The right projector is necessary to get the most from your golf simulator. This is important because simulators have become increasingly popular and golfers to improve their golf even during the winter season and inclement weather.
Sub-standard projectors produce low-quality images that can spoil the experience and could mean you’re wasting your money.
Quality projectors will enable you to play some of the most renowned golf courses while displaying the intricacies in high definition.
The most prominent projector brands are Epson, ViewSonic, and BenQ, each offering various projectors to cater to nearly everyone’s requirements.
Although some packages include a projector as standard, many do not. To complete your golf simulator setup, it is important to understand the various components of a projector and what to evaluate in your search.
So which is the best projector for a golf simulator?
Read on to find out.
- Best Projector for a Golf Simulator – Key Requirements
- Types of Projector Setups
- The Best Projectors for Golf Simulators
- 1. Optoma EH200ST – Best HD Projector For Golf Simulators (Value Pick)
- 2. BenQ TK700STi – Best 4k Golf Simulator Projector
- 3. Anker NEBULA Cosmos Laser – Best Outdoor Golf Projector
- 4. Panasonic PT-VZ580U WUXGA Projector – Ideal for Bright Environments
- 5. BenQ TH671ST – Low Latency and Low Cost
- 6. Epson EX3260 – Long Lamp Life
- 7. ViewSonic PS501X – Budget Friendly Option
- 8. Optoma EH412ST
- 9. Optoma HD28HDR
- 10. ViewSonic PRO8510L
- Golf Simulator Projectors FAQ
- Final Thoughts
Best Projector for a Golf Simulator – Key Requirements
To assess the various projectors available, there are some specific areas to consider in your selection process.
You will require a quality HDMI port on the projector for the best images. Most projectors on the market come standard with the port but check before purchasing.
Additional ports, such as USB and VGA, will make the projector more versatile and enable you to connect it to almost any device.
The contrast ratio distinguishes between the image’s brightest and darkest parts. The higher the contrast ratio, the more powerful your viewing experience.
Lumens can be defined as: “a unit of luminous flux in the International System of Units, that is equal to the amount of light given out through a solid angle by a source of one-candela intensity radiating equally in all directions.”
The ambient lighting affects the brightness of the images projected on the screen. The number of lumens specifies the brightness of the images projected by your projector.
A brightly lit room requires more lumens than a less brightly lit one. Dark rooms require a minimum of 2,000 lumens; however projectors with 3,000 lumens or more are highly recommended.
Throw Distance and Throw Ratio
The projector’s placement is important to ensure that you get the optimal image projected onto the screen. Incorrect placement of the projector can result in shadows in the images. If the projector is not above you or slightly behind the ball, it will tend to throw shadows.
The distance is calculated based on the screen’s width, which is measured diagonally across the screen and not from side to side.
The throw ratio is calculated by dividing the distance between the screen and the projector by the width of your screen. The smaller the throw ratio, the larger the image a projector will produce at a shorter throw distance.
A ratio between 0.3:1 and 1:1 will produce the optimum image. A 10 feet widescreen will produce the best results if the projector is placed somewhere between 3 feet and 10 feet away. Remember to ensure that the distance will allow you to swing the longest club without touching the screen.
For optimal results is highly recommended that you purchase a short-throw projector, as it can produce a large image from a short distance away without generating shadows.
Resolution: 1080p vs 4k
High definition is defined as projectors offering 1920 x 1080 pixels, while Ultra High Definition (UHD), commonly called 4K TV, consists of 3840 x 2160 pixels. 4K refers to the number of horizontal pixels, i.e., 4000.
Match the resolution to the resolution of the device you use to generate the images. The projector cannot enhance the resolution of an image that is fed in a lower quality. But, if you plan to use your projector for media too, opting for the highest resolution possible is best. This will get you the best image possible for movies and gaming.
4k is currently the highest resolution available for consumer market projectors. Of course, buying the best will also increase the cost of a golf simulator.
Aspect ratio is defined as the shape of the image on the screen or the ratio between the width and height of the image.
