As a golf instructor, I decided to build a golf simulator at home to create some training videos during the off-season when the golf course is closed down.
But my golf simulator setup also allows me to practice golf myself and have friends over to have some fun on the simulator system playing cool courses like TPC Sawgrass.
When I was buying my golf simulator setup, I did tons of research on all the different options and costs to figure out what worked best for my budget.
In this guide I’m excited to share some of the best options for golf simulators and answer some questions about what to look for when buying a simulator. Let’s dive in.
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FlightScope Mevo Plus Training Package
Let’s start the list with a more affordable option. Mevo Plus by FlightScope doesn’t have any screens or projectors which has helped it to cut costs. The package includes the Mevo+ launch monitor, arguably one of the best launch monitors ever.
You can simply use the simulator with your iOS devices to capture the data. To stop the ball from damaging your furniture, this product includes a net and a frame to hang the net. You also get a high-quality mat to place inside the frame.
The net is very well regarded on the market for its ability to stop the ball precisely. You can expect the ball to return your feet after impact. It’s rated to stop ball speeds up to 225 mph!
The package includes the net, the Net Return Pro Turf Golf Mat, side barrier netting, and the Mevo+ launch monitor. Even though it doesn’t come with a screen, you place a TV behind the net and connect the simulator via HDMI to see where your shot is going.
In terms of tracking Mevo+ uses radar technology which makes it ideal for outdoor use. If you have a huge empty space inside your home, you can set it up there as well. It’s completely up to you.
The mat size is 6 feet over 10 feet which means you need at least this is much space. The manufacturer recommends at least 8.5 feet in height to house the ball flight.
It’s the simulator I chose for my garage setup and I love the portability of the Mevo+ as I can also take it to the driving range and use the app to get shot distances.
- Radar technology for better accuracy outdoors
- Compatible with iOS devices
- Comes with a high-quality net, net barrier, and launch monitor
- Can be used with free software like FS Golf
- No display or projector included
SkyTrak HomeBay Golf Simulator Package
If there is one name that has gained worldwide popularity for golf simulators, that would be SkyTrak. The SkyTrak HomeBay is one of the best golf simulators money can buy right now. It has a very unique design and comes with all the necessary tools for an immersive experience.
To start with, you get an exclusive HomeBay hitting enclosure to keep the ball close to you. The impact screen is also ballistic tested to withstand the hard hits for years to come. Another great aspect of this simulator is that it’s very easy to upgrade as everything is modular.
When you get the package from SkyTrak, you get an Optoma EH200ST 1080p short throw projector, a protective casing for the SkyTrak, a projector mount for the ceiling, a hitting mat (you can get either the 9’x4’ or 5’x4’ size).
The basic simulator package comes with the driving range software. You can upgrade it anytime you want for an extra subscription charge. The Golf Club, WGT Golf, and E6 are some of the best software to use with this simulator. You can even unlock online multiplayer with these software.
The projector that the package comes with may look normal, but it can produce a spectacular 3000 lumens of light along with a high contrast, 6500 hours lifespan, MHL connectivity, and 0.49:1 throw ratio!
Overall, SkyTrak HomeBay is an amazing value for money. You can see where your shot is going very clearly. As long as you professionally install the setup, you can expect a very immersive experience.
- Comes with projector
- Included ballistic tested screen
- Projector mount
- Compatible with multiple simulator software
- Relatively expensive
GC2 Retractable Golf Simulator Package
It’s one of the finest simulators for people who value portability. The retractable setup from GC2 is also very affordable. The package comes with an amazing launch monitor as well. Launch monitors are great because they can help you diagnose any problems with your shots or swings.
This retractable setup comes with a full enclosure to protect your home furniture or equipment from damage. It also has a screen where you can track your shot. Both of them can be retracted with a simple click!
The simulator package designed by the manufacturer comes with a GC2 launch monitor, simulation software by Foresight Sports, a hitting mat from HomeCourse, a ceiling projector mount, an Optoma 1080p HD short throw projector, a retractable screen from HomeCourse, etc.
Overall, the package is as complete as the best golf simulators can get. All you have to do is order it and have a professional install it for you. If you’re comfortable working with such electronics, go ahead and do it yourself.
