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.
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.
Some projectors, such as a short-throw projector that needs to be closer to the screen, might be harder to place; that is where a projector floor mount or ceiling mount could be useful. Projectors placed on the floor are much easier to reach for maintenance purposes than one that is mounted on a ceiling or enclosure, but can easily get in the way of play.
Conversely, if you want to place the projector behind the golfer, you will need a standard or long-throw model to put in a spot that will not produce a shadow on the screen. You could buy or build yourself a nice, small table or cart that could hold the projector and whatever device you will be using for your golf simulator software.
We’d suggest mounting your projector on the ceiling or your enclosure centered on your impact screen, but if you do place the projector off to the side so that that image looks distorted or skewed, you should check your projector’s settings for keystone controls. Here you can 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.
Device Set Up
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 on 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 projector to 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.