How to Build a Brag-Worthy Golf Simulator
Your buddy spent the winter practicing his swing on the simulator he built and is now kicking your butt all over the course this summer. Don't let him get used to winning. Here are the tools you need to make a killer DIY Golf Simulator yourself and get swinging with your own home golf practice.
BEFORE YOU START: SELECT A SCREEN
For your best home golf simulator, your golf impact projector screen is the foundation of your game. Get started on the right foot by determining everything from the ideal aspect ratio and screen size for your room to whether or not you need a finished edge golf impact screen. You'll want to learn as much about the ideal golf impact screen material as possible, so check out this article all about selecting the right golf impact screen material.
GATHER ALL OF THE EQUIPMENT YOU NEED
A hitting enclosure: Unless you're a seasoned pro, you probably don't trust yourself to hit the ball exactly on target every time and need something to safeguard against mis-hits. Wondering how to hang a golf impact screen? Carl's Place provides full golf enclosure screens for easy setup with low-profile 5' deep and full-depth 10' deep sizes. You can also make your own frame here.
Carl's Golf Enclosure Screen: Your screen acts as the primary impact surface for your driven ball so it’s a balance between a smooth texture and the ability to handle the ball speed. There are three different kinds, the Standard, Preferred, and Premium. The preferred is the best value with a smooth enough texture for better HD picture and the ability to handle hits up to 250 MPH. By purchasing the full Golf Simulator Enclosure Kit, you get an easy to install solution with protection again mis-hits. For high-end and commercial installations, our Pro Golf Enclosure Kit is a great choice.
A projector: To get that big image you'll need a projector properly sized for the job.
When you're shopping for a projector, make sure that you'll be able to get the image size you need in your mounting configuration by matching the aspect ratio of your projector to your screen with this calculator. For more information on projectors, see this article for things to consider and this article for our top picks.
A swing analyzer/digitizer: You'll need some sort of interface to tell your simulator how you're hitting the ball so we've got four major golf simulator/launch monitor comparisons just for you. Most of these will require some form of a PC to run the associated software.
Best On a Budget: OptiShot2 Simulator
Pros: $299 (often on sale for less), tracks your favorite clubs to give you feedback on every swing with 16 high-speed 48MHz infrared sensors, has trusted swing accuracy for its affordability, features 15 golf courses, and includes the base, the tee, two golf balls and black plastic housing.
Cons: Sensors may not detect small shots because of sensor placement, less accurate than more expensive models.
Best Commercial Quality for the Price: SkyTrack Golf Launch Monitor
Pros: Get the accuracy of a commercial monitor with upgraded camera-based technology that measures the ball's flight path and distance at a lower/mid-range price starting at $1,695.
Cons: Is a great starter for commercial use but doesn't offer as many bells and whistles as some of the much more expensive models (but is often highly rated by users).
Best for Indoor/Outdoor Use: Foresight GC2 Launch Monitor
Pros: Uses camera technology to track your ball speed, horizontal & vertical launch angles, spin, side spin, and carry distance, has indoor/outdoor versatility and features verifiable accuracy.
Cons: Price point is steep at $9,500 and doesn't offer quite as many features as other high-end models (though customer feedback doesn't seem to miss it).
Most Comprehensive Readings: TrackMan4
Pros: Used by the pros, it uses radar technology and tracks a number of different club and ball definitions for your best game, including: smash factor, spin rate, launch angle, carry, ball speed, club speed, dynamic loft, attack angle, club path, and face angle!
Cons: The most expensive bar far, it starts at $18,999.
Depending on your other choices, you may benefit from a few extras. Some artificial turf, a mat to stand on, or overhead lights may or may not be requirements. As far as golf club organizers go, the Golf Club Display Shelf is one will fit in almost any space, is reasonably priced at $89.99 and will help you keep track of your clubs in-between games. Get a feel for the fairway without leaving your property with Realistic Artificial Grass, and with a wide range of sizes and high ratings, you're likely to find a winner.
Summary: Whether you go with one of our golf simulator enclosures, decide to make your own custom design golf hitting frame, or spring for other accessories for your golf simulator in the shed or garage golf simulator, you're all set for swinging your clubs until you're the next Tiger Woods… or close, at least.