This is a comprehensive guide on all the golf simulator components you need or don’t need if you build your own simulator setup in your garage or house.
Some things, like a compatible launch monitor, are necessary to play virtual golf at home. Other things, like enclosures or netting, can be removed or substituted for cheaper components.
So, let’s dive in and explore the components that make up a golf simulator setup!
What Components Are Required for a Golf Simulator?
As you’ll see below in more detail, the following components are required for your golf simulator:
Below, I’ll go through each of these options in full detail. Also, we’ll go over optional golf simulator components that a lot of golfers add to their indoor golf simulator, like a second TV, good audio system, and other entertainment.
Before You Buy Any Golf Simulator Components
Before you buy anything, there are some prerequisites you should perform to prep your space for a home golf simulator.
Determine Your Space
The first step in building your own golf simulator is to determine how much space you have available. You’ll need enough room to comfortably swing your golf clubs, so a minimum of 10′ x 10′ is recommended.
If you don’t want to center hit off your hitting mat, you should aim for 12 feet of width.
Ensure there is enough ceiling clearance to accommodate your swing, too.
Prep Your Golf Clubs
Decide which golf clubs you plan on hitting on your golf simulator. If you aren’t going to use your regular set of clubs, select ones that are the correct length and weight for your height and swing.
Stock Up on Golf Balls
Make sure you have plenty of golf balls for indoor golfing fun. If you aren’t using an authentic impact screen, use a golf ball designed for indoor use to avoid damaging your walls. Foam balls won’t damage your walls, but still react like a real golf ball at impact.
Many golf simulator setups come with a supply of golf balls, but you can always purchase more if needed.
With these essential components in place, you’re on your way to creating your own golf simulator setup. Next, we’ll review all the required golf simulator components you need to buy.
Choose the Right Launch Monitor
The launch monitor is the most important component of a golf simulator and is the backbone to your system. This device measures key ball flight data, including:
After every hit you make on your golf simulator, your launch monitor will calculate the accurate ball flight and relay that data to your sim software.
There are two types of launch monitors available: doppler and camera-based.
Doppler launch monitors use radar technology to track the ball’s flight, while camera-based launch monitors use high-speed cameras to capture the ball’s movement.
Both launch monitor types have pros and cons, so choosing the one that best fits your needs is important.
Doppler Launch Monitors
Doppler launch monitors are the most popular type of monitor, known for their accuracy and reliability. They use radar technology to track the ball’s flight and can measure various data points, including ball speed, launch angle, spin rate, and more.
Doppler launch monitors are great for indoor and outdoor use; some models can even be used without a hitting net or screen.
Some of the most popular Doppler launch monitors on the market include the FlightScope, kTrackman, Foresight GCQuad, and SkyTrak.
Camera-Based Launch Monitors
Camera-based launch monitors use high-speed cameras to capture the ball’s movement and provide accurate ball flight data. They are often less expensive than doppler launch monitors and require less space to use. However, they may not be as accurate as doppler launch monitors and require effective lighting conditions.
Some of the most popular camera-based launch monitors on the market include the Ernest Sports ES14 and the Rapsodo MLM.
When choosing a launch monitor, it’s important to consider your budget, the space you have available, and the level of accuracy you require. Take the time to research the different types of launch monitors available and choose the one that best fits your needs and budget.
The Golf Hitting Mat
The second key piece to your simulator setup is the hitting mat you will use to hit golf balls off of. Choosing the right golf mat is essential for an optimal indoor practice experience.
A high-quality golf mat helps simulate the feel of a real fairway and protects your flooring from damage.
Several types of golf mats are available on the market, including foam, rubber, and turf mats. Foam mats are budget-friendly, but their low-density material can lead to club bounce and inconsistent ball flight.
Rubber mats are more durable, but their hard surface can cause joint pain and be harder on clubs. Turf mats provide the most realistic feel but can be expensive.
|Type of Golf Mat||Pros||Cons|
|Foam Mat||Budget-friendly||Club bounce, inconsistent ball flight|
|Rubber Mat||Durable, long-lasting||Hard surface, can cause joint pain|
|Turf Mat||Realistic feel, high-quality||Expensive|
We recommend investing in a turf mat to create the most realistic golf simulation experience. However, if cost is a concern, a rubber mat is a good alternative that still provides durability and accuracy.
