Deciding which projector to buy for your golf simulator setup can be pretty difficult, let alone having to set it up once it is unboxed … similar to deciding where to eat with your significant other, and then not knowing what to get at the restaurant after you finally decide where to go.
A lot of your decision making will depend on what kind of projector – short or standard throw – you purchased. If you bought a short throw projector, it will of course need to be closer to the impact screen. If you determined you had enough space to get a standard projector, you will need more throw distance between the screen and projector.
What To Look For In A Golf Simulator Projector
Ultimately, one of the top goals should be to fill your golf impact screen to the edges with your projected image. This will help your golf simulator enclosure look crisp and clean, and less like you have no clue what you’re doing.
One key piece of information to know is what aspect ratio your projector is capable of producing. The most common aspect ratios are around 16:9 or 4:3. To keep it as simple as possible, if you have room for a screen that is 16 feet wide by 9 feet tall, we typically would suggest getting a projector that is capable of producing a 16:9 image.
Carl’s Tip: If you’re tight on space for your golf simulator setup, you will want to base your projector selection off the size of your screen. If you have more-than-enough space, you have more flexibility to base your screen size off of a projector that has all the features you are looking for.
Projectors can be pricey, so finding a spot for them where your club or ball is not going to hit it is important. Not only does a shanked shot feel awful off the club, but it would feel even worse after it destroys your projector.
Where Should I Mount My Golf Simulator Projector?
If you’re busy researching projectors for a golf simulator setup, keep these steps in mind:
Using Carl’s throw distance calculator, plug in your projector details and screen dimensions to figure out how far away you need to mount your projector from your screen to fill it as much as possible with the image.
If the calculator says you should mount your projector at a distance that will be in front of where you plan to hit your golf ball from, then you will likely want to mount the projector on the floor with protection from Carl’s Floor Mounted Projector Enclosure.
If you feel like the floor mounted option is not best for you, ceiling mounted is an option. However, protecting a ceiling mounted projector is more difficult. Some indoor golfers have used wire storage baskets to protect the projector, but this is not a solution we have tested or recommend.
If the calculator recommends mounting your projector at the same distance you plan to hit your ball from, then ceiling mounting is the best option.
Floor mounting within a couple feet of the tee will put the projector in danger of swinging clubs and flying balls.
Ceiling mounting directly above the hitting area is actually one of the safer places to mount your projector. Contrary to popular belief, mounting it above the hitting area will guarantee that it will stay out of the way of swinging clubs as swing paths take the clubs back on an angle, away from above center point of the hitting area.
If the calculator tells you to mount your projector behind the hitting area, you will want to ceiling mount it as floor mounting it would likely cause golfer shadows on the impact screen.
Depending on ceiling placement, you might not be able to avoid shadows entirely. If the ceiling mounted projector is too low or too close to the hitting area, shadows of the club during a swing or the top of the golfer’s head may be visible.
If you do place the projector off to the side where the image looks distorted or skewed, you should check your projector’s settings for keystone controls, which allow you to adjust the shape of the image so that it better fits your screen.
Once you have your projector in hand, plug in the power cable and power on the unit. If you can’t figure this first step out, well … you might need to tap into your tech-savvy nephew for some help. The default screen (usually blue) can help you line up your projector and place it in the general vicinity of where it needs to go.
Hold the projector near the top of your head and start near the screen, backing up until the default projected image fills the height of the screen. Once the top and bottom of the projected image touch the top and bottom of your impact screen, stop. This is the distance from the screen you will want to place or mount your projector.
One suggestion is to choose a projector based on the height of your screen; if your projector’s image fills the height of the screen but overflows on the sides, a majority of projectors and computers can help you fix that issue. It is typically easier to shrink a projected image than it is to stretch or enlarge it.
Setting Up A Projector
On a Windows device, right-click on your desktop and click on “display settings.” Under display resolution, you will have a multitude of options; the idea here is to keep the second number the same as what your projector is capable of. If you have a 1080p projector, you will want the second number in the resolution settings to stay at 1080, and then the first number would become smaller to shrink the image’s width down.
If you are using an Apple computer, you can find the resolution settings in system preferences and then click on “displays.”
Say you purchase a 1080p projector and a 10-foot-wide-by-8-foot-tall screen, here is an example using simple math. The aspect ratio (or fraction) of that screen would be 10:8. So you could set up a math equation of 10/8 = x/1080. Simplify that equation down to 10*1080/8 = x. Then x ends up being 1350, so in your resolution settings, you would look for the number closest to 1350×1080. Woah, math is hard.
Now, if you don’t see a number close to what you’re looking for, you might have to set up a custom resolution or you might need to match up your projector’s capabilities and screen size better.
Note that you will want to keep the refresh rate in the display settings as high as possible. If you notice any glitches in the projected image, you might need to lower the refresh rate or change the resolution settings in your golf simulator software.
Most projectors will come with an HDMI (or other visual) cable. Double-check that your projector and computer have the same ports for said cable. After finalizing your projector setting and image, connect the visual cable from the projector to the computer; this is how you will get the computer image to project onto your screen.
Depending on many factors with your projector, such as throw distance, Carl’s Place offers a mount that would attach to one of our pro enclosures. Another factor to keep in mind is if you have a heavy projector, you will need a heavy-duty mount to handle the weight of the projector so the projected image does not shake.
Still confused? Let us know in the comments or reach out!