Home Golf Simulator Buyer’s Guide

golf launch monitors & simulators

Do you enjoy playing golf? Would you like to be able to play whenever you want, rain or shine or day or night? Well, good news - with a home golf simulator, you can. And even better news - today’s golf simulators have come a long way since they first were introduced back in the 1970s.

While those early golf simulators were basically indoor driving ranges with a net to catch the ball, as computer technology, sensors, and displays advanced, so too did the golf simulator. Today, you can have an immersive, true-to-life experience playing golf indoors at home. You can try your hand at a wide range of golf courses from all around the world - most of them precisely replicated from Google maps. And thanks to high-resolution projection hitting screens, the experience can feel as real as being on the actual course.

What Are the Benefits of a Home Golf Simulator?

Everyone that enjoys golfing often dreams of being able to play the game at home whenever they cannot visit a golf course or get a tee time. Thanks to advances in technology and a reduction in the costs of those technologies, indoor golf simulators have become rather affordable.

Obviously, the top benefit is being able to play golf whenever you want, no matter the weather outside or time of day. Plus, you don’t have to worry about not getting a tee time at your preferred course when you can simply load the course into your simulator and start playing whenever you want.

man practicing golf swing using simulator

Another benefit of golf simulators is they allow you to practice your golf game year-round. Depending on your simulator setup and software, you could be given feedback about your swing, the type of club you should use, and other such details that can quickly help you level up and make major improvements.

Two more great benefits of home golf simulators are they can be affordable, and they can be set up in just about any space in your home. Most people are surprised by how much it costs to design, configure, and build a home golf simulator. There are home simulators for a wide range of budgets, so just about anyone can have a golf simulator in their home.

Depending on the type of simulator you decide to get, they are easy to set up just about anywhere you have a little bit of space. If you want the ultimate at-home golf experience, however, you would want to install the simulator in your man cave or “she” cave and include all the “bells and whistles.”

Other benefits you can gain from using a golf simulator include:

  • Simulators can help you determine what golf clubs are best for you. You can visit your golf fitter and try out different clubs to see if the ones you currently own are the best or if you need to get a new set.
  • Simulators are a great way to practice your golf game anytime you want. It doesn’t matter if it rains, snows, or is hot or cold outside. You can practice anytime you want and work on improving your golf skills.
  • Simulators help improve your golf muscle memory. The more you practice, the more your brain remembers the movements and motions you use when you golf. Over time, you will notice these improvements, as they become more precise and accurate when spending time on an outdoor course.
  • Simulators promote family time and family game nights. You and your family can have hours of fun using the simulator while spending quality time together. Who knows? One of your children could be the next Dustin Johnson or Justin Thomas!

How Much Space Is Required for an Indoor Golf Simulator?

There are two general philosophies used when it comes to space requirements. One, you could decide what type of simulator you want and then use the required dimensions for that system to ensure you have sufficient space. The other option is to measure your available space, and then try to find a system that best fits into that space. We will cover space requirements in greater detail shortly.

How Much Does an Indoor Golf Simulator Cost?

You can start with a basic setup that costs under $1,000. You could also easily spend well over $70,000 for the ultimate home golf simulator experience. It is important to remember, when it comes to cost, you should decide what works best for your budget and what features you desire in your home simulator. We will look more at prices later in this guide.

What Materials Are Needed for a Home Golf Simulator?

There are some specific materials you will need to build your home golf simulator. This is where you will have a wide range of options to choose from with various pricing points. The first thing you should decide is whether the simulator will install long-term or if you are just experimenting and intend on making upgrades and changes down the road.

You should remember quality will vary based on the price. If you start with lower-priced materials, do not expect them to last as long as higher-priced materials. Furthermore, the materials you require will vary, as most people like to customize their simulators to their specific needs.

home golf simulator

In general, you will need the following materials:

Nets and Impact Screens

You will need a net or impact screen to stop the ball from hitting the walls, windows, or other such things in your home. If you plan on using a projector, an impact screen is a good choice. The projector will simulate the golf course on the screen. Impact screens can range from around $300 and up. You will also need netting around the impact screen, just in case you slice the ball a little too hard.  

Impact screens also are offered in a variety of sizes to fit along the wall in the space you have available. You can choose between traditional flat screens or curved screens. Curved screens provide a more immersive and realistic experience, especially if you have one of the larger ones. It can make you feel like you are on the specific golf course you are playing.

Netting is the second option you could choose. Nets are a bit more flexible if you want a “pop-up” simulator you can set up, use, and then put away when you need to use the space for other purposes. If you opt for a net configuration, you can still connect the simulator to a monitor or TV display you can watch while you golf.

