If you’re looking to elevate your game or simply looking to have some fun at home hitting shots, you’ve come to the right spot. Golf Simulators have been some of the most popular toys for us golfers to enjoy the game away from the course. Just think of it as a life-sized video game where you can swing all your clubs, hit actual shots and simulate on a golf course or driving range! If you desire to install one at home, you can literally roll out of bed and straight to your own simulator for some golf fun. What a way to live.
Golf Simulators can be quite convenient to have. They are popular in the winter for folks living in the part of the world when golf is not year-round. They are also popping up in sports bars, golf clubs during the off season and even your neighbor’s backyard or basement. Of course, they do take up a bit of space so if you want one at your house, you’ll need to plan for some real estate. More on that in a bit.
Technology has also evolved plenty in the great game of golf and simulators have come a long way as well. We encourage you to read our other articles, but you’ll notice there are plenty other gadgets for players to use to analyze and help their game. Simulators serve the same purpose. Golf simulators can help track most stats, simulate plenty of golf courses and also provide visuals for how your shots are shaping! There are plenty of other features as well, but note that simulators are pieced together with a combination of hardware and computer software. The technology is amazing and there are plenty of options to choose from.
In this article, we will walk you through the best golf simulators available on market and provide you with some helpful information in your decision making. Before diving into the different products, we’ll go through what exactly is a golf simulator, how they work and what to look for.
Best Overall Golf Simulator
TruGolf Vista Simulator
Best Golf Simulator
One of our top rated golf simulators for 2021, it combines super realistic graphics with an accurate statistics and software tracking!
Best Budget Golf Simulator
SkyTrak Game Improvement Package
Best Golf Simulator for the Money
With a smaller footprint, this is an option that the majority of people can make work for their home or garage!
Best Mobile Launch Monitor
Top Rated Mobile Launch Monitor
If you are looking to spend some serious time at the range and want feedback on ballspeed, swing speed, etc this is the perfect gadget to improve your game!
Best Golf Simulator
A top-tier golf simulator that checks every box including amazing graphics, tons of courses to choose from, and excellent stat tracking accuracy
SkyTrak Game Improvement
Best Budget Golf Simulator
A perfect option for people looking to cut down on the footprint of their golf simulator due to lack of space
Best Mobile Launch Monitor
The best option if your looking for something totally portable that you can use on the course or the range to improve your game!
Our Research and Findings
Review of the Best Golf Simulators for 2021
Table of Contents
- 1 Review of the Best Golf Simulators for 2021
- 2 Buying Guide for Golf Simulators
- 3 Wrapping Up The Best Golf Simulators
1. TruGolf Vista
Best Overall Golf Simulator
- Great software allowing games and head-to-head matches to be played
- TruTrack2 is one of the most sophisticated launch monitors available
- Portability and easy to assemble
- Other simulators on market have better graphics
- Artificial turf is not the most durable and require replacement
If you’re looking for a home simulator that is relatively portable and easy to put together then the TruGolf simulators may be the best choice for you. The Vista Series from TruGolf offer three different sizes in simulators depending on your desires and how much room you have to spare in your house. We like how flexible this is for the average golfer as other simulators can become quite bulky.
Each of the offerings come with essentially the same components and features, however the larger simulators are equipped with the better 1080p graphics projector versus the 720p for the smaller sizes. The all come equipped with the TruTrack2 launch monitor for collecting all the essential data from your golf shots. Paired with the E6Golf software, the simulation is one of the more realistic experiences you’ll find! The software gives you all the data collection abilities you require. It is programmed with a physics-based model for accurately calculating your ball flights. More entertaining features include skill challenges and the ability to play head to head with friends in real time.
Structurally speaking, the Vista simulators are made of a sturdy yet light-weight aluminum frame with a durable screen able to withstand fast ball speeds. The hitting mat is also quite enjoyable as it mimics real turf quite closely. Given the easy setup, portability and highly advanced software of the Vista simulators, they get our vote for the best overall golf simulator! In terms of price they fall in the middle of the pack and TruGolf even offers monthly payment options for more flexibility. The Vista can be a great addition to your home and golf game.
2. SkyTrak Game Improvement
Best Budget Golf Simulator
- Friendly on the wallet
- Top-quality launch monitor and data tracking
- Portable, easy to use
- Wireless connection to your computer
- Still require netting if used at home
- Visuals are a lot smaller given connection to PCs
If you like the SkyTrak products as much as we do, but don’t have the real estate or the budget to put in a full-scale indoor screen / mat, we recommend trying out SkyTrak’s Game Improvement Package. SkyTrak offers other packages as well, but this includes their Game Improvement Plan designed to keep you on track to achieving your goals.