When choosing a golf mat, it’s also important to consider its size and thickness. A larger mat allows for different stance positions, while a thicker mat can absorb shock and prevent club damage.
Whichever golf mat you choose, ensure it fits your DIY golf simulator setup and provides a realistic and comfortable indoor practice experience.
The software is the third golf simulator component you need to play simulator golf. When choosing golf simulator software, it is important to consider the accuracy of the provided data and the range of courses and golf game modes available.
Popular simulator software options include:
|Simulator Name||Price||Courses||Key Feature|
|E6 CONNECT||$2,500 upfront, $300-$600/yr||90 courses (subscription dependent)||Top-notch 4K graphics, a wide range of game modes|
|TGC 2019||$960 (one-time fee)||170,000+ courses||Huge course library, course designer tool|
|GSPro||$250/yr or $550 upfront + $250/yr||280+ courses||A strong online community, 4K graphics, online tours|
|Full Swing Golf||Included with a Full Swing Simulator||100+ courses||Official licensee of The PGA Tour and TPC network of courses; Real-time feedback of club and ball data|
|FSX 2020||$3,000||110+ courses||Extensive customization options; View tabular summaries of shot data|
|WGT Golf||Free||20+ courses||Free to play; Supports up to 4 players at once|
|Uneekor Refine||$1,000 or $2,000||5 courses or 20 courses||Up to 5 training modes; Stroke Play|
|Creative Golf 3D||Varies by launch monitor, roughly $550/year||15 real-life courses (basic) / over 100 additional courses (subscription)||Course Editor feature; Integration with popular launch monitors and golf simulators|
|Awesome Golf||$400 one-time or $200 + $9.99 per month||50+ course||Fun mini-games; Course Designer tool for creating and sharing custom courses|
Choose software that suits your needs and budget. Some software packages offer many features, while others are more affordable and suitable for simple setups. In general, they offer a mix of:
Real life golf courses
Projectors display the simulator software on the golf simulator screen or impact screen. When choosing a projector, consider the brightness and resolution and the throw distance (the distance between the projector and screen).
For golf simulator projector setups, it is recommended to use a short-throw or ultra-short throw projector, which can be positioned closer to the screen without sacrificing image quality. Popular projector options for golf simulators include:
|Optoma EH200ST||Short-throw, high brightness, 1080p resolution|
|BenQ TH671ST||Short-throw, high brightness, 1080p resolution, low input lag for gaming|
|Epson Home Cinema LS100||Ultra-short throw, high brightness, 1080p resolution, laser technology for long bulb life|
Choose a projector that suits the size and layout of your golf simulator room and provides a clear, bright image for accurate ball projection onto the screen.
Important to note:
The projector is not technically required. You can opt for a TV instead if you plan on using a mesh screen instead of an impact screen.
Choosing an Optimal Golf Simulator Screen Setup
The screen is one of the most important components of a golf simulator setup. A high-quality screen is essential for safety and performance during indoor golfing sessions. Several types of screens are available, each with unique features and benefits.
|Impact screen||Durable, can handle high ball speeds and impacts||Ensures safety and accuracy during indoor golfing sessions|
|Retractable screen||Easily retractable for when space is limited||Provides flexibility in indoor golf simulator room layout|
|Fixed frame screen||Solid, fixed frame for maximum stability||Ensures a consistent golf simulation experience|
When creating a DIY golf simulator screen setup, it’s important to consider factors such as the room size, the distance between the screen and the ball, and the type of projector being used. It’s also important to ensure that the screen is properly tensioned to prevent any wrinkles or distortions that could affect the accuracy of ball flight projection.
If you want to save money on your golf simulator, switch out the projector and impact screen for a mesh hitting screen and TV.
Maximizing Space: Setting Up Your Golf Simulator Room
Creating a golf simulator room requires careful consideration of space and layout. Follow these tips for the best indoor golfing experience:
Choose the Right Room: Look for a room with high ceilings, minimum windows, and sufficient space for your golf simulator components. Avoid rooms with low ceilings or slanted walls.
Optimize the Space: Determine the best layout for your golf simulator components to maximize space. Consider incorporating storage solutions to keep your golf clubs and accessories organized.
