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A SkyTrak+/Golftec golf simulator at the 2024 PGA Show

Tee Off Anytime: The Ultimate Introduction to Golf Simulators

It's never been a better time to make your home golf simulator dream a reality. Our golf writer Marc helps you get your footing in this rapidly expanding market for golfers of every stripe.

Long gone are the days when golf simulators were an elusive luxury, accessible only to professional businesses and wealthy individuals.

Now, with several options starting at less than $1,000, a home golf simulator studio is a full-blown reality for even casual players who have enough indoor space.

Did you know that, in the United States, off-course golf participation in 2023 was greater than on-course participation, according to the National Golf Foundation’s annual report? The study indicated that 32.9 million people played golf away from the outdoor course, compared to 26.6 million who teed it up traditionally.

What do we mean by “off-course golf participation”? Mostly, simulator golf. Yes, some of those numbers reflect the golf simulator use at businesses like Topgolf, but it’s also a reflection of the massive boom in the home simulator market.

Simulator golf has gotten so good — so realistic, easy-to-set-up, affordable, and fun — that home golf simulator studios are becoming somewhat commonplace.

The question is: When are you getting yours?

This guide is meant to give you a clear understanding of everything you’ll need to have your own home golf simulator. The best news is that it’s all so much simpler — and less expensive — than you may have feared.

Let’s get started.

Golf Simulator Market Overview

Very recently, the home golf simulator market was completely flipped on its head.

Remember when only a really wealthy or golf-obsessed person would have a golf simulator in their house? Of course you do. That was only a few years ago!

A lot of the market disruption that’s led to multiple affordable sim golf options can be traced to the August 2021 release of the Garmin Approach R10. For the first time, golfers could get a reliable, very accurate, simulator-software-compatible golf launch monitor for less than $1,000. The R10, which is only the size of a deck of cards and easily transportable between indoors and outdoors, retails for just $599.

That product, coupled with the advent of more turnkey golf SimStudio solutions that allowed home users to get everything they need with one shipment, sparked a home golf craze. 

Suddenly, more manufacturers came to market with their own affordable golf launch monitors. And meanwhile, things on the top end of the market continued to evolve and push forward with better and more accurate tracking features and even more realistic graphics and simulator course experiences.

We now have a beautiful situation where competition has created choices for consumers. There are now multiple quality golf simulator studio build options at price points ranging from $1,000 to well above $30,000. There is of course a get-what-you-pay-for element to it all, but you really can play realistic simulator golf in your house using high-quality products for a very reasonable price.

Let’s explore what all is involved.

What Is a Golf Simulator?

You may have heard the terms “golf launch monitor” and “golf simulator” used interchangeably. And that’s because, in some ways, they are the same thing.

Let me explain.

A golf launch monitor is a device that, using either cameras or radar (or both), measures golf shots. Depending on the launch monitor, there are different data metrics that are measured and displayed. The Garmin Approach R10, for example, measures:

Ball Data Metrics:

  • Carry Distance
  • Total Distance
  • Deviation Distance
  • Ball Speed
  • Launch Angle
  • Launch Direction
  • Spin Axis
  • Spin Rate
  • Apex Height
  • Smash Factor

Club Data Metrics:

  • Club Head Speed
  • Club Face Angle
  • Club Path Angle

It’s by no means a perfect rule, but generally, the more expensive golf launch monitors are more accurate and record more data points.

Golf launch monitors also interface with apps and software. That gives the user enhanced features like the ability to store and review their shot data. But it also introduces the option to use the golf launch monitor to play simulator golf. To do so, all a golfer really needs is a golf launch monitor, somewhere to hit golf balls (either indoors or outdoors), and a computer or mobile device to run the simulator software that is going to display the golfer’s shots on a simulated golf course.

Some golf launch monitors can run some simulator software using a cell phone. While other launch monitor-software combinations offer a more lifelike experience and require a powerful gaming PC to operate.

Some golf launch monitors will come with limited golf simulator software. Others will require an additional subscription to a third-party simulator software provider.

Because computing requirements and software compatibility are very specific to each individual golf launch monitor, we’re not going to go in-depth on that topic here. But be sure to study the specs associated with the golf launch monitor you’re considering to understand what kind of device and software you’ll need to play simulator golf.

Two golfers, one watching, one swinging on an outdoor golf setup with SkyTrak+, golf hitting net, golf turf, and golf hitting net, with simulation on a TV hanging above a fireplace on the patio

If you want to play simulator golf indoors, you have the option of hitting into a hitting net or an impact screen. If you were to hit into a net, or into a screen that did not have an image projected onto it, then you would watch your shots fly on the simulated course via your computer or phone screen.

But for the most realistic experience, you’ll want to incorporate a projector that will cast the images from your phone or computer onto the impact screen. This will allow you to hit shots and see them flying on the course in front of you just as you would outdoors. A projector and impact screen are key components in an ultimate golf simulator studio setup.

Along with a golf launch monitor, phone or computer, net or screen, and projector, you’ll need some turf from which to hit the ball as well as some side netting to corral the ball after it hits the net or screen.

