Can You Use Any Projector For a Golf Simulator? — (Throw Ratio and Throw Distance)

can you use any projector for a golf simulator is an article that shows you throw ration and throw distance from tell me more golf

Improving at golf is very challenging, especially in colder climates, where golf seasons can be way shorter than most golfers desire. One way to keep your game up while improving is by using a golf simulator at home. 

There are many ways to build your own golf simulator, and although a projector isn’t needed, it sure makes the golfing experience more rewarding and enjoyable. In this article, we will go over if regular projectors are sufficient and what qualities you should search for in your golf simulator projector investment.

can you use any projector for a golf simulator is an article that shows you throw ration and throw distance from tell me more golf

Can You Use a Regular Projector?

While a regular projector can work perfectly in a golf simulator, some things make the golf simulator stand out compared to a home theater. It can be hard to pick out a suitable projector because of the throw ratio:

which is the distance from projector to screen divided by the width of the image.

Because most projectors assume that you will be using the entire width of the native resolution, which you most likely won’t in a golf simulator at home, their throw ratios are misleading and need to be calculated differently. 


Most projectors use a 16:9 or higher aspect ratio. This is not the case for a golf simulator, as the screen height must be large enough to accommodate the ball flight while not being too wide to fit into the room

That’s why the aspect ratio usually ends up being 4:3, instead of 16:9.

However, you can adjust a 16:9 or 16:10 projector to a 4:3 aspect ratio plus letterboxing (when a wide screen projection shows on a non-widescreen surface). Then, depending on your computer and golf simulation software, there are different ways to do this

What gets a little complicated is that the throw ratio (the distance from projector to screen divided by the width of the image) on a 4:3 letterboxed image is different from the projector’s original spec. To figure out the throw ratio you need, the throw ratio formula needs to be modified to use the screen height instead of width. 

Finding and Using Throw Distance

We also need to use the throw distance, which is the distance from the projector to the impact screen. For a simulator, the best position for the projector is around 4 feet behind the tee, making the throw distance fairly easy to figure out. As every simulator is different, you need to measure this yourself to reach the next step.

Finding and Using Throw Ratio

To find the throw ratio you need, the following formula is used: 

  • Throw Ratio = Distance / (Aspect Ratio X Height)

This means that the result will not be the same on a 16:9 projector and a 16:10 projector. Instead, these are the results you can use:

  • 16:9 Aspect Ratio: Throw Ratio = 0.5625 X Distance / Height
  • 16:10 Aspect Ratio: Throw Ratio = 0.625 X Distance / Height

Results of What Projector You Can Use

After measuring the throw distance of your golf simulator and using the formulas given above, the result will most likely be that you need a projector with a short throw range – eliminating many standard candidates. If you found all of this a little bit confusing, there are plenty of online throw ratio tools you can use that help you find the perfect projector for your golf simulator.


Light Source – How Bright Should the Projector Be?

The brightness requirements for a projector in an indoor golf simulator are the same as any other projector in ambient light.

However, because you will be using a 4:3 aspect ratio and not the native 16:9 or 16:10, only a part of the total lumen output will be used.

That’s why only 75% of the lumen output is used on a 16:9 projector, so you need to multiply your brightness requirements by 1.33. On a 16:10 projector, you need to multiply it by 1.2 instead. 

We recommend getting a projector with no less than 2000 lumens, preferably over 3000, as that will give you the best possible experience.

Mount Type – How Should the Projector Be Mounted?

What mount type you should use depends on how you want to mount the projector. Because you will be using a short throw projector, it’s wise not to put the projector on a side cart since it will have a hard time squaring off the picture. 

The most popular and best place for your projector is right behind and above you. The projector should be far enough away that you have zero risk of hitting it with your golf club, but not too far so your swing casts a shadow on the screen. Any ceiling mount that fits your projector is fine, but make sure it’s compatible with your room and projector. 

What Connections Do I Need?

There are no special connections needed for a projector in a golf simulator. All newer projectors today have the required connections, but ensure that it has a video input connection that fits your computer, such as HDMI connectivity. 

What Projector Should I Get?

