6 Best Golf Simulator Softwares Of 2020 – Reviews & Buying Guide

Perhaps you’ve picked up a brand new launch monitor that is compatible with golf simulator software. Maybe you already have a simulator set up, or maybe you don’t yet own a simulator.

In any case, to get a proper golf simulator experience, you need quality software.

Different software solutions are compatible with different launch monitors and simulator tracking systems, from SkyTrak to Ernest Sports to TrackMan. Each of them offer different features and game modes.

In this article, we’ll review and compare our choices for the best golf simulator software across a range of different budgets. We’ll also provide a buying guide that will help you find the software solution that will best meet your needs.


Our Top Picks For Golf Simulator Software

We have researched and tested all of this software. Some have less to offer than others, and some offer very different features, but they all provide the best value for the cost.

  1. The Golf Club
  2. E6 Golf
  3. FSX By Foresight Sports
  4. Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf
  5. ProTee Golf 2.0
  6. WGT Golf

1. The Golf Club

The Golf Club Simulator Logo

The Golf Club (TGC) software is compatible with the SkyTrak, some Ernest Sports launch monitors, and ProTee Golf simulators, among others. The latest 2019 version comes with updated graphics and more realistic courses.

TGC is only usable on PC (or Xbox/PS4 if you want to game like that), but it has a few unique features that set it apart from other software solutions.

You have your typical practice range, but you also have numerous multiplayer modes, online tournaments and events, and you can even design your own course!

Course Selection

The Golf Club has a massive selection of over 150,000 courses. However, while some of these are premium courses, many are user-designed, and many are slight variations or takes on the same real-world course.

For this reason, it can be a bit difficult to sift through the course replicas and find the one that you like the best or that you think is the most accurate.

Features

With The Golf Club, you can:

  • play online (with strangers, friends or family) and compete in live worldwide tournaments
  • play multiplayer locally
  • access the TGC library of over 150,000 courses
  • do range, chipping or putting practice

Play formats include stroke play, match play, stableford, four ball, skins, and alternate shot. TGC has a cool feature that allows up to 4 players in a multiplayer setting to hit their shots at the same time.

Lastly, you can design your own course. A special editor allows you to customize everything in detail from the theme to the terrain and layout.

If this is something you think you could have fun with, you could end up playing your own custom-created course with your golf simulator.

Take a look at the features and graphics of The Golf Club in the video below:

Graphics

As you will probably agree from the video above, the graphics of TGC are some of the best that current golf simulation software has to offer.

One of the great things about TGC is that it supports screen resolutions up to 4K Ultra HD. If you can play at this resolution, you’ll be amazed at the sharpness, clarity and detail of the environments.

Requirements

How to set up The Golf Club will depend on the simulator that you’re using.

If you’re using the SkyTrak, you’ll first need the SkyTrak Launch Monitor with the Game-Improvement Plan or above. You’ll also need a subscription to TGC 2019.

If you’re using R-MOTION, you’ll need to buy the software through the R-MOTION app. If you’re using the ES16, ProTee, or some other simulator, contact the manufacturer for guidance.

The Golf Club can be run on PC (Windows). Minimum system requirements include Windows 7 64-bit, Intel Core i5-760 @ 2.80GHz, and an NVidia GTX 670 or equivalent. For more information, go to this page.


2. E6 Golf

E6 Golf Logo

E6 Golf by TruGolf is unquestionably one of the best golf simulator softwares currently on the market. It was created by the same team that created Links, a best-selling PC sports title.

Compatible with systems such as SkyTrak, TruGolf, ProTee United, ES16 Tour, and FlightScope, it ranks high on our list because of its quality and diverse range of features.

Not only do you have the typical driving range and practice area, but you also have online tournament functionality and over 40 different multiplayer formats to choose from.

If you want to have fun with friends or by yourself, there’s no doubt you’ll be able to find something in the E6 software.

Course Selection

E6 Golf offers more than 90 courses, including 30 of the “Greatest Courses” as designated by Golf Digest and Golfweek.

The courses you have access to may depend on the system you’re using. For example, 15 base courses are available with the SkyTrak, and additional courses are available at extra cost.

