There is a lot of cool gear in the golf equipment world that doesn’t always fit neatly into Most Wanted Tests or Buyer’s Guides. You still want to know how it performs. In our We Tried It series, we put gear to the test and let you know if it works as advertised.
What We Tried
Phigolf 2. A golf simulation sensor and swing stick that connects to a free mobile app. Phigolf 2 has nearly 3,000 reviews on Amazon and it reminded me so much of the Nintendo Wii (if you know, you know) that it was a no-brainer to give this thing a go.
Who Tried It
Connor. Director of Soft Goods Testing and resident sneakerhead. I believe golf is better with a pair of cool shoes and comfortable joggers. I grew up playing Tiger Woods Golf and Wii Sports Golf so I’ve been very curious whether a “video game” can really help you get better at golf.
At-Home Golf Simulation
For years, golf simulation and golf simulators have been largely out of reach for anyone not willing to spend thousands of dollars. Phigolf (distributed by GolfBuddy) aims to change the notion that golf simulators are unattainable for most of us
For a price that’s barely 10 percent the cost of leading personal launch monitors, does the Phigolf 2 merit a look for your winter off-season or a fun night at home with the kids?
I put the Phigolf 2 to the test.
What’s in the Box?
- Phigolf 2 sensor
- Phigolf 2 weighted swing stick (steel shaft)
- USB-C charging cable (bonus points for ditching micro-USB)
- Wrist straps (just in case)
Setup and Connection
Setting up the Phigolf 2 for the first time is a breeze. Simply download the free Phigolf application on your IOS or Android device. Then turn on the Phigolf 2 sensor via Bluetooth. Once the device is paired, place the sensor into the included swing stick (or the butt of your own golf club) and you’re ready to start swinging.
Once you’ve gone through the initial setup process, the next step is to choose your game mode.
You can choose from the following training and game modes:
- Daily training
- PA test
- Practice range
- Rush Game
- Network Game
- Speed Golf
- Full Course
With plenty of training and gaming options, the Phigolf 2 appeals to a wider audience than most. One to check out is Speed Golf where you compete against the world to see how quickly you can finish a predetermined set of holes.
Phigolf 2: My Experience
There are two big questions I sought to answer when I pulled the Phigolf 2 out of the box. One: Is it a capable golf simulator? Two: Is it fun to use?
Let’s talk about it.
Is the Phigolf 2 a Capable Golf Simulator?
Yes. The Phigolf 2 is certainly capable of some things as it relates to golf simulation. In the same breath, though, the Phigolf 2 is not necessarily my top pick if improving your golf game is your top priority.
Let’s start with the good. Swinging the Phigolf 2 is awesome. The weighted swing stick and satisfying click at the end of each swing provides instant audible and physical feedback. I worked really hard to exaggerate my swing in multiple ways to see if the little sensor could handle an extreme over-the-top move or a nasty snap hook and closed face. Each time I tried to manipulate the “face” or my move, the Phigolf 2 did a pretty darned good job at picking it up and displaying the correct shot shape. Bravo.
One thing I really like is the swing metrics the Phigolf 2 captures for you. Similar to Blast Golf (a sensor that’s nearly identical in size), the Phigolf 2 can measure things such as clubhead speed, club path and face angle. That’s helpful, actionable data to help you get a little bit better.
It can’t be all good, can it? For $300, there are bound to be some large tradeoffs. I found the predicted distance numbers to be severely inflated (which I guess is good if you’re looking for an ego boost). That said, you should not rely on the numbers the Phigolf 2 is spitting out for distances (that means you, Twitter warriors).
That’s a long-winded answer to my original question so I’ll sum it up: The Phigolf 2 provides some decent, actionable data. That said, as far as improving your golf game by using only the Phigolf 2, I think you’re better off spending a few extra bucks for a dedicated launch monitor like the Rapsodo MLM2 Pro.
Is it Fun?
For the casual user who’s looking at the Phigolf 2, your biggest concern will probably be the functionality of the device, not the data it provides. For someone like me who wanted a fun “video game” style experience to enjoy with my wife, I found the Phigolf 2 to be a blast. I played only with the free virtual courses included with the Phigolf app but those of you looking for an even more realistic experience can use the device with simulation software like WGT and e6 (albeit for an subscription upcharge).
Yes, the Phigolf 2 is fun. Really fun. I was hoping it would remind me of playing golf on the Nintendo Wii and it absolutely did that (and more, since the swing stick makes the entire thing feel more realistic).
Who is it for?
Lower your expectations. The Phigolf 2 does a lot well (for the price). But it’s not the end-all, be-all for at-home golf simulation. If knowing your numbers is your ultimate goal, look elsewhere. But if having a little fun at home while measuring some decent, actionable data for the lowest price possible is what you’re looking for, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option.