What projector you should get depends greatly on your circumstances, but here are three great alternatives of some of the best projectors for golf simulators to consider. Always check your needed throw ratio to ensure you don’t make a wrong purchase. 

  • Entry Level: LW500ST – LED Golf Simulator Projector Being under $800 – Throw Ratio: 0.72 – 0.87. 2000 ANSI lumens, and a native aspect ratio of 1280×800 resolution. This purchase makes sense for small rooms and impact screens around 10-12 feet wide with ambient light control.
  • Middle: TK700STi – 4K Lamp Golf Simulator Projector While Under $1,700 – this 0.9 – 1.08 throw ratio can fill up a 12-foot impact screen from 10 feet away. This 3000-lumen short throw 4k projector can be used in a medium-sized room with ambient light control and has great cinema-level color and versatility for the price.
  • Top-of-the-Line: LK936ST – 4K laser Golf Simulator Projector Under $5000 – a technologically advanced 4K Ultra HD 3840 x 2160 resolution and a 0.81 – 0.89 throw ratio that keeps golfer and club shadows off the screen is capped off with all the brightness and color accuracy you need to make a truly impressive rounding out of our recommendations. This projector can fill up a 16-foot impact screen from just 13 feet away and has zoom and lens shift to enable moving the mounting location off-center. All this without impacting the picture quality, which means it’ll look pretty realistic.

Why Do You Need a Projector for a Golf Simulator?

There are many golf simulator setups without a projector that only use a net instead. With a high-quality launch monitor like a SkyTrak, you can still get the data of your shot, but it won’t be even close to how immersive the experience is with a projector.

With a projector, you’re able to get all the data of your shot up on the screen, making it much easier to view. A projector also enables you to use golf simulation software, which combined with the launch monitor and a computer, can simulate the shot you just hit on whatever golf course you like.

FAQ Section

Can you use a regular projector screen golf simulator?

A regular projector screen is unsuitable for a golf simulator, as the screen must withstand hundreds of golf balls hitting it without breaking. That’s why an impact screen is most commonly used, which can absorb the golf ball without any damage no matter how hard you hit it.

What kind of projector do I need for a golf simulator?

To decide what projector you need for a golf simulator, you must consider your throw distance, throw ratio, and brightness requirements. Generally speaking, you will use a short throw range projector with 3000+ lumens for the best experience. Read more about this in the throw ratio and distance part earlier in the article.

Do you need a 4K projector for a golf simulator?

While a 4k projector will give you better resolution and a slightly more enjoyable experience, it’s not a very budget-friendly alternative, and the advantages will be pretty slim. Because a 4k projector is not made for an impact screen, the differences will be negligible. But if you want to build the best golf simulator possible, then go ahead and splurge on a 4k projector. 

What size screen do I need for a golf simulator?

The exact size for your impact screen is different depending on your room, but we recommend getting a screen around 9 feet wide and 7 feet high. This size will enable you to miss-hit shots and hit high ball flight wedges.

What size is a golf simulator screen?

Golf simulators use different sizes for the screens depending on where they are and what projector is used. If you use a 4:3 resolution, a 9 feet wide and 7 feet high screen is sufficient. If you instead want to have the highest quality with a 16:9 aspect ratio, your screen needs a minimum of 13.5 feet of width.

Conclusion: Research by

black tell me more golf compressed logo with mottled background information for golfers

Golf simulators are a great way to play and improve all year round, even in colder climates. They give you the chance to keep up your game while also improving it with all the valuable data you’re given.

Building a golf simulator can be challenging, and getting the right projector is crucial. Most home golf simulators will use a 4:3 aspect ratio and a short throw projector as a result, which is why most regular projectors aren’t viable. 

Thank you for reading this article from – your golf site for comparisons. 


Patrick Corley Tell Me More Golf Instructor and Coach
Patrick Corley
From a golf scholarship to a Southern California University, to a private golf coaching career and an instructor position at a nonprofit organization, I’m here to help you get better at golf! With my 50+ years of golf experience; I bring you Tell Me More Golf. A golf coaching website that helps your game with instructional golfing content that’s ultimately geared toward making you a better golfer and having more fun!
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