Electric~Spin golf simulator lets fans compete with ‘The Great One’

By Andrew Lippe

Hockey Fans have always wondered what it would be like to play against
Wayne Gretzky, the all time leading scorer for the National Hockey
League. On June 26 through June 29 they will have that chance, albeit
it won’t be stopping a slap shot. Instead, it will be challenging him
to a virtual closest to the pin contest at the Wayne Gretzky Classic
charity golf event in Collingwood, Ontario thanks to golf simulation technology from Electric~Spin.

To virtually compete against “The Great One” fans will head to Samsung Experience tents located at the Georgian Bay Club in Collingwood, Ontario or at Wayne Gretzky’s restaurant and use the Golf Launchpad Tour system. It combines software that resides on a set-top box, personal computer or even Sony PS3 with a special pad outfitted with high-speed optical sensors, and a golf ball suspended via a three-inch tether. The player uses a real club to strike the ball and the sensors read data, predicting the ball’s flight path and distance.

“This is a demonstration of our ability to scale the technology so it can eventually be implemented into a full broadcast setting,” says Anees Munshi, CEO of Electric~Spin. “The sensors read everything from club head speed, to how fast you are swinging your club, to whether you are swinging it straight.”

Munshi says the demonstration at the course will involve an NDS set-top box that will replay video of Gretzky’s captured with three cameras on the course. Fans will step up to the simulator take a hack at the ball and watch how they do on a Samsung LCD panel.

“We have been working on developing this technology with golf instructor Dean Reinmuth,” says Munshi.

Legendary golf instructor Dean Reinmuth helped develop the simulator and introduced the Launchpad technology to officials at the Wayne Gretzky Classic. “They were impressed by what we have done and asked us if we would like to do this tournament,” says Munshi. “I thought this was a great opportunity for us to demonstrate our technology in a real live large scale setting which is a whole lot more interesting and fun then a demo.”

The company hopes to eventually strike deals with cable operators and game companies to get the technology onto set-top boxes and game system systems across the country. “Our goal is for people to be able to play with their favorite tour players in a championship setting, on a world class golf course, in their pajamas,” adds Munshi.