PlayBetter has all of these components packaged together for various sizes and to work with various golf launch monitors. We can make it one-click simple for you to get everything you need to operate a golf simulator in your house. We’ll share some specific recommendations below.

But, for now, the big question is: Do you have enough space for a golf simulator?

Golf Simulator Space Requirements

When it comes to figuring out how much space is required for an indoor golf simulator, the first thing to consider is the three types of setup options that golf launch monitors present:

  • Set on the floor next to the golf ball (camera-based)
  • Mounted to the ceiling behind and above the ball (higher-end camera- and radar-based)
  • Set on the floor behind the ball (radar-based)

One significant advantage of camera-based units (sometimes called photometric) that sit to the side of the ball, or units that are mounted to the ceiling above and behind the ball, is that they require much less room depth or length than a radar-based golf launch monitor.

With a golf launch monitor set to the side of the ball or mounted to the ceiling, we recommend minimum room dimensions of:

  • 10 feet wide
  • 10 feet deep
  • 9 feet tall

Camera-based golf launch monitors that we strongly recommend include:

On the opposite side of the golf launch monitor types are Doppler radar-based units. These types of golf launch monitors need to be set behind the ball (usually between 6 and 8 feet) and they need space in front of the golf ball (usually at least another 8 feet, though we recommend 13 for better accuracy) in order to read the revolutions of the golf ball after it is hit and before it contacts the net or screen.

The advantage to a golf launch monitor that sets up behind the ball or that is mounted above and behind is that you can play simulator golf with both righties and lefties at the same time without having to move the launch monitor.

But, for those radar-based units that sit on the floor behind the ball, there’s no getting around the fact that they require a fairly large room. We recommend minimum room dimensions of:

  • 10 feet wide
  • 21 feet deep
  • 9 feet tall

Radar-based golf launch monitors that we strongly recommend include:

Finally, there’s the ceiling mounted launch monitor—and PlayBetter now offers the Foresight Sports Falcon overhead-mounted golf launch monitor. This design is not for the faint-hearted, but for the golfer who is committed to the ultimate at-home dedicated golf simulator experience.


The Falcon set up lighting up the golf mat with the hitting space in a golf simulator studio


The benefits of having the Falcon launch monitor flying over your head are:

  • You’re getting a sleek, super accurate launch monitor permanently installed overhead and out of the way.
  • It’s righty and lefty friendly, so anyone you allow into your golf sanctuary can play.
  • The Falcon beams a large hitting zone onto your hitting mat, showing the club and ball zones for lefties and righties.

The only downsides to an overhead launch monitor are that it is not portable and at $15,000 price will be a barrier for most shoppers. 

As for space requirements, according to Foresight Sports, ideally, the ceiling should be 9.5 to 10.5 feet tall, and the center of the hitting mat should be placed 10 to 12 feet from the screen and 4 feet away from the Falcon. There should be room to swing for both a left-handed and right-handed golfer.

Keep in mind that space requirements are going to vary based not just on what type of golf launch monitor you’re using but also on the size of the golfers using the simulator studio. A taller golfer with a longer swing will require higher ceilings, for example, than a shorter golfer with a more compact swing.

Recommended All-In-One Golf Simulator Packages

PlayBetter can remove all of the confusion that may come with building a home golf simulator studio. Rather than trying to shop each individual component and then second guess whether it will all work together, why not just buy everything you need at a competitive price with just one click?

PlayBetter has turnkey SimStudio options in four different sizes:

  • SimStudio10™: 10' (W) X 8'6 (H) X 5'4 (D)
  • SimStudio12™: 12' (W) X 8'6 (H) X 5'4 (D)
  • SimStudio13™: 13' (W) X 10' (H) X 5'4 (D)
  • SimStudio13 Deep™: 13' (W) X 10' (H) X 10' (D)

In any one of those sizes, we can ship you a SimStudio that includes:

  • A hitting bay enclosure
  • An impact screen
  • Side barriers
  • A ball tray
  • A projector
  • A 5’ x 5’ hitting and putting mat

You can pair any of these four SimStudio packages with whatever golf launch monitor you have.

Or, you can even buy a package that has the golf launch monitor included. Once again, you’ll choose from one of four sizes and you’ll get everything already mentioned plus the golf launch monitor to make it all go.

With these turnkey packages, the only thing not included is whatever computer or mobile device you’ll need to operate the software that you choose to run. Other than that, everything is included with one purchase price. Talk about making things easy!

Check out some of these popular options:

Bushnell Launch Pro Home Golf Simulator Studio Packages

A Bushnell Launch Pro on a golf mat next to a bunch of golf balls in an indoor golf simulator


The Bushnell Launch Pro is the most accurate affordable home golf launch monitor. And when you add the Foresight Sports simulator software (FSX PLAY), you’ll have some of the most visually stunning and realistic simulated golf experiences available anywhere.