How is this beneficial? This package comes standard with the SkyTrak Launch Monitor and associated software. You can connect it to your iPad, Laptop or PC at home and still be able to hit shots and see your results on your personal computer! Only difference is you don’t need to deal with having a massive screen or hitting bay at home, which make up a large cost of some other simulator setups.
With one of these packages, you can bring the Launch Monitor with you to the course, a friend’s house or in the backyard with a mat / net setup and still hit shots and play simulated courses. Portability and mobility are couple of the main value-adds here. As mentioned before, this system is wireless so you’re able to play with the monitor anywhere you want. Also, the experts at SkyTrak have crafted the Game Improvement plan for the package that includes training exercises, target practices, skills contests and assessment tools designed to bring your game to the next level! We think this package is great value and you may be able to shave many strokes off your scores.
3. Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor
Best Mobile Launch Monitor
- Likely offers the most accurate stats compared to other monitors
- Portable and easy to set up
- Ability to store data and track your stats
- Visual charts and swing analysis features included
- Still requires netting to be set up at home
- Only available for iOS devices
If you’re mainly looking for accurate stats and data recording of your golf shots, the top choice is probably the Mobile Launch Monitor from Rapsodo. This launch monitor is actually very portable so they are sometimes referred to as Portable Launch Monitors (PLM). The Rapsodo is easy to use and very affordable. It is mainly a Launch monitor that hooks up to your phone so it’s mainly for using on the driving range. However, with recent advances, if you have a net or screen set up at home, you can now practice with your Rapsodo in your house and still record the data you require.
The Rapsodo records essentially all the golf shot stats that are measured. It will also show you your shot dispersion and trajectories so you can see how tight your shots are. Another little gem is the Shot Tracer technology that is equipped with the Rapsodo. This gives players multiple perspectives on their shot shape and how it flies. Combined with all the other stats it records, this package provides everything a player requires to improve their game.
One thing to note is the Rapsodo is only compatible with iOS devices, so ensure your phone or computer can handle the app. There are no course features included, but the Rapsodo software can be combined with other software allowing you to play simulation courses at home. We like how the Rapsodo is set up and how easy it is to adapt to your phone or iPad. It is no surprise to us that this launch monitor is named the official launch monitor of Golf Digest.
4. Foresight Sports Golf Simulator
Best Golf Simulator for Course Variety
- Amazing graphics
- Equipped with one of the best launch monitors on market
- Software is easy to navigate and use
- Durable screens
- Expensive. Costs will be in the 5-figures range depending on your specifications
- Can take up a large amount of space
- Side walls for additional protection are extra
We kick off our reviews highlighting a real treasure, the Foresight Sports Golf Simulators. This is a premium level simulator that has it all – great graphics, spacious setup, FSX 2020 software loaded with hundreds of worldwide courses, and the reliable GC2 or GCQuad launch monitors!
Foresight Sports is customer experience focused and tailors the simulator specifically for each golfer. They actually give the customer multiple options towards building the simulators. Foresight sports takes clear note of the spatial and architectural limitations your house or garage may have. They offer various options such as having side walls or not, flat screens versus curved screens, type of artificial turf, GCQuad or GCHawk launch monitor, regular or premium projects and many more. You, the player, get to design the simulator the is best for you and your journey towards game improvement.
Perhaps the best feature is the FSX 2020 software. It is loaded with hundreds of the most realistic simulations of golf courses any simulator has to offer. You can play some of the world’s most famous courses. You can even hone your skills on the driving range feature and see every single important statistic or parameter that describe each shot.
5. OptiShot BallFlight Studio
Best Golf Simulator for the Money
- All in one package that is easy to assemble
- Good quality mat, feels like the real turf
- Great graphics and sharp colors
- Reasonably priced all things considered
- Software does not include as many courses as other simulators
- Poles for supporting the screen are sold separately
Another great choice of a home golf simulator is the OptiShot BallFlight Studio. It has all the important ingredients that should help any golfer improve during the off season. Perhaps the best part with the OptiShot is players don’t need to break the bank to get their hands on this simulator. It is a good quality simulator offered at under the 5-figures range.
The BallFlight Studio is quite the flexible product. It takes up a bit less real estate than most other fully-loaded home golf simulators. They are packaged quite well and can be set up in your garage, basement or living room. You just need to make sure the ceiling is high enough for your swing arc. The BallFlight Studio simulator comes with Optishot’s BallFlight Launch Monitor, which is one of the most reliable launch monitors in the business! It collects all the data you need and is quite accurate. Also included in the package is the BallFlight software with multiple courses and driving range features included. The OptiShot Golf Mat (5’ by 4’) is included as well and is specially designed to feel as close to real turf as possible. The screen and HD projector are included as well.
