5 Best Golf Simulators Under $5000 – 2019 Reviews & Buying Guide

While nearly every golfer would love to have their own personal golf simulator setup, many aren’t able to afford high-end packages that cost 5 figures or more.

Many golfers want to be able to play and practice golf rain or shine, day or night, but aren’t willing to spend more than $5000 for it.

If this is you, then you’ve come to the right place. Fortunately, as golf simulator technology has advanced, many mid-range solutions have appeared in the market that can accommodate medium-low budgets.

In this article, we’ll review and compare our picks for the best golf simulators under $5000.

Before we go further, you should understand that with this budget, it’s difficult to achieve a full simulator setup that includes an enclosure, screen, projector, and high-quality launch monitor, particularly with certain brands.

It can be done, however. You can definitely get a good experience with these simulators and can get get the job done in terms of improving your game.

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


Our Top Picks For Golf Simulators Under $5000

Based on our own testing, research, and experience, here are our top selections:

  1. OptiShot 2 Home Golf Simulator Package
  2. SkyTrak Launch Monitor
  3. SkyTrak Budget Golf Simulator Package
  4. SkyTrak Practice Golf Simulator Package
  5. OptiShot 2 Golf-In-A-Box 3 Simulator Package

1. OptiShot 2 Home Golf Simulator Package

OptiShot 2 Home Golf Simulator Setup

If you like the OptiShot 2 simulator and software solution but want a net enclosure and hitting mat to go with it, this is an excellent option.

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

It comes with everything you need to practice your game, improve your swing, and have a great time with friends and family, whatever the weather is outside.

What Is Included

This package comes with the OptiShot 2 optical swing pad and software, plus:

  • The Net Return Home Series Golf Net
  • The Net Return Home Series Side Barriers
  • The Net Return Pro Turf Golf Mat

The net is 7 feet tall and the side barriers come with 6 sandbags. The mat can be easily rolled up and stored, and it can also be used as a putting green.

Setup is quite easy and can be done by one person in less than an hour. Just set up the net and mat, download the OptiShot software, connect it to the device, and you’re good to go. You can optionally connect your computer to your TV and display the simulation that way.

Minimum space requirements are 8.5 ft height x 16 ft length x 12 ft width.

People really love how easy it is to set up the simulator, the affordable price, and the decent accuracy. They also appreciate Rain Or Shine Golf’s awesome customer service. Make sure you get the lighting right.

For more details about the package and how exactly to set it up, go here.


2. 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, garage, or wherever else, you can practice on a virtual driving 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 friends and family, day or night, rain or shine.

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 (carry, roll, etc.), ball speed, spin rate, launch angle, and angle of descent (there are many more).

Because of the way ball behaviour is measured, the SkyTrak works equally well outdoors and indoors.

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.


3. SkyTrak Budget Golf Simulator Package

SkyTrak Budget Golf Simulator Layout

If you’re willing to spend a little more and still stay within that $5000 budget, the SkyTrak Budget Package is one of the best options.

It’s an affordable full simulator package that was put together by Rain Or Shine Golf, and it allows you to play golf year-round, whenever you please.

This is probably the best deal you can get for a full simulator setup, including screen, projector, net enclosure, mat, and high-quality launch monitor.

What Is Included

The SkyTrak Budget Golf Simulator Package consists of:

  • the SkyTrak Launch Monitor (reviewed above) with protective case
  • SkyTrak Game Improvement software
  • The Net Return Pro Series V2 Golf Net
  • The Net Return Pro Series Side Barriers
  • The Net Return Pro Turf Golf Mat
  • The Net Return Pro Series Screen
  • Optoma HD Short Throw Projector
  • ceiling projector mount

As you can see, it’s a pretty beefy setup. Note that this simulator package includes the SkyTrak Game Improvement Plan, which is a step up from the cheapest SkyTrak plan.

A couple of notes: the Pro Turf mat can be rolled up for easy transport and storage, and the projector is capable of 1080p quality. The projector mount can tilt as much as 30° up, down, left or right.

Minimum room dimensions of 8 ft high x 10 ft wide x 12 ft deep are recommended.

People really love the quality and precision of this simulator, as well as the fact that it needs less space than other larger setups. For more details about what comes with the package and the setup process, visit this page.


4. SkyTrak Practice Golf Simulator Package

SkyTrak Practice Golf Simulator Setup

If you want the precise measurements and simulations of the SkyTrak but you don’t want to eat the extra cost for a screen and projector, this is the perfect package for you.

The SkyTrak Practice is a very popular simulator package that is being offered by Rain Or Shine Golf. It comes with a net & mat that can be set up within 20 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 (which you’ll almost surely never reach, by the way).

What Is Included

This package is basically the above package without the screen and projector. It 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)

Like with the Budget package, minimum room dimensions of 8 ft high x 10 ft wide x 12 ft deep are recommended.

Without the screen and projector, you have two options:

  1. View the simulation on your computer or tablet.
  2. Send the feed to your TV and position it behind the net to emulate the feel of a full-size projection.

People 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.


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

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

If you want a full simulator setup with a screen and projector, but you don’t want to pay the cost of the SkyTrak, check out this option.

Golf-In-A-Box 3 comes with everything you need to get a great golf simulator experience and improve your game, whatever the weather or time of year. And it saves you thousands of bucks over other simulators that perform similar functions.

What Is Included

The Golf-In-A-Box 3 simulator is quite different from the original Golf-In-A-Box. 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.


Buying Guide

Investing in a golf simulator that will serve you for the long term is a big step, especially if your budget is $5000 or more. 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 clearly a very important factor in golf simulators.

With many simulators under $5000, you’ll only have a net setup. Others will come with a screen and projector but will likely be limited in size. If you have none of these things, all you’ll need is enough space to swing your longest club unimpeded.

In any case, 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 around 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

Another thing to consider is ease of transport. 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 transported nonetheless.

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 you can get out to your local golf club.

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

Fortunately, golf simulators under $5000 tend to be inherently more portable because they’re smaller and less expensive.

3. Net Vs. Screen Vs. No Net

Netting Closeup

In general, there are three 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.
  3. You can have no netting or screen and hit foam balls, plastic balls, or no balls at all.

#3 is obviously the cheapest option, and in many cases, a setup of this nature will cost less than $1000. #2 will be more expensive.

#1 is the best and most immersive option, but it’s also the most expensive; it will typically bump up the cost of your golf simulator to at least $4500.

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 consider a net.

If your goal is being able to work on and improve your game from the comfort of your own 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.

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

4. Simulator 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:

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

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

TruGolf E6 Golf Logo

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

Other software possibilities include The Golf Club, TruGolf, Creative Golf 3D, and Fitness 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

You might not want to spend more than $5000, and that’s perfectly fine.

But would you be willing to spend 3 figures on what are considered “bottom-of-the-barrel” simulators? Would you spend $1000-$4000 on better setups? How close to $5000 are you willing to go?

It’s important to realize that the less you spend, the less you’ll usually get, both in terms of equipment and software. You’ll also get farther away from a realistic golf simulator experience.

In this guide, we’ve tried to include golf simulators over a range of prices under the $5000 mark. But the great thing is that, in many cases, 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, with more companies developing and manufacturing cutting-edge simulation technologies. This means more golfers than ever before have been able to acquire their own personal setup.

A budget simulator that costs $5000 or less can be a huge boon to your golfing 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. If you want an even better experience, consider increasing your budget.

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. Have you tried any of the simulators reviewed in this article? Let us know in the comments below.

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