Build Your Own Golf Simulator
Golf simulators are a seriously impressive bit of kit. The top-of-the-range, state-of-the-art setups that cost funny money are incredible and the closest thing golfers can get to heaven on Earth. Customers can get an easy-to-assemble boxed solution with everything they need or even bring in professionals to set it up for them.
But what if you’re looking to do it cheaper and you’re into DIY? Could you build your own home golf simulator? The answer to this is yes. In fact, you could do it quite effectively if you’re being thrifty enough.
This article will take you through all the equipment you will need and their costs and exactly how you can make a full home golf simulator for less than $1000.
Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Links to other merchants may also be affiliate links.
What Do You Need to Build Your Own Golf Simulator?
If you’re looking to build a golf simulator there are several items you will need to get the job done. Here’s a quick rundown of everything you need to bring the golf course to your living room!
First things first, you need a launch monitor. There are a wealth of options to choose from, ranging from the tens of thousands all the way down to under $600. Probably the most well-known options are SkyTrak, Flightscope, Trackman and GCQuad. Ultimately, this device is what makes golf simulation possible.
At the cheapest end of the market, the launch monitor may only measure clubhead data so you could use lightweight golf balls that are less likely to damage the contents of your home. The problem with this is you will have a lower-quality experience since the ball flight will not be measured as accurately as higher specification monitors.
If you want to get the full benefit of your golf simulator setup then you will need to opt for a device that detects the ball. This means you will need to build a DIY golf simulator enclosure in order to avoid wrecking the contents of the room where it’s installed.
Golf Simulator Software
In order to make your golf simulator experience as enjoyable as possible you will have to purchase some simulator software. This ensures you get access to the best graphics, numerous courses and other benefits. Before purchasing software though, ensure it is compatible with your launch monitor.
Net Or Screen
A net or screen provides something for you to hit into safely. Additional netting around the sides can ensure no damage is caused by errant shots such as those dreaded shanks.
A high-quality impact screen is designed to withstand repeated batterings from a golf ball while displaying the output from your projector to the best effect.
You need something to display your simulator on. If you are going with a projector, you will require an impact screen. If you choose a TV or computer, the screen isn’t necessary and you can make do with just a hitting net.
And obviously, you need something to hit off. Something soft that won’t stress your wrists while allowing you to tee the ball up and hit a driver. You could probably opt for a used driving range golf mat at the cheapest end of the market, but even good quality mats are now not all that expensive.
How Much Space Is Required for an Indoor Golf Simulator?
The general rule of thumb when it comes to indoor golf simulators is to have a minimum of 12 feet in length, 10 feet in width and 9 feet in height. Many commentators suggest that the ideal measurements for comfort are 14 feet in length, 12 feet in width and 10 feet in height.
First and foremost you need enough room to swing the golf club comfortably knowing you have no chance of connecting with the wall or ceiling. If you try to fit your simulator into too small a space then you’re going to be holding back with your golf swing even if only at a subconscious level so the exercise becomes somewhat pointless.
Don’t forget you also need to allow a certain amount of space depending on the launch monitor you have. Although most models are designed to work in an indoor setting they will usually need a certain distance between them and the ball and between the ball and the golf net. Without this, they’re not going to be able to get accurate readings for your golf shot which isn’t going to give you the best golf simulator experience.
How Much Does An Indoor Golf Simulator Cost?
Purchasing an indoor golf simulator cost can be pretty expensive. We’re talking about tens of thousands of dollars and a significant hole being burned in your pocket. But there are less expensive ways to build a home golf simulator. Here we are going to show you how to set one up for under $1,000.
Firstly, you’re going to want to have enough space. Even though we highlighted the minimum recommended space needed for an indoor golf simulator above, it is possible to do it with slightly less space (in length and width – the height can’t go below 9 feet).
Running total = $0
Launch Monitor Costs
If you’re going to set up a home golf simulator for under $1,000, then there’s only one launch monitor on the market that is fit for the job. The Garmin R10. Retailing at $599, it offers a whole range of features with very accurate measurements.
Running total = $599
To play different courses, you will need a software download. Garmin offers its own software download at $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year. Unfortunately, the graphics with this software are slightly cartoonish. To get better graphics, GSPro is a better option but at $250 per year, that’s out of our budget! A yearly subscription to Garmin’s software should do the trick.
Running total = $698.99
Net or Screen
When it comes to a net or screen, the cheaper option is going with the net. A screen removes the need of investing in a projector. There are plenty of nets to choose from on Amazon, ranging from as little as $50 but in the interests of safety and ensuring we have something which is durable, robust and safe, we will take a slightly more expensive option. This one by Sports Net costs $89.99 and should be perfect for setting up a home simulator.
Running total = $788.98
Projector/TV/Computer Monitor Costs
Since there is no need for a projector, more costs can be saved here if you already have a TV or computer monitor or laptop ready to go. But we’ve got a bit of a budget so we’re going to purchase a brand-new TV. The RCA 32-Inch LED Flatscreen can be yours for $139.93.
Running total = $928.91
Trying to fit a mat into the budget was tricky, even with more than $70 to play around with. We have opted for the GoSports Tri-Turf XL Golf Practice Hitting Mat that retails at $59.99. It offers three different types of surfaces to hit off while also being able to hold a tee. While you are likely only going to use the shortest surface when using the simulator, you can also practice different lies if you choose.
Running total = $988.90
More Expensive Alternatives
Obviously, there are many ways in which you can make a golf simulator a much more expensive project. For many people, it might be impossible to find a space in their home that is large enough to accommodate swinging a golf club.
If that’s the case and you have the space in your yard you could consider building a simulator room to accommodate your hobby. For example, shed golf will build you a custom simulator in its own outbuilding for just $37,000!
You might want to get the best launch monitor. At the moment that is probably still the Foresight GC Quad. With all the bells and whistles you will be looking at around $20k!
Is A Simulator As Good As The Real Thing?
Current simulator technology still comes up well short of playing real golf but if you are pressed for time or the weather isn’t great it is an excellent way of keeping your game in shape. It’s also a great way to work on swing changes as you get great feedback from the launch monitor.
Build Your Own Golf Simulator: Summary
Golf simulators used to be incredibly expensive to the point where only the very wealthy were able to afford them. Then they became a little bit more accessible but still quite expensive. But with recent releases into the launch monitor market, the potential to own a brand-new home golf simulator has become more affordable than ever.
We have proven that it is possible to build your own golf simulator complete with all the necessary tools and equipment for under $1,000. Our final total was $988.90 and there are other potential savings to be had on some of the products.
Maybe that new golf simulator isn’t as crazy an idea as it seems! Here are some of the best for different budgets.