Notable courses include Firestone, Bethpage Black, Bay Hill, Mauna Kea, Torrey Pines, and Pinehurst #2. Recreations are very accurate.

Features

In addition to being able to practice on a virtual driving range and chip and putt on a hole of your choice, E6 Golf has over 40 different play modes including stroke, match play, skins, stableford and wolf.

There is a whole host of settings that you can use to customize your experience. You can adjust things like mulligans, gimmie ranges, average ball speeds, ball size, course conditions, and much more.

Get a taste of E6 Golf in the video below:

You can adjust factors that influence difficulty such as wind and green speeds, and you’re able to display green elevation and break lines if you so choose.

You can also play golf with other players from around the world in tournaments, but we haven’t yet tested out this feature.

Graphics

The graphics in E6 are very good, with a realistic, high-fidelity look. We do find that they lag a bit behind the graphics of The Golf Club; however, the course recreations are extremely accurate and realistic.

If you’re more concerned with having a fun, feature-rich experience as opposed to having the best graphics possible, then you should have no problems at all.

It’s a computer simulation, and no amount of photo-realism is going to change that. We’re personally in the “performance over graphical prowess” camp.

Requirements

E6 Golf can only be run on a PC or laptop. Minimum specs include a CPU at 2.0Ghz, 4GB memory, and a GTX 460 or higher. For a full list of specs and requirements, visit this page.

For the exact steps you’ll need to take to set up E6 Golf with your compatible system, you should consult the user manual or contact the manufacturer directly.

With the SkyTrak in particular, you’ll need the Game-Improvement Plan or above, as well as a subscription to E6 Golf (not E6 CONNECT).


3. FSX By Foresight Sports

Foresight Sports FSX Software Logo

FSX (latest 2018) is Foresight Sports’ exclusive software solution for their line of commercial launch monitors: the GC2, GCQuad and GCHawk. It is only usable on PC.

FSX has plenty of game modes, skills challenges, and opportunities for you to compete with other players around the world. You can play on a virtual range and view real-time data for practice or club fitting.

If you’re using one of Foresight Sports’ professional-grade launch monitors, this is the only software option you have. Fortunately, it more than gets the job done.

Course Selection

FSX reproduces many standard courses and world-famous courses as well. Notable courses include The Old Course @ St. Andrews, Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, Carnoustie, and Doral Blue Monster.

Over 110 course are available, but they each come at an individual cost. You can typically save on course packages on sites like eBay.

Features

FSX has three main modes: Play, Compete, and Improve.

Play Mode

In Play Mode, you can play golf courses of your choosing.

The recreations are very accurate, and the customization options are extensive: you can do things like adjust green firmness, green speed, and weather conditions.

You can play with up to four players. Available game types include stroke play, scramble, and match play.

Compete Mode

The main element of this mode is skills challenges. You can participate in a series of increasingly difficult challenges that include long drive, closest-to-the-pin, and ball placement tests.

Your results in these challenges can be stored and ranked against other players online.

Improve

Improve Mode is primarily for serious practice and club fitting. You can start new sessions and play on a virtual practice range.

On the range, you can get complete ball and clubhead performance data in real time. You can view tabular summaries of your shot data, isolate trends, and view video.

Check out this video on the making of FSX 2018:

Graphics

To be completely honest, the graphics of FSX are noticeably worse than softwares like E6, TGC and WGT. We’re not saying that the course recreations themselves are bad, but some of the textures (particularly trees and foliage) certainly are.

However, FSX has made noticeable improvements to the graphics in the 2018 release, so that’s definitely something. I imagine that graphics will continue to improve in future releases.

With that said, the graphics do not take away from actually using the software — you can have fun with game modes and have excellent practice sessions regardless.

Requirements

The first thing you’ll need, of course, is a compatible launch monitor from Foresight Sports. We review a couple of them here.

You’ll also need a PC with a minimum of Windows 7 and an NVidia GeForce 1050 Ti or equivalent. An i7 Gen 6 processor is recommended.

Note that you may be able to access different features and functionality within the FSX software depending on your launch monitor model. The GCQuad, for example, allows for a complete putting analysis.

