A golf simulator can be a life-changing investment. Although anyone can learn to benefit from a golf simulator, those who live in cold climates and have a hard time getting out to play in the winter will love everything that a golf simulator offers.
Although I’m not going to say that golf simulators are cheap, I will say that they have lowered in price over the last few years. If you are interested in a home version of a golf simulator, there has never been a better time to buy.
I’ve done some extensive research and come up with the five best golf simulators on the market. In addition, here is a little advice about what to look for and whether or not this is a good investment for your game.
What is a Golf Simulator?
A golf simulator essentially allows a golfer to play a course or practice their game without being at a golf course. Instead, the golf simulator brings the course to you. Many simulators are similar to a video game-type system, and you can set them up for less than $500. Others are going to be thousands of dollars and let you play courses throughout the world.
Buying a golf simulator is a big decision because there are so many exciting options on the market. You will have to think about how much you will use this and where you will have the room to set it up.
What to Consider When Choosing a Golf Simulator
One of the most exciting things about purchasing a golf simulator is that you can spend anywhere from $500 to $25,000 to get your golf simulator precisely the way you need it. This is a wide range in pricing and something that can make the decision-making process quite tricky.
In addition to the overall price, there are issues with portability and additional equipment needed that you will want to pay attention to. Here is everything to consider when choosing a golf simulator.
Before you purchase your golf simulator, you must find out if you have the space in your home for this setup. Most golf simulators are going to need 10’W x 10’L x 8.5’H. So if you only have 8-foot ceilings as most homes do, you’ll need to finder another room as you really need a 9-foot clearance. If you are a taller player, the height requirements will be more significant.
The more money you pay for your golf simulator, the more accurate it is going to be. There is no way to get around this when it comes to golf simulators. However, the difference in accuracy from a $15,000 simulator setup to a $10,000 simulator setup may not be enough to justify the increase in the price.
Many amateur golfers may only notice a difference of a yard or two or having to take a few more minutes to line up their simulator setup to get it accurate. Overall, pricing for a golf simulator is a significant investment, but it’s something that many golfers get quite a bit of use out of.
In addition to a launch monitor that all golf simulators will have, you will need a mat, net, screen, projector, and a computer. Many golfers will set their simulators up to work on their iPad, and therefore a screen and projector are not needed.
If you are looking for one of those setups that feel like you are playing golf at a course, the screen is necessary. When adding in all of the extra equipment, you will notice a significant increase in the pricing, but you can add to this system as you see how much you use your simulator.
It is also very important to consider whether or not your golf simulator will be compatible with the current technology that you have. For example, some of these will work with Mac and others with PC only.
Radar vs. Camera vs. Infrared
Some golf simulators use radar, others photos, and others infrared. The pricing and the functionality of the golf simulator will depend on what type of golf simulator you purchase.
Something like the Optishot 2 will be an Infrared simulator. The radar simulators are the SkyTrak and Foresight. The best golf swing simulators will combine some of their technology to give you the best data and analytics possible. However, the radar tends to be the most accurate and expensive of the technology.
Features To Look For In A Golf Simulator
Each golf simulator on the market has unique features and benefits. Here are some of the most important to look for.
The more accurate a golf simulator is, the closer it will be like playing on the golf course. Most simulators are accurate within a few yards as long as you can get the setup right. Ensure you have proper lighting and room for the simulator, and you will have no trouble with accuracy.
Ability To Play With Others
Some golf simulators allow you to connect wirelessly and play rounds of golf with other golfers. This is an excellent opportunity if you have friends or family that also have a golf simulator setup.
Sometimes having the ability to take your golf simulator outside is a great benefit. You can see more information about your swing and get to spend time outdoors as well. Also, being able to move your golf simulator around or bring it to a friend’s house is a great benefit.
Some golf simulators require you to plug them in; others have rechargeable batteries. Think about where you will be setting up and where your access to power is.
Statistics and Data
Although most golf simulators offer the basics of ball speed, launch, and distance, there are quite a few other statistics that a launch monitor can provide. If you want to ensure that you get the most accurate and detailed information from your simulator, you may need to go with something like the SkyTrak or the ForeSight.
What You Will Need To Set Up A Simulator At Home
Setting up a simulator at home may require you to purchase quite a few other pieces. In addition to the golf launch monitor and the software for the simulator, these are a few other things you may need.
