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Is a Golf Simulator Worth It? The Surprising Benefits of Golf Simulators

First Published: October 25, 2021
Last updated: November 14, 2021
Is a golf simulator worth the benefits

Ever since the invention of modern golf in 15th-century Scotland (some argue that its ancient origins can be traced back to the Roman Empire's paganica game), the game has evolved drastically and is still growing and changing.

However, the most significant changes probably occurred during the 20th century due to the huge advancements in technology and industry that affected all life aspects, including golf gear and materials, making the game more accessible to a wider range of people of different ages and genders.

The 1970s saw the attempts of a real breakthrough in the world of golf: Creating the very first indoor golf simulator using computer sensors.

Since the early basic prototype, golf simulators have become much more advanced and complex that players sometimes can't differentiate between virtual golf and the real thing! And with the ongoing technological evolution of the 21st century, things are just going to get better and better!

A golf simulator allows players to practice their favorite golf game without the need to leave their home and regardless of weather conditions. Nowadays, there are many indoor golf simulator packages offering different features for different price tags and accessible to people with a wide range of budgets.

A quality golf simulator is not cheap; it can be priced somewhere between around $800 and as high as $70K. That's a big investment, and anyone willing to make it needs to be sure he/she will be able to see results as soon as possible. Golfers ask questions like: Is a golf simulator worth it? Will it help me be a better golfer? What are the benefits of a golf simulator?

Check Also: The 17 Best Golf Simulators This Year

These are all legitimate questions that we will be answering in this same article. We will also be exploring the benefits of owning a good home golf simulator and how it can help you. So all you need to do for now is keep reading to have all your questions about Golf simulators answered!

Golf Simulator Benefits For Game Improvement

If you are wondering whether your game will improve from playing on a golf simulator, my answer is a thumping yes! Golf simulators effectively lend a helping hand to players and improve their overall skills and techniques. Golf simulators improve your swing as well as your overall game as they closely replicate similar movements and actions you would make on the course for each shot.

They provide feedback through instant energy measurements and put you in realistic situations, like playing a round of golf in different conditions. Getting yourself a golf simulator for home can be a great idea as you can practice the game whenever you feel like it.

Additionally, using a simulator takes less time to exercise golf at home as most rounds can be completed in under 60 minutes. Also, there is no obligation to play all 18 holes.

A home golf simulator gives you instant access to an indoor golf course! If you are still not excited, here are more reasons to convince you that an indoor golf simulator is the best way to improve your game:

Young woman checking stats on computer for her golf simulator

Quality practice sessions and Experience Improvement

Golf is a game of physics, and like any other game, it also needs tons of practice. The golf swing requires a combination of elements, from hand-eye coordination to arm and core strength to the power generated by the lower body.

One of the biggest benefits of golf simulators is their ability to help you improve. It's a versatile tool that you can use to practice your course strategy, postural alignment, and club selection, and many other aspects of your game by hitting thousands of virtual shots on any course of your choice.

Playing golf is a lot more than just swinging a club; it's also important to practice your stance and posture, and this is where the golf simulator comes in.

Today, more than ever, constant practice is essential to improve your golf game, and a golf simulator is the best and easiest way to do this. It simply allows you to practice more often and fine-tune your swings.

Check Also: The 10 Best Golf Launch Monitors Reviews & Buyer Guide

Young man playing virtual golf

Increase shot accuracy

If you play golf regularly, you probably know the only thing more frustrating than shanking a shot is watching one of your golf balls end up in the rough, or even worse, in the woods.

This is a common problem for golfers, especially beginners, because they lack the experience to determine why their shots go off track.

You can improve shot accuracy in a few ways, such as making sure the golf club is suited to you and keeping the clubhead perpendicular to the ground.

That's one of the benefits you will get from the golf simulator feedback, which allows working on your timing and accuracy to improve your overall game easily.

Increase club speed

Your golf swing may be the culprit if you feel like you are losing your game. If you wish to increase your club speed, you must have a powerful golf swing that will allow you to hit the ball further. If you have a flawed swing, you won't reach your full clubhead speed potential no matter how much energy you put into it.

The golf club swing is a complex movement involving different muscle groups, making it so challenging to master. At the same time, there is a certain simplicity that is often overlooked: most of the movement in a golf swing is controlled by the arms.

You can increase your swing speed by repeatedly practicing a perfect golf swing motion on a golf simulator and tracking your progress in real-time.

