Garage Golf Simulator
Home golf simulators have become more and more popular in recent years. We’ve all seen videos online of golfers showing off their perfect golf simulator setup. A sleek room with crisp lighting, rows of golf clubs and pictures of the greats lining the walls. Maybe even a chair to sit back and relax in. And it looks like total bliss.
One of the most popular places to set up a golf simulator is in your garage. Many are dirty and overcrowded and clever golf lovers take the opportunity to clean them out and put the space to much better use. This article will look at some of the considerations you should be taking into account prior to setting up a golf simulator in your garage, what the ideal garage golf simulator looks like and other important bits of information such as the best golf simulator for garage use.
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What To Consider When Setting Up a Golf Simulator in Your Garage?
There are a few things to consider when setting up a golf simulator in your garage. It’s important to take these into account before buying any equipment or technology so that you can be as efficient as possible and avoid wasting any money.
Money is a finite resource. For some more so than others. If you have a large budget then you won’t have too much difficulty setting up your garage golf simulator. But if you are operating under the confines of a limited budget then you need to plan ahead. If you aren’t careful, your costs could get away from you depending on the technology and equipment you invest in.
Setting up your golf simulator probably won’t be as simple as setting up some equipment and away you go. Some remodeling may have to be done first. Maybe you need to take out a few shelves or insert some new lights. Regardless of how big or small the work is, it should be planned out before setting up the simulator.
Space is very important. If you don’t have enough of it, you won’t be able to set up the simulator. Especially when it comes to height. You might find that your garage is the only structure you have with enough ceiling height to accommodate swinging a golf club.
Who Will Use It?
Is the simulator for you? Your spouse? Your family? Keeping this in mind can help when choosing a design and aesthetic.
What is its Purpose?
Similar to the above, you need to decide on the main purpose of your golf simulator. Is it for solo practice, games with friends etc? This will also help decide on the aesthetic of your golf simulator and its surroundings. If winter conditions are too bad to get on the golf course you might want to put together the best simulator package to tide you over through the bad weather.
What is The Ideal Garage Golf Setup?
While everyone’s ideal garage golf simulator setup is different, there are a few things that every golf simulator needs. A launch monitor, software, screen, netting or enclosure, projector, golf mat and so on are all fundamental to creating a working golf simulator. In our opinion though, the ideal golf garage setup needs to be two things. Fun and relaxing. Having a small fridge nearby stocked with drinks and snacks and golf posters on the wall really help to set the tone.
Can You Use Your Garage for A Golf Simulator and Storing Your Vehicle?
The answer to this is definitely yes. Especially if you have a lot of space, you can put both your vehicle and golf simulator in your garage. If you are a bit tighter for space though, you may need to pack away the simulator if you are having difficulty fitting the car inside. These days plenty of people use their garages as dumping grounds. Your better half may not like golf but surely a simulator is a better use of the space than piles of junk!
Space Needed for A Garage Golf Simulator
The general minimum advised dimensions for any golf simulator are 12 feet in length, 10 feet in width and 9 feet in height though larger ones are encouraged for comfort. There are workarounds to this where people just strike the ball into a net and rather than the graphics being projected onto a screen, they are shown through a TV. This would be a good way of saving space. If you are struggling for the room then you could opt for the SkyTrak launch monitor which uses cameras rather than radar so you don’t need to have loads of space to allow the radar to track the golf ball.
Measuring Your Garage for A Golf Simulator
How much space you can devote to the simulator may affect the type of device you can purchase. Radar-based monitors may need as much as 8 feet behind the ball and 8 feet in front to track the flight. You’ll need to allow a bit of space between your hitting enclosure and the walls of your garage too. So you could be looking at around 17 feet in length to be comfortable.
Do you have enough height to allow the fitting of a projector in the ceiling or will you need to fit a short throw projector on the floor?
Our Top Picks for Golf Simulators for Garage Use
The cornerstone of the best garage golf simulators is going to be the launch monitor that you purchase. This will also to a great extent dictate the total cost of your setup. The other thing to consider is the simulator software. While some software is compatible with a wide variety of launch monitors other packages are more limited in scope. If you are keen to get the best graphical setup then you might need to look at your software options before picking a compatible launch monitor.
