There’s nothing worse than sitting idle as all the progress you made on the driving range and golf course over the summer slips away during the winter. But for many, this is the harsh reality they must face when winter rolls around.
But luckily, there is a solution – indoor golf simulators.
But before you jump the gun and purchase your own golf simulator, it’s important to first consider if you have enough space for it in your home.
So, how much space do you need for an indoor golf simulator?
In general, the room dimensions required for an indoor golf simulator are 8′ to 10′ high, 10′ to 15′ wide, and 12′ to 25′ long. These measurements will vary based on brand, type of simulator you select, and the unique body/swing types of each golfer.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at each individual room dimension to help you figure out how much space is needed for your golf simulator.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- What is an Indoor Golf Simulator?
- How Much Space Do You Need for an Indoor Golf Simulator?
- Benefits of an Indoor Golf Simulator
- Different Types of Indoor Golf Simulators
- What are the Different Components of a Golf Simulator?
- Other Considerations for Setting Up an Indoor Golf Simulator
- The Takeaway – How Much Space Is Needed for An Indoor Golf Simulator
What is an Indoor Golf Simulator?
An indoor golf simulator is the perfect way to work on your swing when conditions outside aren’t ideal, for example, during the winter or when it’s raining out.
It’s typically located in a small room with a large screen and a mat to swing on.
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You will swing just like you would if you were golfing at a course. Simulators use a ton of sensors and technology to emulate a true golf experience.
When you use a golf simulator, you hit the ball into the screen, sit back, and let the computers do the rest.
In most cases, the screen will display the shape of the shot as well as additional data like distance (carry and roll out), clubhead speed, launch angle, and much more.
How Much Space Do You Need for an Indoor Golf Simulator?
Now it’s time for the important question. How much space do you need for an indoor golf simulator?
The purpose of these systems is to make your golfing experience more comfortable. The last thing you want is a room that isn’t big enough for the simulator, so you feel cramped when you’re swinging.
As mentioned at the start of this article, the space requirements of an indoor golf simulator will vary from brand to brand, and depending on which type of simulator you choose (photometric, radar, infrared – more on those later).
Your individual swing and body type also come into play when making this decision. For example, taller golfers with more upright swings will obviously need more space compared to shorter players with flatter swings.
The overall range of recommended room dimensions for an indoor golf simulator starts at around 8′ high x 10′ wide x 12′ long and goes up to 10′ high x 15′ wide x 25′ long.
Let’s take a look at each specific dimension you’ll need to consider.
The ceiling height is one of the more critical dimensions when choosing a room for your indoor golf simulator.
Obviously, you won’t be sending golf balls 80 feet in the air because the safety net and hitting screen will grab the ball before they go that high.
The height requirement is more to make sure you have enough room to stand and swing comfortably without hitting the ceiling with your club. It also makes sure the equipment of the simulator has enough room to operate.
For example, if the projector is too low to the ground, the image of the golf course that appears on the screen might be distorted.
The suggested ceiling height for an indoor golf simulator is 10′ or more. For shorter golfers with flat swings, you might be able to get away with 9’ceilings. But as you start to approach 8′, you begin to really risk making contact with the ceiling and causing damage.
That being said, if you have a golf simulator, you’ll probably notice your friends and family will want to come over and test it out. That’s why it might be better to put your simulator in the tallest room possible, just in case taller people will be using it.
Aside from ceiling height, watch out for things like light fixtures or smoke detectors attached to the ceiling as well.
Finally, before you decide on which room to put your simulator in, it’s a good idea to stand in the perspective room and carefully take a few swings with your longest club.
This will let you know if you have enough clearance and if the particular room is the right fit for your simulator. You might also want to stand on something that’s roughly as thick as the hitting pad you’ll be using.
Next up is the width of your room. It needs to be large enough so you can comfortably swing. Additionally, you want to make sure there’s enough room for error if you mess up on a swing and hit the dreaded “shank.”
