5 Best Golf Simulators For Home – 2019 Reviews & Buying Guide

Many people dream of having a full golf simulator setup in their home, so they can play their favourite golf courses or practice on the range day or night, rain or shine, any time of the year.

Of course, not everyone can afford to invest in a simulator that costs thousands of dollars. Fortunately, as golf simulator technology has advanced, more affordable solutions have appeared in the market, so there are options that can accommodate a wide range of budgets.

In the case of a golf simulator in the home, there are a few things you’ll need to give yourself a great experience: a launch monitor that records your shot data, a hitting screen or net, and a projector that simulates your shots.

Projectors aren’t required, but unless you’re content with just seeing your shot data like launch and ball speed without getting a visual, it’s a good idea to use one. You also need enough clearance to swing your longest club.

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

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


Our Top Picks For Golf Simulators For The Home

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

  1. SkyTrak Launch Monitor
  2. OptiShot 2 Golf Simulator
  3. SkyTrak Compact Golf Simulator Package
  4. SkyTrak SwingBay Golf Simulator Package
  5. TruGolf Vista 8 Golf Simulator

1. SkyTrak Launch Monitor

SkyTrak Launch Monitor Device & Simulation

The SkyTrak Launch Monitor is one of the most popular golf simulation tools on the market, and there’s a reason for that. It records your ball flight data at a precision comparable to commercial systems that cost $9000 or more, but yet it costs just a fraction of that price.

And not only is it a launch monitor, but it also provides simulator software options that are easy to set up, so you can get a visual of your shot on the range or your favourite golf course.

The SkyTrak launch monitor is a game-improvement tool that is used by both regular golfers and professionals.

Once you set up a hitting area in your home, you can practice on the range, play rounds on the world’s top courses, or play difference challenges like long drive, depending on the package you get. You can play golf with your family or friends, whatever the weather is outside.

How The SkyTrak Launch Monitor Works

When you hit a shot, photometric technology is used to take several high-speed photos of the first few inches of ball flight.

Through advanced algorithms, the pictures are used to calculate various parameters such as distance, ball speed, spin rate, and launch angle (there are many more).

Because of the way ball behaviour is measured, the SkyTrak works as well indoors as it does outdoors.

How To Set It Up

Another reason why SkyTrak is so popular is that it’s easy to set up, even for the technically-challenged.

You’re going to need a phone, tablet, laptop or computer for this.

  1. Charge the SkyTrak device and turn it on.
  2. Download the SkyTrak app on your computer.
  3. Register your account and connect the software to your SkyTrak device.
  4. Once your hitting area is set up, position the SkyTrak device about a foot away from the ball, on the opposite side that you’ll be standing to make your swing.
  5. Once you hit your shot, you’ll see the data on your computer.

You can get access to different challenges, golf courses, and other additional features depending on the package you purchase. You can find out more information about that here.

We love the SkyTrak Launch Monitor because it’s affordable, well-made, and trusted by pros and top golf swing coaches.


2. OptiShot 2 Golf Simulator

OptiShot 2 Simulator Box & Device

If you want a golf simulator for your home but are on a really tight budget, the indoor-only OptiShot 2 is what you want to look at.

Because of its low price, it has been the #1 best selling golf simulator on the market for some time now. Whether you want to dial in your ball flight, fix a slice or hook, or build up your power, you can do it with the OptiShot 2.

You can play with up to 4 players, use your own clubs, and access a library of top golf courses. There are two game modes:

Play Mode

In this mode, you can play any of 15 OptiShot courses including Torrey Pines, Crooked Stick, and The Golf Club Scottsdale.

There are 8 different game types which include stroke play, match play, best ball, and skins.

You also have many customization options at your fingertips. For example, you can change the camera view, view a putting grid, change the measurements, and alter the weather.

Practice Mode

In this mode, you can turn any golf course into a practice range.

In the PinPoint Driving Range, there are six different target greens with precision rings and accuracy grids. You can hit to any one of them to improve your shot accuracy.

You can also place your ball anywhere you want on any course, and either follow the ball after the shot or keep playing from the same spot over and over.

How OptiShot 2 Works

OptiShot consists of an optical swing pad with 16 high-speed 48MHz infrared sensors that precisely measure clubhead speed, distance, face angle, swing plane, face contact point, and tempo.

Also included is the OptiShot 3DD software which contains the golf courses and simulation display.

For setup, all you need to do is unpack the OptiShot 2, install the software on your PC or Mac, and follow the instructions to connect it to the swing pad.

There are many special packages available with the OptiShot simulator that make for a better experience, including hitting mats and projector screens. You can see what’s available here.


3. SkyTrak Compact Golf Simulator Package

SkyTrak Compact Golf Simulator Setup

This is the perfect golf simulator package for people who have a medium-high budget but have limited space in their home.

It’s a popular simulator package that was put together by Rain Or Shine Golf, one of the best sources for golf simulator equipment out there today.

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

It consists of the SkyTrak Launch Monitor (also featured in this article) and a compact simulator screen that is easy to assemble. Also included are your choice of a hitting mat, an enclosure, software, and a projector and mount.