As is the case with Foresight Sports launch monitors themselves, the FSX software is very expensive. You can either buy a new FSX 2018 license or upgrade from your previous license at a lesser cost.


4. Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf

Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf Software

Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf, developed by Perfect Parallel and released in 2016, is a video game for Windows, Linux and Mac.

At one point, it was available as software for the SkyTrak Launch Monitor, but it doesn’t appear that new packages can be purchased any longer. Still, existing users can access the software for the foreseeable future. JNPG is also available with certain Ernest Sports launch monitors.

As you might guess from the title of the software, Jack Nicklaus teamed up with the developers of the game, which features many of the best courses designed by Nicklaus himself.

Course Selection

Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf comes with a minimum of 12 courses, with more having been added since release.

Additional courses can be purchased at a small cost; they include Bethesda CC, Muirfield Village, Innisbrook, and Royal Troon. All official courses are fully georeferenced to the real world, so the sun rises and sets in the correct locations.

One of the great things about JNPG is that users can use the official course design software to design their own courses, play them, and share them with the community.

Features

As a full-fledged golf game, JNPG has a ton of features. For starters, there are more than 20 different game modes you can play including stroke play, match play, foursomes, alternate shot, skins and scramble.

There is also a fleshed out multiplayer feature that enabled you to set up private games with friends or play against online players.

In terms of customization, there is a lot to speak about. Some of the things you have are:

  • multiple difficulty levels
  • the ability to change green firmness and speeds
  • the ability to change lighting and weather conditions
  • a free-roam camera
  • multiple camera angles

One thing to keep in mind about JNPG is that ball data is only shown on the range, not while playing a course. You can use certain apps and software to display the data that SkyTrak measures.

Check out this video of Augusta National on JNPG:

Graphics

The graphics and textures of JNPG are very good: certainly better than FSX and on par with software solutions like E6 and TGC. This perhaps isn’t that surprising considering the game was released in 2016.

The realism of courses is among the best I’ve seen: they are created from real scans and photographs.

There’s no denying that better graphics do improve the simulator experience, and fortunately, you won’t have much to complain about here.

Requirements

There is a process to setting up JNPG with the SkyTrak. To start, you’ll need the SkyTrak unit with at least the Game-Improvement Package.

Next, you’ll need to purchase the Perfect Golf software package from the SkyTrak website (discontinued), and purchase Perfect Golf on Steam.

Your PC should have minimum specs of Windows 7, a quad-core processor, 8GB RAM, a GeForce GTX 770 or equivalent, and DirectX 9. For more information and instructions for setup, go here.


5. ProTee Golf 2.0

ProTee Golf 2.0 Software Disc

ProTee Golf 2.0 is a simulator software product from ProTee United, exclusive for ProTee simulators. It is not compatible with the SkyTrak or Foresight Sports launch monitors.

This software is designed for home, commercial and professional use. You can play online or offline with up to eight players, with course fly-bys, skills challenges, advanced practice modes, and more.

The software is also available in eight languages including English, French, German, Chinese, and Italian.

Course Selection

ProTee Golf 2.0 comes with over 100 courses out of the box, and many of them are world-famous. Courses include Carnoustie, Quail Hollow, Akron, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Oakmont, Cog Hill, and Turnberry.

Additional courses are available for purchase. You also have course & hole fly-bys, real passage of time, and putting green grids.

Features

ProTee Golf 2.0 has five main play modes: Quick Play, ProTee Play, Network Play, Challenges, and Practice.

1. Quick Play

Quick Play allows you to play instantly. The software loads a random golf course with the default player, and you can get started right away.

2. ProTee Play

This mode allows you to completely customize your play session. You can:

  • select a course
  • select the holes you want to play
  • select the players for the round
  • customize tee and pin placements
  • customize weather and course conditions

You can also customize mulligans, gimmies, and other settings.

3. Network Play

This mode allows you to play with other players on a local network or over the Internet. You can visit the lobby to see who is available for play, host a game and invite others, or join a game.

4. Challenges

In this mode, you can access the two challenges that are available in ProTee Golf 2.0: nearest to pin and long drive.

