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Quick Answer: indoor golf simulators can be very profitable. After a large initial investment, you’ll be able to charge users per hour of use until you recoup the cost, and any revenue after that becomes profit.
With more people flocking to the game of golf over the past few years and given an increased amount of social distancing, golf simulators have exploded in popularity. This has made operating a golf simulator for commercial use an ever more attractive prospect.
Included in this category are businesses that center their operations around indoor golf simulators. In fact, one just opened up in my home town today with a grand opening.
With so many businesses, including golf courses, restaurants, bars, and dedicated simulator facilities, making investments in indoor golf simulators, the question remains: are indoor golf simulators profitable?
The short answer is yes. There is a ton of profit to be made from these simulators if you do it right.
Although there will be large upfront costs to enter the business, you can make hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue depending on how much you charge per hour of use and a few other factors.
Making Money With Golf Simulators
In order to achieve profitability with indoor golf simulators, you need to do one of two things when it comes to charging customers.
Charging Per Round
The first is charging people per round that they play on the simulator, just like a normal golf course. This can be difficult to track though, and may necessitate monitoring customer usage closely.
Moreover, it wouldn’t really be compatible with activities like practicing on a virtual driving range or playing skills challenges.
Businesses such as bowling have been operating like this for years, so it would certainly be doable. But in general, this isn’t the easiest payment model to implement and we wouldn’t recommend it as a first choice.
Charging Per Hour
The other option would be to charge per hour for using the bay.
This is a much simpler payment model to implement, although it can cause problems when you have multiple people in one bay. If you only charge $35 per hour for a simulator, then it could come out to be less than $10 a person, which isn’t the best rate.
If you were to allow multiple people to use a simulator bay at the same time, you could charge special rates that would be less than the single-person rate and would depend on how many people there are exactly.
Having said this, it would be easier to track, since the golf simulators could just run on timers like they do at Topgolf.
Food & Drinks
One thing that we haven’t discussed yet, and that arguably makes more money than the indoor golf simulators themselves, is food and drinks.
If you are also willing to invest in a bar or a kitchen, then you could nearly double your profit per hour. Even going to a bowling alley or Topgolf as previously mentioned, you’ll notice that the food there makes almost as much money as the activity itself.
Research has shown that an average customer will spend between $12 to $20 on food and drinks at these simulators, which, as we discussed, is more than the hourly rate.
If you play your cards right, and depending on the cost of the food, not only will your indoor golf simulator be profitable, but you might just be able to double your profit by selling food and drinks too.
We are only talking about the basic things here, but you could turn profitability into a reality by doing other things like creating leagues or using the simulators for lessons as well. You could charge even more for these kinds of activities.
Just like a normal golf course, creating a league on indoor golf simulators would be extremely profitable and cost you little to nothing to run. You would be guaranteed to make money at least one night or day out of the week on a regular basis. Why not start a league today?
Let’s look at an example using one of the best simulator systems for commercial purposes: the Uneekor EYE XO.
Note that the numbers that follow may not be realistic for a particular business in a particular location. Instead, the example is for demonstrative purposes and to illustrate the general concept.
Suppose you invest in the Uneekor EYE XO SIG12 simulator studio with a 4′ x 10′ hitting mat and GSPro software. The total cost including installation is $18,000.
You determine that it will cost $130 per day on average to operate the simulator in the form of electricity, maintenance, and employee wages.
You manage to rent out the simulator bay 10 hours a day at $40 per hour. This translates to daily revenue of $400, leading to $270 in net operating revenue.
This means it will take you 67 days to recoup the initial cost of the simulator studio, or less if you factor in food and drink sales. Everything after that is pure profit which can approach $100,000 after one year — and that’s just one simulator!
The great thing about a golf simulator business is that actually acquiring the simulator is by far and away your biggest expense. Once you get that taken care of, all you’ll need to worry about is occasional maintenance. You can charge customers whatever you want too, but don’t go too crazy with that!
All things considered, it’s much easier to succeed with an indoor golf simulator business than many other businesses out there, especially during these times when simulators are in very high demand.
To return to the original question, yes, indoor golf simulators are profitable and can make almost a million dollars of profit a year.
If you already have an indoor golf simulator business, or you’re planning to start one and are looking for quality commercial golf simulators to build your inventory of assets, you should check out our buying guide here.
Alternatively, click the buttons below to browse the catalogues of the best online golf simulator stores.
For high-end commercial units, we suggest starting your search on The Indoor Golf Shop, but the other two destinations can definitely have what you’re looking for as well.
Thanks for reading this guide. If you have questions about starting an indoor golf simulator business, leave a comment down below and we’ll do our best to help. You can also check out our step-by-step guide on starting a golf simulator business.