Most golfers play the game for fun, but still want to play better golf and beat their buddies. Nobody wants to be the guy shooting over 100. One way to not only have the opportunity to get better, but to play 365 days a week is through a golf simulator. Some people will buy a golf simulator for pure entertainment, while others are in the market not only for the fun, but to improve their game and gain a competitive edge. When I was in the research stage, I wanted both the fun and game improvement.
Can a golf simulator improve my game? Yes, without a doubt you can improve your game with a golf simulator. One of the main struggles with golf is finding the time to practice daily. With a golf simulator, you are able to practice in your house or garage and reduce the travel time and daily cost to improve your game. A complete breakdown can be found below from my experience with over 300 rounds of simulator golf experience.
Our goal is to help you enjoy the game you love 365 days a year. Snow, rain, cold weather – nothing can stop you from playing if you have a golf simulator. I was able to reduce my average round of golf on traditional golf courses from 78 to 74 after owning a golf simulator for 6 months.
After a brief review of several key areas, find out the two main takeaways or aha moments that came from hours or practice and the analytics I now had access to. Below I will explain what I experienced as the keys to improving my game and how it can benefit you.
- Daily Practice
- Short Game
How Time Helped Me Improve My Golf Game
One of the major struggles for the majority of the people trying to improve their golf game is time. Let’s face it, the balance of work, family and fun can be a challenge. A typical round of golf takes four hours if you are lucky. This does not include the travel time to and from the course and a warm up period, which many people skip due to time constraints.
With a golf simulator in your own space, the travel time is reduced and one can play a ground of simulator golf in about one hour or less. Once one becomes proficient with using the software, the time is often less than one hour.
On average, with living in the northern part of the United States, I average around 30-50 rounds of golf annually. Over the past 18 months, I have played over 300 rounds of simulator golf and probably practice or play at least 25 days a month. As a result, my ball striking has improved significantly. A major benefit is when the weather breaks in April, my golf game is already strong from the many rounds and time spent practicing.
How Feedback and Analytics from Golf Simulator Software Helped Me Improve My Golf Game
I personally use the SkyTrak Golf launch monitor and The Golf Club (TGC) software. Within this software I am able to see ball speed, path angle, spin rates, launch angle, and spin axis. These four areas help me to monitor the ideal numbers.
I receive instant feedback on every shot that I hit. I can now feel a quality shot before I even see the results. This connection truly helps when out of the golf course and improves with the overall shot dispersion and quality contact. The Skytrak game improvement data as well as the in game TGC software data can allow to see what the data that you will ever need. Depending on the your level of sophistication with this data, you can dive as deep as you need.
I most enjoy the real time feedback on shots and as I try to make swing changes, not only can I see the result of the ball flight, but I can see the data that caused this ball flight.
How Daily Practice on a Golf Simulator Helped Improve My Golf Game
As a junior golfer, I often took the opportunity to practice daily for granted. Now as an adult the opportunity to practice daily is once again improving my game. The opportunity to take 20 minutes to practice 8 irons or 20 minutes to practice hitting a beautiful draw with the driver is helpful, plus when you add the instant feedback and analytics one can’t help to improve.
The one common statement that I hear from friends, “If I had more time I could be better at golf.” I agree with this as many people are restricted on the frequency of their practice.
How I improved my Driver and Irons through Golf Simulator Rounds
In the average four hour round of golf, the typical golfer hits 14 tee shots with the driver and the only feedback is the flight of the ball and the estimated distance that it travelled. Many additional opportunities are provided in a two hour golf simulator practice session or round.
I have gained additional length in my driver from being able to maximize my launch angle and spin rate through receiving the feedback on each and every shot and as I worked to improve my swing. I am currently able to work the ball both right to left and left to right with the driver and 3 woods to make hitting more fairways a possibility.
Irons where I have seen the biggest area of improvement. The shot dispersion of my irons has decreased significantly and I am able to hit the ball solid 95% of the time. The daily practice with irons has made me a better putter as I now have shorter putts as a result of the proximity to the hole.
The start line of the irons has been the biggest change as I am able to typically start the iron shot to the right and play a slight draw. This is a result of 1-3% right path that I have developed from the daily practice. The path is open to the target line and the club face is closed to the path resulting in a slight draw. One last area with the irons is the distance control has improved as well.