Increase shot distance

The golf shot distance is directly related to your clubhead speed. The problem is that it can be hard to tell exactly how far you are hitting the golf ball on the course, especially if you don't have an accurate measuring device, which will lead to frustration and more bad decisions on the course.

Golfers tend to focus purely on other elements, such as alignment, swing path, and ball position, but the time spent working on long-shot accuracy is never wasted.

It is easier and more efficient to practice your accuracy and clubhead speed with progressively heavier clubs. Golf simulators allow you to visualize and execute distance shots that you might not produce on the course unless you continuously practice.

man practicing golf putting

Improve putting and chipping

Golf simulators are designed to help you improve your short game, and they can make a big difference, especially if you don't frequently practice on the course.

Putting and chipping are two of the most critical components of golf.

If you're not a good putter and chipper, your score will not improve even if you drive the ball excellently.

The best way to improve your short game is to get on the practice green, but that's not always possible. That's where a golf simulator comes in. Of course, it's not the same as being on the green, but a good simulator will help you learn how to read the greens and practice the skills you'll need to putt and chip.

The great thing about putting practice is that a little goes a long way; even 10 minutes a day can make a big difference to your putting.

Helps You Get the Clubs that Are Right for Your Game

I will never stress it enough; golf is a very technical game! There are different types and categories of golf gear that you need to pay special attention to. These include anything from golf balls to golf clubs. If you choose wrong, your game will undoubtedly take the hit. 

It doesn't matter if you are an amateur or a professional golfer; a golf simulator helps you get the clubs that fit your swing style. The simulator allows you to practice your swing at different speeds, distances, and angles. This way, you can find out which clubs are best suited for you.

You could start by trying out different clubs in different situations, including regular ones and hybrids, and see which ones work best for you.

 There is also the flexibility of the virtual training sessions; you can use a real golf ball and club, or you could opt for any training aids such as a foam ball or even a swing stick if you prefer having quieter training sessions.

HD golf comprehensive measurement

Provides constructive data and instant feedback

Golf simulators use sensors or video cameras or both to track the movement of the clubhead as it comes close to the ball, hits the ball, and completes the swing.

This data is then downloaded to a computer or smartphone, which provides an in-depth analysis of your swing. It also offers suggestions that you might consider for improving your skills.

Some golf simulator manufacturers even provide subscriptions to platforms to which you can upload your collected data, process it, and deduce things you need to improve as well as what you have started to master.

Check Also: Optishot 2 Golf Simulator Review

Sometimes, live training and coaching sessions are offered on these platforms, and professional coaches can help you make sense of your training data and give advice on how to make the most out of your game. 

Here is a short video ( 4 minutes, 10 seconds) from Mark Crossfield and Matthew Lockey, PGA Professionals giving their opinions on ways to practice on a golf simulator and what might be best for you to hit better shots.

Muscle memory

A golf simulator setup can help you build stronger muscle memory. In other words, with extensive swing practice, you start improving your shots and your body remembers which muscle movements can achieve the best results.

Once the correct muscle movements are integrated into the memory, you will be able to correctly swing without overthinking about elements like posture, feet and arms positions, etc. Everything becomes stored in your muscle memory.

After that, the shots can be replicated on an actual course. Thus, thanks to the countless practice swings on your simulator, your body is better equipped to swing optimally as the shot is registered in your mind.

Give more options

If you want to play on cool golf courses like PGA National, Pebble Beach, Muirfield Village, and many other world-class golf courses, you can do so even with a cheap golf simulator.

In fact, the majority of golf simulation software allows you to play on dozens of the world's most famous courses from all over the world. This brings some variety and freshness to your virtual golf sessions.

For instance, you could be living in Alaska and playing a round of golf with your friends or relatives in the Miami golf course right in the middle of the freezing days of January. How awesome is technology?

Other Benefits Of Golf Simulators

In addition to game-improving benefits, golf simulator owners can enjoy many other privileges. Here are some examples:

Entertainment and social fun

Since the simulation software is processed through a computer and displayed via a projector, the setup can be used as an entertainment system on which you can watch movies or play other games and spend some quality time with family members and friends.

Moreover, some simulators offer online multiplayer functions that allow users to compete and play golf rounds against players from different parts of the world. Thanks to the current technology, the experience has gotten more immersive and realistic.