This is a quite large set up so it’s best if you set it up in your garage or somewhere outdoor. If you’re worried about wasting the space, you can always retract the setup and repurpose the space for what you want.
The included software is custom-designed for the GC2 simulator. You get to enjoy the best golf courses from around the world right from the comfort of your home.
- Retractable setup
- Comes with a high-quality projector
- Custom-designed software
- Easily upgradable
- Comes with a launch monitor
- Large area required to set up
Golfzon Vision Standard
If you’re willing to invest in a commercial golf simulator for business purposes, there are only a few units as good as the Golfzon Vision Standard. It’s a standalone setup and it’s been recommended by Golf Digest as well!
The system includes a 4m x 6.5m x 3.2m hitting bay that’s surrounded by high-quality sensors to pick your tiniest movements. The kiosk that comes with the package has a touch screen where you can dial in your settings. The 6000 lumens projector features an FHD resolution for crystal clear gameplay.
In particular, we’d like to talk about the T2 sensor. It’s a super-fast photometric sensor with dual cameras. It can track your every move after the impact to give you as accurate of a result as possible. The best thing is that the sensor goes on the floor so you can place it easily both indoors and outdoors.
The huge screen, the HD projector, the pedal controls, the touch screen kiosk, etc. all come together to give you one of the most luxurious golf simulator setups currently available. It runs on the exclusion Vision software developed by the manufacturer for the most immersive playing experience.
- Top of the line commercial solution
- Doesn’t break your bank
- Touchscreen kiosk included
- Full HD projector included
- High-speed T2 camera sensor
- Quite expensive
SkyTrak SwingBay Golf Simulator
Let’s end our list with another product from SkyTrak. It’s the SwingBay. You can consider it as the bigger brother of the HomeBay edition. This one is also put together by either Shine Golf or Rain. This is quite balanced between the quality, the affordability, and the performance.
If you want the best value for your money with a top of the line golf simulator, this is the one you should go for. However, you’re going to need a significantly large area to house this setup.
As usual, the package comes with a SkyTrak launch monitor, a SwingBay simulator, the screen enclosure, a customizable hitting mat, an Optoma 1080p ceiling-mounted projector, and all other necessary hardware to install the simulator.
As the base package, you get a 1-year subscription to SkyTrak Game Improvement Plan. It’s a great way to start your simulator experience over the basic plan that comes for free.
The manufacturer recommends a dimension of 9 feet x 12 feet x 16 feet which is considerably bigger than many indoor golf simulators. Only go with this one if you can ensure that you have the necessary space to house it.
One of the great things about this simulator is that it’s very good for personal use as well as mild commercial use. So, if you own a driving range and want to add something for beginners, this could be an amazing choice.
- Value for money
- SkyTrak launch monitor
- Rain/Shine Golf hitting enclosure
- Optoma short throw projector
- Takes a lot of space
What to Consider When Buying a Golf Simulator
Whenever you’re thinking about buying a new accessory or a gadget, the most important thing you can do is research. Research goes a long way in terms of golf equipment as well because you get a precise idea about what you should look for. Also, it helps you come across insights that you never thought existed.
As a result, you can make a more informed decision for your purchase and the chances of blowing money unnecessarily go away.
Here are the things you need to consider before getting your first golf simulator.
This one is quite obvious. You need to get a system that fits in your location. Whether you’re planning to set it indoors or in your backyard, you need to select the exact placement first and take the measurement of the empty area. It will give you a precise idea about what size simulator you should get.
A good rule of thumb is to look at the price tags. The more expensive you go, the larger they tend to get. More money means more accessories and more devices to mimic the feel of a real course.
Also, you need to think about what shots you intend to play. As you’re spending the big bucks on a full-sized simulator, it’s always recommended to have enough space so that you can swing your longest drivers with ease.
Considering all of the factors we just discussed, it should now be easier for you to come up with the exact dimensions of your golf simulator.
Resource: Golf Practice Plans with Schedule
The next most feature of a simulator is the tracking capability. The better it is, the better experience you will get. You can’t expect to enjoy a golf practice session if it takes a few seconds to register your shot, would you?
Another reason why tracking matters is that it’s directly related to the price. The better the tracking you want, the more you need to spend.