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

The Game Improvement Package 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 accuracy of this unit. For more details about what comes with the package and how exactly to set it up, visit this page.


4. SkyTrak SwingBay Golf Simulator Package

SkyTrak SwingBay Golf Simulator Setup

This is a brand new golf simulator package that is being offered by Rain or Shine Golf, for those who are willing to spend a little more than the compact package above and have more space to accommodate a slightly larger setup.

When golfers look into simulators for the home, 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

It consists of the SkyTrak Launch Monitor and a SwingBay simulator screen and enclosure (different from the above package) that are easy to assemble.

Also included are your choice of a hitting mat, an Optoma projector, ceiling mount, landing pad turf, and a few other useful items.

Like the Compact package above, this package includes a 1-year subscription to the SkyTrak Game Improvement Plan, which is a step up from the cheapest SkyTrak 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.

Compared to the Compact package above, the SwingBay package includes a larger SwingBay screen and enclosure. For more details about what comes with the package and the steps you need to take, visit this page.


5. TruGolf Vista 8 Golf Simulator

TruGolf Vista 8 Golf Simulator

If you want a quality golf simulator studio setup in your home with top functionality, and you have a big enough budget, the TruGolf Vista Series is what you want to look at.

The Vista 8 is the most compact and affordable simulator in the Vista line, making it a great option for homeowners.

The Vista Series is defined by high-definition image quality, a cutting-edge tension system, advanced 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 8 simulator comes with:

  • an HD Vista projector and screen
  • the TruTrack2 system, which captures important shot data using multiple optical sensors
  • a 1-year subscription to E6 CONNECT, which is a simulation software that allows you to practice, play with friends, and compete with golfers around the world
  • a 1-year limited warranty

The Vista 8 is offered in Base and Pro versions. The Base version includes the above items, while the Pro version includes numerous additional features including a touch screen monitor, TruGolf computer, fairway turf, protective side nets, and more.

The minimum space requirements are 10 ft high x 14 ft wide x 16 ft deep.

Unlike many of the other simulators on this page, the Vista 8 doesn’t use the SkyTrak Launch Monitor; it’s a completely different system built by TruGolf. For more details about what comes with the simulator, specifications, etc, visit this page.


Buying Guide

Investing in a golf simulator is a big step, especially for individuals who want a personal home setup. 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 obviously a critically important factor in golf simulators. You need to have a clear understanding of the space you intend to use in your home to contain the simulator, and what its dimensions are.

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

In general, full golf simulator setups tend to require about 11 feet of space in all three dimensions. Your home space should be able to easily accommodate this.

2. Portability

Another thing to consider is how easy it will be to pack up and transport your golf simulator setup.

Do you plan to have a dedicated space in your home where the 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 certain times of the year (like summer, when you can get out to the golf course).

If portability would be particularly useful for you, then look for things like retractable screens, mobile swing pads, and nets. Portable golf simulators tend to be a lot less expensive.

3. Net Vs. Screen

Netting Closeup

In general, there are two options with golf simulators:

  1. You can have a screen and a projector that will project your shots on a virtual driving range or golf course.
  2. You can hit into a net, but still be able to view your shot data and see the ball flight on your connected computer or tablet.

A screen projection will be the more expensive option. Keep in mind that you’ll be connecting your launch monitor to a computer or tablet that has special simulator software installed.

If the full golf simulator experience is important to you, and you want to feel like you’re playing a real-life simulation, then you’ll probably want to invest in a screen and projector setup.

On the other hand, if you’re satisfied with seeing your shot data and ball flight on a phone or tablet, then you should go with a net.

If your goal is being able to work on and improve your game from the comfort of your home, some would argue that it shouldn’t matter if your shots are projected on a big screen in front of you or not. But that’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself.

It’s worth noting that more than 50% of all golf simulator owners use a net instead of a screen.

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.

There are many software options available. For example, SkyTrak uses software that allows you to practice on the range and take part in competitions like long drive and closest to the pin. One of their packages comes with a subscription to WGT Play, which allows you to play world-class courses.

OptiShot has software that allows you to practice and play multiple different game types including stroke play, match play, skins, and best ball.

E6 CONNECT is a high-quality software option that is highly customizable. It offers various course simulations, minigames, training ads, tournaments, and more.

What software features do you see yourself using most often? Consider what software options are available when looking at simulators, and make your decisions accordingly.

5. Budget

Money bag

Of course, your budget is very important when shopping for a golf simulator. Not everyone can afford 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 equipment and software.

In this guide, we’ve tried to include quality golf simulators over a wide range of budgets that homeowners 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

Golf simulators have become a lot more accessible and affordable over the past decade, and this means more golf fanatics than ever before have been able to have their own home setup.

A quality, reliable golf simulator can be a huge boon to your golf toolkit. Finding a simulator package that can meet your needs is certainly possible with some research.

Each of the simulator options reviewed above offer excellent value for the cost. 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.

We highly recommend reading 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 golf simulator are you considering for your home? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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