A tremendous indoor golf net is an essential accessory of a golf simulator. Some golfers will purchase a net and screen combo; others will take an existing net and hang a screen in some way in front of the net.
Regardless of the net that you choose, you must make sure that it has good stopping power for a shot. Your walls are going to be right behind it, and the last thing you want is for the ball to make an indentation in the wall.
Another essential feature is a golf mat. You will want to choose a mat that has an authentic feel. The more cushion a mat has, the better it can be for your wrists long-term. I only like the large mats that you can walk around on them a bit. If you have to stand off the mat, it can throw off how the shot feels. In this situation, the bigger the mat, the better.
When setting up a golf simulator, you will sometimes need to add in additional lighting, a table for your computer, and some cables that you will have to run from the simulator to your equipment. Overall a golf simulator setup can get as complicated or straightforward as you would like for it to get.
Best Golf Simulators in 2021
- Best Overall For Accuracy and Precision: SkyTrak
- Best For Smaller Spaces: TruGolf Vista 8
- Best Value: Flightscope Mevo
- Best For Playing Professionals: Foresight GCQUAD
- Best Golf Simulator Under $1,000: OptiShot 2 Golf In A Box
Best Golf Simulators (Compared)
|Pricing||Single vs. Multiplayer||Power||Wifi Enabled||Comes with Mat and Net||Key Swing Feedback Numbers||Portable||Best For|
|SkyTrak||Mid Range||Both||Rechargeable Batteries||Yes||No||Ball speed, backspin, launch angle, total spin||Yes||Best Overall for Accuracy and Precision|
|TruGolf Vista 8||High||Both||Battery and Wire||Yes||Yes||Club path, club face, roll, carry, launch angle, ball speed||Somewhat||Best For Smaller Spaces|
|Flightscope Mevo||Low||Both||Battery||Yes||No||Angle of attack, total distance, flight time, height||Very||Best Value|
|Foresight GC Quad||High||Both||Battery and Wire||Yes||Packages Available||Smash factor, dynamic, loft, lie||Yes||Best for Commercial Use and Playing Professionals|
|OptiShot 2 Golf In A Box||Low||Both||Battery||Yes||No||Ball flight, launch angle, spin, total distance||Yes||Best Golf Simulator Under $1,000|
1. SkyTrak Golf Simulator (Best Overall For Accuracy and Precision)
The SkyTrak is a golf simulator that falls right between the premium options used by fitting professionals and the cheap portable personal launch monitors. If you are serious about your at-home golf simulator setup and you want accurate results, this is a good launch monitor to consider.
As far as the features and benefits are concerned, Sky Trak has very accurate numbers like ball speed, backspin, sidespin, and total spin. These numbers are translated into the simulator software to get precise results as you play your virtual round of golf.
I also like that SkyTrak is not just going to help you play more golf; it will also allow you to practice more. You can set up target stations and essentially learn how to play differently at home games. These games will improve your accuracy, consistency, and dispersion. If you are going to invest in something like this, it may help you improve your golf game.
The SkyTrak pairs with WFT, and you can compete against other players or even get involved in a closest to the pin or target practice competition. Overall the SkyTrak can do just about anything that you need it to. This launch monitor easily connects to an iPad, computer, or phone. You will still need to buy the mat and net for a complete setup.
- Can play famous 18 hole golf courses
- Portable option
- Connects via Wifi
- Rechargeable battery
- Wireless design
- Compact size
- Very good accuracy
- Still need to purchase screen, projector, net and mat for a complete set up
2. TruGolf Vista 8 (Best For Smaller Spaces)
The TruGolf Vista 8 is a perfect solution for those who don’t have much room in their home for a simulator. When looking at the space requirements for a simulator, you will be surprised to see how much room some of these options need. With the TruGolf Vista 8, you will need a 9′ x 12″ and an 8′ ceiling space.
Even though the TruGolf Vista 8 is smaller in size, it gives you all of the specs and images you need to play a complete indoor golf game. This is typically sold as a package, so you will find that you won’t be searching for a mat, net, and screen to go together; the package deal is certainly a more convenient way to purchase a simulator.
The TruGolf Vista 8 stands out because of its clear imagery and portability. Even though this is a big unit to move around, it is pretty lightweight and easy to set up. You can move your simulator out to the living room the next time the friends come over to watch golf!