Simulator

This is the heart of your golf simulator setup. The simulator you choose will impact what you can do with your simulator, its upgradability, and other such factors. There are countless options to consider, which can be overwhelming if you let them.

Simulators are also known as launch monitors. Each monitor will have different systems—the number of cameras and other such features to immerse you in the golf experience. Your budget, available space, and your golf objectives all play deciding factors in choosing the right golf launch monitor.

GCHawk launch monitor

Launch monitors can range from around $2,000 to $20,000 or more. If you are on a tight budget or just want to try out a golf simulator at home, the SkyTrak launch monitor is a good choice. On the other hand, if you want details about ball data, like the speed and spin, as well as the flexibility of using it indoors and outdoors, Foresight Sports’ GC2 launch monitor could be a good choice.

If you want the ultimate home golf simulator experience, and you have overhead space where you can mount the launch monitor, Foresight Sports’ GCHawk simulator is one of the best on the market today. Plus, it can be used as an indoor soccer simulator and provides access to a variety of other fun games.

Mats 

Mats are another critical component of home golf simulators. Mats vary in quality and pricing, as well. You can find mats that cost as little as a few hundred dollars to ones that run a few thousand dollars. If you want a quality mat that will last, two of the better mats around are the TrueStrike golf mat and SIGPRO golf mat. Both are durable golf mats that also perform well.

Computer 

You will need a computer as part of your indoor golf simulator setup. A desktop computer is best when you are using projection-based simulation to deliver superior high definition resolution onto an impact screen. Desktops are also better when you will have a multi-projection display output configuration like on an impact screen and an HD TV display.

Laptop computers are better suited for monitor-based simulation or output onto an HD TV display. Laptops are also a good choice when you want a portable golf simulator you can set up and take down in various rooms in your home or take on the road with you.

Projector

Another key component of any golf simulator is the projector. There are all sorts of projectors on the market. The one you need will depend on the size of the room where the simulator will be built, the quality of resolution you desire, and so on.

Sure, there are low-end projects you could pick up for around $100, but you get what you pay for. Ideally, you want a higher-end projector that can deliver HD quality output. You will need to size the projector to the room, as well.

If you plan on investing in a portable golf simulator, you may need a premium projector that works in a wide range of different settings and spaces. Additionally, you will need to decide if you want a projector with a non-interchangeable lens or interchangeable lenses.

If the home golf simulator will remain in the same room in the home, then a non-interchangeable lens projector will work. Otherwise, if you plan on moving the simulator from one room to another, you will want a projector with interchangeable lenses.

Software

Your golf simulator will need software to function and operate. There are various software apps to choose from that include different golf courses, games, etc. Keep in mind that not all software apps are compatible with all simulators and projectors. You will need to verify compatibility with the software provider.

Space Requirements for a Home Golf Simulator

Regardless of which approach you take for your space requirements that we discussed previously, there are some general requirements you will need to ensure you meet. Most importantly, you will need to have sufficient space to safely swing your golf clubs. You do not want to swing the clubs and hit lamps, furniture, or other objects that are too close.

To test the space, stand in the center of the area where you plan on setting up your golf simulator. Take a club and simulate hitting the ball to ensure your swing and follow-through are not restricted in any manner. We do recommend that you make sure any lamps, furniture, and other such items are moved out of the way first.

sim-in-a-box foresight sports

As long as you can swing freely, you have space to set up your golf simulator. If not, you will want to find another location in your home that offers more available space. Besides being able to swing your clubs freely, there are three additional space components you need to consider as follows:

Room Length (Depth) 

The length of the room should be long enough to accommodate sufficient space for the simulator and the golfer. Ideally, you want at least one foot from the wall to the simulator, another eight to ten feet from the simulator to the golfer, and another four to six feet from the golfer to the other wall.

Room Width 

The width of the room will depend on the golf simulator configuration you choose. For example, if you opt for an impact screen, you will want to make sure the width from one wall to the other is sufficient for the screen. We recommend at least thirteen feet. However, it is possible to fit a simulator into a room with a smaller width, but we would not recommend a room where the width is less than nine or ten feet.

In addition, if you intend to use the simulator for both right-handed and left-handed golfers, you want to ensure you have a minimum of at least thirteen feet of width.

Room Height 

The height of the room might not seem that important, yet it is. You need to have sufficient space for the golf ball to travel without hitting the ceiling. Ideally, we recommend a room height of at least ten feet. If your ceiling height is more than ten feet, you are all set. If it is less than ten feet, setting up a simulator is possible in certain circumstances. For example, if you are short or have a flatter swing, then you might be okay.