Soundproof the Room: Golf simulators can be noisy, so it’s important to soundproof the room to minimize disruption to other areas of your home. Use soundproofing panels or blankets to absorb sound.
Adjust the Lighting: Ensure the room is well-lit without glare on the golf simulator screen. Consider dimmer switches to adjust lighting levels as needed.
Choose the Right Hitting Mat: A high-quality golf hitting mat is essential for the best golf simulation experience. Look for a mat that mimics the feel of a real fairway and can handle frequent use.
Install an Impact Screen: A high-quality golf simulator impact screen is important for safety and performance. Choose a durable screen that can withstand the impact of golf balls.
By following these tips, you can create a comfortable and functional golf simulator room that allows you to enjoy indoor golf year-round.
Optional Golf Simulator Components
After you have the core of your setup, there are a few option components that you can look to add.
Computer or Tablet
Most golf simulator software has a mobile device version you can run off your smartphone. For a better golf experience, buy a dedicated tablet or computer to run your simulation software off of.
A high-performance device can provide a more realistic experience with better graphics and smoother gameplay. Many modern golf simulators are compatible with Windows and MacOS platforms, while some offer apps for iPad or Android tablets.
A tablet might be better if you want a portable solution or have limited space. Check your simulator software’s system requirements to ensure your device can handle it.
Investing in a good audio system can dramatically improve your golf simulator experience. The sound of the club hitting the ball and environmental sounds like birds, wind, and crowd applause can help immerse you in the game. Some simulators even provide feedback on your swing through audio cues.
You might consider soundbars, surround sound systems, or high-quality headphones, depending on your space and budget.
A second TV or monitor is useful for multiple reasons. You can use it to simultaneously display different game views, such as an overhead view of the hole and a behind-the-player view. This could improve your understanding of each shot and help refine your strategy.
Alternatively, it could also serve as an entertainment system for your friends or family to watch TV or movies while waiting their turn.
While a golf simulator provides a comprehensive experience, having a physical putting green can enhance your practice. It allows you to practice putting on a real surface, providing a more realistic feel and feedback than simulators.
In addition, combining virtual and physical practice can help to translate your skills into real-world performance. If you have enough space, consider installing a small artificial putting green in your simulator.
Frequently Asked Questions about Golf Simulator Components
Building a golf simulator can be a fun and rewarding project, but it can also be overwhelming. Here are some frequently asked questions about golf simulator components to help guide you through the process:
What materials do I need to build a DIY golf net?
Building a DIY golf net requires basic materials, including PVC pipes, connectors, a net, and some zip ties. You can find step-by-step instructions online to guide you through the process.
What can I expect from a golf simulation experience?
A golf simulation experience can be fun to practice your swing, play virtual courses, and compete against friends. Some simulators use advanced technology to track your shots and provide realistic ball flight information accurately.
How much space do I need for a golf simulator setup?
The amount of space required for a golf simulator setup depends on your chosen components. Generally, you will need enough room to swing a golf club comfortably and space for the ball to travel after hitting it. As a rough guideline, a minimum of 10 feet by 10 feet is recommended, but larger spaces will provide a more realistic experience.
What is an impact screen, and why is it important?
An impact screen is designed to withstand a golf ball’s impact. It is an essential component of a golf simulator, as it helps prevent damage to walls and provides a realistic surface for ball projection.
Can I use a regular hitting mat with my golf simulator setup?
While a regular hitting mat can be used with a golf simulator setup, it is recommended to use a specialized golf mat designed to absorb impact and provide a realistic surface for ball projection. Using a regular hitting mat can affect your shots’ accuracy and may damage your club.
Creating your golf simulator setup can be fun and rewarding for any golf enthusiast. With the right components, you can enjoy a realistic and enjoyable indoor golf experience from the comfort of your home.
Remember to choose a high-quality golf simulator enclosure or net with the right golf clubs and balls. A launch monitor is essential for accurate ball-flight projection, and a good golf mat is crucial for indoor practice. Choosing the right simulator software and projector is also important for optimal performance, and a high-quality impact screen is essential for safety.
When setting up your golf simulator room, optimize the available space and consider factors like lighting and soundproofing for the best experience possible.