The three most frequently used aspect ratios are:
4:3 (XGA & SXGA)
- Every 4 pixels of width will be matched by 3 pixels in height
- The image will be in a near square shape
- The lowest resolution available is 1024 x 768 pixels
- Lowest cost option
16:10 (WXGA & WUXGA)
- Every 16 pixels of width will be matched by 10 pixels in height for a more rectangular picture
- This produces a higher resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels
- More expensive than XGA & SXGA
16:9 (Standard, HD 1080p, 4K)
- Every 16 pixels of width will be matched by 9 pixels in height for a more rectangular picture
- Produces the highest resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels
Types of Projector Setups
Floor-mounted setups have the projector placed in front of the mat where you line up your shots. For this setup, you’ll need a short throw projector and an enclosure to protect from stray golf balls.
As the name implies, this is when you mount your projector to the ceiling. This works with both long-throw and short-throw projectors. But, we’d recommend using a long throw projector so it can be completely clear of your swing.
Since many modern projectors come with auto-adjust capabilities, having a removable setup is also an option. This can come in particularly handy if your tight on space and your enclosure is also collapsable.
The Best Projectors for Golf Simulators
1. Optoma EH200ST – Best HD Projector For Golf Simulators (Value Pick)
- 3000 Lumens
- 49:1 Throw ratio
- HD 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution
- HDMI Connectivity
- High 20,000:1 contrast ratio
- Connectivity via HDMI and MHL
- DLP technology
- BrilliantColor technology
- 10W built-in speaker
- Not 4K compatible
The Optoma EH200ST is a HD display 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution.
Offering a 0.49:1 throw ratio will enable you to generate a 100-inch image from a distance of 3.5 feet from the simulator screen, making this the best short throw projector for a golf simulator.
With 3000 lumens the projector can operate in bright light while still projecting a bright image. It’s like playing golf on your preferred course without inclement weather affecting your round.
The high contrast ratio of 20,000:1 produces authentic images of brighter white & ultra-rich blacks.
An HDMI port provides connectivity, enabling you to connect to any source with HDMI capability.
In addition to the HDMI connectivity, you have access to MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) enabling you to project your mobile device’s display.
Additional technology includes DLP technology that creates sharp, bright, and colorful images and BrilliantColor multi-color processing technology for exceptional contrast ratios.
Sources such as Blu-ray players and gaming consoles that support 3D will enable you to see 3D images.
It is frequently used by the most influential golf simulator studios, such as SwingBay. The standard aspect ratio of 4:3 fits perfectly with the SwingBay Golf simulator enclosure and screen.
Installation and setup are straightforward; you will be ready to play golf within minutes. You can mount it to the ceiling or the floor for installation.
Sound is provided through an exceptional integrated 10W speaker system.
Although there is a lot more physical movement than most video games, virtual golf is technically a type of gaming. So, wouldn’t using a specifically designed projector to handle gaming make sense?
The BenQ TK700STi offers 4K resolution with ultra-low latency of 16ms. So there’s virtually no time between your swing and the ball moving through the simulation. It also provides unrivaled clarity. Making it the best 4k projector for a golf simulator.
An often overlooked part of successful golf simulation is the sound. The top-quality programs also come embedded with lifelike sounds (birds, etc.) The beauty of the TK700STi is the sound balancing through the audio jack. You’ll have the most immersive experience when paired with decent speakers.
These projectors are also the perfect “man-cave” projectors, so if you have a removable simulation setup, you’ll still be able to use the projector for anything else you could think of. It has compatibility with all the major game consoles and has built-in Android tv, Apple Airplay, and Chromecast.
They also come with 3-year limited parts and labor warranty, so you can rest assured these are built to last.
Ideally, we’d love to have an indoor or garage golf simulation setup. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible, and you have to set up everything on your porch, verandah, or backyard. It’s best to have a tough and portable projector in those cases. That’s why the Anker NEBULA is the perfect fit for outdoor golf simulators.
There are a lot of small and budget-friendly portable projectors on the market. But, they don’t come close to the image quality of the NEBULA, nor do they have the extra features.
With Intelligent Environment Adaptation (IEA) Technology, these projectors are set up in seconds. This automatically scans the room for any items that may be in the way and does its best to compensate for them. It also automatically fits the projection to the size of your screen.
