10 Best Golf Simulators of 2020 – Reviews & Buying Guide

Looking for a quality golf simulator system? You may be:

  • someone who dreams of having full simulator setup for the home
  • someone who wants a robust simulator setup for the outdoors
  • a professional that wants a top-of-the-line simulator system
  • a business looking for powerful simulators for commercial use

Whatever your reasons for wanting a golf simulator are, there’s almost surely a setup that will be able to meet your needs. A solid simulator will allow you to play your favourite golf courses or practice on the range day or night, rain or shine, any time of the year.

There are a few things every golf simulator needs in order to provide a quality experience, namely a launch monitor or tracking system that records your shot data, a net or hitting screen & projector, and good software that simulates your shots.

In this article, we’ll review and compare our picks for the best golf simulators across a wide range of different budgets.

We have tested and researched all of these golf simulator setups. Some offer less features than others, but they all give an excellent simulator experience for the cost.


Our Top Golf Simulator Picks

Based on our own testing, research, and experience, the following are our top picks for the best golf simulators:

  1. SkyTrak SwingBay Golf Simulator Package
  2. ProTee Ultimate Edition Golf Simulator
  3. OptiShot 2 Golf-In-A-Box 3 Simulator Package
  4. SkyTrak GS10 Studio
  5. TruGolf Vista 10 Golf Simulator
  6. SkyTrak Practice Golf Simulator Package
  7. GC2 Retractable Golf Simulator Package
  8. Rapsodo R-Motion Golf Simulator & Swing Analyzer
  9. aboutGOLF Curve
  10. SkyTrak Compact Golf Simulator Package

1. SkyTrak SwingBay Golf Simulator Package

SkyTrak SwingBay Golf Simulator Setup

This new simulator package, put together by Rain or Shine Golf, offers one of the best balances between affordability, quality and performance that we’ve ever seen.

It’s ideal for those who want to spend four figures or less, who want the best value for the money, and who have enough space to accommodate a slightly larger setup.

When golfers look into full-priced golf simulators, many get overwhelmed with learning how everything works and how to set everything up. This simulator package was designed specifically for that.

With this simulator setup, you can count on being able to dial in your swing and take your game to the next level.

What Is Included

The SwingBay package consists of the SkyTrak Launch Monitor and a high-quality SwingBay simulator screen and enclosure (designed by Rain or Shine Golf) that are easy to assemble.

Also included are your choice of a hitting mat, an Optoma 1080p projector, ceiling mount, landing pad turf (to protect your flooring), and a few other useful items.

As with other SkyTrak simulator packages, this package includes a 1-year subscription to the SkyTrak Game Improvement Plan, which is a major step up from the starter (free) plan.

Minimum room dimensions of 9 ft high x 12 ft wide x 16 ft deep are recommended. Get your longest club out (usually driver) and make a backswing to ensure you have enough clearance.

The hitting mat options on offer, the Country Club Elite and the Fiberbuilt Center-Hitting Studio, provide some of the best data accuracy for the SkyTrak Launch Monitor.

We love this simulator package because it’s very well-made, suitable for personal and commercial use, and uses the SkyTrak, which not only is the most software-compatible simulator system out there, but also offers incredible value for the cost.

For more details about what comes with the package and the steps you need to take, visit this page.


2. ProTee Ultimate Edition Golf Simulator

ProTee Ultimate Edition Golf Simulator

In development for over a decade, this is the ultimate simulator offering from Dutch golf company ProTee United.

It’s not cheap, but it’s certainly a beast. It’s an advanced 3D simulator uniquely designed to accommodate home, commercial, and professional use. It also has practically no shot delay.

If you’re a serious golfer who wants a serious setup for improving your game, the ProTee simulator will definitely be able to take care of you.

How It Works

The ProTee simulator uses high-speed cameras for ball tracking and advanced infrared sensor systems for club tracking, giving you detailed ball and club data for every shot.

You can use your own clubs, real balls, and hit shots as you normally would on the range or course.

One of the best things about the ProTee simulator is that it comes with two software packages: ProTee Golf 2.0 (ProTee’s proprietary simulator software), and one of the best, most realistic software solutions on the simulator market, The Golf Club. With this software capability at your disposal, you’ll have access to:

  • over 100,000 courses to play, including world-famous courses
  • a tool that allows you to design your own course
  • 4K graphics capability
  • informative practice sessions
  • tournaments and online play
  • multiplayer
  • online sharing

So, not only do you get a top-of-the-line tracking and measuring system, but you also won’t be left wanting one bit when it comes to software.

