Safety is every golfer’s main priority, but what should you do if you are experiencing the ball bouncing back off your screen? Impact screen bounce back is fairly uncommon apart from wedge shots which tend to travel up the screen and then back along the enclosure’s ceiling. Proper installation and a few safety recommendations will help ensure the ball does not bounce back more than a foot or two in most scenarios. Follow these tips and you can invite your shank artist friends over for a round of golf without taking one to the noggin.
1. Buffer Space
One of the easiest tips to implement is making sure you have buffer space both in front of and behind your screen. Allowing the screen to touch the wall or any firm surface may cause safety issues that buffer space will easily help you avoid. Start by making sure you have the impact screen itself 12-16 inches in front of any surface. Additionally, if you are standing a minimum of 12-15 feet away from the screen when you swing, then you are off to a great start in reducing bounce back.
Caution: To decrease your risk of bounce back and greatly reduce the chances of getting hit with a golf ball do *not* stand closer than 10-11 feet away from the screen. Customers who stand closer will experience bounce back and increase the risk of injury. Again, our recommendation is to stand a minimum 12-15 feet away from the screen for safety.
2. Proper Screen Installation
The proper screen tension will help you greatly prevent impact screen bounce back. For an amazing image install the screen so it is flat, however, also allow for some movement of the screen to avoid an install that is too tight or rigid. If you are experiencing issues, try removing a couple bungees from each side to reduce tension on the screen.
You may have one of our DIY Golf Simulator Enclosures or Pro Golf Enclosure Kits which are designed to be adjustable. It’s important to confirm the frame dimensions match the size specific diagram included in your kit. If the frame is bigger it is likely to cause the screen to be too tight. When frame dimensions are confirmed and if the issue persists you can also adjust the frame by pushing the pipe framing into the corner connector fittings. You shouldn’t need much. A small tweak goes a long way.
(Conversely, if you are seeing too many waves and ripples in the screen adjust the frame to increase the tension on the screen in such a way that it enhances flatness and avoids rigidity. Seeing a wave or two shouldn’t be a big deal, but it shouldn’t look unprofessionally sloppy either.)
3. Screen Material
Impact screen bounce back should be a top consideration when making your buying decision. Carl’s Premium Golf Screens were developed with a three-layer material that includes a specialized spacer layer specifically developed to assist in noise reduction and minimize bounce back! If you own our Premium screen you’ve made a wise buying decision to help prevent ricochet.
4. DIY Golf Enclosure Add-ons
Need more safety on your DIY enclosure? You’re in luck! You can block the ball from hitting the pipe frame using our newly developed foam inserts that slip behind the screen flaps and cover the pipes. These inserts are not visible from the front of your enclosure. Contact us for more information on this exciting new product. If you designed your own pipe frame enclosure or have our DIY kit you can consider foam pipe insulation, from your local hardware store, to help reduce ricochet from frame ball strikes.
5. Pro Golf Enclosure Add-ons
Our Pro Enclosures offer the highest level of safety. Our Pro Enclosure Kits come with four foam safety cushions that surround the screen and block shots from striking the frame. You can also add safety baffles that hang down from the ceiling to help catch and knock down high-angle shots that might bounce off the screen. Safety baffles are strips of vinyl that hang down 12-inches from the ceiling and can be placed at any distance from the screen as needed to block any rebound.
Our customers have come up with some great ideas as well, such as using a softer mat or turf. The theory being an inexpensive, hard mat may reject the clubhead, causing the ball to bounce back up. Other customers have also chosen to use a memory foam mattress topper behind their screen. Memory foam is excellent at absorbing impact and minimizing the return energy. If you are considering this option make sure whatever you place behind the impact screen is clean, dry and white so color or dirt does not transfer onto the screen. Memory foam is not required behind the screen as our impact screens will stop a real golf ball, but if you are experiencing bounce back it can be a helpful solution.
7. A Little is Not All Bad
Lastly, a little bounce back is not all bad. If you are the type of person who only wants to use one ball and have the ball gently bounce back towards the tee ready for your next swing, then a little bounce might work for you.
Realistically, minimal bounce back is to be expected in the indoor golf industry, but it doesn’t have to cause critical safety concerns if you apply these easy troubleshooting tips. Getting it right may take some trial and error, but if you use your noggin to achieve a great swing (and not as a ball stop) you can enjoy your golf screen as both a functional practice tool and a fun, immersive golfing experience.
For more great advice see our How to Extend the Life of your Golf Impact Screen article.