Since these are so easy to move around, they are the perfect choice as an all-around entertainment bundle for your entire home. They work perfectly as a second streaming device as they have Android TV. You could also use them for gaming while they’re not being used in your golf simulator. While using this projector might make your setup into an expensive golf simulator, the extra features are definitely worth it.
When using a projector in a room with limited depth, a short-throw projector is ideal. However, if your room has sufficient space and depth, a standard throw projector will provide ample detail onscreen to give you a magnificent golfing experience.
One of the best standard throw projectors that you can mount on the ceiling is manufactured by prominent Panasonic Corporation, renowned for its electronics.
The Panasonic PT-VZ580U has a throw ratio of 1.09-1.77:1 that requires between 10 and 20 feet between the projector and the screen.
It provides ornate details with its 16000:1 contrast ratio and 3LCD image generation technology that can be connected using HDMI, VGA, and RCA inputs. In addition to the contrast ratio, Panasonic’s Daylight View Basic proprietary technology assists in generating a sharper image with finer details.
Further refinement of the contrast and sharpness of the picture is added by the use of Panasonic WUXGA 1920 x 1200 resolution rendering a sharper and cleaner image than an HD display with 1080p (1920 x 1080).
The display is further enhanced by the 5000 lumens brightness you get with the Panasonic PT-VZ580U WUXGA Projector.
Image quality is protected against distortion by the lens shift function to counter the distance it requires from the screen. Moreover, you can set corner, vertical, and horizontal keystone correction for image adjustment at different angles for the perfect viewing angle regardless of your screen position.
Mercifully, you will not have to compete with the hum of a projector as it operates at a mere 29 dB. So this is one of the best golf projectors for quiet spaces.
You will be able to enjoy your simulator experience for a couple of years due to the 7000 hours of lamp life and the projector’s ECO management function.
5. BenQ TH671ST – Low Latency and Low Cost
- Great picture quality
- Only 16.67ms input lag and microsecond DMD response time
- Little to no motion blur or image lag
- Vertical keystone correction
- 3000 lumens for high brightness
- 5W built-in stereo speakers
- LumiExpert technology
- 1080p performance
- Received the prestigious “Best Projector for Gaming – High Ground Gaming 2020”
The BenQ TH671ST is a 1080p short-throw projector ideally suited to gaming due to its ultra-fast low input lag and refresh rate. It matches the max output of a PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, thus producing images without motion blur.
It is not only ideal for gaming but suited as a golf simulator.
The compact dimensions of 11.65 inches x 4.60 inches x 9.50 inches and lightweight 5.9 pounds make it extremely portable.
Initial installation and setup are straightforward, and you are guided through a glut of customization settings.
Although it is on the upper end of the price scale, it comes with a high 1080p resolution and offers an accurate 92% Rec. 70 color image, thus offering value for money.
Brightness is provided through 3000 lumens and a high native contrast ratio.
A throw ratio between 0.69 and 0.83 enables you to project a 100-inch image from 5 feet away up to 300 yards deep, making it ideal for long shots required for a golf simulator.
Around-the-clock customer support is provided via US-based customer support.
A three-year limited parts and labor warranty comes as standard.
You can connect to media players, PCs, Macs, gaming consoles, and other smart gadgets via USB, and HDMI.
LumiExpert technology identifies ambient light conditions and automatically adjusts brightness for the clearest image.
Vertical keystone technology corrects the image in the case of off-center projector placement.
Epson is a world-renowned manufacturer of electronic products, including projectors.
The EX3260 is a portable SVGA projector with 3,300 lumens of equal color and white brightness.
Initial installation and subsequent setup are rather straightforward and can be completed within minutes.
Connectivity is provided via an HDMI port that enables you to connect to most modern laptops or computers.
Picture quality is not competitive with most other projectors as it only offers SVGA at 800 pixels X 600 pixels resolution.
The robust lamp has an expected life of 10,000 hours, making this the best golf simulator projector to set and forget.
The ViewSonic PS501X falls into the budget category of the ViewSonic range of projectors. This makes it perfect to pair with other affordable golf simulator hardware.
It produces 3500 lumens for a bright image, has a native XGA 1024 x 768 resolution, and a throw ratio of 0.61, thus enabling you to project large images in small rooms.
ViewSonic’s proprietary SuperColor Technology provides a wide color range through its dynamic lamp control and a 6-segment color wheel. The SuperEco feature provides a lamp life of up to 15,000 hours.