Best Budget Option: Garmin R10
It isn’t an exaggeration when we say that the Garmin R10 was a revelation when it first launched in 2021. A low-cost launch monitor that could do just about everything the big players could do. Sure it might not be absolutely precise when it comes to measurements but it’s pretty close and its price tag of just $599 makes it very appealing.
Anyone looking to build a home golf simulator on a budget should give the R10 serious consideration. A downside is that the R10 doesn’t offer any putting ability and instead awards strokes based on the proximity to the hole of approach shots.
If you’re not particularly worried about a graphical representation of your shot then you could always opt for the Flightscope Mevo which will measure many of your swing parameters so you can improve your golf. You can pick these up for slightly less than the Garmin R10.
Obviously, you’ll lose that sense of immersion that you can get from a full golf simulator experience.
Best Mid-Range Option: Flightscope Mevo+
The Mevo+ is a step up from the R10 without being ridiculous in price. The Mevo+ itself costs $1,699 while there is a more expensive 2023 version available also.
If you have a medium to large budget, this is the launch monitor and simulator setup we suggest going for.
The other well-known option at this price point is the SkyTrak. It’s perhaps getting a little long in the tooth now as it was released in 2014. It’s a great option if your space is limited as it works using cameras so you don’t need the extra space that radar-based systems require.
Money No Object
If the cost isn’t really an issue for you then you have a wide variety of options. The GC Quad from Foresight Sports and the TrackMan 4 are two models that you will see plenty of golf professionals using during their own practice sessions. Even aspiring tour professionals will be happy with the data provided by these two devices. If you are looking for the ultimate golf simulator then these are two of the best launch monitors on the market.
Golf Simulator Software Packages
The price of software that you will use with your simulator system varies wildly. Some launch monitors include basic packages which will probably be sufficient for many casual users. However, if you are more committed to the game then you might want to put some more thought into your indoor golf setup.
At the cheapest end of the market is WGT Golf. This works with SkyTrak amongst others but only offers a limited number of golf courses and will still set you back $200.
For the sheer volume of courses available the Golf Club 2019 to be on your list of simulator options. You will have the choice of 170,000 golf courses to play from your hitting mat! This golf sim will set you back approximately $1000.
E6 connect is compatible with a wide variety of launch monitors and was developed by the team behind the successful PC game called Links. It’s not cheap however with a price tag of $2500 for the PC version.
Creative Golf 3D is another option that works with many popular launch monitors. As well as golf courses and driving range options there are a number of games available in this software that are child friendly. An annual license costs $700 with additional courses costing $500 more! Might be worth looking at the one-time license fee which will work out a lot cheaper!
Take a more in-depth look at simulator software.
Garage Simulator Considerations
You might not have the space in your garage to leave everything permanently set up. In that case, you’ll need to look for enclosures or nets that are easily packed away. You might even want to consider a screen that is retractable. You also need to take into account the variation in the temperature you might find in your garage. Depending on where in the world you are you could have quite extreme temperature changes which may do damage to sensitive electronic equipment. During the coldest and hottest parts of the year, you may want to store your launch monitor and computer in your home to make sure they don’t get damaged.
Heating Your Garage Golf Simulator
For many, the whole point of a home golf simulator setup is to keep their game in shape during the winter when golf courses are either closed or in a poor condition.
Ensuring that your garage is at a comfortable temperature is very important. We have four tips for keeping your garage toasty and warm.
Improve windows and doors
Ensure your windows and doors are not letting too much heat escape. It’s amazing the difference a couple of simple upgrades can make.
Using portable heaters can help to heat up your garage on cold days and disperse heat throughout the area.
Thermal curtains will help to trap heat and keep it in the garage.
Insulating your garage properly is another way you can avoid heat loss and keep your garage golf simulator at the ideal temperature.
Garage Golf Simulator: Summary
Whatever your budget you should be able to put together a simulator to keep your swing shape or to work on your technique. Playing virtual golf on world-class golf courses might be one of the best investments in your game that you make. For more help with your home golf simulator click here.