Access Popular Courses

Screenshot from the skytrak play and improve software with wgt golf courses
Skytrak play and improve software with wgt golf courses

As a golfer, you may probably be dreaming of playing on the world's greatest and world-class golf courses such as the ROYAL COUNTY DOWN in Northern Ireland, the TARA ITI in New Zealand, the ROYAL MELBOURNE in Australia, Torrey Pines, Augusta National, and many others? Unfortunately, doing so in real life would require a fortune and a lot of spare time; we're not even talking about the amount of energy you need to invest in the long travels around the globe.

Suggested Reading: SkyTrak Review: Launch Monitor and Simulator Packages Comparison

A quality golf simulator can save you all the trouble you need to go through. Most simulators nowadays provide realistic simulations of the best courses in the world. So you can choose to play in any of those courses without even getting out of your living room (or wherever you decide to install your simulator).

It may seem like a massive investment of money, but in the long run, it does save a lot of time, money and energy!

Avoid Weather Delays

Imagine you decide to plan a meeting with your old-time friends that you haven't seen in months or years. You want to get together on a golf trip to your favorite golf club and play a round together. Unfortunately, on the day of the meeting, you realize it's raining cats and dogs! The whole plan would be ruined.

Owning a home golf simulator would still save the day! Instead of canceling the meeting, you can meet indoors to play together and have a good time.

There is no need to delay any more golf sessions because of bad weather or other environmental factors; no matter what's happening outside, you can still enjoy your favorite game at home!

Stress Reliever

Golf is not just a physical sport; it can also help mentally and emotionally. Playing a game of golf can magically help you forget about any problems you have and focus exclusively on the game.

In addition, you will be able to kick out all the negative energy and any bad feelings you may have in you with a few club swings.

Modern life causes a lot of stress, and many people remedy it by playing golf. Unfortunately, it's not always possible to go to the local course for many different reasons. 

A home simulator will enable you to play golf whenever you want or need to. You can get the stress levels down and swing out of your body anytime you feel like doing it.

Save money

Earlier, we talked about how a simulator can save money, time and energy. There is no need to go anywhere or spend any money to play the game (apart from the electricity used by the setup, of course).

More realistically, a golf simulator will help you save money on golf gear, especially if you are a beginner. In other words, a novice golfer will undoubtedly lose a lot of balls to hazards on the course before he/she can learn to swing properly. A lot of clubs may end up bent or broken too.

Using the simulator, you can repeatedly practice at home to learn the basics of the game before applying what you learn in a real course.

Moreover, when you start playing golf, you will most probably need a coach, which means extra expenses. Many golf simulators are bought with free access to golf teaching and learning platforms where professional golfers give valuable lessons to help you learn and improve your game. Some even offer live coaching sessions to their customers.

Finally, a simulator comes in a package that includes everything you need, so there is no need for you to pay extra money for launch monitors, swing analyzers, etc. Everything will probably be included in the package.

You May Also Like: How To Build Your DIY Golf Simulator

Choose Your own Tee Time

The term "tee time" refers to a specific time at which you (or someone from your group) start a round of golf. Tee time must be respected and reserved beforehand to ensure availability.

If the course is too busy, you won't be able to choose a time you want, but you will probably be forced to choose from the available tee times (if there are any).

Using a golf simulator, you can tee off any time you want to without any problems. The only thing you need to plan in advance is the availability of the other group members in case you want to play with friends, family members or colleagues.

How Realistic Are Golf Simulators?

The first models of golf simulators were not very realistic and provided very little information and data due to hardware limitations. Simulators then couldn't even be compared to the actual course.

Nowadays, simulators have gotten much better and more realistic because of the advances in technology. They include anything you'd find in reality (a virtual driving range, courses, etc.). The programmers are able to encode more complicated software that makes virtual golf a much more realistic experience.

In addition, everything is better today; projectors provide stunning high definitions of 4K and 8K providing stunning image quality. Lately, the appearance of virtual reality is just proof that simulations are going to be more realistic and immersive.

Moreover, modern audio systems offer the best sound quality in surround mode that can be used to simulate the exact sounds you'd be hearing in a real golf course.

Today, we do have the technology, software and hardware to bring virtual reality closer to real-life than it has ever been.

So, the answer to the question is: A golf simulator provides a very realistic golf experience today, and things are just going to be better and better in the future!

