Golf simulators are becoming more affordable for the average golfer. Whether you are looking to work on your golf swing in the winter or in the middle of the night, a simulator can give you a realistic experience. However, not all simulators are accurate.
So, how accurate are golf simulators? We will fill you in on all the latest research as well as some basic tips to make sure that the golf simulator packages you purchase are as accurate as possible.
Are Golf Simulators Accurate?
Golf simulators are about 90% accurate on average. However, there are some golf simulators that have very accurate measurements and will be more than 95% accurate. For most amateur golfers, an accurate golf simulator would be one in the 94-98% accuracy range. PGA Tour Professionals may need something that is closer to 98-99% accurate.
The accuracy and numbers in a golf simulator is impacted by a wide range of factors, and these include the type of golf simulator technology, the launch monitor used, and the golf simulator software.
What Makes Golf Simulators More Accurate?
Golf simulator accuracy is not an accident. The golf simulator setup is extremely important, and the type of equipment you purchase will have a major impact on overall accuracy.
Some golf simulators will reflect the stats that you see in real life, and other indoor golf simulators will have stats like launch angle or swing speed that are just a bit off. Here are a few things that will determine the accuracy of your golf simulator.
Type of Launch Monitor
The launch monitor you use will directly impact the accuracy of a simulator. Something like TrackMan will be much more accurate than a tool like OptiShot. The better Launch monitors will have both ball flight and club path data, and that increases accuracy.
For a really excellent simulator experience, you will need more than just ball speed information. In fact, numbers and ball data like the angle of attack, spin, and shot shape will make the golf simulator experience that much better.
If you are trying to buy a basic level golf simulator in your home, make sure that the majority of the money you spend is on the Golf launch monitors and not other accessories. The simulator screen and golf simulation software are important, but nothing like the launch monitor.
Computer System Requirements
For an excellent indoor golf experience, you must have a computer with the recommended minimum space requirements, an updated graphics card, and, of course, a great projector. The high speed cameras and sensors will pick up the information from the golf launch monitor and transfer it through the computer system.
When you purchase a launch monitor, the computer system requirements will be clearly defined.
Setup of Golf Simulator and Sensors
One of the major issues that amateur golfers have with golf simulator accuracy is the way they set up their simulators. Sometimes a golf simulator enclosure does not have enough space. This leaves players standing too close to the launch monitor, and the results will not be accurate.
For an excellent simulator experience, you need plenty of space and room for the launch monitor to pick up your club head speed and other data parameters. In addition, the lighting in your golf simulator room can also have an impact on the overall accuracy.
A short throw projector is one of the more popular options for an indoor golf simulator. Although this part of the simulator will not record swing path or club face angle, it can help to correctly display it on the screen in front of you.
Indoor or Outdoor Golf Simulators
There is a wide range of golf simulators for sale on the market. Most golfers are looking for something to use indoors, but sometimes a portable simulator can also be a good option. Having a launch monitor that works both indoors and outdoors is great, but make sure you adjust and configure the launch monitor as you move it from one area to another.
The best Golf simulators will allow you to play golf in your home, and allows you to play courses from all over the World. You can play a few holes from a course in Scotland, and then play a hole in Myrtle Beach. You will have more fun by playing an interactive round from your location, while virtually playing challenging courses across the globe.
Golf simulators can be used to entertain guests at parties or corporate events.
Real Golf Balls vs. Practice Balls
Some golf simulators allow you to use a real ball, whereas a more affordable option may have a practice golf ball that is used. The problem with the practice golf ball is that it doesn’t get the same results from a golf hitting mat that you tend to get with a real ball.
From an accuracy standpoint, the Launch monitor that can measure a real golf ball is a much better choice for your simulator.
A Golf simulator can be used to practice various aspects of the game, including driving, approach shots, and putting.
Settings and Features
When you are hitting golf balls at a virtual driving range, did you ever think about how the wind or the temperature may impact the golf shots you are hitting? Sometimes, with the more accurate systems, you can do things like set the elevation or the humidity so that it matches what you are currently dealing with in your area.
For players that are used to playing golf courses in windy conditions or at higher elevations, this is a necessary feature to create incredible accuracy from the simulator.
How Accurate Are Golf Simulators for Distance?
Most of the time, golfers are looking for the most distance in their golf game. Whether you are struggling with approach shots or from the tee distance is a major concern for many players. Luckily, with an accurate golf simulator, the distance measurements are very good.