Additionally, do not forget to think about who will be using the indoor golf simulator. If you have family and friends who will use it, and they are different heights, then you will want to stick with the minimum ten-foot room height recommendation.

In summary, it is important to take the time to measure the room and swing your clubs to ensure it is big enough. Camara-based simulators like Foresight Sports or Skytrak use precise measurements of the ball, so room depth is a bit more flexible. If you are considering a radar-type simulator, like one from Trackman, you could need as much as twenty-five feet or more of depth space.

Last, the appearance of the room will change once the simulator is set up and installed. While the room might feel big and have plenty of space for the golf simulator, after it is installed it is not unusual for the room to seem smaller.

To simulate how the room will change, you can hang up a bedsheet on the wall for the impact screen, take a rug and use this for your golf mat, and hang up sheets for the netting. If things seem cramped and crowded, you may want to find a different room to use.

indoor golf simulator setup

Is a Dedicated Space Required for an Indoor Golf Simulator?

Some people want to have a dedicated space that is just for their indoor simulator. They will even include design elements in the room to give it the look and feel of being on the golf course.

Other people will use a multi-purpose room like their home theater/living room as the location to install the golf simulator. The reason for this is the room is the size they need for their indoor golf simulator, yet they still need to use it for other purposes. As long as the other furniture can easily be moved out of the way, the simulator will still function correctly.

Golf Simulator Budget

Now that we have covered the basics about home golf simulators, let’s talk about your home golf simulator budget and what options are available. Like we mentioned earlier, there are golf simulator pricing points to fit just about anyone’s budget.

Entry Level – $1,000 or Less 

At this budget level, your choices might seem limited to a cheap putt-putt setup and using a glass cup from your cupboard. Yet, you might be surprised to learn the OptiShot2 golf simulator in this price range.

This home simulator can be fun to try out and use. It is great for families that like to golf and just want to be able to play as much as possible. It is not as high-tech as other simulators, so think of it as more of a high-end golf video game in 4D without the need for virtual reality goggles.

The OptiShot2 simulator does have some neat features like measuring the speed of the ball, the ball path, and the angle of your club. It only calculates the projected path of the ball and does not track it once you hit it. So, unless you have a near-perfect shot, do not expect the tracking data to be that accurate.

If you want to save more money, you can choose to use plastic or foam balls instead of golf balls with this simulator. This will eliminate the need for a quality impact screen or net. You could get away with using a thick painter’s tarp as the impact screen if you don’t use regulation golf balls.

There are a few different configurations available, with the OptiShot2 Golf-in-a-Box package as the entry-level package for under $1,000.

Mid Level – $3,000 - $10,000

This price range covers a wide range of options. There are some OptiShot2 simulators that are under $3,000 and others that are $4,000. So, if your budget is limited, these are great options.

Also at the lower end is the SkyTrak home simulator training package. This includes the essentials you need for around $3,500. SkyTrak also has a few packages that are on the higher end of the price range like their SkyTrak SIG10 and SkyTrak SIG12 indoor golf simulators. These run between $7,500 and $8,200, depending on the options you select in the package.

SkyTrak systems only provide data about the ball like the speed, spin, and distance. They do not provide feedback about your swing, clubface path and angle, and so on. There is also the FlightScope Mevo Plus in this price range. However, we have found that while FlightScope works great outdoors, when used indoors it does not seem as accurate as the SkyTrak systems.

FlightScope systems use radar for tracking the ball, while SkyTrak systems use cameras. If you intend to use a FlightScope system indoors, you will want to have the minimum twenty-five feet of depth space we discussed earlier.

If you want a slightly higher-end package, you could check out a TruGolf simulator from Vista 8. This system includes everything you need to get started, including an impact screen, side nets, projector, simulator software, and golf mat. You get a little bit more feedback data with this setup compared to the SkyLark systems, such as the clubface path and angle.

High Level – $10,000 - $20,000  

If your budget is over $10,000, then you have a wider range of home golf simulator options. If you are looking at keeping your budget under $16,000, then Uneekor golf simulators are a great option. There are two different simulator options, the EYEXO and QED. Both simulators require ceiling mounting and a minimum ceiling height of at least nine feet.

The launch monitors use infrared and high-speed camera technologies to collect data about your clubs, ball path, speed, and so on. This home golf simulator setup is well-suited for permanent installations that you do not intend to move.

If you want more information about club impact, club angle, and so on, then the EYEXO simulator has these features. If you do not need as much information, the QED is a good choice. Uneekor simulator software includes a range of options, from driving ranges to fully simulated golf courses.

