Golf Simulator Experience: 500 Rounds Later


Have you ever dreamed of a golf simulator in your house?  Are you tired of the cold, long winters that keep you from the game you love?  Would you like to play golf as often as you want and not have to worry about weather conditions or time of day? 

I was in your position several years and ultimately made the decision to purchase a golf simulator and have an impressive setup in my garage. After much research I made my final decision and moved forward  I have now played over 500 rounds of simulator golf since July of 2017 and want to share my learning with you. 

You may be in the market for a golf simulator and currently have more questions than answers. At golfjourney365, we are here to help you and have many posts on golf simulators.  I want to take this opportunity to provide what I have learned and help answer the question some of you may be pondering – Was it worth it? Will I use it often enough? Should I spend the money?  Do I have the right space? The list of questions may go on and on and you might be surprised to find out the entry price level you can build your own golf simulator with.

To view all of our posts on golf simulators – Check Here.

My son using our SkyTrak Golf Simulator

Gone are the days of simulators costing 30-40 thousand dollars – Check Current Pricing on Golf Simulator Packages.  The technology has improved and the price has actually gone down.  

As a teenager that loved the game of golf in the 90s, I would often dream about being able to play golf year round and would watch the PGA Tour as they travelled from Hawaii, to Florida, to California during the winter months and envied those that played golf 12 months out of the year.  I would go on the occasional March trip just to get away and enjoy the game so many of us love.

Below I will reflect and provide answers to many of the questions that people have when exploring and making the decision of whether or not to buy a golf simulator. I asked many of these same questions and now 500 simulator rounds later have the answers and want to share with you.  It is a major decision, but a golf simulator is truly worth it! These include:

  1. Is it worth the money?
  2. Will I use if often enough?
  3. Should I spend the money?
  4. Do I have the right space?
  5. Will it help me improve my game?
  6. How realistic is a golf simulator?
  7. What are the negatives of a golf simulator?
  8. What vendor should I use?

Is a Golf Simulator Worth the Money?

Im my opinion – Yes, very much so!  I have now owned my golf simulator for 30 months and have played over 500 rounds of golf.  I have seen my scores improve, my levels of overall enjoyment with the game and ultimately my consistency.  Even more importantly, the stress relief the pure enjoyment from the game of golf makes my overall life better.  I have played many rounds with family and friends and have been able to spend time together doing what we love to do – play golf! 

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Le Golf National on the TGC Software – There are over 100,000 courses to play!

The weather is no longer a barrier to me and I find I use the simulator the most between November and March, but it still gets plenty of work even during the regular golf season here in Ohio.  I ended up setting my simulator up in my garage and have designed a pretty sweet setup. I ended up purchasing a SkyTrak System using the The Golf Club (TGC) Software and get to play courses like Pebble Beach, Augusta National, Le Golf National, Whistling Straits and Bay Hill – These are my favorite courses as of right now. 

They challenge my game and I have learned to hit different shape shots to work my way around these challenging courses. 500 rounds later – I think I have my monies worth. My current calculations show that I would be at about $14 per round at this point and that doesn’t take into account all of the times I was simply practicing on the auto rewind feature on the TGC Software.  This cost per round will continue to decrease in the coming years.

Will I Use My Golf Simulator Often?

I think the greater question is will you use it too much?  One of the additional benefits of a golf simulator is that it only takes 30 minutes to play 18 holes.  This has allowed me to play 500 rounds of golf in just 30 months. If I have an hour of time, I can get in two 18 hole rounds of golf on some of the greatest courses throughout the world. 

I also enjoy setting the TGC software on auto rewind and practicing shots from distances. You know how fun it is to play some of the most famous par 3s throughout the world on auto rewind?  So much fun! Plus you truly learn to hit crisp, clean shots and you and visualize what your ball is doing and learn to play the actual game, versus your typical practice of hitting shots at the driving range. 

At the end of the day, the ability to take 30 minutes and play 18 holes of golf at a top end course is difficult to beat. One of the barriers to playing traditional golf is always the amount of time it takes to play 18 holes.  Here in your comfort of your own home, you can play golf, enjoy and get better! What an amazing combination! I think my 500 rounds of golf helps answer this question. I am someone that works 50 hours a week, coaches my kids athletic teams and still finds a way to utilize my golf simulator.

Playing Island Par 3’s on the TGC Software on auto-rewind is a ton of fun!

Should I Spend the Money on a Golf Simulator?

Difficult question to answer, but did you know that you can build a golf simulator that costs anywhere between $1000-$7000 and at that high end range have a pretty stellar setup.  There are also multiple ways to finance a golf simulator that allows you to make monthly payments on it and some of the financing is actually quite reasonable.

