Commercial Golf Simulators: 2022 Business Guide

Take advantage of golf’s (particularly indoor golf) popularity, by starting your own golf simulator business. See this entrepreneur's guide to commercial golf simulators.

WJ Golf at The Arboretum Club golf simulator business

So you want to start your own business, something where you can hang out with great people, have fun, and maybe even have time to work on your golf game. Carl suggests you take a look at opening a commercial golf simulator business.

But, are indoor golf businesses profitable?

In general, golf is arguably more popular now than it has been in some time, or likely ever. That’s led to extraordinary growth in the indoor golf simulator industry as players tend to have a hard time putting the clubs away when the rain starts pouring or the snow starts flying.

It’s an addiction, but one of the few worthwhile addictions. And now is the time for entrepreneurs to take advantage of the growing number of addicts.

COMMERCIAL GOLF SIMULATOR BUSINESS PLAN

One of the most daunting tasks when someone wants to open their own commercial golf simulator business is coming up with a business plan. That’s where the Indoor Golf Business Startup Plan by Yardstick Golf can come in handy. 

Yardstick’s startup plan includes:

  • A complete indoor golf study

  • Excel startup model with a 3-year financial projection

  • Indoor golf player preferences study

  • Indoor golf location guide and analysis tool

  • Commercial lease checklist

  • More than a dozen pages of marketing ideas to help keep your facility full

We’ve also tapped into a few business owners who provided some tips to starting a commercial indoor golf simulator business. 

Gaining this knowledge and doing all this work before you start grinding will be worth it in the long run!

COMMERCIAL GOLF SIMULATOR BUSINESS IDEAS

Part of your golf simulator business plan should be what kind of golf simulator business you want to run. You have many options, but start by keeping in mind the market you’re aiming for and how they plan to use the golf simulators.

These are just a few of the ideas we know have been successful:

  • For fun: host a birthday or bachelor party with a bunch of friends and multiple hitting bays, or just one awesome private golf simulator. Add in some delicious food and beverage options. Blind Shot Social Club is a great example.

  • For coaching or taking lessons: Hire coaches to teach the game, or allow coaches to rent out a bay to give lessons during the offseason.

  • For individual improvement: some golfers already know what they need to do and just want a quiet space where they can individually work on improving their game. 

  • To keep your local golf course relevant in the winter: see how The 1912 Club in the Philadelphia area and WJ Golf in the Chicago area are doing it. 

  • A combination of a lot of the above, such as Smash Factor Indoor Golf

COMMERCIAL GOLF SIMULATOR PACKAGES

It’s nearly impossible to provide a one-size-fits-all suggestion for a commercial setup as everyone’s space and goal are different. 

That said, we’ve put together several different package options that could be popular amongst indoor golf center entrepreneurs. These packages will help you understand what a commercial golf simulator costs and what might be the best commercial golf simulator for you. 

To make a plan work in your space and on your budget, you might take pieces from each plan to create your beautiful puzzle. For example, you might have limited space and a tighter budget, so you’d use the enclosure from the limited space package and launch monitor from the lower budget package, so on and so forth. 

UNLIMITED BUDGET AND SPACE COMMERCIAL GOLF SIMULATOR PACKAGE

  • Enclosure and Impact Screen: 10’ tall by 15.5’ wide by 18’ deep Pro Golf Enclosure with crossbar around 102” and two safety baffles. The 18-foot-deep enclosure is great for keeping golf balls contained as the golfer will hit from inside the enclosure, but also provides the most immersive experience. This order, since it is a custom depth, would need to be placed through a Carl’s Place customer service team member.

  • Launch Monitor (with mounts): Uneekor EYE XO, frame mount on crossbar. Great for entertainment and improvement, the EYE XO is an awesome launch monitor due to the data it provides, but also the built-in cameras that show your club at impact. The crossbar is placed where it is so the EYE XO can be mounted to it with the golfer hitting from about 11 feet away from the screen.

  • Software: TGC 2019. The most versatile golf simulator software with more than 100,000 courses to choose from, games, a (funny) commentator, and much more. 

  • Projector (with mounts): BenQ LU710, frame mount on front ceiling pipe. A great standard-throw projector that has a throw distance range that includes the depth of the enclosure, which is why we would frame mount it. Then it stays behind and up, out of the way of the golfer.

  • Hitting Mat: TrueStrike Academy (with two extra range mats and a ball tray). TrueStrike mats have a great professional look and are durable for all the wear and tear they will take in a commercial environment. We included the extra range mats for extra stance space for taller golfers to have a more comfortable area to swing and a ball tray to help you stay organized. 

  • Accessories: Uneekor Protective Case. You’ll want to protect your precious EYE XO. Trust us. 

  • Approximate Starting Price: about $18,500

UNLIMITED BUDGET BUT LIMITED SPACE COMMERCIAL GOLF SIMULATOR PACKAGE

  • Enclosure and Impact Screen: 9x12x5 Pro with Premium Impact Screen. The enclosure is shrunk down a bit, especially the depth, to accommodate lesser space. We kept the Pro Enclosure as part of this package to keep the higher end look and feel, but you could go even smaller with a DIY Enclosure

  • Launch Monitor (with mounts): Uneekor EYE XO. Since the enclosure is not deep enough to mount the EYE XO to and hit from a safe distance from the impact screen, you would need to find a way to mount your EYE XO so it sits between 9 and 10 feet off the ground.

