Tips for Creating an Outdoor Golf Simulator Setup at Home
Playing golf is a fantastic pastime, but it is not always the most straightforward activity to squeeze into your schedule. For many, playing a round of golf will require planning days ahead of time and will often take you away from other essential activities. While this is fine for a hobby you only occasionally enjoy, a home golf simulator setup is the answer if you want to seriously improve your game and get in regular rounds without sacrificing other aspects of your life.
While simulators are more advanced and compact than ever, they still require quite a bit of room to employ (even just swinging a golf club at full reach takes up more space than most rooms allow). Many homeowners instead are forced to find an alternative to an in-home simulation setup. Luckily, today's options for outdoor golf simulators are pretty expansive and, with the right components, can take up very minimal space, as you will see.
The Best Golf Simulator Components for the Outdoors
Typically, when putting together a total golf simulator experience, the space available in your home will be the most significant factor in determining which pieces of simulator equipment are ideal. When you are outdoors, space becomes much less of a concern, and instead, you need to think about things like power sources, effectiveness in sunlight, and whether or not the more prominent items come with covers. The primary components of a Golf Simulator Include:
- The Hitting Bay
- The Launch Monitor
- The Projector
For this article, we will focus on these significant three elements. To play golf on the simulator, you will also need the necessary software, and typically a PC or iOS device compatible with that software. You will also generally require a golf mat; however, when you are outdoors, a mat may not be necessary. Most software will be linked up one way or another with the launch monitor you choose.
Want to know more? Click here to read our comprehensive guide to Golf Simulators.
Best Outdoor Launch Monitors
Launch monitors are devices that track and calculate the data around your swing and the ball's flight. Since you are outdoors, you must avoid launch monitors that require a constant power source or that use infrared light (which will not work in sunlight). The two launch monitors we found to be best for the outdoors are the SkyTrak and Launch Pro from Bushnell Golf.
The Skytrak Launch Monitor
The Skytrak launch monitor is perhaps the best consumer-grade golf launch monitor on the market today, offering a massive range of features and versatility compatible with professional systems. This launch monitor can be taken outside (a rechargeable lithium-ion battery has about 5 hours of battery life) and can wirelessly connect to your iOS devices to display all types of sophisticated data on your shot and ball flight.
You will get accurate measurements of speed, angle, and spin, as well as metrics on the swing and carry distance. The driving range function allows you to practice on a virtual driving range with real-time data and accuracy, or you can integrate the system with World Golf Tour (WGT) and E6 Connect for a total golf course experience.
These images show a simple Skytrak Launch monitor outdoor setup and then what the simulation looks like in the iOS app. This is from a video by Youtuber Handicap Golf.
Paired with a range mat, an iOS device, and a hitting net, you have a complete outdoor golf simulator that can work on a range of surfaces. This setup is very easy to put up and put away. The simplicity and the wide range of options offered by the software mean you can enjoy an extensive golf simulation experience. Only a few years ago, it would take a machine worth tens of thousands of dollars to produce an equivalent experience.
The Launch Pro Launch Monitor
The Launch Pro is comparable with the Skytrak in function and is designed around getting the absolute most accurate readings in various ambient light situations and provides extreme precision and long-term reliability. The Launch Pro is made to be taken out on the course, so it has no problem working outdoors and has a suitable battery life to match a full day working your swing.
The Launch Pro comes packaged with the highly acclaimed Foresight FSX software, which allows you to play on world-famous courses without leaving your home. It is an excellent piece of technology that offers endless training and entertainment opportunities.
Best Outdoor Hitting Bays
Hitting bays do not require as much explanation as launch monitors, but they are still a necessary component of any golf simulator experience. The best hitting bays on the market today for outdoor use are The Net Return Home Series Hitting Bay and The Net Return Pro Series Hitting Bay. Both hitting bays are highly portable, easy to store, and have optional outdoor covers for purchase. These nets are also compatible with optional side nets, which will vary in importance depending on your outdoor situation.
Best Outdoor Projector
Choosing a projector is challenging since you need one that does not get washed out by all of the sunlight. It will not be ideal - you may still need to look for a shaded spot or get a well-overhanging hitting bay. The best bet on the market right now will be the ZH406ST projector due to its extremely bright picture options.
Best All-in-One Packages Suitable for the Outdoors
Buying each of the pieces separately for a golf simulator can be a real pain, and very often, these items may not be entirely compatible with one another. A standard solution is to buy a premade golf simulator package that maximizes quality and value. Of course, you will also want a package suitable for outdoor usage. The packages that we would recommend are the following:
- SkyTrak Home Simulator Package
- SkyTrak Pro Simulator Package
- Launch Pro Home Simulator Package
- Launch Pro Simulator Package
Each of these options gives you a suitable launch monitor, hitting bay, projector, and compatible software to create the perfect outdoor simulation setup.
Ready for a Personal Outdoor Golf Setup?
Hopefully, this article has allowed you to see the variety of options you have when setting something up outside your home. This was only a tiny snapshot of the options you have available. In our shop, you can find dozens of variations to these choices and some competitor brands with their own proprietary features. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact our friendly support staff.
Now, more so than ever, it is easier to play golf whenever you want as long as you have a few essential items. 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!