6 Best Golf Simulators Under $5000 – 2021 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 five 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. It’s certainly possible, though.

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. SkyTrak HomeBay Golf Simulator Package
  2. SkyTrak Launch Monitor
  3. Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor SwingNet Package
  4. SkyTrak Practice Golf Simulator Package
  5. OptiShot 2 Platinum Series Golf Simulator Package
  6. FlightScope Mevo Plus Bronze Golf Simulator Package

1. SkyTrak HomeBay Golf Simulator Package

SkyTrak HomeBay Golf Simulator Package Layout

The regular cost of the SkyTrak HomeBay package is just a hair under $5000, allowing you to get the most value and performance for your budget. It’s also ideal for those who have limited space.

This simulator package pairs the SkyTrak Launch Monitor (which we talk more about in the section below) with Rain or Shine Golf’s exclusive HomeBay hitting enclosure, consisting of a ballistic-tested impact screen with side and top netting.

It’s easy to upgrade the HomeBay enclosure to something like the SwingBay if you ever choose to down the road.

Whether you’re a skilled golfer or a high-handicapper that wants to get better, this package gives you everything you need to improve your game, regardless of the season or weather.

What Is Included

The SkyTrak HomeBay package features the SkyTrak along with a HomeBay enclosure and hitting net (designed for 4:3 projection) that has a small permanent footprint.

Also included are:

  • a protective case for the SkyTrak
  • a SwingTurf Hitting Mat
  • an Optoma EH200ST 1080p Short Throw Projector
  • a ceiling projector mount

The SkyTrak comes with an out-of-the-box driving range, but if you want to do more than just practice on the range, you can get separate simulation plans at extra cost. Three of the best ones are The Golf Club, E6 CONNECT, and WGT Golf, which allow course play, online play, multiplayer, challenges, and more.

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.

The Optoma projector produces a bright image of 3000 lumens, with high contrast, MHL connectivity, a lamp life of 6500 hours, and a 0.49:1 throw ratio.

The minimum space requirements are 9 ft high x 12 ft wide x 14 ft deep. Setup is pretty easy, and you can contact support anytime if you need help.

People really love the effectiveness and affordability of the HomeBay enclosure, and they appreciate Rain Or Shine Golf’s awesome customer service. For more details about what comes with the package and how exactly to set it up, visit this page.


2. SkyTrak Launch Monitor

SkyTrak Launch Monitor Device & Simulation

The simulator package above uses the SkyTrak but comes with a bunch of other things that raise the price significantly. If you want to take advantage of the power of the SkyTrak for much less, you can get the launch monitor by itself.

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. It’s also great entertainment, enabling you to play golf with your friends & family day or night, rain or shine.

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 could also hit foam or plastic balls without a net or screen, but this is not an ideal solution.

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. Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor SwingNet Package

Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor SwingNet Simulator Package Layout

If you have a $5000 budget but would still like to stay well under it, the Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor (MLM) SwingNet package is one of your best options. It’s simple and affordable and costs under $1500.

It pairs the Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor (MLM) with Rain or Shine Golf’s SwingNet hitting net and SwingTurf hitting mat.

The Rapsodo MLM SwingNet package is basically your own person driving range, perfect for an outdoor yard or deck but also great for indoor use. The MLM provides essential data parameters related to your shots and records every swing for video playback.

What’s really great about this simulator package is the high degree of portability — you can set it up and start gripping it and ripping it within minutes.

What Is Included

The Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor that comes with this package is described as “the only launch monitor that uses the power of your iPhone or iPad to provide immediate feedback on launch data, instant video replay and active shot trace“.

It was developed by the same company that created the SkyTrak and is the official launch monitor of Golf Digest. In fact, its recent Net Mode update is what made this net package possible.

In Net Mode, the MLM can measure six data parameters, which are club head speed, ball speed, carry distance, launch angle, smash factor, and launch direction. The free Rapsodo app will need to be installed in order for the MLM to function.

Also included in the package are:

  • the SwingNet Hitting Net: designed by Rain or Shine Golf, this durable net has a low-profile design and is easy to assemble. It comes with a carry bag and hanging hitting targets.
  • the SwingTurf Hitting Mat: available in 4’x5′ or 4’x9′ sizes, this has a realistic fairway feel and is easy on the joints.

Minimum space requirements are 8.5 ft high x 8.5 ft wide x 13 ft deep.

People really love the consistency and accuracy of the MLM, as well as the fantastic quality of the mat and net. It’s a really handy budget simulator.