What Is Included

The ProTee Ultimate Edition simulator includes a large screen and projector along with high-speed club and ball sensors, special putting sensors, high-speed cameras, and realistic turf.

Of course, you also get The Golf Club and ProTee Golf 2.0 software packages. Attached to this is free software updates, free golf courses, free online play, and free tournament play.

Bear in mind: while users love the software options and tracking of the ProTee, many are underwhelmed by the quality of the actual studio.


3. OptiShot 2 Golf-In-A-Box 3 Simulator Package

OptiShot 2 Golf-In-A-Box 3 Simulator Setup

Maybe you want a full simulator setup with software, screen and projector, but you don’t want to pay more than a few thousand dollars for it. If that’s the case, then the Golf-In-A-Box 3 is ideal.

The OptiShot 2 is much less expensive than the SkyTrak (it’s also less accurate, no surprise). Its strongest point, however, is the software: it’s a boatload of fun, with many different game modes, multiplayer, and potential for online and tournament play.

What Is Included

The Golf-In-A-Box 3 simulator is the second best simulator package in the Golf-In-A-Box lineup. It pairs the OptiShot simulator and software with:

  • The Net Return Pro Series Net
  • The Net Return Pro Series Simulator Screen
  • an OptiShot hitting mat
  • the Optoma X305ST XGA Short Throw Projector
  • adjustable rubber tees and foam practice balls

You can play with all of your own clubs and real golf balls. The net is 7.5 feet tall and weighs 28 pounds, making it highly portable.

The 6’9″ screen can be easily attached to the net with Velcro tabs. The OptiShot mat is specially designed so that the OptiShot 2 device can fit directly into it.

A minimum space of 8.5 ft height x 9 ft width x 10 ft length is recommended. Setup is straightforward, and you can contact support anytime if you need help.

Note that the Golf-In-A-Box 3 doesn’t normally come with side barriers, but you can get them as an add-on. If you could do without the projector and projector screen, take a look at the Golf-In-A-Box 2.


4. SkyTrak GS10 Studio

SkyTrak GS10 Studio with TGC Software

This simulator pairs the SkyTrak system with the portable, high-quality GS10 Studio, built by the Golf Simulator Guys.

The GS10 Studio (narrower than the GS13) is one of the best golf simulator studios on the market. It’s roughly the same size as Rain or Shine Golf’s SwingBay Studio featured above, with a few aesthetic differences.

What Is Included

The SkyTrak GS10 Studio consists of the SkyTrak Launch Monitor (with Game Improvement Plan), Ulti Mat 2 full mat system, 1080p short-throw projector, projector box, and an HD impact screen and enclosure with side barriers.

The Golf Simulator Store further adds The Golf Club software to the bundle, which is one of the best software solutions out there.

Minimum room dimensions for a full image size are 9 ft high x 12 ft wide x 16.5 ft deep. Get your longest club out (usually driver) and make a backswing to ensure you have enough clearance.

The Golf Simulator Guys’ included projector box eliminates the need to hard-wire a projector.

The great thing about this studio is that you can easily change simulators (e.g. to Optishot 2 or TruGolf) just by changing out the center section of the mat.

This is an excellent studio, but they’re saying that an iOS device is required for the SkyTrak package. We don’t know why because the SkyTrak is available on PC and Android as well. You can ask them for more information.


5. TruGolf Vista 10 Golf Simulator

TruGolf Vista 10 Golf Simulator - Base Setup

Perhaps you don’t want a SkyTrak or OptiShot simulator, but you don’t want to pay $18,000+ for a system either.

In that case, you should look at the Vista 10, which is the middle entry in TruGolf’s Vista Series. It’s defined by high-definition image quality, a cutting-edge tension system, enhanced swing analysis capabilities, and portability with easy installation.

TruGolf is a reputable maker of simulators, and their team of developers and golf pros are highly respected.

What Is Included

The Vista 10 simulator features a high-quality studio with fairway turf, a deep enclosure, and the TruTrack2 sensor system. It includes:

  • an HD 720p Vista projector and screen
  • a 21″ Touch Screen Monitor & TruGolf Level 1 Computer
  • the TruTrack2 system, which captures important shot data using multiple optical sensors
  • premium fairway turf
  • a 1-year subscription to E6 CONNECT, which is a top-tier simulation software that allows you to practice, play with friends, and compete with golfers around the world
  • a 1-year limited warranty

The Vista 10 is offered in Base and Pro versions. The Base version includes the above items, while the Pro version includes a Level 2 Computer, portable speaker, component rack, protective side nets, and a frame storage duffel bag.