The greatest cost of a golf simulator will be the “brains of the system”, which I selected the SkyTrak as my launch monitor.  You will also have expenses in the gaming computer to run the software, your enclosure and screen, hitting mat, and the projector. There are different options on the market, after much research, I ultimately selected the SkyTrak for multiple reasons. I can say this with 100% certainty after playing 500 rounds – I am glad I spent the money!

Do I Have the Right Space for a Golf Simulator?

The two most common areas are the basement and a garage.  I have taken over the 3rd bay of our attached garage (thankful for a supportive wife) and this space has been great.  When I was building my house, I wish I would have had a basement dug out deeper in one area, but I still enjoy my golf simulator in my garage. 

My current space is about 15 feet wide by over 25 feet deep. I hit anywhere from 7-8 feet from the screen and my ceiling is over 12 feet high. I am able to swing with confidence and not worry about hitting ceilings or side walls.  The minimum ceiling height would be 9 feet, which could be restrictive if you are taller and want to hit your driver. When researching my space, I cleared everything out the garage space and measured and swung a club to see if I had the right dimensions to make this possible.  

Will A Golf Simulator Help Me Improve My Game?

Golf is a highly skilled game that takes repetition with the right guidance.  I have studied the swing in great detail and have follow some of the best instructors in the world via youtube.  We have identified who our top 5 online golf instructors are. I went from shooting on average between 76-80 to lowering that average to between 72-76. 

I did enjoy several rounds in the 60s and overall my ball striking is so much better and consistent. After 500 rounds, I find myself having to scramble less on the course for pars as my number of greens in regulation has increased.  One of the greatest benefits is that early on in the golf season, you game is pretty much in midseason form. Or at the end of the year when you get that nice weather day in November or even December, your game doesn’t struggle because you have probably been playing several times a week or at least hitting balls on your golf simulator driving range or on auto rewind.

Recent Scorecard – SkyTrak + TGC Software = Amazing Simulator Experience!

I have also taken time to utilize my space for Golf Swing Speed Training through SuperSpeed Golf.  This truly dynamic approach will help you gain 5-8% as early as your first session. I have seen an increase in my swing speed and continue to train with SuperSpeed Golf.  The golf simulator space is a great place to complete the 5-10 minute protocol about every other day.  

Aren’t we all looking to gain more Speed and Distance in your swing. Two Options:

SuperSpeed Golf – Read our Full Review

Gain 30-40 yards in 30 Days – Swing Man Golf

How Realistic Is A Golf Simulator?

The full swing shots with the driver, 3 wood and all irons through the wedges is extremely realistic.  The only part that seems to be somewhat of a struggle is the putting. Honestly, I setup my TGC Software to skip the putting portion and take 2 putts if I am on the green or 1 putt if within 6 feet for pace of play purposes. 

If I have 1 hour to spend playing, I would prefer to hit as many shots as possible and play as many holes as possible during that time span. Some enjoy putting, but I would prefer hitting actual golf shots and find the results of the SkyTrak very realistic and similar to the shots in hit on the course.  The SkyTrak does have a 2-3 second delay and based on what I feel, I can often predict the outcome of my swing. This has helped me become more in tune with my swing and understand what certain feels result in as far as the outcome of the shots.

I know when I hit a good shot and when I hit a bad shot and the SkyTrak is typically spot on.  You don’t get away with bad shots and your good shots are rewarded. I battle the shot that overdraws in real life and on the golf simulator.

What Vendor Should I Use?

I would highly recommend Rain or Shine Golf. They have aggressive pricing and frequently have products on sale.  Their customer support is excellent and also have financing programs that allow you to pay off your simulator over so many months.  I greatly appreciate the one stop shopping that is available at Rain or Shine Golf. They sell the Optishot, SkyTrak and used GC2s. Their golf hitting mats are of high quality.

What are the Negatives of a Golf Simulator?

My biggest issue is that I just had to have all of my clubs re-gripped because the grips were worn down.  In all seriousness, I haven’t found any negatives. Over 30 months later and I have had zero issues with the products that I have purchased and don’t anticipate any in the near future.

Other Frequently Asked Questions about Golf Simulators?

And Finally…

As you can tell, after 500 rounds of simulator golf, I am a major fan of my SkyTrak, TGC Software and my complete setup.  It has been great to play as many rounds as I have and there have been so many benefits. Yes, it is a major decision, but I have zero regrets and truly enjoy and appreciate my golf simulator setup.  So are you ready? If you love golf as much as I do, you will love your simulator setup!

Check out our Recommend Products Page to see Golf Simulator related products and our recommendations.

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