Are Golf Simulators Accurate and Are They Worth It Is Answered by The Golf Experts at Tell Me More Golf
Are Golf Simulators Accurate and Are They Worth It Is Answered by The Golf Experts at Tell Me More Golf

In this article, the coaching team here at Tell Me More Golf looks at how accurate golf simulators are, plus we go through the benefits too. 

In the modern golfing world, golf simulators are becoming more and more popular. Gone are the days when you could only strike the ball on the range or on the course. With simulators, you can now play a full round, on several prestigious courses, from the comfort of your own home. 

Is a golf simulator just for show? Is it simply a fancy piece of equipment that lacks substance? Or does it offer value to the practicing golfer? 

How Accurate Is A Golf Simulator?

So how accurate are golf simulators? It’s generally accepted that most golf simulators are around 85-90% accurate, which means that what you do on the simulator shouldn’t be dramatically different from what you’re capable of out on the golf course. Some of the best golf simulators are 95%+ accurate.

The big question surrounding golf simulators is how accurate are they? It’s one thing to use this new-age golfing accessory and feel like you’re hitting the ball superbly, but does that translate to the course? 

What will a golf simulator tell you?

Well, it will measure swing speed, ball speed, launch angle, location of fact strike, distance, carry, ball spin, apex and smash factor. 

Right now, the Foresight GC Quad is considered to be one of the best golf simulators on the market, so much so that it is the simulator that most golf centers choose, while it is also a popular choice amongst professional golfers. 

Simulators like the Foresight GC Quad have the capabilities to measure a golf shot from four to 400 yards, while they are almost spot on in terms of accuracy, meaning that if it shows you hitting a shot 237 yards with the ball flight going slightly to the left, that’s essentially what you would’ve done had you hit the shot out on the golf course. 

With extreme accuracy comes a relatively hefty price-tag, though. The Foresight GC Quad currently costs $14,000, which sounds a lot, but compared to something like the TrackMan, which will set you back nearly $50,000, such a price holds up well. 

As touched on above, when using a high-end simulator, such as the Full Swing Pro Series, the SkyTrak Swingbay, or the Foresight GC Quad, players can see, with a high degree of accuracy, club head speed, club path, ball speed, angle of attack, launch angle, face angle, spin rate, carry distance and total distance.



Why Are Golf Simulators Accurate? 

Golf simulators tend to be accurate, at least the best ones do, because that is what they’re designed to do. They feature a whole host of technology such as high-speed cameras and optical sensors, which means that when it comes to providing golf swing data, their measurements are accurate. 

What happens is a golf simulator tracks the trajectory and flight path of the golf ball using sensors and thanks to some pretty nifty software, can give the user accurate feedback. 

Maximizing Golf Simulator Accuracy

If you’re planning on using a golf simulator at home, as many amateur golfers have started to do over the last few years, then there are a few things to keep in mind. 

Here’s what you can do to ensure that your golf simulator has maximum accuracy:

Type of Launch Monitor 

The accuracy of a golf simulator can vary, depending on the quality of the launch monitor. For example, a budget launch monitor may not hurt your wallet too much but it is likely to mean that your numbers will be less accurate than if you opt for the more pricey TrackMan launch monitor, which will help you to accurately track a variety of swing/ball data. 

The Correct Golf Simulator Setup 

Having your golf simulator set up in the correct manner is an essential part of obtaining the accuracy desired. 

If your home golf simulator is not set up correctly, then it won’t be able to provide a true reflection of your performance. In other words, the accuracy will be off. 

One major issue that amateur golfers face is a lack of space for their indoor golf simulators. If there isn’t enough space, you can end up either being cramped or standing too close to the monitor, which will impede accuracy. 

Golf simulators require plenty of room. Why? So that the launch monitor can correctly identify the club head speed. You also need to make sure that the golf simulator is being used in an area that is well lit, as poor lighting is something else that can prevent accuracy. 

A High Performance Computer System

If you’re buying a launch monitor, such as TrackMan, to create your very own golf simulator, then you’ll need a computer capable of handling it. 

