7 Best Golf Simulators For Outdoor Use – 2020 Reviews & Buying Guide

There are many reasons why golfers would be interested in a full golf simulator setup for outdoor use.

Many people dream of having a full golf simulator setup for their home so they can play whenever they want, but they may not want to or be able to set up the simulator indoors.

Others want working simulators for outdoor golfing events that are open to the public or a select group of people.

Whatever your reasons are, not everyone can afford to invest in a simulator that costs many 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 for outdoor use, there are a few things you’ll need to give yourself a great experience: a launch monitor that records your shot data, a hitting net or screen, and optionally, a projector that displays your shot and shot data on a life-size screen.

If you want a full enclosure with screen and projector, you should also have wall and ceiling supports that will protect the simulator from rain, wind, and other weather conditions.

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

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


Our Top Picks For Golf Simulators For Outdoor Use

The following are our top selections based on our own testing, research, and experience:

  1. Mevo Plus SwingNet Golf Simulator Package
  2. SkyTrak Practice Golf Simulator Package
  3. FlightScope Mevo Plus Launch Monitor
  4. Cimarron Masters Golf Net Enclosure
  5. GC2 Practice Golf Simulator Package
  6. Mevo Plus Compact Golf Simulator Package
  7. Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor

1. Mevo Plus SwingNet Golf Simulator Package

FlightScope Mevo Plus SwingNet Golf Simulator Layout

What makes the Mevo Plus SwingNet package our #1 pick for outdoor simulator are the components.

First, this simulator utilizes the affordable Mevo Plus launch monitor, which is widely regarded as having the best outdoor performance in its price range.

Second, the package includes the robust, compact SwingNet hitting net, designed by Rain or Shine Golf.

If you’re looking to get an exceptional simulator experience outdoors at a reasonable price, you should seriously consider this Mevo+ package.

What Is Included

This package comes with the Mevo+ launch monitor and FlightScope Practice App, plus:

  • a SwingNet hitting net
  • a SwingTurf hitting mat

The SwingNet is low-profile, easy to assemble, and is built from high-quality frame and netting materials. The frame is collapsible, and you can even hang a hitting target for accuracy practice (two are included, see image).

The great thing about this net is that it’s versatile and highly portable; the collapsible frame allows you to easily move it around the yard or to different outdoor locations as you please.

The included SwingTurf hitting mat (5’x4′) was designed by Rain or Shine Golf to provide an optimal balance between realistic fairway feel and forgiveness. An upgrade to a larger 9’x4′ SwingTurf mat is available.

This package very simple to set up because it has so few components. Just throw up the net, throw down the mat, set up the Mevo+, and start hitting.

Customers love the software, accuracy and convenience of the Mevo+. Many consider its radar technology to be better than the SkyTrak in many respects.


2. SkyTrak Practice Golf Simulator Package

SkyTrak Practice Golf Simulator - Outdoor Setup

Want to set up your golf simulator in your backyard? At your friend’s cookout? Maybe some other outdoor location? With a total weight of only 28 pounds, it’s very easy to do it with the SkyTrak Practice package.

This package is very affordable (and portable) because it doesn’t include a screen or projector. Instead, you can view your precise SkyTrak shot simulation and data on your laptop or tablet.

It’s a very popular simulator package that is being offered by Rain Or Shine Golf. It comes with a mat and Net Return Pro Series net 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 (we seriously doubt you’ll reach this 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 Series Side Barriers
  • The Net Return Pro Turf Golf Mat (6 ft x 10 ft)

Minimum space dimensions of 8 ft high x 10 ft wide x 12 ft deep are recommended. You shouldn’t have problems meeting these requirements outdoors.

What are customers saying? More than anything, they love the fact that they can benefit from the precise ball flight data and feedback that the SkyTrak provides, with real clubs and balls, without breaking the bank. Check out what everyone is saying about this golf simulator package here.


3. FlightScope Mevo Plus Launch Monitor

FlightScope Mevo Plus Launch Monitor

Earlier, we mentioned the Mevo Plus launch monitor. Now we’ll talk about it in more detail.

The Mevo+ is the newest addition to FlightScope’s launch monitor lineup. With its out-of-the-box E6 CONNECT software and compatibility with The Golf Club, it can be turned into a stellar golf simulator.

The Mevo+ is generally regarded as being ideal for outdoor use because of its special 3D Doppler radar system, although it can also be used indoors as well. It requires at least 16 feet of depth which can be easily achieved outdoors.

The Mevo+ has a sharp white/red colour scheme that stands out nicely. If possible, we recommend trying it on the range, but it can also be used in the yard with a net with practically no issue.

