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DIY Golf Simulator

Everything You Need To Build Your Dream Setup

One of the biggest issues consumers run into when shopping for a home golf simulator is that there are so many varying sources of information. It’s often very difficult to get a complete understanding of everything that’s needed to achieve your own setup.

Just think about it.

The launch monitor company doesn’t tell you anything about hitting mats.

And the hitting mat company doesn’t include any information about computers.

The computer company won’t tell you anything about projectors.

And the projector company doesn’t know a thing about side netting.

On and on it goes. One of the biggest barriers to entry for people interested in a DIY golf simulator setup is that they have to look in so many different directions to get all of the information they need.

If you’re frustrated with not being able to get all of your golf simulator for home information in one place, you’ve finally hit the jackpot. We’re going to identify all of the components you’ll need to consider to achieve your affordable golf simulator. We’ll even include products that we know are great options for doing the job right.

There are services that will set up a complete home golf simulator system for you. But we’re going to show you how by doing it yourself, you can not only save a lot of money but you can get exactly what works best for your individual needs.


First Order of Business: Do You Have Enough Space for Your DIY Golf Simulator?

Home golf simulator cost used to be the biggest obstacle to overcome for those hoping to achieve a golf simulator man cave. But as technology has evolved and more companies have developed products, prices have become much more reasonable. Yes, it can still be expensive, but you no longer need to be able to afford a private jet to afford a golf simulator.

The biggest obstacle now is space. There’s just no way around it: To swing your golf clubs indoors without hitting the walls or ceiling requires a fairly large room. Basement golf simulator and garage golf simulator setups are common because that’s where a lot of homeowners have the necessary space.

Room size requirements will vary depending on the golfer and on the type of launch monitor being used. For example, a launch monitor that measures from the side, rather than from behind, will require less room depth. And a shorter golfer with a shallower swing will require a lower golf simulator ceiling height than a taller golfer with a steeper swing.

To be safe, we recommend golf simulator room dimensions of at least:

  • 10 feet high
  • 15 feet wide
  • 16 feet deep

Before you shop for a golf simulator system, swing your driver (slowly, at first!) in the space where you intend to have your setup. Obviously, if you’re contacting the walls or ceiling, you need to find a different space or consider an outdoor golf simulator setup.


Next Up: Identifying the Components That Make Up a DIY Golf Simulator System

As we said at the top, it can be confusing to understand what exactly comprises a golf simulator. After all, there are a number of different pieces of equipment and accessories that complete a setup. Because different manufacturers specialize in only certain parts of that setup, it can be difficult to learn everything in one place.

Don’t worry. We got you!

Here are the components that make up a DIY golf simulator system:

  • Golf Launch Monitor
  • Simulator Software
  • Computer or Mobile Device
  • Net or Impact Screen
  • Projector (optional)
  • Hitting Mat
  • Side Netting

Now, let’s break them down to give you some understanding of what might work for your setup. The best part of doing it yourself is that you can pick and choose from the various options in each component section to find the setup that’s exactly right for you.


Golf Launch Monitor

The golf launch monitor is the heart of your DIY golf simulator system. This is the device that is going to read what your golf ball is doing after you hit it so that you can see your virtual ball flight on a screen. Without a golf launch monitor, there is no golf simulator.

Here are some of our favorite golf launch monitors, including just a short bit of information. To learn all that each of these devices can do, visit our product pages and buyer’s guides.

Garmin Approach R10

If you want to build an affordable golf simulator, there’s no better place to start than with the Garmin Approach R10. It’s the size of a deck of cards, costs just $599.99, and is compatible with TruGolf E6, one of the leading simulator software packages. There is no putting functionality, but other than that, this device is an absolute steal for the price.

Visit our Garmin R10 buyer's guide.

FlightScope Mevo+

This portable golf launch monitor gives you 16 different data sets and comes with an IOS-only mobile subscription to the TruGolf E6 golf simulator software, which gives you six virtual golf courses, 17 practice ranges, and online games right out of the box. Additional golf courses are available for purchase.

See our FlightScope Mevo+ buyer's guide.

SkyTrak

This is the most software-agnostic golf launch monitor available. It’s compatible with seven different software packages, including options for both IOS and PC, meaning endless choices for golf courses, driving ranges, target games, online competition, etc. This device also measures from the side, saving you on room depth requirements.

Visit our SkyTrak buyer's guide.

Bushnell Launch Pro

This is the go-to device for a lot of teaching pros because it delivers a ton of useful data and is spot-on accurate. It’s also one of the very best indoor golf simulator options if you spring for the Silver or Gold annual software packages. Like the SkyTrak, the Launch Pro measures from the side, so you don’t need quite as much room depth.

See our Launch Pro buyer's guide.