Here is a great golf Vlog showing the course play (31 minutes 35 seconds) Pebble Beach on the Trackman Golf Simulator using their Virtual Golf 2 Simulation Software.

How Much Does A Golf Simulator Cost?

It's true that golf simulators have gotten more affordable lately. What could be bought for at least $20,000 before may be found today for between $5,000 and $10,000 price range.

We are talking about the minimum price of an average quality simulator. Simulators are more affordable than they used to be, and they are booming in popularity among golfers of different levels.

The price of a simulator varies between around $1,000 (entry-level) such as Optishot 2 simulator and a whopping $70,000 for the more premium high-end products such as Trackman and Full Swing.

The prices of the products vary based on the hardware and software features they provide and the quality of the components and materials of the whole package.

There are also countless options to choose from, depending mainly on your budget. Modern technology allows almost all products to provide accurate readings and data.

You May Also Like: How To Build The Best Golf Simulator for Under $1000

If I managed to get you convinced of the utility and benefits of owning a golf simulator, I still have one more piece of advice for you: Don't hesitate to spend as much as you can afford on a quality product. The more you can pay, the more additional features and quality you will get. It's an investment you won't regret!

How Accurate Are Golf Simulators?

The accuracy of the golf simulators depends on the quality of the equipment used along with the simulator, such as optical sensors, high-speed cameras, infrared technology, impact screen, etc.

However, even a cheap golf simulator provides relatively accurate results, somewhere in the 90-95% range. This is because most devices are backed by reliable technology and are rigorously tested before they hit the golf simulator market.

Calibration is also an essential part of the golf simulator before use.

Golf simulators are designed to provide a realistic gameplay experience, but they can still be improved with some calibration. The process ensures that the system is set up correctly and is free of any hardware or software errors.

Unfortunately, golf simulators are machines with many moving parts, and it can be hard to figure out what exactly causes an inaccurate golf shot.

Generally, the more you are willing to spend on the golf simulator, the more accurate results you will get.

Apart from the accuracy, high-end units also measure various parameters like distance, ball flight spin rate, and launch angle (with integrated launch monitors).

What Golf Simulator Should I Buy?

Choosing an indoor simulator system to buy can be an overwhelming task. It is possible to choose one among the many available options and buy a plug and play golf simulator package. 

These usually include everything you need like a hitting mat (golf mat), a swing pad, a simulator screen, a golf net, a short throw projector, etc. Then, all you need to do is install everything and you're all set. 

It all depends on your budget; you may prefer a more affordable golf simulator like the Optishot 2 Golf Simulator. On the other hand, if you have more money to invest, then the Trugolf simulator (with its Trugolf Vista variants) will be an excellent choice. 

Suppose you have a lot more money to spare, and you want to go for a golf simulator package that is one of the best ever created, then the Trackman simulator is your go to package. With its whopping $50,000 starting price tag, it is an exclusive premium product favored by some of the wealthiest and most influential people around the world.

If you like being more creative and choosing every single component that goes into your simulation setup, then you can opt for a D.I.Y. golf simulator solution. You can find a selection of the finest components to help you build your own simulator on our website, or you can pick other components from any of our partners, such as Shop Indoor Golf. Just make sure you select good-quality components for your setup.

Final thoughts

If you are an avid golfer, then improving your game is your utmost priority. You want to do all it takes to be better at your favorite sport. You know it takes a lot of practice, time and effort, but you are willing to invest everything in reaching your goals.

Unfortunately, it's not always possible to go to the golf course and play a round of golf due to many constraints such as weather conditions and time. This is where a golf simulator can help!

Owning a golf simulator will be beneficial on so many levels. First, it can help you improve your overall game and make your life much easier. You are free to choose where and when to play a game, with whom, and for how long.

A modern simulator provides everything you can find at a real golf club, including a virtual practice range to improve your swings. Today, golf simulators have evolved and improved so much that they provide a reality-like immersive experience.

In this article, we talked about how important and useful a simulator can be and the other benefits it provides. We also tried to answer as many questions as possible to come to the answer for the question that we asked at the very beginning of this article: Yes, a golf simulator is totally worth every penny you invest in it! You will never regret buying one!

Moreover, to help you further, we do have a selection of the best golf simulators for every budget to simplify your task of choosing one among the countless available options.

Finally, if you still have any questions about golf simulators in general or about a specific product available on our website, don't hesitate to comment, contact, or email us; we will be happy to help you out!

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