Connectivity is via an HDMI input port and a powered USB A port. It’s perfect for a budget-friendly DIY golf simulator.
Optoma EH412ST is one of the highest-rated golf simulator projectors offerings in the Optoma range.
It produces a remarkable 4000 lumens, one of the highest-rated in this category. No matter how bright your room is, you should not have any problems using this projector. In addition to the high number of lumens, the projector has an imposing 50,000:1 contrast ratio to produce radiant images.
Its short-throw capability of 0.5:1 makes it ideal for golf simulators. It can generate an image of 152 inches from 5.5 feet away.
The projector produces full HD 1080p (1920 x 1080) images but can also connect to 4K UHD input sources.
sRGB and Rec. 709 color profile offers saturated colors, which are standard for international HDTV.
A Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) offers connectivity to your mobile devices. Furthermore, it can connect via HDMI and VGA.
Sound is provided via a quality integrated 10-watt speaker.
Power saving and reduction in maintenance are ensured through the use of an automatic power-off timer.
A durable 15,000-hour lamp life reduces the maintenance requirements considerably.
Another projector in the Optoma range is the Optoma HD28HDR 1080p Home Theater Projector. This is the first 4k projector for a golf simulator.
Although it is competitively priced, this projector operates with advanced dynamic range video.
The 3600 lumens create one of the brightest displays available on the market. Brightness combined with the ultra-high contrast ratio of 50,000:1 generates crisp and clear images in even the brightest rooms. HDR10 technology assists in generating brighter and deeper black and white levels for a superior and colorful viewing experience.
Enhanced gaming mode generates a lightning-fast response time of 16ms, at a refresh rate of 120Hz. This offers an improved image of shadows and dark scenes for improved visibility of the looming impediments.
Dynamic black technology enhances images’ depth by smoothing out lamp output for increased contrast and a thorough viewing experience.
The ViewSonic PG800HD is an HD projector with 1920 x 1080 resolution and 5000 lumens of brightness.
The quality of the images produced by the PG800HD makes it perfect for commercial use.
Flexibility ensures that the installation is straightforward irrespective of the area available for installation. It is also extremely versatile and can be used in any commercial, or home, environment for various functions.
Peace of mind is provided via a 3-year limited part and labor warranty and a year of lamp coverage.
Connectivity is offered via a VGA cable, or it can be linked to a network.
Golf Simulator Projectors FAQ
How Many Lumens Do I Need for My Golf Simulator Projector?
It depends on how bright the room you have your simulator in. Even as little as 500 lumens is enough if it’s pitch black. For brighter environments, try to have at least 3000. The more the better for areas that are in direct sunlight.
Can You Use Any Projector for Golf Simulator?
Technically, yes. But, you’ll find the experience is better with a better projector. The framerate should be high enough to be smooth, and you won’t want to have issues with brightness especially if you use your simulator in sunlit rooms.
Do I Need a 4K Projector for a Golf Simulator?
In most cases, no. Many golf simulation programs don’t have 4k output, so a 4k projector is overkill. However, if you plan to use the projector for other purposes, too, 4k picture is a huge step up from HD. Check with the software and other hardware you plan to use with your simulator to see if it has 4k output. Some of the best golf simulators are capable of 4k. If yours is, it’s best to get a projector that is capable of displaying 4k for the best experience possible.
What Is a Short Throw Projector?
Short-throw projectors can cast a 100″ image from less than 9 feet away.
Golf simulators are extremely popular and affordable, thus enabling golfers to install them at home and creating business opportunities.
The projector is a key component of a golf simulator, and selecting the best one for your setup is critical.
Short-throw projectors are best suited for golf simulators because they can create large images from a short distance.
The projectors reviewed in this article all have their unique features, thus enabling you to set your selection criteria and assess each projector.
In terms of value for money, we believe the Optoma EH200ST is the best projector for a golf simulator for its all-round use of technology to provide you with a vivid image from a short distance.
Nick is the founder of GolfSpan and an avid golfer. He's not quite a pro but has over 15 years of experience playing and coaching golfers worldwide. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience when it comes to choosing the right golf gear and finding the right setup for your game.