- Comes with everything needed
- Very good imagines
- Lighweight frame is easy to move around
- Don’t need a large room to set it up
- Comes with E6 Connect for one year
- Priced higher because of the full package that comes together
3. Flightscope Mevo (Best Value)
This is one of the most trusted launch monitors on the market. It is used by pros like Bryson DeChambeau and Bubba Watson to track their data. You’re able to capture videos of yourself and send all of the data straight to your smartphone or tablet for further review. It’s easy to use this indoors or outdoors.
The Flightscope Mevo is one of the best portable golf launch monitors that the game has seen. You can use this both indoors and outdoors to get a great view of your golf game and how you are performing. The nice thing about the Flightscope Mevo is that it used to be offered as simply a launch monitor, yet now it is a complete simulator package.
The package comes with the E6 Connect, so there are golf courses, practice ranges, and more that come with the purchase of your Mevo Simulator.
For the price you pay for the Mevo, you would expect some of the data parameters to be a bit limited. However, this is not the case. You can get numbers for shot shape, total distance, flight time, ball speed, smash factor, and plenty of different spin numbers.
The Mevo+ (the upgraded version) and your phone pair together to get video clips of your swing, and then you can use them to work on your golf game and improve. In addition, you can create your own custom challenges with the Mevo and increase your practice time without ever even feeling it.
When you are not using the Mevo as a simulator, you can disconnect the launch monitor and head to the driving range to test out some new equipment. The versatility of a tool like this is truly remarkable. The fact that amateur golfers can have access to technology like this just shows how far golf technology has come.
- Best value golf simulator
- Can be used indoors and outdoors
- Great for players working on improveing their golf game
- Come with golf simulator software
- Can record videos of swing
- Can be used on a driving range with no net
- Still need the mat, net, projector etc.
4. Foresight GC Quad (Best For Playing Professionals)
A golf simulator is an excellent toy for amateurs to play golf throughout the winter months or on rainy days. In addition, the golf simulator can be a great social gathering with friends. However, for those that are very serious about taking their game to the next level, the Foresight GCQuad is the best possible option.
The data that Foresight gives is going to be unmatched. Potentially only the Trackman offers the same amount of data that the GCQuad launch monitor will provide. This is an easy-to-carry unit that will work both indoors and outdoors. It is also rugged and weather-resistant to ensure longevity.
The GCQuad is very easy to set up and carry around. You will get performance data like club path, club head speed, smash factor, and more. In addition, the longevity of a model like this is quite impressive. Although the Foresight is an expensive investment, it is something that many golfers feel worthwhile.
- Very accurate data
- Used by golf club fitting professionals
- Rugged protecion on the case to keep it from breaking
- One of the ighest priced launch monitors and does not come with the entire setup
5. OptiShot 2 Golf Simulator for Home | Golf in A Box Series (Best Golf Simulator Under $1,000)
Golf-In-A-Box comes with everything you need to have your very own golf room. OptiShot is an award-winning golf simulator system that is built for all types of golfers.
As you have seen from our list of the best golf simulators on the market, these are great features to add to your home, but they can get costly as well. Finding a golf simulator for under $1,000 can be difficult, but the OptiShot 2 Golf Simulator Golf In A Box will easily fit within your budget.
The great thing about this is that you can purchase everything, including the mat, net, and software, and keep it under $1,000. The Optishot 2 is accurate enough to make for an entertaining indoor game of golf with friends; it takes a little time to get the unit set up to give you the best possible results.
It’s a good idea to look into the software that comes with the golf simulator you purchase. The OptiShot 2 comes with 15 standard courses, and then you can get updates and purchase other courses. However, with the pricing of golf simulators, it’s nice to know that the standard OptiShot at least includes some places for you to play.
System requirements for the OptiShot 2 are also some of the most basic on the market. If you have a recent computer with a good amount of space on it, you will have no trouble. The OptiShot 2 is also compatible with a Mac or a PC.
- Comes with 15 golf courses
- Can purchase everything for under $1,000
- Simple system requirement
- Can be a little more time consuming to set up
- Will not work outside
- Does not have results quite as accurate as other golf simulators on the market
Hopefully, you now feel ready to decide the best golf simulator for you. It’s an exciting day when you get your first golf simulator. Knowing that you will always have access to a round of golf is an excellent benefit of this purchase.
Whether you have been playing golf your entire life or are brand new to the sport, the golf simulator is always a fun and exciting way to be involved in the game. Take your time to analyze these five models we gave you and choose one that fits your budget, your skillset, and the time commitment you will spend to use the simulator and benefit from it.