Review: Golf Launchpad

Whether rain, snow or no office escape, you can still practice your swing.

Dec. 4, 2007 — -- Ever feel trapped at your desk, longing to get outside and play a quick round of golf?

Well, the Golf Launchpad might be your solution.

This nifty, but expensive, device lets you practice your game inside.

A ball on a string is attached to a computer system. Embedded optical sensors in the turf measure clubhead speed, launch angle, swing path and ball spin.

You swing and actually hit the ball, which spins around to a net, and then the computer does the rest. You can use the Tiger Woods PGA Tour video game on your computer or PlayStation2 to simulate an actual game.

Though you don't have wind and other real-life factors, the device was still fun to use. It is by no means a replacement for the real thing, but was fun and drew a crowd of co-workers as I tested it out.

My only complaint: I really struggled to find a place in my office or home that had a high enough ceiling or enough clearance to take a full swing with a golf club. Most golf courses have water traps. I had to deal with water coolers.

The Golf Launchpad costs about $250, which is a bit steep, but if you consider the price of a round or two of golf — and the fact that you can play in snow — it might just make the perfect gift for that golfer in your life.