Other options for an indoor golf simulator that is about in the same price range as Uneekor are the TruGolf simulators from Vista8. There are different packages and options available, depending on your needs and the type of simulator you want.

Premium Level – $20,000 - $60,000  

If you want the best premium level home golf simulator and have a budget of $20,000 or more, then Foresight Sports simulators are the perfect choice. Their simulators are considered the best in the golf simulator industry hands-down.

gcquad golf launch monitors

If your budget is around $20,000, the GCQuad launch monitor is a great choice for your home simulator. It provides all the essential data you need about how you golf. This is why golf instructors, professional golfers, and club fitters use this monitor.

It is very accurate and can help you improve your golf game and skills with the amount of data it provides. The GCQuad is a floor-based launch monitor, so it also affords some flexibility if you want the option to move your simulator around.

Foresight Sports recently launched its new Sim-in-a-Box indoor golf simulators. Various packages start at $10,500 and go up from there. The great thing about a Sim-in-a-Box simulator package is you’ll receive everything that’s needed to set up your home simulator.

You can also later upgrade your Sim-in-a-Box with other components if you get an entry-level or mid-level package. Some of the Sim-in-a-Box packages are even portable, so you can easily move the simulator from one room to another. Furthermore, Sim-in-a-Box packages help optimize your available space with different configurations.

If you want the ultimate overhead launch monitor, Foresight Sports’ GCHawk monitor is one of the best on the market. Recent updates to the monitor’s firmware now allow it to be used for multiple sports. Currently, soccer is offered as an option, with plans to expand to other sports.

soccer simulators

The GCHawk launch monitor is $20,000 and is well worth the investment for the ultimate golf simulator. This launch monitor can be included in the Sim-in-a-Box Albatross Package that starts at $33,995.

Foresight Sports offers a wide range of customization options to further assist you in designing the ultimate home golf simulator. Most packages include or provide an option to include our FSX2020 simulator software. This software includes a variety of top golf courses, games, and virtual reality competitions with other golfers from all over the world.

Another great option available from us is the ability to custom design your home golf simulator. We offer a free online app you can use to get started. You can also contact one of our designers to assist you with the process. Once your custom simulator is created, you can choose between DIY installation or have us install it for you.

Another option some people consider is the Trackman simulator. However, while Trackman offers great simulators in this price range, it is worth noting they use radar for tracking. As such, you will need a very large indoor space with a minimum room depth of at least twenty-five feet. If you attempt to set up a Trackman simulator in a smaller space, it will not be accurate.

Basic packages start around $20,000 and can go as high as $50,000 or more, depending on the configuration. Just like our GCQuad, you can use Trackman outdoors for tracking ball data at driving ranges. Yet, if your primary purpose is to have the ultimate indoor golf simulator, while Trackman is a great product, we think you will prefer our golf simulators more.

Professional Golf Simulators – $60,000 and Up

If you want an indoor golf simulator that some professional golfers use, then you will be in this price range. Yet, many people find that unless they are planning to become a professional, the premium packages and systems from Foresight Sports provide just about everything they need to become a great golfer.

However, if your heart is set on a professional golf simulator, there are two different options. The first is the HD Golf Ultimate Training Package. This simulator has everything you need and more. A team will even come to your home and build the simulator on-site.

If you fall into the category where you want the ultimate professional golf simulator, then you will want to explore packages from Full Swing Golf. These simulators are the ones Tiger Woods and other professionals use during their “off-season” and for training. Full Swing Golf recently announced they are releasing  The Full Swing Kit that was built to Tiger Woods’ specifications, and it can be included as an optional add-on for their simulator packages for another $4,000.

What Indoor Golf Simulator Is Right for Your Home?

If you have reviewed all of this information, we understand that your head can be swimming with many considerations, budget levels, packages, and options. Our objective was to provide you with information about what simulator options were available based on your budget and needs.

indoor golf simulator

Please keep in mind that there may be other golf simulator options available. We only shared the ones that we felt delivered the best experiences for their pricing point. If you are not sure whether a simulator is for you, we recommend starting with a basic setup to see if you like using it, first. This way, you have not invested thousands of dollars or tens of thousands of dollars on a simulator you never use.

If you have used simulators before and know you will enjoy using one at home, then you will want to decide which one will provide you with the data you desire, fit into the space you have available, and fit into your budget.

If you need advice or have further questions about what you need for a home golf simulator, assistance in designing a custom indoor golf simulator, or want to explore the different package options we offer, please feel free to contact Foresight Sports at (858) 880-0179 today!

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