In Nearest To Pin, you play par-3 holes on any course and try to get your shot as close to the pin as possible. In Long Drive, you play par-4 or par-5 holes and try to hit your tee shot as far as possible down the fairway.

5. Practice

In this mode, you can practice any hole on any course as a driving range — after each shot, you go back to where you were and hit again. The majority of available courses have driving ranges to practice on as well.

Of course, there are a lot more things you can do within the software, including:

  • add players
  • adjust game, video and audio settings
  • change controls, camera angles, ball trails, and other settings during a round
  • view shot analyses

In the following video, Jamie Goodhall goes over the software options for the ProTee Golf Simulator, including ProTee Golf 2.0:

Graphics

ProTee Golf 2.0 graphics are advertised as “impressive”. It turns out that the graphics in ProTee Golf 2.0 are decent, but not great; probably a little bit better than FSX.

They are what I would consider “not blow-your-socks-off, but gets the job done” golf simulator graphics. Course elements like the rough, fairway, greens, flagsticks and bunkers are distinct and terrain is quite accurate.

If you’re looking for the most photo-realistic graphics for your golf simulator, this isn’t it. But for most people, it should be plenty good enough.

Requirements

You’ll need a ProTee simulator system before you can set up the ProTee Golf 2.0 software.

The software runs on PC only, and the minimum requirements include Windows 7, a multi-core processor of 2.8GHz, 2GB RAM, 30GB of free hard drive space, and a DirectX 9 compatible video card with 512MB RAM.

There is a process to setting up the ProTee simulator with the software. For full instructions, you should consult the software user manual.


6. WGT Golf

WGT Golf Logo

World Golf Tour (WGT) Golf is a virtual golf game and simulator software released in 2008. It’s primarily compatible with the SkyTrak, and it can also be played standalone on a PC, Mac, Android or iOS device.

It’s important to note that when using SkyTrak with WGT Golf, only an iOS device (such as an iPad) can be used. Also, there is no multiplayer or skills challenges that you would find in many of the other software options reviewed on this page.

If you can live with these limitations, then WGT Golf should be one of your top choices. Its strengths are:

  • stroke play format (recreations of many of the most famous golf courses around the world)
  • a driving range
  • closest-to-the-pin challenges

Course Selection

The course selection in WGT Golf is quite limited at 24, or 18 with the SkyTrak. However, they are some of the best and most famous courses in the world.

Examples include Chambers Bay, Congressional, Valhalla, Pebble Beach, St. Andrews, and Bethpage Black. In SkyTrak, only 12 courses are available for full play, and six more are for challenges only.

Each course recreation has had a lot of care put into it, and is highly accurate to real life.

Features

The main modes of WGT Golf are stroke play, closest-to-the-pin challenges, and a practice range.

Settings and customization aren’t as extensive as JNPG or E6 Golf. Nonetheless, you can view various types of data such as green speed, wind strength & direction, and pin locations. With the SkyTrak, you can view ball data such as distance, speed, spin rate, launch, and other metrics.

Get a feel for how the SkyTrak version of WGT works in this video:

Graphics

The graphics of WGT Golf used to be garbage. Since it became compatible with the SkyTrak, it has taken a definite step up and now has some of the best graphics of any simulator software. In fact, the virtual environment is so photo-realistic that you might think you’re watching a broadcast on TV.

What’s lacking, however, are camera features like hole flyovers and different camera angles for viewing, which is a bit disappointing.

Also, keep in mind that an iPad only has so much computing power, which means there’s a limit to how much smoothness and graphical prowess you can experience.

Requirements

You can easily sign up for WGT Golf and play online, but we don’t recommend this. Instead, we recommend using WGT with the SkyTrak.

You’ll need the SkyTrak Launch Monitor with the Play and Improve Plan, which costs around $199.95/year, but there are no additional services you need to subscribe to beyond this.

You also need an iPad that supports 3D graphics. Models that are confirmed to be compatible are the iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Minis 2-4, and iPad Pro. You’ll also be using this device to run your SkyTrak system.

You’ll need to download the WGT Golf Mobile iOS app from the App Store before you can get started. If you have a different model of iPad, you can check for yourself if it’s compatible with WGT Golf.


