Can You Put Together a Full Golf Simulator for Under 1k?
Since our inception, Simply Golf Simulators has been dedicated to delivering the absolute best golf simulation technology to customers worldwide. While we will be the first ones to tell you a good golf simulator is well worth the investment, especially for those looking to take their game to the next level, we understand that many people simply have other priorities for their money at certain times.
For example, we get a lot of questions from new dads about the minimum space and cost requirements for a basic golf simulation. Understandably, these new dads have more important things to spend money on but desperately want to get in a few holes when the little one finally goes down for a nap. Luckily, we have some great solutions for this exact situation and a simple piece of advice -start small and manageable and improve your equipment over time.
Golf simulators today are highly modular and easily upgradeable, and the smallest packages are now highly affordable. Just like the new dads, you can easily start small with a basic set-up, and slowly improve and grow your simulation experience as the means become available.
This article will explain how to put together a basic golf simulator setup at highly affordable prices and help you understand how to upgrade these features when the time comes.
The Proper Tools for a Low-Cost Golf Simulator
Thanks to modern smartphones and other technology, a good golf simulator only needs a few pieces of equipment to function correctly, and you can avoid needing to buy large screens or projectors until you want to get really serious about upping your game. The following are the basic tools you will need (and a few low-cost suggestions) for a simple golf simulator.
The Launch Monitor:
The launch monitor is at the heart of any golf simulation and will be doing most of the heavy lifting regarding data collection and processing. Launch monitors track and analyze the club's swing, the impact, and the launch of the golf ball and can determine where on a course a ball would land, as well as a large amount of other essential details about the shot.
An example of a very low-cost launch monitor is the Swing Caddie series, namely the Swing Caddie SC300i Portable Launch Monitor. This launch monitor allows you a great deal of versatility out on the course, but they are not well suited for syncing up with simulation software.
The truth is, you will generally need to choose between on-the-course versatility or at-home simulator usage at this low of a price point. The best low-cost launch monitor that can operate on both the real-world course and as a simulator component is the ES Tour Plus by Ernest Sports, which is closer to 2k dollars in price.
The Optishot series of launch monitors/simulators provide the least expensive option for a data collection device to track your shots in an at-home set-up. The Optishot 2 is a simple, stationary hitting platform that has over a dozen precisely-tuned, high-speed 48MHz infrared sensors -and it is incredibly compact. With this device, you will have a “launch monitor” for your simulator without needing to break a thousand dollars.
The Hitting Bay:
The next thing we will talk about is the impact surface. This is what the golf ball runs into after it has been hit. Some people buy large elaborate nets with extra reinforced side-catches so they can use their simulator even amongst priceless antiques if they so wish. Other people have resorted to simply hanging a dramatic number of towels and hoping for the best (be ready for some stray balls with this kind of idea). For an inexpensive setup, we suggest a simple and effective hitting bay with a relatively small profile, The Net Return Home Series V2, which can comfortably handle golf balls up to 200mph and can be assembled in under 5 minutes.
We suggest you start small with one of the net options, then eventually upgrade to an entire hitting bay like the Majestic Hitting Bay 8 when you are ready to take the simulation to the next level of immersion.
The correct simulation software to get can be a bit complex to answer. First, you must take into account two significant factors:
- You first need to consider the devices you use at home (iPhones, Android, tablets) and which software is compatible with them. If you have software that works with your smart devices, you will not need to purchase a full display screen and projector. While the projector and screen setup is excellent for creating that feeling of total immersion, they add a lot to the bottom line and may be better left to your eventual upgrade.
- You then need to ensure that whatever software you are looking at is compatible with the launch monitor you are using. The software and monitor need to work in tandem, so it is very important that they are designed to do so. In fact, many launch monitors come packaged with proprietary software.
An excellent example of what we are talking about here is the E6 Connect software. The E6 software works with an extensive range of launch monitors and allows you to play and practice across various custom courses and challenges. There are even online leagues and competitions you can participate in from home.
The Visual Display:
Most full golf simulations utilize a combination of projector and screen to create large and immersive experiences that are simply amazing. We typically recommend a correctly sized Simulator screen and something like the OPTOMA EH412ST to start.
However, with today’s technology, it is possible to sacrifice a portion of this immersion while, in turn, saving yourself from the need for extra equipment. If you select the correct equipment, you should be able to perform most golf simulator functions from a laptop, phone, or iPad.
The Best Golf Simulation Package for Under $1000
This is why we carry the Optishot Golf In A Box (also known as the GIAB). The GIAB contains everything you need to create an at-home golf simulation and for under a thousand dollars. While low-cost, this award-winning system allows you to play on over 15 world-renowned courses and with up to 4 players.
The Optishot 2 simulator system it utilizes really is incredibly compact, versatile, and fun and makes the best use of today’s modern tech to save you money.
Ready to Try a Golf simulator for Yourself?
Hopefully, this article has allowed you to see that creating a golf simulator for under a thousand dollars today is possible and can even be a great way to get started on a much larger simulation that you can complete down the road. Of course, there will never be a true substitute for the unique pleasure that comes from playing out on a well-maintained course, but a golf simulator provides a unique series of features and benefits that can help you better analyze your swing, improve your game, and get in a bit of golf no matter how hectic the day may get. So, are you ready to try a golf simulator for yourself?
Looking for the top golf simulators? Browse our complete collection of Golf Simulators today! Want to learn more about golf simulators first? Check out our other helpful guides: