Golf and the British weather aren't always easy bedfellows. There's a way around that: the best golf simulators for home. Those new to the whole golf simulator lark will quickly realise two things; one, there’s a heck of a lot to think about and two, really, really good ones cost a bomb. But they’re totally worth it if you’re looking to hone the skills to bring about that glorious day when you captain your local golf club to victory in the… golf cup. Yup.
How to buy the best home golf simulator
Before you even think about buying a golf simulator, you’ll need to consider the space that you have to play with. As a generalised and by no means definitive outlook, you’ll need at least 8ft of space from floor to ceiling to allow ample room for your less 'controlled' swings.
You typically require a foot of space between the wall and screen and there should be roughly 8ft from the screen and the tee.
In other words, a fairly substantial lounge.
You’ll also need to consider the amount you’re looking to spend on a home golf simulator, too. Cheapies, under the £500 mark, tend to focus data collection on either the physics of your ball or your club, but not both. The data collected probably isn’t going to be the most accurate either, so cheap ones are more for fun than honing any particular skill.
Simulators above £500 offer a little more data output, and are probably good for novices and intermediates looking to perfect their swing. P3 ProSwing Golf Simulator, for example, is marketed under £1,000 and offers input such as club head face angle, swing tempo and ball speed.
You could be looking to go as far as £5,000 for a top-notch simulator. Models such as the Ernest Sports ES16 focus in on all the details, so you can really work on your technique.
Typically, the simulator is only one part of the system, so when you’re figuring out the numbers, you’ll also need to consider the cost of a simulator mat, a laptop or computer, and most likely a projector and impact screen. It’s always a good idea to purchase some netting just in case the occasional shot happens to go awol, too.
Amazon is hardly a golf specialist, but it is the place to go to get all of your golf simulator equipment at the best price.
Best golf simulators, in order
If you hesitated at the thought of spending nearly £4500 on a golf simulator/launch monitor, this number by SkyTrack could be the next best thing. So it doesn’t analyse as much data as our first pick, but thanks to its high-speed photography technology, it can process mucho ball flight data to give you an accurate impression on your impact screen.
There’s an unlimited number of courses on the software, so you’ll never run out of original scenery to practice on and there’s a range of packages that you can download, including the Game Improvement Package, which includes Longest Drive Contest and Closest to the Pin contest for motivating practice sessions.
When you’re looking to spend less than £500 on a golf simulator, this one isn’t half bad and actually, you don’t necessarily need to fork out on a projector and impact screen either, as long as you’re happy playing with foam balls. Up to 4 players can enjoy a round of golf from the comfort of your living room, and with basic analysis for both ball flight and swing, there’s enough data for healthy competition.
There are 15 world famous courses to enjoy, and graphics are pretty good compared to other golf simulators too – all in all, potentially a great alternative to soggy rounds of golf.
Simple to set up, all you need to do is download the software onto your laptop, place a net in your living room to catch the ball and place the sensors on your clubs of choice. Although more expensive than the OptiShot 2 Golf Simulator, the quality of graphics is pretty awesome, with experts saying the resolution runs as high as 4K.
There’s up to 15 courses to choose from, ranging from beginner to expert, and with the option to go multiplayer, it’s an excuse to get your friends over for a couple of rounds when the weather is rubbish.
As a launch monitor and golf simulator in one, those looking to receive an accurate insight into both their swing and flight of the ball should look as this product from Ernest Sports. Featuring a Quad Doppler Radar and Dual Photometrics Cameras, you can expect an accurate insight into data as detailed as vertical and horizontal launch angle, apex height, smash factor and dynamic loft.
As a simulator, you can play 18 holes across 10,000 courses, giving you plenty of opportunity to perfect your skills in time for your next match.
If you’re looking for a decent home golf simulator that won’t break the bank, this one could be just the ticket. In addition to providing full swing analysis and some ball flight analysis, it has 140 courses built in so you can improve on your skills as you work your way through.
With the option for up to 8 people to play, this simulator has an advantage over our first pick, making it a good choice if you’re looking to mix fun with serious practice. While the technology it uses isn’t as accurate as the Ernest Sports ES16 Tour Launch Monitor, there’s the option to practice on the course, the putting green and the driving range, so you can improve every area of your game.