Data Parameters

The radar technology of the Mevo+ measures an impressive 16 ball and swing parameters — 8 more than the original Mevo. These parameters include the essentials like distance, ball speed, club head speed, and (not limited to):

  • spin axis
  • spin loft
  • angle of attack
  • apex height
  • shot shape
  • flight time

App Compatibility

FlightScope offers several apps designed to enhance your experience with the Mevo+ launch monitor, such as FS Golf.

You can benefit from real-time performance data, automated video capture with trimming, recorded training sessions, and more.

Software

The Mevo Plus comes out-of-the-box with a trimmed down version of E6 CONNECT, only usable on iOS devices. On PC, you can use the full version of E6 CONNECT or The Golf Club software. Different packages are available that are compatible with either iPad or PC.

Depending on the software package you choose, you can play up to 100,000 courses, multiplayer, mini-games, and more.

Additional Notes

With the Mevo+, all you need to do is set up a net and hitting mat in an outdoor area, and you’re good to go. You can get an excellent net at an affordable price here, and you can look at golf mats here.

For best results, the Mevo Plus unit should be placed 8 feet behind the ball on your target line. A minimum of 8 feet of ball flight is needed to accurately record data parameters, which means that you need a minimum of 16 feet of depth in whatever space you plan to play.

Mevo Plus users love the value you get for the money: excellent accuracy, great software, quality customer support, and convenience. For more information on device compatibility, available add-ons, and software options, visit this page.


4. Cimarron Masters Golf Net Enclosure

Installed Cimarron Masters Golf Net

This is a simple but very effective (and large) net enclosure from Cimarron Sports meant for the outdoors. The two size options are 10′ x 10′ x 10′ and 20′ x 10′ x 10′ (a little more expensive).

You can hit balls into it straight away, but if you want more of a simulator experience, all you need is a good hitting mat and a simulator system like SkyTrak or Mevo+, and you’re good to go. These can be purchased here.

Features

The Cimarron Masters Golf Net has 1″ steel frame corners and poles for constructing a stable frame.

The black #252 netting is UV-treated and dense, and the baffle is made of heavy-duty archery netting. All balls are easily stopped by the backdrop.

Cimarron has assembly instructions with diagrams. It shouldn’t take you more than an hour to set up, but make sure you read the instructions carefully.

Customers love the spacious hitting area, the impressive durability (withstands freezing rain, high winds, snow, etc.), and the convenience of being able to hit balls in your backyard.


5. GC2 Practice Golf Simulator Package

GC2 Practice Golf Simulator Package

Another terrific outdoor simulator option is the GC2 by Foresight Sports.

The GC2 is quite pricey, but it’s more powerful than the SkyTrak and Mevo+. It performs beautifully outdoors, with highly accurate readings and great software features.

If you want the precise measurements and simulations of the GC2 but you don’t want to eat the extra cost for a screen and projector, this is the perfect package for you. It comes with a net & mat that can be set up within 20 minutes, wherever you have the space.

What Is Included

This package has the same components as the SkyTrak Practice package reviewed above, but it uses the GC2 Launch Monitor. It comes with:

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

As mentioned before, the Net Return V2 can return balls back to your feet and handle ball speeds as high as 225 mph.

Minimum space dimensions of 7.5 ft high x 10 ft wide x 10 ft deep are required.

The included software is 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, play dozens of skills challenges, and more.

A major add-on to the GC2 is available called HMT (Head Measurement Technology). This measures club head data with extreme accuracy and provides the most comprehensive analysis of your swing available.


6. Mevo Plus Compact Golf Simulator Package

Mevo Plus Compact Golf Simulator Package

This probably isn’t the ideal simulator to set up out in the open. However, if you have a covered area outdoors with walls and a ceiling, or you can construct a frame, it can be a great thing.

For more information on how you can set up a complete simulator like this outdoors, I recommend contacting the experts here.

The Mevo+ Compact is perfect for people who have a medium-high budget. 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 Mevo+ Launch Monitor (also featured in this article), a compact and easy-to-assemble Net Return Simulator Series projection screen, an enclosure, and:

  • your choice of SwingTurf 5’x4′ or 9’x4′ hitting mat
  • landing pad turf
  • Optoma EH200ST projector
  • ceiling projector mount

The screen has a floating design that minimizes bounceback, and the entire bay is covered with high-density netting.

You can optionally upgrade to The Golf Club software. This gives you access to over 100,000 courses in 4K Ultra HD, multiplayer mode, online competitions, and more.

Minimum space dimensions of 9 ft high x 10 ft wide x 16 ft deep are required.

People really love the convenience and accuracy of this unit. For more details about it, check this out.


7. Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor

Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor

The Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor (MLM) is a powerful yet affordable system that you run through your mobile device. It can serve as a great golf simulator outdoors at the range or the course, and it recently received an update that allows it to be used with a net.