  • Software: TGC 2019. The most versatile golf simulator software with more than 100,000 courses to choose from, games, a (funny) commentator, and much more. 

  • Projector (with mounts): Optoma ZH406ST, Carl’s Floor Mounted Projector Enclosure (out of stock). The Optoma ZH406ST projector is a short throw, which is good for limited space areas. You’ll likely end up placing it on the ground just off to the side of your hitting area, so you’ll want a Carl’s Projector Enclosure to protect it from flying balls. 

  • Hitting Mat: TrueStrike Academy (with two extra range mats and a ball tray). TrueStrike mats have a great professional look and are durable for all the wear and tear they will take in a commercial environment. We included the extra range mats for extra stance space for taller golfers to have a more comfortable area to swing and a ball tray to help you stay organized. 

  • Accessories: Uneekor Protective Case. You’ll want to protect your precious EYE XO. Trust us.

  • Approximate Starting Price: about $17,100

LIMITED BUDGET COMMERCIAL GOLF SIMULATOR PACKAGE

  • Enclosure and Impact Screen: 9x12x5 DIY with Premium Impact Screen. Dropping down to the budget friendly DIY Enclosure is not a bad idea. It just uses a slightly different material for the enclosure walls, but still has a slick look and does the job. Despite it being the highest end screen, we stuck with the Premium because of its durability; once your business is continuously busy and your screens are taking a beating, you’ll understand. 

  • Launch Monitor (with mounts): Uneekor QED. The QED is a few thousand dollars cheaper than the EYE XO and provides a lot of the same great data and experience. You will have to find a way to mount the QED so it sits between 9 and 10 feet off the ground. You could go with a less expensive launch monitor here, but most under this price point will be placed somewhere on the ground, which is not ideal in a commercial setting.

  • Software: GSPro. Simply put, it’s a great product for a great price. Hard to beat. 

  • Projector (with mounts): Optoma GT1080HDR. Carl’s Floor Mounted Projector Enclosure (out of stock). The Optoma GT1080HDR is a great entry level projector with an awesome picture. If you mount it on the floor, you’ll want Carl’s Projector Enclosure, but if not, you’ll have to find way to mount it directly perpendicular to the center of the screen as it does not have horizontal keystone. 

  • Hitting Mat: Carl's 4'x9'. A nice, wide, comfortable option with a central hitting area great for Uneekor products. If it gets worn down in the middle after a ton of usage, you can always replace the hitting section with one of Carl’s Divot Hitting Strips

  • Accessories: QED Marked Bridgestone Balls. The QED needs marked balls to get you the data you’ll want.

  • Approximate Starting Price: about $10,000

Commercial Golf Simulator Business

ENTERTAINMENT COMMERCIAL GOLF SIMULATOR PACKAGE

  • Enclosure and Impact Screen: 10x15.5x5 Pro with Premium Impact Screen. We went with a larger Pro Enclosure with a larger screen so you could have both an immersive golf experience, but also an awesome place to host movie and/or sports watch parties. The screen is in a 16:10 aspect ratio, which is essentially the wide screen aspect ratio movies and sports are now made/broadcasted in. 

  • Launch Monitor (with mounts): Uneekor QED. Could also go with an EYE XO here, but we went QED because it provides the same entertainment value as the EYE XO for a lesser price. You will have to find a way to mount the QED so it sits between 9 and 10 feet off the ground.

  • Software: Creative Golf 3D. Provides plenty of great courses to play, while also having a great menu of golf games to play through Golfisimo. 

  • Projector (with mounts): BenQ TK700STi. If you’re going to possibly be watching movies or sports using this projector, the 4K resolution of the TK700STi will come in handy. Also, the built-in Android dongle allows you to wirelessly cast your device to your projector, which means less cable management! Hooray!

  • Hitting Mat: Country Club Elite 5x10. A large sized hitting mat provides the flexibility to cover any way your hitting bay is used for entertainment!

  • Accessories: n/a

  • Approximate Starting Price: about $13,600

COACHING COMMERCIAL GOLF SIMULATOR PACKAGE

  • Enclosure and Impact Screen: 10x15.5x15 Pro with Premium Impact Screen with crossbar around 102” and two safety baffles. An immersive environment that makes you feel like you’re actually on the course, which will help the customer take the lessons more seriously. 

  • Launch Monitor (with mounts): Uneekor EYE XO with frame mount. Easy choice here as the EYE XO has the greatest potential to help any coach or lesson taker. The value a golfer can get from seeing their club at impact is immeasurable. We put the cross bar in so you can mount the EYE XO to the frame and safely hit from around 11 feet from the screen. 

  • Software: Uneekor Refine+. One of the best golf training softwares out there. Great options to practice short game, driver, draw and fade shots, etc.