This package includes the Launch Pro, a 14-day trial software subscription, a 3500-lumens projector, hitting and putting mats, a ball tray, an enclosure and impact screen available in four sizes, and side netting. Want More? Read our Bushnell Launch Pro review.

SkyTrak+ Home Golf Simulator Studio Packages

Let the party begin! For our money, the SkyTrak Plus Home Studio is the most fun golf simulator on the market. Its extensive and robust app and software experiences from WGT, GS Pro, and more allow for seemingly unlimited games, challenges, virtual driving ranges, and simulator golf courses all in an intuitive, simple-to-use platform.

Get everything you need, including the projector, mats, screen, enclosure and netting, and SkyTrak+ protective case all delivered to your door. Your golfing friends are going to be coming around like stray cats. Want more? Read our SkyTrak+ review.

Foresight Sports Home Golf Simulator Studio Packages

Golfer swinging in a PlayBetter SimStudio on a golf hitting mat with a QuadMAX unit and projector in the foreground of the image

Whether with the subscription-free Foresight GC3, the four-camera-pinpoint-accuracy Foresight GCQuad, or the absolute-top-of-the-line Foresight QuadMAX, we can pair any of the legendary Foresight Sports golf launch monitors with everything else you’ll need to have an ultimate home golf simulator studio.

Each of these Foresight launch monitor options sits next to the ball, rather than behind it. That means considerable space-saving opportunities for those with smaller rooms. Don’t let room depth block your simulator studio dreams! Package includes projector, mats, screen, enclosure, netting, and software.

FlightScope Mevo+ Home Golf Simulator Studio Packages

A golfer swinging in a PlayBetter SimStudio on a hitting mat with a FlightScope Mevo+ Limited Edition unit, stand, and projector in the foreground of the image

No affordable home golf launch monitor comes with more data points than the FlightScope Mevo Plus. And you can soup things up even further, adding even more data and some of the biggest sim golf courses available, with the Mevo Plus Limited Edition. With the projector, hitting and putting mats, impact screen, one of four different-sized enclosures, side netting, and Mevo+ alignment stand, you’ve got a dream indoor golf simulator studio coming right to your front door. Want more? Read more about the FlightScope Mevo+ and Mevo+ Limited Edition.

Rapsodo MLM2PRO Home Golf Simulator Studio Packages

A golfer swinging in a PlayBetter SimStudio on a hitting mat with a Rapsodo MLM2PRO unit and projector in the foreground of the image

If you want an incredibly accurate golf launch monitor that’s also compatible with some of the best simulator software and that delivers more data metrics than any product costing less than $1,000 plus includes not one but two built-in cameras, you want the Rapsodo MLMP2PRO Home Studio. And when you add all of the setup components included in one of our PlayBetter home golf simulator studio packages, you’d be shocked at how affordable and realistic golf in your home can be. Want more? Read our Rapsodo MLM2PRO Review

Garmin Approach R10 Home Golf Simulator Studio Packages

Rear view of the Garmin Approach R10 sitting on a Titleist golf ball box in front of a PlayBetter SimStudio


Before the Garmin Approach R10, there were no reliably accurate golf launch monitors that were compatible with golf simulator software for less than $1,000. The R10 changed everything and opened the possibility of golf at home to pretty much everyone who has enough space.

With this golf simulator package, we’ll ship you everything you need, including the R10, a projector, hitting and putting mats, impact screen, an enclosure to fit your space, side netting, PLUS an Approach R10 alignment stand on us! Want more? Read Our Garmin Approach R10 Review

How To Install a Golf Simulator Studio

The best part about PlayBetter SimStudios is that they are simple to install. There is no universal rule for installation time as each individual user’s level of handiness will vary. But, generally speaking, you can expect to have your SimStudio fully up and running within a day of unpacking. Some people get it done much faster than that.

Your PlayBetter SimStudio will come with complete installation instructions. And if you hit any snags, you can connect with a live expert. 

In the meantime, get an idea for what the PlayBetter SimStudio installation process includes by watching this video:

How to EASILY Set Up a PlayBetter SimStudio™ Package with 1 Person (feat Sam of Rise Construction)

Are You Ready for Your Own Home Golf Simulator?

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of all that comprises a golf simulator setup.

And hopefully you realize that it’s not nearly as intimidating as you may have feared.

More than anything, hopefully you understand that you — yes, you! — can play golf from the comfort of your own home. And it doesn’t have to break the bank. It really all comes down to whether or not you have a large enough space. And now you should know exactly how large of a room you’ll need.

So whether you just want to have some casual fun with friends or you want tour-level accuracy with the most advanced golf simulator software, there’s an option that’s right for you. You really can play golf anytime you want in the comfort of your own home.

What’s stopping you?

About PlayBetter Golf Reviewer Marc Sheforgen

Marc "Shef" Sheforgen is a golf writer whose passion for the game far exceeds his ability to play it well. Marc covers all things golf, from product reviews and equipment recommendations to event coverage and tournament analysis. When he’s not playing, watching, or writing about golf, he enjoys traveling (often golf-related), youth sports coaching, volunteering, and record collecting.

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