Note: MLM is currently only available for iOS, but the Android version is in the works.

This launch monitor analyzes your shot and provides data on ball speed, clubhead speed, distance, launch angle, smash factor, and launch direction. It also records your shot for playback and provides an active tracer so you can see your exact ball flight.

How It Works

Setting up the MLM is fairly simple. Just charge the device, install the Rapsodo Golf app on your phone, calibrate it to the device, choose a mode, and start hitting.

Not only can you view your shot data and shot trace, but using GPS, you can see exactly where your shots land. You can also view trends and shot averages by club, which will help you understand what club to hit in different situations.

Finally, you can store your video clips in a library, and easily post them to social media.

See the device in action here:

This launch monitor has very high ratings. People love the mobility and usefulness of it, they love how you can easily change clubs in the middle of a session, and they love how you can look at video of your swing without backing out of a session.


Buying Guide

Investing in a golf simulator is a big deal. 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 determining which golf simulator will best meet your outdoor needs:

1. Portability & Resilience

If you plan to use your golf simulator outdoors, we recommend you look at simpler, more mobile setups — namely, a hitting net and hitting mat.

Full enclosure setups with projectors are less portable and more difficult to pull off outdoors. On top of that, they may not be able to withstand weather conditions like low temperatures, wind, rain, snow, and even hail.

With a straightforward hitting net, hitting mat, and simulator system like the Mevo+, you can quickly and easily set up outdoors when weather permits, and pull it down when the weather is less than ideal. These portable setups can also be used indoors as desired.

On the other hand, full net enclosures like the Cimarron Masters (above) are very sturdy, can withstand most weather, and can be left where they are year-round.

Consider how well your simulator can endure weather, and think about what you’ll need structurally to achieve the setup.

2. Technology

Uneekor QED Tracking Bar

If the technology that powers your golf simulator isn’t suited for the outdoors, then it may not work properly in certain conditions. Technology may include infrared sensors, high-speed cameras, or radar.

For example, the SkyTrak is marketed as being suitable indoors and outdoors. In reality, it’s better indoors because its photometric camera-based system is sensitive to direct sunlight.

The Mevo+, in contrast, uses a Doppler radar system that has little to no issue outdoors.

With any simulator you look at, take note of the tracking system it uses and verify that it can run smoothly outdoors.

3. Size

White Measuring Tape

Size is an essential factor in golf simulators, but perhaps less so if you’re using it outdoors.

Do you plan to have your simulator in a garage? In a shed? On your back patio? On your lawn? Depending on where you intend to put it, you may have plenty of room and not really have to worry about size.

Wherever the outdoor locations are, make sure that they can accommodate the minimum space requirements of every golf simulator you look at. Also make sure you can make a full swing with your driver unimpeded.

Typical golf simulator setups tend to require about 11 feet of space in all three dimensions.

4. Projector Vs. No Projector

In addition to what we mentioned above, projectors aren’t ideal outdoors because the picture is washed out during the day due to lighting. The picture is clearer when it’s dark, but you may not be able to get outside during this time.

In addition to this, you need to figure out where you will mount the projector (is there a ceiling?), and how far away from the screen it should be to get the best picture.

Optoma EH200ST HD Projector Front

All things considered, it can be a big hassle to set up a screen and projector outdoors. If you want to do it, you’ll have to be prepared to take on the challenges that come with it.

With just a net, there’s much less to worry about. You can just start hitting balls right away, and you’ll be able to view your shot data on your laptop or tablet.

An interesting fact is that more than 50% of all golf simulator owners use a net instead of a screen.

5. 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 has software in three membership levels:

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

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

The Mevo+ comes with a trimmed version of E6 CONNECT that allows you to play various courses and games. The GC2’s FSX software allows you to play skills challenges and many of the world’s best courses.

Other software possibilities are The Golf Club, Fitness Golf, and Creative Golf 3D.

E6 Golf Logo

What software features do you see yourself using most often? Do you want to practice on a virtual range, play world-class courses, or just see your shot data and nothing more? Your answers to these questions will help narrow down your choices.

6. Budget

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, the best options for an outdoor experience cost much less than this amount.

With that said, it’s important to realize that the less you spend, the more the equipment and the software will suffer.

In this guide, we’ve tried to include quality golf simulators over a wide range of budgets. 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 golfers than ever before have been able to have their own setup in their home or backyard.

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? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

6 Comments

  1. Peter Boyle February 11, 2020
    • Paul February 11, 2020
  2. David Pope March 27, 2020
    • Paul March 27, 2020
  3. Jocelyn K Hamryszak April 21, 2020
    • Paul April 21, 2020

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