4. SkyTrak Practice Golf Simulator Package

SkyTrak Practice Golf Simulator Setup

If you want a SkyTrak hitting area but you can’t handle 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 represents your quintessential SkyTrak net setup. 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
  • a SwingTurf 4’x5′ Hitting Mat

Minimum room dimensions are very low: 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 Platinum Series Golf Simulator Package

OptiShot 2 Platinum Series Golf Simulator Package

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

The OptiShot 2 Platinum Package comes with everything you need to get a great golf simulator experience and improve your game, whatever the weather or time of year.

In the event you want to view a software projection on the screen, you’ll just need to buy a projector separately — even cheap ones will work.

What Is Included

The OptiShot 2 Platinum is quite a unique simulator package. It features the OptiShot 2 simulator, which is one of the cheapest simulator solutions on the market. Its main appeal is gaming and entertainment, with various game modes and potential for online and tournament play.

Included with the OptiShot 2 are:

  • The Net Return Simulator Series Enclosure
  • The Net Return Pro Turf Hitting Mat
  • The Net Return Projector Mount Kit

This package gives you the opportunity to have a complete golf simulator at a fraction of the cost of other setups that cost well over $5000.

The Simulator Series Enclosure is an affordable enclosure that consists of a lightweight and tubular aluminum frame, commercial-grade netting, floating impact screen, and side barriers.

The Pro Turf Hitting Mat is longer than most hitting mats, allowing it to double as landing turf to protect your floors. It can also be used as a putting green.

Lastly, the included projector mount kit makes it easy to connect a mounted projector (designed for ultra short throw projectors) to the Simulator Series Enclosure. It’s a completely self-contained kit, so no wall or ceiling mounting is necessary.

The screen (8’3″H x 7’2″W) and enclosure frame are very compact, helping you save space. A minimum space of 9 ft high x 10 ft wide x 12 ft deep is recommended. Setup is pretty straightforward, and you can view videos of the entire process here.

If you like the OptiShot 2 but could do without the screen and enclosure, take a look at the Golf-In-A-Box 2.


6. FlightScope Mevo Plus Bronze Golf Simulator Package

FlightScope Mevo Plus Bronze Golf Simulator Package

The FlightScope Mevo Plus Bronze Simulator Package by Shop Indoor Golf occupies a unique space in our feature list.

Like the SkyTrak HomeBay package, it allows for a screen/projector golf simulator experience for under $5000, but this one uses an affordable net, screen and side barriers by The Net Return. It also uses the Mevo+ Launch Monitor, which is an excellent (and newer) alternative to the SkyTrak that performs better outdoors.

Like the SkyTrak, the Mevo+ has simulation capabilities. In addition to coming with a limited version of E6 CONNECT out-of-the-box, it’s also compatible with The Golf Club software.

If you want a compact, budget-friendly golf simulator, this should be one of your top considerations.

What Is Included

The Mevo+ Bronze package takes the Mevo+ launch monitor and combines it with The Net Return Screen (Pro or Home series) and either the Net Return Home Series V2 or Net Return Pro Series V2 net (your choice, cost will be affected slightly). Also included are:

  • an E6 CONNECT software plan with 5 courses & 17 practice ranges
  • a BenQ MX825ST projector
  • The Net Return Pro Turf mat (6’x10′)
  • a projector floor mount shield
  • side barriers

The Net Return Home & Pro Series nets come with all the benefits mentioned previously, including ball return and the ability to withstand ball speeds up to 225 mph. The BenQ projector has a short throw ratio ratio of 0.61:1 and supports XGA resolution.

Note that the software included with the Mevo+ can only be used on iOS devices. The Golf Club and full E6 CONNECT software packages may be purchased for PC at extra cost.

Minimum recommended room dimensions are 8.5 ft high x 10 ft wide x 15 ft deep.

Mevo Plus users love the value you get for the money: excellent accuracy, great software, convenience, and superb customer support. For more information about what is included with the package, visit this page.


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, although ceiling height tends to be an issue for many people.

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 have less components.

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

The Mevo+ is compatible with E6 CONNECT and The Golf Club. E6 CONNECT is highly customizable, offering various course simulations, training aids, minigames, tournaments, and more. The Golf Club not only has your typical practice range, but also numerous multiplayer modes, online tournaments and events, and even the ability to design your own course!

Other software possibilities include 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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4 Comments

  1. Kim Q Tidwell January 15, 2020
    • Paul January 16, 2020
  2. Danny August 20, 2020
    • Paul August 20, 2020

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