The ideal room-width for a golf simulator is least 12′ wide or more, however, 10′ might suffice in some cases.
If this simulator will be shared with left-handed and right-handed golfers, you need even more wiggle room.
Obviously, the more space you have, the less claustrophobic you’ll feel and you’ll be able to swing freely knowing you aren’t at risk of causing any damage to your walls (or golf clubs).
The last consideration is the depth of the room. You need enough space to make sure the simulator has enough data for the computer to calculate the ball’s travel.
The ideal room depth for a golf simulator is about 15′. You want to have about a foot between the hitting screen and wall so you don’t damage the wall and you also need around 7′ between the golfer and the screen. Additionally, you need 7′ behind the golfer so they can comfortably swing, and possibly more if you plan on setting up a camera to videotape your swing for some visual feedback.
The room depth you’ll need will also depend on the type of simulator you choose to buy. For example, simulators with radar technology tend to fair better with about 25′ of depth.
Be sure to ask the manufacture about how much room depth they recommend before making the final purchase decision.
Now that you understand the basic space requirements for an indoor golf simulator, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of having one installed in your home.
Benefits of an Indoor Golf Simulator
There are many reasons why using an indoor golf simulator is a fantastic use of your time and money. This might be why they’re gaining so much traction in the golfing community. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest benefits of this handy technology.
Avoiding the Weather
The major benefit of using an indoor golf simulator is you can avoid the weather outside. If you’re in a cold area where the ground is covered in snow, or an area that sees a lot of rain, you might miss a lot of golfing days during the year.
By using a simulator, you aren’t reliant on mother nature and can play whenever you wish!
Golf Any Time
Another bonus of this system is there aren’t necessarily hours of operation. Unlike at the golf course where you need to book a tee time, you can work on your golf game in the dead of night or any time during the day.
If you own your own simulator, you decide when you want to run it!
An indoor golf simulator also saves a lot of time. You don’t need to spend any time traveling to a golf course if you have an indoor simulator.
Additionally, there’s no time spent looking for your ball and walking or carting between holes.
You can play a full game in significantly less time than if you were to play on a course outside.
Play “Real-Life” Courses
Okay, so technically they’re not “real life” courses. Unfortunately, technology hasn’t come that far yet.
But you can play the virtual version of popular courses from all over the globe!
Feel like playing the iconic Links at Pebble Beach – without the $575 green fees? You can!
TPC Sawgrass? Yep. St. Andrews? Got it. And many more…
A simulator gives you the chance to play courses that would otherwise be too expensive or too far away for you to visit in person.
Practice in Specific Conditions
Finally, there’s an ability to select the weather conditions of the simulation. You can emulate a windy or rainy day to help you understand how the ball is affected by these conditions.
Not only can this help you improve your game, but it also adds some variability so you don’t get bored playing the same courses on your simulator.
Unlike a golf membership that requires you to pay annually, a golf simulator is a one-time purchase.
Just save up the money, buy it, and you can enjoy playing golf in the comfort of your own home for many years with no additional cost!
Different Types of Indoor Golf Simulators
Due to the different technologies used by golf simulators, there are a few different types you can go with.
The most common types of indoor golf simulators are photometric, radar, and infrared. Each of these three technologies has its own quirks, but they can all work very well.
Let’s learn more about these different types.
As you might have guessed by the name, photometric simulators are based on cameras. They’ll take a ton of high-speed pictures of the ball right after you hit it.
These images are then passed along to the computer and analyzed using specific algorithms. They’ll crunch the numbers and then simulate the ball’s path and distance on a projector screen.
This technology is one of the more reliable and accurate ways to predict the ball’s travel.
The one drawback with photometric systems is that they don’t provide as much data as other systems. For instance, they won’t be able to tell you the smash factor on each shot like Doppler radar simulators.
Radar golf simulators use Doppler radars to track your swing. You might recognize Doppler radars from weather channels, as this is a common technology used for a lot of meteorology practices.