Currency, there are three main types of tracking on golf simulators. One is camera assisted, one is radar-based, and the other one is infrared.
Camera assisted simulators are also known as photometric golf simulators. They take very high-speed images of your club head and your ball after impact. The images are then analyzed by the software to come with the potential distance, the shape of the shot, and accuracy.
Photometric simulators are a great choice for most people because you can effectively use them both indoors and outdoors. They can measure ball speed, side spin from the axis, distance of the shot from the center, backspin on the ball, etc. data. The problem with these is that they don’t typically record some important metrics like the angle of attack and smash factor.
The other type is radar-based golf simulators. Instead of using images, these use microwave signals to track the ball. Another great example of the technology is aircraft tracking. Yes! Both of these use cases are similar! As radar uses waves, it’s better to use the simulators outdoors. If you set them up inside your home, other objects or furniture may create interference with the ball. As a result, you won’t get precise results on your simulator.
The final type is infrared. These simulators use the power of light to measure the precise position of the club face and the ball before and after impact. These are usually the best for accuracy because they can track your entire swing! Another great advantage is that you don’t even need a ball to practice with these simulators. Just shadow playing is enough!
It’s only normal that simulator rigs require some sort of software to operate. For the best golf simulators, there are different plans you can get. One more thing, golf simulator software are usually subscription-based. It means you need to pay the developer a monthly fee for as long as you use them.
The beginners mostly start with the basic plan. You get a virtual driving range. As this is the most basic type of software, you won’t get some advanced features like a game improvement.
For that, you’re going to need the game improvement plan. It includes different minigames to help you improve your gameplay over time.
Lastly, you have the fully unlocked software. These software are usually integrated with World Golf Tour to give you a virtual tour of the best golf courses around the world.
With most of the golf simulators on the market now, you have the option to use the manufacturer’s built-in software or subscribe to third-party ones as well. Third-party software usually gives you more room for customization but they often come at the cost of compatibility and bugs.
Resource: Golf Practice Plans with Schedule
When we think of simulators, we usually don’t think about portability. However, there might be a time when you will feel that it would be good if you could carry the simulator somewhere else. This is why we recommend our readers consider the portability aspect thoroughly.
In most cases, the more expensive of a rig you set up, the harder it’s going to be to transport. But that’s not always the case. You need to go through the specifications thoroughly before you make a solid purchase decision. If you have plans to move around with the simulator to enjoy it with your friends from time to time, it may be a good idea to invest in a retractable simulator like the one from GC2.
Although it’s a very important aspect of the purchase, we decided to keep it in the end. You’ll need to consider your budget very carefully when you’re in the market for the best golf simulator. It doesn’t have to be the best simulator ever, it just needs to be the best match for you.
We’re just talking about the budget right now is because you have an idea of what features are the most important and how they impact your gameplay. So, you can now miss and match your requirements to get the perfect golf simulator for you.
Who are Golf Simulators For?
Although anyone can buy a golf simulator off of Amazon, it’s not very likely that just about anyone will get one. There are a few scenarios we can think of where you can utilize a simulator to its full potential.
First up, if you’re serious about your golf career or you play at a professional level, a golf simulator will help you tremendously with your practice. You can set it up somewhere in your home and keep your practice going even if the weather is bad outside.
Speaking of weather, if you live in a region where the weather is mostly bad throughout the year, a golf simulator will help you out. During the bad weather, you can keep your skills shiny and stop them from rusting. When the time comes, you can join the real-world sessions at your nearest club.
Another situation could be where you’re a businessman and want to set up a simulator in your workplace. You can sell tickets to let people use them for limited periods. If this is the case, then we highly recommend that you get one of the top-tier simulators because they will return better value for your money.
My brother, who is a PGA Golf Instructor, created an indoor golf facility and offers practice memberships for golfers to come in and practice as part of a monthly membership fee. They can also rent simulator booths for a few hours for a fee.
The best golf simulators are the ones that help you become a better player or help you make money. It just needs to be the best-suited one for you rather than the most balling setup available on the market.
In this post, we’ve covered the best golf simulators that we think are best. We’ve also covered the most important features and aspects that you should keep in mind before purchasing one.