The minimum space requirements are 10 ft high x 15 ft wide x 20 ft deep.

The tracking system, in particular, is a unique system built by TruGolf. For more details about what comes with the simulator, specifications, etc, visit this page.


6. SkyTrak Practice Golf Simulator Package

SkyTrak Practice Golf Simulator Setup

The SkyTrak Practice is a very popular simulator package for training & practice that is being offered by Rain Or Shine Golf.

It’s very affordable because it doesn’t include a screen or projector. Instead, you can view your precise SkyTrak shot simulation and data on your computer, tablet, or TV (the SkyTrak is probably the best simulator system for iPads and tablets in general).

It comes with a net & mat that can be set up within 30 minutes, wherever you have the space.

The particular net included in this package is considered one of the best on the market, mainly because it has the ability to return balls back to your feet and can withstand ball speeds of up to 225 mph (good luck reaching that speed!).

What Is Included

This package consists of the SkyTrak Launch Monitor with Game Improvement Software, plus:

  • The Net Return Pro Series V2 Golf Net
  • The Net Return Pro Turf Golf Mat (6 ft x 10 ft)
  • The Net Return Pro Series Side Barriers

Minimum room dimensions of 8 ft high x 10 ft wide x 12 ft deep are recommended. Even without a screen and projector, you can achieve a similar feel by connecting to a TV through HDMI and positioning it behind the net.

What customers love about the SkyTrak Practice simulator is that they can benefit from the SkyTrak without breaking the bank. Check out what everyone is saying about this golf simulator package here.


7. GC2 Retractable Golf Simulator Package

GC2 HomeCourse Retractable Simulator Setup

How would you like to benefit from one of the best professional launch monitors on the market at a very affordable price? Check out this GC2 Retractable setup.

This excellent simulator package was put together by Rain or Shine Golf, one of the best sources for golf simulator equipment out there today. It comes with a full enclosure and screen that can be retracted with the click of a button.

The package comes with the powerful GC2 Launch Monitor by Foresight Sports, which is what top pros and coaches use. You save thousands of dollars on it because it’s Certified Pre-Owned, meaning it has been used before but is in perfect working order.

With this simulator setup, you can count on being able to get the most accurate ball flight data so you can dial in your game.

What Is Included

The GC2 HomeCourse Retractable Simulator Package consists of:

  • a Certified Pre-Owned GC2 Launch Monitor
  • FSX 2.3 simulation software by Foresight Sports
  • HomeCourse Retractable Screen
  • HomeCourse Ceiling & Wall Mount Kits
  • Landing Pad Turf
  • a choice of 1 of 2 hitting mats
  • Optoma 1080p HD Short Throw Projector
  • ceiling projector mount

What sets this package apart from others is the full HomeCourse enclosure plus a screen that can easily retract and return a space back to its original form. This makes it ideal for garages or basement spaces that you can repurpose as needed.

The retractable screen is wireless and powered by batteries. Unlike many other simulator setups, a landing turf is included that will keep your balls from coming into contact with the floor.

The source I recommend for this simulator is giving you a choice between two hitting mats: the Country Club Elite (most realistic) and the Fiberbuilt Center-Hitting Studio (most forgiving).

As for software, it comes with version 2.3 of FSX by Foresight Sports, custom-designed for the GC2. The software allows you to play the world’s best golf courses, choose from dozens of skills challenges, and more.

Minimum room dimensions of 8.5 ft high x 10.5 ft wide x 10 ft deep are recommended. It’s important to make sure that you can take a full swing with your longest club unimpeded.

Customers love the fast shipping and how painless setting up and taking down the simulator is. Many people use it in their garage.


8. Rapsodo R-Motion Golf Simulator & Swing Analyzer

Rapsodo R-Motion Golf Simulator - Product Shot

The R-Motion is a very affordable (only a couple hundred dollars) simulator and swing analyzer that can be used in your living room or at the range.

It uses The Golf Club simulator software, which allows you to practice on the range and play world-class courses. Included with the R-Motion is 15 courses and a driving range mode.