Your system should have the space that the launch monitor requires, plus it will need to be using an up-to-date graphics card. A working projector of decent quality is imperative too. 

If you are purchasing a launch monitor, then you need to ensure that you check the system requirements. This way you’ll know if your computer has what it takes. 


Golf Simulator Benefits and Value

There are several benefits to using a golf simulator, some obvious, some less apparent. 

These are the benefits of using a golf simulator:

  1. Play golf in all weathers: This is particularly appealing if you live somewhere where the rain falls regularly. Golf simulators can be used indoors, while they allow players to play the layout of many courses, meaning that you can stay dry and get a round in even if it’s pouring down with rain. 
  2. Practice year round: Again, many golfers live in areas where the climate means that golf is only playable for a portion of the year. With a simulator you can drill your golf game and practice all year round. 
  3. Enhance practice: Practicing out on the course is an essential part of a golfer’s improvement journey, but practicing on a golf simulator is great too, as it allows you to gain insights from the data provided, which ultimately can make you a more rounded player when you return to playing real golf. 
  4. Play top courses: Many golf simulators allow you to tee it up at some of the best courses in the world, meaning that you can test your skills on holes that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to. Let’s face it, for most golfers, playing Augusta is just a pipe dream, but a simulator gets you that little bit closer to playing your dream round of golf. 

Good Value? 

The only problem with a golf simulator, such as the aforementioned TrackMan, is the price. For the latest model, you’re looking at the best part of $50,000, which sadly is beyond the budget of many, many amateur golfers. 

Fortunately, there are cheaper options, such as the Foresight GC Quad, which is arguably as good as TrackMan and is hugely popular. This golf simulator will cost you around $14,000, which though not cheap is definitely better than $50,000. 

If you are fortunate enough to have the necessary funds available, then the question is are you getting value for money? We’re talking big bucks, but a top-of-the-range golf simulator offers the amateur golfer lots of value, as it provides data that you would not get from practicing on the course or on a standard driving range, data that can be harnessed to aid player progression

If you don’t have a spare 50k lying around, and let’s face it, most amateur golfers don’t, fear not, as more and more driving ranges are installing golf simulators, as well as using TrackMan technology, so you can still get the benefits without having to pay out a hefty sum. 


Golf Simulator Technology 

There is some rather impressive golf simulator technology on the market right now. Below is a selection of popular golf simulators that feature up-to-date technology and golf simulator software. 

The Full Swing Simulator is hugely popular due to its dual sensor technology, while its Ion3 camera makes it one of the best simulators on the market. It also features over 80 courses, so there’s plenty of playing variation. 

TrackMan is widely considered as one of the best golf simulators, if not the best. It features dual radar technology and multiple camera sensors. As a result, the data is very accurate and informative, plus you can play 145 courses. 

The SkyTrak golf simulator doesn’t have the prestige of say a TrackMan, but it’s still very accurate, and is a fraction of the price. Many amateur golfers have opted for a SkyTrak, which through the addition of photometric technology features instant 3D shot analysis. 

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Are golf simulators worth it?

If you’re serious about improving as a golfer, then regularly spending time in a golf simulator can help you to achieve your goals, as it provides both swing improvement data and easy access to a range of training methods. 

Are golf simulators good practice?

Absolutely. Nothing will ever quite replace practicing out on the course, but unless you’re a pro or happen to be very wealthy, few players have the chance to get out on the course and practice in the way that they want, so golf simulators act as a great alternative. 

A golf simulator allows a golfer to practice all areas of their game. For instance, you can spend hours chipping into the green alone, which isn’t always viable on a real course or even on a practice green. 

How accurate are full swing simulators?

Full Swing Simulators are some of the most accurate golf simulators. They provide realistic insights, measuring ball flight without delay. This allows the user to see what they would do if they were hitting the ball out on the course. 

Do professionals use golf simulators?

Yes. Lots and lots of professional golfers, both on the PGA Tour and European Tour use golf simulators such as TrackMan. Using the simulator supplements the training that they do on the actual golf course.


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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