  • Projector (with mounts): BenQ TH671ST with frame mount. Safely mount this great short throw HD projector to the front ceiling pipe of the frame from 15 feet. 

  • Hitting Mat: TrueStrike Academy (with two extra range mats and a ball tray). TrueStrike mats have a great professional look and are durable for all the wear and tear they will take in a commercial environment. The central gel hitting strip will provide a realistic feel to a golf course fairway. We included the extra range mats for extra stance space for taller golfers to have a more comfortable area to swing and a ball tray to help you stay organized. 

  • Accessories: Carl's Golf Swing Cameras and Uneekor Protective Case. To teach lessons, you will want cameras. Our budget friendly cameras will help the coach and golfer see the swing in slow motion after the fact, right in the Refine+ software. And, as always, you’ll want the protective case to keep your EYE XO safe. 

  • Approximate Starting Price: about $15,200

COMMERCIAL GOLF SIMULATOR SOFTWARE

Most third-party golf simulator softwares include some sort of driving range, training modes and virtual golf course play - all of which could be useful in some form in a commercial golf simulator business. 

We dove a little deeper to find out what else some of the bigger name software companies could provide in a commercial golf simulator business setting. 

COMPARE GOLF SIM SOFTWARE

UNEEKOR

Uneekor’s main goal in their software is to help players improve their game, but they also provide players with fun opportunities while training. Both Refine and Refine+ have different training modes and various courses to see if their skills have improved. 

Uneekor’s software can show a player or coach the club at impact with a ball, but you can also purchase Swing Optix or Carl’s Golf Swing Cameras to review your full swing in slow motion. The software provides drawing tools to breakdown and analyze the swing even further. 

In the Short Game Complex, golfers are able to practice and learn to be creative with their chip and pitch shots while challenging themselves or friends to earn higher scores. The complex rewards high accuracy and players with a variety of shot types. 

The Challenge Mode helps golfers practice from 60, 80, 100 and 120 yards, using different clubs and swing techniques to get the best results. 

In Quick Mode, golfers can work on more “on-course” situations, such as driving accuracy, correcting slices and hooks, various short game shots and putting in the putting evaluation mode. 

After training for a while, a coach can send a player out to a virtual course on Uneekor’s software to see if their game has improved. Or just use the Course Practice Mode where golfers can enter any part of a course and practice specific shots. 

GSPRO

GSPro includes dozens of courses, a driving range, on-course practice and has some of the most realistic and eye-catching graphics. 

Users continuously contribute to updates on GSPro, including designing new courses. Want to offer customers the option to play at your local course, but it’s not available on other golf simulator softwares? Hire someone to design it, or maybe you can find a new hobby in virtual golf course design!

DID YOU KNOW: Carl's experts can design your course for GSPro software, and it doesn't cost a thing to check if it's possible.

TGC 2019

Your customers will never run out of golf courses to play if you use TGC 2019. The software offers more than 150,000 courses, many of which are user created similar to GSPro!

The commentator is also an added bonus. As customers golf, he will make them feel like they’re actually playing on the PGA Tour on live TV. Some will love all the good things he says about them, while others might get a good chuckle after what he says about their not-so-good shots. 

CREATIVE GOLF 3D

The best part of CG3D for commercial golf simulators is its offering of games through Golfisimo. From target golf, easy golf and mini golf, to demolition golf, bridges and barrels, there is a plethora of games to go around. 

CG3D also offers: full golf courses; online tournaments; a training mode with driving, chipping and putting. 

E6 CONNECT

E6 has a commercial specific package that is in the works, but has not been released yet. However, with E6 Clubhouse, you’ll be able to easily run a league/contest.

Other features of E6 software include full golf courses, mini games, skills combines, training aids, and more. 

The Standard License is designed to allow commercial facilities to set up an E6 Connect Clubhouse, where users can manage events, seasons, members and even set handicaps for leagues. The Clubhouse can control multiple simulators and collate data from them simultaneously.

AWESOME GOLF

Awesome Golf is well known with users of FlightScope and Garmin launch monitors, which are likely not as high end as the Uneekor launch monitors we suggest for commercial locations. However, if you want to open up a commercial location with a Mevo+ or Approach R10, we certainly aren’t going to stop you. 

AG provides something for all levels of golfer as its focus is on user friendliness and an enjoyable experience.

Specifically for commercial facilities, AG offers a specific app called Awesome Golf Indoor Facility, which allows facilities to use all the normal features with a few extra to help operators. With AGIF, you’ll be able to create custom text pop-ups on your hitting screens; collect customer contact data; and analyze bay usage metrics. 

Customers can simply log in with QR codes, which are integrated into booking and payment systems, and food and beverage ordering. Businesses can also run their own competitions exclusive to their location. 

AG is looking at adding better graphics, downloadable data from previous sessions and more virtual golf courses. 

READY TO START YOUR OWN GOLF SIMULATOR BUSINESS?

Have you seen or played at any unique commercial golf simulator businesses? Let us know in the comments! Or, if you have any questions, drop ‘em below. 

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