Many people say that the R-Motion is by far the most accurate and realistic golf simulator in its price range. If you’re looking for a simulator system on an extremely low budget, this is probably your best bet.

How It Works

The Rapsodo R-Motion consists of a tracker device, club clips, and the software that you can install on your PC or smartphone. For extra cost, you can get the simulator with 14 clips, allowing you to hit every club in the bag.

Here’s a summary of what to do (refer to the user manual and follow all instructions before playing):

  1. Fix the club clip onto the shaft of the club that you want to hit.
  2. Slide the tracker into the clip from the top.
  3. Make sure that the clip is positioned correctly relative to the leading edge of your club.
  4. Install and set up the software on your computer or phone.
  5. Connect the tracker to the software, and start hitting.

The R-Motion doesn’t come with any kind of netting or screen, so you’ll either have to set up your own net, use foam or plastic balls, or just swing with no balls at all.

For details on the minimum PC requirements, app compatibility, and what you can do with The Golf Club software, check out the user manual on this page (under “Product details”).

People like the accuracy of the simulator, as well as the the graphics and the quality of the TGC software. It can take some time to get the hang of putting.


9. aboutGOLF Curve

aboutGOLF Curve Simulator

If you want a true beast of a simulator with state-of-the-art hardware and the most immersive experience possible, look no further than the Curve simulator by aboutGOLF.

As is implied by the name, Curve features a 180-degree screen curved around the player, providing a panoramic rendering of golf courses that is sure to leave you marveling in amazement.

As you would expect, the price of the aG Curve is steep at well over $60,000. But if you have the budget or financing to accommodate it, you’ll be able to reap serious rewards from it, not to mention impress the heck out of your friends.

How It Works

First off, the Curve simulator uses the exclusive 3Trak camera and tracking system. Dozens of images are captured of your swing, and precise ball and club data are measured through machine vision technology.

aG Curve simulators can be custom-made for any space. It supports 4K HD projection, with custom lighting (automatic & dimmable), a high-performance computer, turf, and tee box.

The simulator optionally comes with a few powerful add-on features, including (but not limited to):

  • aG Flix: an integrated video recording system that allows you to analyze your swing from different angles.
  • aG Balance: a golf balance and weight measurement system that measures the weight of each foot in real time throughout the swing.
  • AV integration for fast startup and shutdown, picture-in-picture capability, and more.

The accompanying software allows you to play skill-building games and renowned courses such as Pebble Beach, St. Andrews, and TPC Sawgrass.

To get a full picture of the options that are available to you with aboutGOLF’s Curve simulator, go here.


10. SkyTrak Compact Golf Simulator Package

SkyTrak Compact Golf Simulator Setup

The SkyTrak Compact is perfect for those who have a medium-high budget and limited space. It’s similar to the SkyTrak SwingBay simulator reviewed above, but it’s less expensive.

Whether you’re a skilled golfer or a high-handicapper that wants to get better, you can use this package to improve your game.

What Is Included

This simulator package consists of the SkyTrak Launch Monitor and a compact simulator screen that is easy to assemble. Also included are your choice of a hitting mat, an enclosure, and a 1080p projector and mount.

It’s worth mentioning that this package includes the SkyTrak Game Improvement Plan, which is a step up from the cheapest SkyTrak plan.

The Game Improvement Plan supports driving range practice and software add-ons like The Golf Club, which gives you access to world-class courses that you can play with friends and family.

Minimum room dimensions of 9 ft high x 10 ft wide x 12 ft deep are recommended.

People really love the convenience and small footprint of the unit. For more details about what comes with the package and how exactly to set it up, visit this page.


Buying Guide

A golf simulator can be a huge investment. Because of this, it’s important to consider all the factors that will affect your experience and match it with what your goals are.

Here are the most important factors you need to consider when figuring out what golf simulator will best meet your needs:

1. Size

White Measuring Tape

Size is a very important factor in golf simulators.

Generally speaking, the more expensive the simulator, the larger the footprint the studio will take up. A full screen, enclosure and turf will likely require the most space, while a practice net will require less space.

In any case, you need enough space for the simulator setup and to swing your longest club (driver) unimpeded.

You need to measure the width, length and height of your space and compare it to the minimum space requirements of every golf simulator you look at.

The average space requirements for full golf simulator setups tend to be roughly 10 feet in all directions. Whether you want to use your simulator outdoors or indoors, your space should be able to easily accommodate this.