The essence of doppler technology is simple. It shoots out a wave that bounces off the object it is trying to measure. For example, one of the most popular radar simulators, Trackman, uses two separate radar arrays to track both the club and ball.
The radar will then receive the wave after it has bounced back. From there, the computers get to work and analyze the data.
The problem with this technology for an indoor golf simulator is that there isn’t a ton of space to measure the flight.
These radar systems need to see what the ball does after impact, and an indoor simulator restricts how much time the ball is airborne after impact. The result is that the simulator needs more room depth to accommodate for this.
Keep this in mind when considering how much space you need for your indoor golf simulator.
The last type of golf simulator is infrared. These are similar to radar systems with a small distinction. Instead of bouncing radar waves, infrared systems bounce beams of light.
The great thing about infrared systems is you don’t even need to use a ball when you practice. This technology analyzes the club and the swing and creates the simulation from that.
The downside of this technology is that it’s typically less accurate and reliable than the other two.
The good news is that it gives you valuable feedback about your swing. Certain simulators will give you tips on how to improve your swing or point out pieces that could use some work.
What are the Different Components of a Golf Simulator?
As you learn more about golf simulators it’s important to understand the different parts. There aren’t a ton of components, but each of them is super important. Let’s take a look at what the different components of a golf simulator are.
The projector is the piece that you’re probably most familiar with. The projector isn’t too far off from a movie theater projector.
The projector puts the photorealistic golf course in front of you and is the visual epicenter of the whole simulation. Think of it like a big TV screen or computer monitor.
The hitting mat is the chunk of turf that you’ll be standing on. This is the pad that you’ll be using whenever you use the simulator.
Some of the more technological hitting mats will have sensors embedded within them to give a better result for the simulator. Less expensive mats are just a piece of turf that will allow you to emulate the golf course grass in the comfort of your home.
The hitting screen is the big screen you’ll be knocking golf balls into. The projector will shoot the image right onto this screen.
The safety net is used to make sure no damage is done to the room by the struck golf balls. This idea is no different than in football or baseball when the ball is thrown into a net for practice.
Safety nets are especially important for indoor simulators. You don’t want golf ball-sized holes all around your room!
The launch monitor is the array of sensors that are responsible for capturing data from your golf swing. After the launch monitor has captured the various data points (club path, speed, launch angle, spin, etc…), it will gather all of the data and send it over to the computer.
Depending on the type of golf simulator you select, the launch monitor might provide different data. For example, photometric simulators will provide different data compared to radar simulators.
The best results are achieved from simulators with a lot of sensors or cameras that are highly accurate. Keep in mind, this will also drive the price up of the unit.
This is the brains of the operation. The simulation software will take the raw information from the simulator sensors, run it through an algorithm, and spit out the final results.
The software will also create the visuals that are shot out of the projector.
The last part of the simulator is the computer. This is the hub for everything to talk to each other.
The computer will house the software. It will also receive inputs from the sensors and feed it to the software. Lastly, it will connect the projector to the software and tie everything together.
Other Considerations for Setting Up an Indoor Golf Simulator
Another thing to consider when you’re looking around for an indoor golf simulator is the cost associated with it. Like everything else, there is a wide range of simulators on the market – and this comes with a wide price range.
Make sure you carefully consider your needs while you’re shopping for a simulator.
The lower-priced models may have some issues with reliability and will wear easier. At the same time, some of the higher-priced models might provide more features and data than you need, especially if you’re just a hobbyist golfer.
Golf simulators generally range from $1,000 to $20,000+.
The Takeaway – How Much Space Is Needed for An Indoor Golf Simulator
The amount of space needed for your golf simulator depends on many different factors, including:
- Type of simulator (photometric, radar, infrared, etc…).
- Height of the golfer.
- Swing path of the golfer.
Ideally, your indoor golf simulator will be housed in a room that is at least 10′ high, 12′ wide, and 15′ deep, however, depending on your golf swing and the type of simulator you buy, you might be able to get away with less space than this.
Hope this helps!