In this article, the golf coach team at Tell Me More Golf delves into the workings of golf simulators. 

More and more golfers are either adding to their golf equipment collection by purchasing their own golf simulator or paying to use one elsewhere, but how do they work? 

What technology allows golf simulators to run and provide the data that they do? And what are the different compositions of a golf simulator? We look at all of this and more below. 

Basics Behind Golf Simulator Technology: How Do They Work?

Golf simulators operate as follows: there is typically a hitting mat in front of a net or a  screen. This is where you set up and strike your golf shot. In this area there will also be high-speed cameras, sensors or radars which capture the data of your golf club/golf swing and the resulting shot before transmitting this data to the golf simulator software, which in turn provides the player with feedback. 

In terms of the main technology behind home golf simulators, you have three primary types; photometric technology, radar technology and infrared technology. Some golf simulators are constructed using radar technology, while others use photometric, and some work on infrared technology…

it all depends on the manufacturer.


Different Simulator Technology Compared

Different golf simulators use different technology. Of course, some simulators operate in the same way, while nearly all produce similar final results, but there is a difference in the technology used between say a TrackMan and the Garmin Approach R10. 

For example, a golf simulator such as the Foresight Sports GC3, which in my opinion is one of the best golf simulators on the market, uses photometric technology, as does the SkyTrak Launch Monitor, while the Full Swing Golf Simulator, reportedly used by the one and only Tiger Woods, harnesses dual sensor and infrared sensor technology.

So, as mentioned above, you have three main technology types: 


This common type of golf simulator technology operates using a camera system to track the ball flight. When the golfer starts to hit the shot, several high-quality pictures are taken until the ball reaches the screen. These pictures are then analyzed by the software to provide a variety of feedback. In my personal experience, I have mainly used photometric simulators and find them to be excellent both in terms of usability and the feedback/data they provide. 


Radar golf simulator technology uses microwaves instead of camera shots to track the movement of the golf back. Using signals sent back and forth between the simulator and the ball, the radar technology can track what the ball does and then transmit this to the software which turns it into readable ball data. 


Another popular type of golf simulator technology, Infrared works by sending a light signal from the simulator, which then captures the position of the clubhead as it moves through the swing and hits the ball. Again, this allows the simulator to provide the golfer with a set of game-improvement related data and feedback. 

Different Compositions Of Golf Simulators

Not all golf simulators are the same, in that some are set up slightly differently. There are different golf simulator components, and not all golf simulators use the same components, which means that there are various golf simulator compositions. 

For example, a high-end commercial golf simulator uses a high impact screen.

The player hits the shot into the screen, which also acts as the backstop. The screen also shows where the shot goes. 

Many entry-level indoor golf simulator setups feature a simple golf net instead of a high impact screen. With this composition, you can’t see where the shots go beyond the net, but using the golf simulator software you’ll still be able to access the shot/swing data. 

Various different golf simulator compositions are made up of either all or most of the following components:

  • Golf Simulator Curtains – Having a curtain around your simulator ensures that you get the best image possible. It will also protect the surrounding areas from any mis-hits or stray golf balls.
  • Golf Simulator Software – This is the system that handles and processes the data of the golf swing/golf shot. 
  • Golf Simulator Projector – The golf simulator projector is what provides the image and allows you to see where you are hitting your golf shot. 
  • Golf Launch MonitorA launch monitor is what tracks how you hit the ball, from swing path, to ball strike, to movement, this is what allows you to end up with the final data. 
  • High Impact Screens – The high-impact screen will be where the projector displays the image, and it will also be where your golf ball ends up, acting as the backstop. 

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What Is The Purpose Of Golf Simulators?

Golf simulators are designed to allow golfers to practice in a virtually simulated golf environment. Using a variety of cameras and computerized technology, players can work on different areas of their golf game without actually getting out on the course. 

The essential purpose of a golf simulator is to measure different aspects of a golfer’s game before providing feedback which allows the player to improve.  

What Is Measured By A Golf Simulator?

Thanks to some really cool technology, golf simulators measure a variety of things such as swing speed, ball speed, launch angle, location of face strike, distance, carry, ball spin, apex and smash factor.


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!
Our golf instructor team brings it all to you, so enjoy!

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