Full Swing KIT

This is the launch monitor that Tiger Woods uses. So, there’s that. It also comes with 16 club and ball data points and pairs with the TruGolf E6 Connect IOS mobile software, meaning a bunch of golf courses, practice areas, and mini game options.

OptiShot 2

This is an entry-level home golf simulator. The system includes a piece of turf that has built-in sensors that read your club face and path as you hit the golf ball. It comes preloaded with 15 golf courses, including Torrey Pines North and South and Bethpage Black. Accuracy can get a bit iffy. Then again, you can buy this at PlayBetter.com for just $449.99. Add a net and a computer, and you’re playing some pretty affordable indoor golf, albeit at a more entry level.

 

Simulator Software

In order to turn your launch monitor into a DIY golf simulator, you need software. This is what allows you to play virtual golf and to see your ball flying through the air and landing on a simulated golf course or driving range.

Different launch monitors are compatible with different software packages. So, you’ll need to study the launch monitors you’re considering and then study which golf courses and games come with which simulator software packages.

Some launch monitors will use proprietary software. Others work with a variety of different software providers. Some software packages work with both IOS and PC, while some work with only one or the other.

Our advice: Buy the software package that includes the golf courses you want to play.


Computer or Mobile Device

This is the component that runs the software that interfaces with the launch monitor so that you can hit golf shots in your underwear (hey, we are talking about golf in the comfort of your own home; who are we to judge?).

We won’t go too deep into computers except to say that for an ideal simulator setup, we recommend a dedicated gaming computer. Something that has enough horsepower and memory to run your software without the frustration of lagging.


Net or Impact Screen

If you’re going to use a projector to display the virtual flight of your golf ball right in front of you, you’ll need an impact screen. That will allow you to project the image onto a surface that can stand up to being pelted with golf balls.

Alternatively, you could hit into a net and then watch on a computer screen, tablet, or TV set up to the side of where you’re hitting. It isn’t quite as lifelike, but it will save you some money.

If you’re handy, you may be able to build your own net or impact screen solution. We sell the SIG Premium Golf Simulator Impact Screen Raw Material in multiple sizes that’s perfect for a DIY golf simulator setup. With some netting or screen material, PVC piping or an aluminum frame, and some hooks to attach the net or screen to the frame, you can save some dough.

Or, you can shop PlayBetter.com for one of several tried-and-true net or impact screen solutions.


Projector

If you’re using a net to hit your golf balls into, you don’t need a projector. Instead, you’ll watch the images on a computer screen, tablet, or TV.

But if you want to simulate a true lifelike golf experience, nothing beats being able to hit the ball and watch it fly right in front of you, just as you would out on the actual golf course. For that experience, you’re going to need a projector.

We recommend shopping for projectors just as you would if you were building a home theater. It’s the exact same technology. Find something that has a 4:3 aspect ratio and HD quality, and you’ll be set.

You will most likely mount your projector to the ceiling. The projector itself should come with the option to buy mounting hardware.


Hitting Mat

It may be tempting to cheap out on the mat from which you’ll be hitting your golf shots. Our advice: Don’t! Cheap mats will break down quickly, they won’t accurately simulate real turf conditions, and they won’t be comfortable to stand on or hit off of.

So, rather than buy the cheapest thing you can find, choose from some of our already-PlayBetter-vetted options.


Side Netting

This is another area where you can likely save some money if you’re handy. All you really need is some means of protecting your side walls from errant golf shots. So, again, some netting and something to build a frame, and you’re set.

Or, if you’re brave, maybe you skip the side netting. Just don’t blame us if you put a hole in your wall.


Not Quite Ready To Do It Yourself?

Maybe you love the idea of golf at your house but aren’t quite up for a DIY golf simulator build. No worries. If you want a turnkey solution that gives you everything you need in one shot, check out our SIG Golf Studio Complete Packages.

We’ve put together multiple different packages, including ones that pair with different golf launch monitors and with different sized netting to best fit your room. Each package comes with:

  • A SIG Golf Simulator Enclosure
  • Side Barrier Netting
  • Landing Pad Turf
  • A Choice of Hitting Mat
  • HD 1080p Golf Simulator Projector
  • Ceiling Mount
  • 15’ HDMI Cable
  • HDMI-to-Lightning Cable

Have a look at some of our SIG packages without the launch monitor included:


Your DIY Golf Simulator Is More in Reach Than You May Have Realized

As we’ve identified for you each component that you’ll need to complete your DIY golf simulator setup, we hope that we’ve shown you that the possibility of playing golf in your home is a lot more realistic than you may have imagined.

All you need is ample space, a bit of money, maybe some handiness if you’re planning to build some of the components yourself, and the information contained in this guide.

If we’ve left anything out (remember, every setup is a little different), let us know how we can further assist you. We’re here to help you play better!