Buying Guide

Investing in good software for your golf simulator or launch monitor that will meet your needs is very important. If your software doesn’t have features you want like multiplayer or skills challenges, for example, it can really put a damper on your enjoyment.

Here are the most important factors you need to consider when determining which simulator software to get for your system:

1. Compatibility

Laptop workstation

Compatibility is really the most important factor when getting software for your simulator system, because it limits your options.

Some systems like TruGolf Vista and Foresight Sports only offer one (often exclusive) software solution (E6 and FSX, respectively). You can’t officially set up other software beyond this, but you can force it through something called the ProTee interface (not everyone will want to do this).

The ProTee Simulator is primarily compatible with ProTee Golf 2.0, ProTee Play, and The Golf Club softwares.

The SkyTrak, on the other hand, has some of the best software compatibility available, with at least seven possible options. Moreover, certain software may only run on certain devices like iOS or Windows PCs.

It’s crucial to make sure that the software you’re interested in is compatible with your simulator system, and that you have the device and minimum specs to run it. Some softwares are quite demanding in terms of resources, while others aren’t.

2. Features

What do you want to do on your golf simulator? Do you just want to hit shots on a virtual practice range?

If you’re solely interested in viewing your numbers and improving your ballstriking on the range, then you might not even need any added software at all. The SkyTrak, for instance, comes with a 3D practice range out of the box — you can view a shot tracer, replays, and all of your ball performance data.

Whichever system you’re using, you should figure out what you can do on it without any installed software.

Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf User Interface
Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf interface

On the other hand, if you want more features like:

  • multiplayer (playing locally with family or friends)
  • game modes like stroke play and match play
  • chipping and putting around the green
  • challenges like closest-to-the-pin and long drive
  • online tournaments
  • quirky minigames

In this case, you’ll need to look at what the software offers. Different software options may offer multiplayer, skills challenges, online play, or tournaments.

Think about what features you want or need, and consider the software that does the best job of aligning with that.

3. Graphics

How important are ultra-realistic graphics to you? Do you want the most photo-realistic experience possible when you’re playing replicas of famous courses?

If yes, your best bet is to go with The Golf Club (supports 4K graphics display) or WGT Golf, if these softwares are compatible with your system.

But if you mostly care about features, then you should be open to software like Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf or E6 Golf (which still have very good graphics). Even FSX would work out pretty well for you.

Remember that more graphically demanding software will typically require more powerful computer hardware.

4. Budget

Money bag

Many software options available for golf simulator systems are quite expensive. For instance, the FSX software license for Foresight Sports launch monitors can cost upwards of $3000.

That’s a professional solution, though; many other software options won’t cost nearly as much.

Still, your budget is important, and it means that it might not be worth spending the big bucks if you don’t want more than a driving range. One of the most popular simulators and launch monitors on the market, the SkyTrak, comes with a virtual driving range at no extra cost.

Some of the software reviewed above have one-time purchase licenses that cost $1000+. Some have course packs that run at a few hundred dollars a piece.

It’s generally true that the less you spend, the less you get in terms of features and graphics, but it’s certainly not a hard-and-fast rule. Sometimes, professional solutions that cost many thousands of dollars don’t offer a lot more than much more affordable software.

If you have yet to buy your simulator system, check this out: our recommended golf simulator source here provides easy financing options that allow you to pay for a SkyTrak, Ernest Sports launch monitor, or even a Certified Pre-Owned GC2 over the course of a year or longer. Don’t forget about this option.


Conclusion

The software you’ll end up using for your golf simulator will ultimately come down to your personal preference as well as what’s compatible with the system.

These days, there are many quality software solutions on the market. Some have multiplayer features, some have challenges and minigames, and some even run worldwide tournaments that you can compete in and win various prizes.

The ideal golf simulator software displays informative ball flight data, has good graphics and accurate course recreations, and has the features and game modes that you want. Finding the software that will best meet your needs is certainly possible with some research.

We’ve given you the information you need to make a decision; it’s up to you to go the rest of the way.

If you have a SkyTrak or plan on getting a SkyTrak, check out our article on the best software for that system here.


Thanks for reading this guide. Which software are you considering for your golf simulator system? Write your thoughts in the comments below.

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