When the weather is bad or you can’t scare up a golf partner, what could be better than playing a round of golf in your own home? That’s (almost) possible with current golf simulator technology – but wehre do you start putting together a system that suits your space and budget?
It’s possible to spend anything from $500 to $70,000 for a home golf simulator system, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, so a lot depends on your budget and available space. But there are some essential features that all indoor golf simulators should have, so it’s relatively easy to make a checklist of products to look for. (Shown above – Foresight GCQuadZoom system)
A good quality turf mat will cost you around $300-$500, and bear in mind that because they are so heavy they may involve substantial shipping costs. But it’s worth investing in good quality, as a may that wears quickly is not a good investment. It’s a good idea to look for a mat with a removable driving insert.
See also: Choosing a Golf Rangefinder
Again, projectors come in all shapes and sizes to suit the size and light qualities of the room you are using. Make sure to choose one that will work with your golf simulator software.
Nets and Impact Screens
To prevent doing any damage to walls you will need a net or an impact screen, at a cost of around $250-$1,000. You should extend the netting beyond the width of the impact screen to allow for any off-target shots. If you choose to use a computer screen or a TV rather than a projector, you could instead use a pop-up screen.
This is the most essential piece of the home golf simulator system – the equipment that monitors and analyzes your shots.
You may already have a suitable computer to run your simulator software on, but if your laptop or desktop isn’t up to the task, you may have to invest in a more powerful system. Graphics processing is often the essential requirement, particularly if you are looking to set up a high-resolution 4K video system. Look into wireless AV streaming to avoid the requirement for additional cables.
While it might be possible to build a system in a space with a ceiling height of about 8 feet, for safety (and to accommodate taller golfers), you really need 10 feet to work with. As for width, 9 feet is possible, but 15 is better – particularly if you have to allow for both right- and left-handed golfers. Room depth should allow about a foot from the wall to the screen, 8 feet from the screen to the tee, and 6 feet of safe distance behind the player. Some radar-based system may require greater depth, up to perhaps 25 feet.
Apart from the room requirements, you will be looking at a budget of anything from $1,000, for a system with an entry-level simulator which analyzes only speed, path and face angle of your club; to arund $3,500-$10,000 for a system with a simulator which gives additional data such as ball spin. At the top of the range at around £70,000 would be a system featuring a ceiling-mounted, camera-based monitor, and sophisticated software which will give you slow-motion playbacks of your swing.
Whatever type of system you put together, you’ll be glad you have it next time the weather closes down and you’re itching to get in some swing practice!