Using technology at home to improve your golf swing through additional practice is becoming fairly popular throughout the golfing population. With so many different tech products on the market, from simulators to GPS shot trackers, it can become a minefield working out what to buy. I hope this introduction will give you a quick overview to ensure you look in the right place.
Home Golf Studio
The first thing to consider before spending any money is the level at which you intend to go. Are you going to buy top of the range equipment and have the room space to build a permanent golf studio with simulator and projector? Or, are you planning on buying a budget simulator to use now and then for a bit of entertainment. One important thing to note is the lack of functionality that lower cost simulators have in that they use infra-red to track the golf swing and therefore DO NOT work outdoors.
Entry level devices will need to be used indoors and due to their fiddly setup it is always better if you leave them setup for ease of use each time you want to practice. Initial setup requires sensor calibration which can be a pain to do all the time. If you live in a smaller house you might want to consider the garage as a good place to set everything up! The garage makes sense as they often come with a higher clearance if you can setup to swing in between the roofing beams.
Lighting is vital as most devices are fairly sensitive and do not respond well if the room is lit too brightly. The reverse is also a factor in that minimal light will cause the sensors to lose track of the club head during the swing. Getting the light right is a bit fiddly but it very much depends on the individual home and product you are using.
Computer and Display
Although almost any modern PC will do the trick it is worth thinking about decent graphics capability when selecting a machine to use. Most golf simulators don’t require that much processing power to operate but the more power the smoother the graphics and overall experience. Video cards for PC’s are not that expensive today and I would recommend this as the one area to invest in your hardware.
Displays come down to personal preference and you can really use anything from a 14″ laptop screen through to a wall size projector. Projectors give you the most realistic feel but are expensive and require space to setup. If you decide to go with a projector you will need to think about the screen as it will need to be able to withstand the impact from golf balls. There are special strengthened screen products available for this or you could use a normal catch net – this would reduce the visuals and the overall experience.
All the simulators I have used (and it’s a lot!) allow you to select between real golf balls, plastic balls or if you want to just swing to groove in changes you can use them without any ball! Using golf balls in the home can be dangerous so make sure you have thought out everything carefully before you start smashing golf balls!
Golf Simulators are a great investment if you are looking to work that little bit harder on your golf swing without needing to spend a lot of time at the range. Models like the Optishot 2 are affordable and offer loads of features to enhance your practice time. If you live in colder regions then winter can mess up your rhythm, and become depressing if you can’t get out on the course – a simulator could just be the perfect answer!
As more products become commercially available we will spend time reviewing and bringing you honest assessments so you can make the best decision possible.
If you have any questions or comments then please use the contact form.