The Studio Bay spans 8’ by 8’ so it doesn’t take up too much space. The projector offers a varying range of up 196.7” diagonal so players have the option of changing how the image is displayed. We believe the OptiShot BallFlight Simulator is an excellent selection for all golfers! Your journey towards being a better player could start with having this product in your house.
6. SkyGolf Skytrak Launch Monitor with SIG12 Simulator
Best Golf Launch Monitor / Simulator Combo
- High definition images
- All the stats and data you need to study your game and shots
- Screens are durable and can withstand up to 250mph ball speeds
- Wireless set up is convenient
- Overall priced on the higher end
- Additional costs required if you want to store additional data from your practice history
If you’ve enjoyed SkyGolf products such as their GPS systems, then you may love their simulator. The team at SkyGolf have developed the Skytrak Launch Monitor, which is one of the most sophisticated simulators offered on the market. Gone are the days of letting your game rust during the winter, having the Skytrak in your house will keep you sharp and mastering your game.
Packed with plenty of technology, the Skytrak launch monitor captures every detail of your shots’ data and provides an entertaining experience for all golfers. Skytrak uses something called photometric technology. It is designed with multiple high-speed cameras that collects information from your shots immediately after impact. These cameras also translate data to calculate shot shapes and distances. The system allows players to store data for as long as they please. It is entirely connected through wi-fi so there is no need to deal with sprawling messy cables. In terms of measurement, the Skytrak is accurate to within 1 mph of ball and swing speeds and 250rpm of backspins and sidespins. The launch monitor itself is very portable such that you can bring it anywhere you please, on the driving range or even on the actual course while you play.
Onto the home simulation setup itself, through Skygolf you can purchase the hitting mats and screens (such as the SIG12 Golf Simulator Enclosure) with the options of adding nets as well as warranties. Through different packages, players can receive different amounts of course simulations to play as well as cloud data storage plans to maintain their performance and track their improvement. Once nice aspect is the that the high-definition projector is floor mounted instead of hanging from the ceiling. This makes it easier to handle and move around.
7. Trackman Golf Simulator
Best Golf Simulator for Professionals
This wouldn’t be a complete article without the mention of the Trackman Golf Simulator. Trackman is the premier name in golf simulations and launch monitors. It was certainly one of the first names to the game and continues to be a popular name. Although it is likely the most expensive simulator you can buy, it is quite popular not only in homes but also in commercial places such as bars, warehouses and even training facilities. The Trackman simulator is basically a golfers’ dream if there is no real golf to be played in the off-season.
There are plenty of components and features that come with this product. The TrackMan launch monitor comes standard, along with the virtual golf software complete with dozens of golf courses. A high-definition Lumen projector as well as artificial turfs and hitting mats are included. This pack of goods is capable of recording any stat you want about your golf game with a high level of accuracy.
The TrackMan does take up a bit of real estate so if you’re sold on this simulator, ensure you have a 10’ by 10’ by 15’ area in your residence for this toy. As mentioned above, this entire package is expensive, but it comes with everything you need. You can track and save all the stats and data you require to improve your game. If you find yourself using this simulator almost every day for training, practice or entertainment with friends this is definitely worth the investment!
8. PhiGolf Home Simulator WGT
Best Virtual Golf Simulator
For a bit of variety, we introduce the PhiGolf Home Golf Simulator WGT. This product is different than a traditional simulator and is more like a video game because you don’t hit actual golf balls into a screen with your clubs. The PhiGolf package comes with a swing stick that is equipped with 3D sensors that project your swing on a screen in real time.
The PhiGolf product is different, however the technology within the swing stick and sensors help achieve the same goal of improving your swing and your game. The sensors pick up loads of data from your swing and translates it to how your golf shots turn out. This is connected to an app that displays on your tablet or big screen TV at home along with an avatar that mimics your swing on the screen. You’ll be able to play some championship courses around the world and see how you do on those tough tracks.
It is important to note, that the PhiGolf simulator won’t give you the most accurate stats on your tee balls and approach shots. An actual launch monitor and screen set up would be better for that. However, this simulator is a lot of fun to play with friends and the swing stick is actually a great tool to hone the mechanics of your swing. If you’re not wanting to spend large amounts of money on high end simulators and launch monitors, the PhiGolf simulator is a great alternative to explore.
