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. Building a golf simulator eliminates many of the barriers: cost, time, weather, feedback and overall access to quality courses.
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 1000 rounds of simulator golf experience.
Golf Simulator Improvement Chart – Over the Years
|# of Actual Rounds
|# of Simulator Rounds
10 Reasons Why A Golf Simulator Can Improve Your Game
- Game Like Reps
- Unlimited access to Driving Range and Golf Course
- Feedback and Data
- Ball Striking
- Challenging Courses
- Less Time Spent
- Auto Rewind Feature
- Distance with clubs
- Your own golf lab
- Eliminates rust
#1: Game Like Reps
While a driving range is not a bad setting to practice, nothing beats game like reps.
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.
With playing over 1000 rounds of simulator golf in 5 years, I have faced many different golf holes and have played the best courses in the world. It is hard to replicate this setting at the driving range or simply with a net in your garage.
Related: Golf Simulator vs Driving Range
#2: Unlimited access to Driving Range and Golf Course
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.
You now have a driving range and a golf course in your garage, basement or whatever location your simulator might be. Within 5 minutes you can be playing or practicing the 18th shot at Pebble Beach of the 17th hole par 3 at TPC Sawgrass. The access is unreal and helps the golfer get better!
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#3: Feedback and Data
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.
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#4: Ball Striking
The numbers of reps is amazing and your ball striking will improve.
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 traveled. Many additional opportunities are provided in a two hour golf simulator practice session or round.
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 clubface is closed to the path resulting in a slight draw. One last area with the irons is the distance control has improved as well.
#5: Challenging Courses
Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black, Whistling Straits and Royal St. Geroge are some of my go to courses. Nothing against the local public courses I play, but the challenge is not the same as playing some of the best and most challenging courses in the world. #18 at Pebble is great challenge as is the 17th hole part 3 at Whistling Straits. Plus it is a ton of fun to play the holes you have seen the professionals play hundreds of times!
#6: Less Time Spent
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.
I can play a round of simulator golf in 40 minutes. So on a weekend getting the equivalent of 4 rounds in can be done in 2.5 hours. I get to hit 4 times the amount of drivers, approach shots, etc. than I would playing outside. During the winter months I can really dial in my game and perfect my swing in less time.
#7: Auto Rewind Feature
Standing on the 12th hole at Augusta or hitting tee shots on the 18th hole at Bay Hill can really develop your game. The auto rewind feature allows you to take the driving range to the course and hit game like shots again and again if you are working on a specific part. I love the challenge of the 18th hole a Pebble Beach! Another favorite is the par 5 hole #6 at Pebble. The technology features bring the game to life on a golf simulator.
Related: How accurate are golf simulators?
#8: Distance with clubs
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. I have created a shot chart and I know within 1-2 yards how far I can hit each iron rather consistently!
#9: Your own golf lab
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.
#10: Eliminates rust
A major benefit is when the weather breaks in April, my golf game is already strong from the many rounds and time spent practicing. Recently, I played a round on January 1st and 2nd in 2023 and hit the ball fantastic. This wouldn’t have happened without the winter rounds I play on my golf simulator. I no longer have those rounds where it feels like I have never hit a golf bal before. The positive feel is there a high percentage of the time!
Can A Golf Simulator Improve My Game: Final Thoughts
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.