When I was researching golf simulators and debating if it was worth it, I asked myself this question many times. I just didn’t know if I wanted to spend the $5-7 thousand dollars (the amount I ended up spending). Three year later I have the answer.
So is a golf simulator worth it? YES! A golf simulator can provide many hours of entertainment and the opportunity to improve your golf game and reach new levels. In just 2.5 years I have decreased my average score from the between 77-85 to consistently shooting around par with the occasional round in the mid 70s. My new range is between 70-77.
This a major improvement when talking about scores already in the 70s. I believe that someone who shoots in the 80s, 90s or 100s can lower their score even more drastically and in a shorter amount of time. The amount of social time with family and friends in the golf simulator is difficult to beat! The winters in many parts of the world are not conducive to playing 12 months a year. While it is not the actual game of golf, it is pretty close and highly enjoyable. Serving as a great substitute to the real thing. You no longer have to worry about the rain, snow or cold weather running your round of golf. Plus, the number of top level courses you can gain access is truly incredible.
Here are my top 3 reasons why a golf simulator for your garage, basement or extra space is truly worth!
If you are a serious golfer and looking to lower your scores and strike the ball better, than a golf simulator is definitely worth it. You can now play 12 months out of the year and continuously improve your game. We are all striving to be more consistent and in order to get there we must put in the time to improve the ball striking and hit crisp shots a higher percentage of the time. The feedback you receive on each shot is truly remarkable and can be of great assistance in lowering your scores and improving your ball striking.
I have experienced better ball striking with driver, fairway woods, and irons and have experienced a better short game. Over the past 2.5 years, I have played over 300 rounds of golf on the simulator, which has also helped my course management and the mental side of the game.
When you match the opportunity to improve and play everyday with some quality instruction, the results can be impressive. The great thing about youtube and access to the world’s best instructors is that the information is out there on how to improve your swing. Get yourself a selfie stick, use your cell phone and chronicle the improvement of your golf swing. Or invest in some lessons and practice what you learn daily to improve your game. Trust me, the chances of becoming more consistent are very high.
Have some friends or family that love to play the game of golf as much as you? Then the golf simulator just might be right for you. What can be better than playing simulator golf in January in the midwestern part of the United States on a course like Pebble Beach? Yes, I realize the real thing, but let us be realistic and settle for simulator golf under these circumstances. Golf ulatimely is about the challenge and enjoying time with family and friends and simulator golf is another way to have both a challenge the quality time with those we want to be with.
My three young kids are all starting to play the game and we can have a blast playing some kid courses or some other alternative style courses. One great thing with kids is if they lose interest after 6 holes, non big deal. Head back into the main part of the house and carry on with your day. You are no longer stuck paying all these green fees only to have your kids lose interest halfway through.
Also, time spent with my father or some of my buddies has been priceless. We are all busy with work, kids, and the daily grind, but to have the opportunity to connect with friends or even take 20 minutes between work appointments to hit some balls is difficult to pass up on. Talk about a stress reliever! Being able to hit balls at anytime of day when you have the opportunity for 20-30 minutes in your simulator space is just simply amazing.
My top favorite courses on my SkyTrak Simulator are Pebble Beach, Magnolia National (Augusta National), Le Golf National, Firestone CC, St. Andrews and Arcadia Bluffs. While I have never played any of these courses in real life, playing on the simulator has been a blast and makes the experience that much better. I currently use the The Golf Club (TGC) on my SkyTrak and have over 100,000 courses to choose from. The genius part of TGC is that it has a course creator, which has allowed people to create many of the world’s top 100 courses and they are pretty darn realistic from what I see on TV and when I have had the opportunity to walk courses when watching the pros play.
Overall, it is a major investment, but if you are going to use it 4-7 days per week you will truly enjoy and appreciate the investment you put forth to make this dream a reality. I know I spent many winter days as a teenager dreaming about playing golf in the winter and having the opportunity to improve my game, now 20 years later, I have been able to build this opportunity for myself and my family. The courses, experience and game improvement opportunities all make it worth it! You won’t regret the decision!
Is it realistic?
I have found the SkyTrak Simulator system to be very realistic and game like. When you hit a good shot it is rewarded. When you hit a bad shot, it truly reads the shot. The SkyTrak has about a 2-3 second delay and many times after contact I can predict the shot. Talk about awesome feedback for your swing! It truly helps you improve because of the constant feedback you are receiving during a round. I seem to score a bit better on the simulator and I think this is mainly because I can get into a groove with hitting shots, since you don’t need to walk in between each shot and the elements such as heat and wind do not play as a big of a role either.
Which Simulator did you buy?
I ended up going with the SkyTrak system and I run TGC software on the SkyTrak. I also purchased a gaming computer, projector, enclosure and hitting mat to complete my system. If I were to do it all over again, I would make the same choices in products that I did. Everything has held up well and the simulator has been realistic. Back in the day, one could expect to pay between 50-70 thousand dollars for the quality and realistic nature of my current setup.
I built my simulator in the 3rd bay of a 3 car garage. I have about 15 feet in width, 20 feet in depth and a 12 foot ceiling. You will want to make sure you measure your space.
How much total money did it cost?
I was able to get everything (high quality) for around 7k. I could have cut corners on some of the purchases and come out at around 7k. Or we could have gone completely on the low end for around 1k with something like the optishot. A lot of the decisions come down to what you want out of your simulator. I wanted a realistic experience, with a realistic visual and provided a safe and secure area to hit. One that I could use for years, while improving my game and enjoying time with family and friends.
What golf instructor did you use to improve your game?
I have watched many of the free youtube videos from the many gurus that have put information forward. I believe that the best for beginner or advanced golfer is Shawn Clement. His amount of videos and easy to understand approach (target based golf) is refreshing and simple to follow and improve from an online perspective. Might there be better if you have weekly access to someone to work on different positions in your swing? Potentially, but Shawn is a positive, upbeat person who stresses the importance of free movement and setting your mind on the target.