2. Portability

Figure pushing a cog

Another thing to consider is ease of transport. In general, more expensive simulators are less portable, although there are exceptions.

If you don’t have at least a net or mat, mobility is not an issue at all. Net setups are usually easy to set up, take down and transport. Screen and projector setups are usually less portable, but they can still be moved around.

The GC2 Retractable simulator package above, for example, comes with a screen and enclosure that can be easily retracted at the press of a button, making it ideal for garages and basements.

Do you plan to have a dedicated place where your golf simulator will always be located, or will there be times when you need to move it?

Maybe you travel periodically and want to be able to easily take it with you. Maybe you just want to pack it away during the summer, when weather permits getting out to the driving range or golf course.

If you plan to move your simulator around often, you may not want a full simulator setup with screen and projector unless it’s marketed as retractable. If you’re planning to invest in a net only, then make sure that transporting it is straightforward.

3. Tracking

OptiShot Swing Pad

Consider the tracking system that measures your ball and club data. Is it the SkyTrak, the TruTrack, OptiShot 2, GC2, or something else?

Of course, some tracking systems are better than others, which is where much of the price difference comes from. Some tracking systems have better accuracy, better reliability, and less lag between the ball hitting the screen and the ball flight displaying.

For example, while the inexpensive Optishot 2 is regarded as being a lot of fun, many complain that the infrared tracking system doesn’t do a good job of detecting clubs and is too picky about lighting.

The SkyTrak is excellent in comparison, but many people don’t like its shot delay, which can be upwards of five seconds.

Generally (but not always), the more expensive the simulator, the better the tracking system. Look into the performance of each and decide how you weigh the importance of entertainment vs. game improvement.

4. Software

You should also consider what kinds of things you want to do, games you want to play, and activities you want to take part in on your golf simulator.

Different simulator systems will support different software. For example, SkyTrak has software in three membership levels:

  • Basic Plan: gives you a practice driving range.
  • Game-Improvement Plan: gives you minigames, numeric display, and many other advanced features.
  • Play & Improve Plan: gives you all features of other plans plus full integration with WGT (World Golf Tour).

OptiShot 2, which is considered a “tight-budget” solution, has exclusive software that allows you to practice and play multiple different game types including stroke play, better ball, alternate shot, and match play.

The Golf Club Simulator Logo

The Golf Club has 4K resolution support and offers a ton of golf courses, live tours and tournaments, and a tool that allows you to build your own golf courses.

E6 Golf Logo

E6Golf is another quality software option that is highly customizable. It offers various course simulations, minigames, training aids, tournaments, and more.

Other software possibilities include FSX, ProTee Golf 2.0, Creative Golf 3D, Fitness Golf, and Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf.

What software features do you see yourself using most often? Do you just want to practice on the range, play world-class courses, or both? Consider what software options are available when looking at simulators, and make your decisions accordingly.

5. Budget

Money bag

This may be the last entry in the buying guide, but it’s one of the most important.

Not everyone can afford golf simulator packages that cost $10,000+, and fortunately, there are options that cost well below this amount.

With that said, it’s important to realize that the less you spend, the less you’ll usually get, both in terms of hardware and software.

In this guide, we’ve tried to include quality golf simulators over a wide range of budgets that golfers might have. But the great thing is that you don’t have to drop the full cost of a simulator at once.

Our recommended golf simulator source here provides easy financing options that allow you to pay for your golf simulator over the course of a year or longer. Don’t forget about this option.


Conclusion

Whether you’re looking to improve your game, have fun with friends, or grow a successful simulator business, a reliable golf simulator is a huge asset. Whatever the reason you want the best golf simulator, there are many quality options for you to consider.

If money isn’t an issue, look into top-of-the-line offerings like the Curve from aboutGOLF. If you do have a specific budget, there are many great simulator systems out there that can accommodate you like SkyTrak, GC2 or TruGolf. There are even options for people who have budgets in the three figures.

Finding a simulator package that can meet your needs is certainly possible with some research. We’ve given you the information you need to make a decision; now it’s up to you to go the rest of the way.

While it’s likely that no golf simulator setup will tick every one of your boxes, some will come pretty close to doing so.

Remember to read consumer and professional reviews of golf simulators to acquire useful insights as to how they actually perform. This will help you a lot in the decision-making process.


Thanks for reading this guide. What particular golf simulator are you interested in? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Leave a Reply