Golf simulators use sensors and software to track the trajectory of a golf ball and provide accurate feedback on the shot. One of the things to remember here is that to get an accurate distance, the ball after impact measurement is the most important factor.
This ball flight data combined with swing speed can easily calculate the total carry distance. Most golf simulators have distance accuracy of around 95% or more.
However, for the more expensive options that will offer you carry distance, roll distance, and total distance, you may have to pay a bit more. Trackman simulators are the gold standard in the industry, and their accuracy rates for distance are in the high 90s.
Do Golf Simulators Actually Work?
Golf simulators, when put together properly and used correctly, work really well. If you are looking for a golfing experience that is like playing on the golf course, the golf simulator is a great option to consider. Many players enjoy their golf simulator for rounds of golf with a friend but also for challenges on the driving range.
The primary issue that golfers have with golf simulators that do not work well is trying to put together a system that has cheaper components. To get an excellent golf simulator set up in your home, expect to spend over $5000. You will need a cinema quality projector, a high-end launch monitor, projector screen, golf enclosure, and even the software that allows you to play a variety of golf courses.
How accurate is SkyTrak?
SkyTrak is one of the more popular launch monitors for golf simulators. One of the reasons that SkyTrak has become so popular is that it has tremendous accuracy, but it is much more fairly priced than something like the Trackman or some of the launch monitors from Foresight sports.
SkyTrak claims to be 98% as accurate as Trackman. if we consider Trakman to have accuracy ratings close to 99%, then you can expect that SkyTrak is between 96 and 97% from an accuracy standpoint.
For golfers that are average players or even beginners, this is more than enough accuracy to have an immersive experience and positive results. For golfers that are aspiring professionals or trying to run a business with their SkyTrak, a bigger investment may be necessary.
If you are thinking about purchasing a SkyTrack, be sure to check out AEC Info‘s recent comparisons of Skytrak vs Trugolf, along with a recent post on the Skytrak vs the Garmin R10.
See our latest Bushnell Golf Simulator review here.
Are Golf Simulators Worth It?
A golf simulator is worth the investment when you spend enough money to purchase an accurate launch monitor. Golf simulators will have readings that are accurate when the launch monitor is of higher quality. With a higher quality golf simulator set up, the possibilities for your golf game are endless.
These golf simulators allow you to both practice and play, and they can be an excellent idea for those that are trying to get their family more involved in golf. Young golfers as well as old can work with a golf simulator to see some results for their game.
Think about what your goals are in the game of golf and how you plan to achieve them; this is when you will know if a golf simulator is worth it.
Are Golf Simulators Forgiving?
Golf simulators tend to be more forgiving than a traditional golf course. Sometimes golf courses have unfair bounces, or you end up in another player’s divot. The golf simulator will help you feel like you are playing a real golf course, but these types of things don’t always come into play.
In addition, the environment when you are playing golf on a simulator tends to be very controlled. Golf simulators can be used to play rounds of golf on famous courses from around the world, including a hole or two that you see in a tournament on TV.
On a golf course, there are distractions from wildlife, the golf cart, other players, etc. If your round of golf is a bit lower when using the simulator, don’t be alarmed about the accuracy of your simulator.
Often, this has nothing to do with accuracy and everything to do with the environment and the technology being as good as possible. After all, golf and simulator golf are two different things.
Is Accuracy Important With A Golf Simulator?
If you have seen any of these simulators in a box solution that sell for a few hundred dollars and claim to give you a real golf course experience, you may wonder what the point is of purchasing a high-end golf simulator. The thing is, accuracy with a golf simulator is very important, and it comes at a cost.
For golfers to truly be able to see how far their golf clubs are carrying the ball or whether or not their takeaway is impacting the spin they put on a ball, accuracy is critical. If you want a video game type experience, then you can purchase a cheap simulator.
However, if you want to feel like you play a course like Bethpage Black, Bulle Rock or Torrey Pines from the comfort of your home, a golf simulator with high levels of accuracy is worth it.
Be sure to check out our recent Review of the Top Golf Simulators from Touch of Modern.
Hopefully, you can see now that a good golf simulator is about 95% accurate or more. This tends to be enough accuracy for an average player to enjoy a round of golf and get similar results to what they would get when on the golf course.
Of course, a simulator will be a bit more forgiving because of the “rub of the green” that does not come into play unless you are outside. However, if you need a solution for playing and practicing away from the golf course, a golf simulator with great accuracy is essential.