new contender in the world of golf-based electronic entertainment—Golfstream. Billed as the world’s first indoor laser golf course and entertainment lounge, Golfstream combines a high-end golf simulator with an innovative, first-of-its-kind moving indoor putting green, all in a private lounge with food and beverage service.

Indoor golf simulators have been around for a while, and there are in-home systems that range in cost from around $1100 for the OptiShot system to the top-of-the-line units like the Trackman or FullSwing Golf that retail for $50k and up after installation. However, if you are looking for a night-out-with-your-friends entertainment and not a serious in-home golf training set-up, Golfstream provides that experience, now available in their first location, inside the LEVEL UP lounge at the MGM Grand Las Vegas. 

What Golfstream has that others don’t

Golf-as-entertainment venues such as TopGolf are forging a path for the combination of food, drink, and golf in a group entertainment setting. However, Golfstream brings an added dimension that other venues and indoor golf simulators don’t have, to complete the tee-to-green golf experience—putting.

According to co-founder Darren Dummit, “We (Dummit and friend Sameer Gupta) hatched the idea for Golfstream a few years ago during a friend’s backyard BBQ, noticing the void of new entertainment options, the advances in golf VR simulator technology, and the success / large footprint limitations of new concepts like TopGolf.”

Golfstream’s design team has members with backgrounds at Disney, EA Games, and Activision, not to mention honest-to-God rocket scientists from Caltech, Lockheed’s SkunkWorks, and JPL/NASA. What they have developed is a feature that no other golf simulator in the world has—a moving, tilting platform that simulates those tricky downhill, or uphill, or sidehill lies that make real-world putting such a challenge.

“Michael Brenner, an engineer at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL – the Advanced Science Division of NASA),” says Dummit, “cobbled together a team of rocket scientists (primarily from JPL) to launch this vision off the ground.”

You might think that a tilting platform isn’t such a big deal, technology-wise, but the Golfstream team has an added dose of geekery up their sleeves. Working in conjunction with the moving platform is a laser-based system that projects the “line” on the green— an illuminated guide path that shows you where to hit the ball to get it into the hole.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? The computer does most of the work for you, figuring out the line based on the slope and the known speed of the putting surface, and all you have to do is hit the ball, right? Well, consider that one of Golfstream’s investors is none other than Ben Crenshaw, a man who was known as the best putter in the game during his long and distinguished college and pro golf career. If a golfer with Ben Crenshaw’s reputation has signed on as an investor, that lends a lot of credibility to the realism of the experience.

“I’m proud to be associated with the team at Golfstream. The way they have used technology to blend the world of golf and entertainment is something that is overdue in both the golf industry and the live entertainment industry. This is truly a game changer.” – Ben Crenshaw

The putting simulation portion of the Golfstream system lends itself to use in standalone putting-only challenges and putting mini-games, and in-system cameras can capture photos of your game that can be e-mailed to you to share with friends. The system also captures data about your game to bring a little serious performance analysis into the picture, if you so desire.

An added level of realism sets Golfstream apart

In addition to bringing a realistic putting experience to an indoor golf simulator, the moving platform adds realism to the tee-to-green portion of the game, simulating those tricky lies that bedevil golfers in the real world. So, not only does Golfstream bring the visual, course distance, and hole layout experience of courses such as Pebble Beach to an indoor venue, it allows the player to experience, in simulation, the fairway lies that they they would face on the actual course.

For example, any of the good golf simulator systems can show you the look from the tee to the fairway, and from the fairway to the green, at Pebble’s infamous 9th hole, but only Golfstream can put you on the tricky downhill or sidehill lie that golfers have to contend with on the second shot on the most difficult par-4 hole on the course. This feature brings an unprecedented level of realism to the golf-simulator experience, setting Golfstream apart from all others.

Golfstream has been previewed at San Jose, California’s new professional soccer venue, Avaya Stadium; at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas; and during 2017 Masters Week in Augusta, Georgia. We are excited to have publicly launched Golfstream, the first truly wireless virtual reality game system,” said co-founder and CEO Sameer Gupta. “Come see the future of indoor entertainment.” Announcement of additional Golfstream locations nationwide is expected soon, with venues such as arenas/stadiums, restaurants, bars, hotels, casinos, shopping districts and the like—even cruise ships—to be featured.

“Golfstream will soon be announcing an agreement to go into one of MLB’s best and most innovative stadiums,” Dummit says, “converting a luxury suite into a Golfstream suite; essentially making it the coolest and most unique luxury box experience in professional sports. In addition, Golfstream is in active discussions and negotiations with casinos in Las Vegas and around the country for placement of one-suite and multiple-suite venues.”

With forward-thinking innovation that brings the golf experience off the course and into entertainment venues, look for GolfStream to expand what the golf industry views as a it’s definition of what golf can be and expound to in the near future. For more information on GolfStream, log onto playgolfstream.com

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