9. FlightScope Mevo+
Top Launch Monitor endorsed by PGA Golfers
We round out our article with a review on the FlightScope Mevo+. This is essentially just a launch monitor, but FlightScope offers packages where you can purchase a mat and hitting nets to piece together your own wholesome simulator. What differentiates the Mevo+ with the rest is the additional data it records. Touring pros like Bubba Watson and Bryson Dechambeau, couple of the most entertaining players on tour, vouch for this product.
The Mevo+ compared to the Mevo records a lot more data parameters, some you may have never heard of before. These may include, roll distance, spin axis, horizontal launch angle, etc. Not the most common parameters, but if these help you improve your game, this may be the right product for you. What we also like is the portability of the launch monitor. It is a hand-held device that you can bring anywhere you please. It is easy to connect through an app with your phone and tablet to see how your shots are turning out. We like how the app and software gives players multiple perspectives of their shot shapes. You can view from above, at ground level or any angle you please. All the stats are made available right in front of you so you have as much information as possible to hone your game.
Buying Guide for Golf Simulators
Parts of Golf Simulators
In our post we will focus mainly on home golf simulators but will also detail some portable simulators as well. What exactly is a home golf simulator?
A home golf simulator basically lets you play and practice at home without having to go to an actual driving range or golf course. It uses software, launch monitors, projectors and screens to record and simulator how your shots perform. You can literally make any kind of swing in a simulator. You can test your chipping touch, or try to beat your longest drive. Golf simulators can take up a fair amount of space so if you’re installing one, ensure your house can fit one!
Golf simulators can make you feel as if you’re at an actual golf club. It is almost as good as the real thing, but one of the best things is it tells you exactly how far you hit your shots and give you detailed stats on every single shot you hit. If you’re a numbers guy/gal, this is for you. Simulators give you instant feedback that can go a long way to help you improve your game. Below, we go through the main components that go into a home golf simulator.
Golf Launch Monitor
A key component of a golf simulator is the launch monitor. Basically, it records all the essential data for your golf shots. These parameters are mainly ball speed, clubhead speed, spin, smash factor, ball-clubface impact. This data is then sent to the computer’s software for development.
Golf Simulator Software
Once you’ve hit your shot, the software takes the data from the launch monitor and interprets / translates the data to an actual shot shape. Or at least and approximation of it. A home golf simulator is typically equipped with a computer and the necessary software to calculate how your shots turn out (as close to reality). Overall, simulators are quite accurate, but of course a simulation is only as good as it’s inputs.
Golf Simulator Projector / Screen
When the computer software has done its thing and made the necessary calculations, the information is sent to the projector where you will see the fruits of your labor. Much like a home movie theater, the projector displays from a player’s point of view the simulation image of the golf course and the shot you just hit. Typically, after you hit your shot, the camera angle follows the golf ball in the air as if you are physically tracking it. This is a fun visual to have. Once the ball lands, the computer then displays the stats of your golf shot on the screen. Most golf simulator software has this feature. If you are finished playing or practicing you can review the stats on all your shots and even download them for yourself.
Golf Simulator Mat
Simulators come with a mat for hitting the ball. Mats for some upscale simulators can be made of synthetic grass, which is designed to feel as if you’re hitting off real turf on the golf course.
Golf Simulator Net / Screen
The screen collects your golf shots after you hit. Some simulators are equipped with a net in addition to the screen. Be mindful that the screen’s material can deteriorate over time the more shots you hit.
Things to Consider before buying a Golf Simulator
You can already gather that putting in a home golf simulator requires some work and commitment. Purchasing one is no easy decision either as you will have you budget for one. Simulators are a bit of a puzzle that require different components to be pieced together. Below, we drop some key factors to consider when purchasing your home simulator.
Financially, a golf simulator can be a big decision for the household. Depending on the quality of the technology and features you’d like to purchase, the price ranges from several thousand to the five figures territory. In our opinion, we would look at a golf simulator as a long-term investment. If you foresee yourself often using the simulator especially during the off-season, it can be worth the investment. Also, if the practice translates to positive results for your game on the course, then you’ll certainly be reaping that return on investment.
Referring to the components of the simulator described above, the costs of the pieces and technology changes depending on quality and functionality. Typically, the more features included, the higher the price. As an example, you may be able to source a cheaper screen or projector from other vendors that have a sale. You don’t necessarily need to buy new. For more budget flexibility, you may also have the option to make monthly payments instead of forking all that money up front.