The feedback on the distance with each iron is pretty solid and allows you to narrow down the average distance you typically hit irons versus the maximum distance that many people rely on, which often leaves them short of the target consistently.
How I Improved My Short Game Through Golf Simulator Rounds and Practice
The overall effectiveness of chipping has improved from working on solid contact, which helps control the distances. When playing on the golf simulator, one can really dial in the feeling of a 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50 yard shot and calibrate that on the course.
With today’s GPS technology for distances on real courses or with the range finders, dialing in those distances as never been easier. The versatility within the short game has increased as well from the daily practice.
After playing a significant amount of golf as a junior and then transitioning to work life, I developed a minor case of the yips from a lack of confidence over the ball. Those yips are now gone from being able to build the confidence back up and be sure I am going to hit the ball crips 100% of the time.
What Happened with My Putting and Golf Simulator
This is one area that really hasn’t drastically improved as a result of simulator golf. While many play tournaments with putting on a golf simulator, I choose to turn on gimmies within a certain range to maximize my time hitting more full shots or chips.
The putting, while favorable to read greens on the software can be time consuming and slow up a round. I am now able to play a full 18 hole round of golf on my golf simulator in 30-40 minutes. There are various settings that allow one to take two putts anytime you hit the green or one putt within 4-6 feet.
These are my preferred preferences for setting up the game and as a result I have more time to hit full shots and have seen the benefits. Once you have a golf simulator, you will can make the decision after experiencing the putting.
The Problem With Traditional Lessons
The common advice when trying to improve your game is to seek help from your local PGA professional. While I agree wholeheartedly, I believe one of the major gaps in this advice is being to implement the swing changes that your coach is recommending.
People lack the time to put into their game and then often think that the PGA teaching pro lead them astray. One of the really cool things about youtube and golf nowadays is that everyone now has access to the many great instructors across the country. Many of the top PGA teaching pros will offer online lessons either through skype or something simulator or via recording your swing and allowing them to complete a swing analysis and prescribing drills that will help your game.
During my golf journey I have utilized several different instructors and have received a swing analysis. The first one I was Bobby Lopez at quickfixgolf.com and he was able to get me going in the right direction. There are also many quality instructors on youtube such as Mike Malaska, Monte Scheinblum, and Shawn Clement with many free videos or if you want to dive deep, they will provide lessons or deeper video instruction for a price. As you possibly begin your journey, I would advise finding a system that can work for you.
What Tips Would I Provide to Maximize Your Golf Simulator Improvement
Some of the latest research on what helps us actually improve at golf is the opportunity to actually play the game in settings where there are trees, water and sand traps around.
Often times, one might be tempted to stay there and hit shot after shot, however, the most effective way according to research is to play. Simulator golf is an awesome alternative for those that have limitations such as weather, time or money. Play frequently and hit as many shots during a round that you possibly can. The visualization that transfers to a course and the confidence from consistent ball striking can carry over.
Two Major Takeaways that Helped me Improve my Game with a Golf Simulator
Through the amount of data and instant feedback provided after every shot, I was able to analyze that my start line was too large of a variable. Through working on my path and reducing the overall amount of spin the ball, I have been able to find my sweet spot with a club path of around 3 degrees and a spin axis of around -3 to -12.
This produces a slight drawn that only occasionally crosses over the target line. Being able to reduce the miss left has helped me play golf versus playing golf swing. I am able to manage my way around a course. Also, ball speed is another major element. With consistent ball speed I am better able to control my distances, as a result I hit more greens. These two pieces of data, readily available through a golf simulator helped lower my scores.
Overall, the majority of golfers across the world love the game and play it for the enjoyment, camaraderie, and fun competitions that the game provides us all. The golf simulator has been a way to enjoy golf 365 days a year and not be held back by snow, rain or cold weather.
When trying to improve at anything from bowling, to archery, to basketball, one must practice and build skill as often as possible. When you combine the time with maximum feedback and data, one has the perfect recipe for improvement.
The opportunity to practice frequently and receive the instant feedback, while following some quality instructors online and utilizing their services one can and will get better. The amount of fun from the golf simulator with family and friends has brought additional enjoyment to life, while improving at the game I love.