Footprint / Available Space
Another important consideration before purchasing a golf simulator is the size. Fitting one into your home requires a decent amount of space. Normally, home golf simulators a placed in a garage, a backyard shack, or perhaps the basement if the ceiling is high enough. Simulators can be up to 12 feet wide and 12 feet high so you need to ensure there is enough space. On your backswing and follow-through, you certainly wouldn’t want the club to be hitting the ceiling or putting a hole in your walls.
If space in your house is limited, we’ll refer you to the portable simulators described in the selections below. These may not be as interactive or flashy from a visual perspective, but portable simulators still give you the stats you’d normally look for to study and improve your game. They can also be more convenient to use.
We all want to improve our golf game and a golf simulator can achieve that. However, a simulator won’t be much value if it isn’t calibrated and gives you misleading stats and information. It is important to keep in mind that simulators won’t exactly replicate how your shots turn out in reality, after all they are simply a computer model. They are only as good as what goes into them, and how well they are designed. However, some are more sophisticated (and therefore more expensive) than others and come close to the real thing.
The accuracy of simulators depends on the quantity and quality of data collected. Launch monitors are the key component of a simulator that dictates accuracy. Certain launch monitors have the ability to collect more information than others and can be quicker at doing so. We will go through those monitors below, but those units are likely going to generate more accurate and valuable results. If you’re looking to improve your game through using a simulator, you’ll likely put a lot of value and trust behind the numbers it spits out. Generally, if you want accurate numbers, expect to pay more money for that ability.
Before you make your purchase, ensure you test out the product to see if the data and results make sense to you. You may have to play around with the settings and configurations in the software. Make sure you understand how to calibrate and configure the software and launch monitor before using it. The simulator may not actually be inaccurate, but requires a bit of tuning.
Golf Courses Available
Part of the fun of owning a home golf simulator is the option to play many different courses. Some of the more sophisticated simulators have hundreds of courses loaded with many world-renowned tracks in the selection. These gems can be St. Andrews, Pebble Beach, Kapalua, Carnoustie, Oakmont, and many others. Having a plethora of courses to try out makes the experience of a golf simulator that much more enjoyable. You can bring your buddies and play rounds at your dream course, well at least a computer version of it. Nonetheless, it’s still better than nothing while you’re waiting out those cold winter days for the next golf season.
Simulators have the standard driving range function where you can practice your target shooting or try to out do your longest drive. However, we get that can get pretty old so having a variety of courses to play is a lot more fun. When playing courses, players have the ability to shift your aim, select different clubs to hit, and also read the essential stats for each shot so you know how you’re performing. Not surprisingly, simulator software can become more expensive the more courses that are included.
Features / Statistics
A good quality simulator will give players a combination of statistics that paint a firm picture of your golf shots. Every player wants to know how far they can hit the little white ball, so distance is probably the most popular stat golfers focus on. Other important stats simulators can collect for you include ball spin, clubhead speed, launch angle, attach angle, carry distance, and smash factor to name a few. Some of these may mean more than others. Experienced golfers will find a lot of value in tracking these numbers and use them as a guide to improve their game. Some simulator software will have the ability to save all your stats and let you download them. If you like taking a real dive, you can even pull them onto a spreadsheet and trend the numbers.
Lower priced simulators likely won’t track as many of statistics outside of distance, launch angle and maybe a couple others. Bottom line, you certainly get what you pay for. Fancier simulators with more sophisticated launch monitors may even include shot-tracer technology where it will paint the shot shape a certain color and track its entire flight in the air.
Wrapping Up The Best Golf Simulators
One of the biggest questions to answer before buying a golf simulator is, are they worth it? No doubt, there are many factors to consider before committing. Our thoughts are simple. If you are a serious golfer like we are, want to get better and have a considerably long off-season, then a simulator will be a worthwhile investment. Maybe you play in a league, or want to make a run at the club championship next year. Having a simulator can keep your swing sharp and fresh during the off-season. It allows you to work on technique during those winter months, which can go a long way in improving your game.
For another way to look at it, you spend the main season developing and progressing your game, and using the simulator during the off season can maintain that progress or further improve it. If you live and breath golf all year round, a simulator will certainly be a great investment that will pay dividends. Just picture yourself literally rolling out of bed and hopping right to your simulator in the comfort of your own home. Pretty great life-style right?!
We hope you’ve found our review of golf simulators helpful in your decision. There are plenty of options on the market but we feel the top picks are:
- Best Overall – TruGolf Vista Simulators
- Best Budget Choice – SkyTrak Game Improvement Package
- Best Mobile Launch Monitor – Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor
Thanks for reading our article about home golf simulators. Let us know if our tutorial has helped you in this space! Like this article? Feel free to leave a comment below.