We have come a long way since the first golf simulator hit the market in the 1970s. Then, companies purchased a simulator and charged individuals to try a shot on it. Since we were confined to our houses in early 2020, the DIY golf simulator home setup has boomed in popularity.
The purpose of this guide is to teach you how to build a golf simulator in your home. There are several pieces of equipment that you need, and they need to be compatible. We’ll also cover how much you can expect to pay to make your dream games room a reality.
Read more: If you don’t have the time to build your own golf simulator, you can find various options (including budget options) in our review on the best golf simulators.
- What Is A DIY Golf Simulator Setup?
- What Do You Need To Build Your Own Golf Simulator?
- How Much Does It Cost To Build A DIY Indoor Golf Simulator?
- How To Build A Golf Simulator
- Homemade Golf Simulator FAQs
- Final Thoughts
What Is A DIY Golf Simulator Setup?
A DIY home golf simulator setup requires you to source each component separately and assemble it yourself. It is typically a more affordable option than acquiring a simulator from giants, such as Foresight Sports or Trackman.
You will need an:
- Impact mat
- Launch Monitor
- Sufficient space
I will detail the essential materials in the next section.
Read more about how golf simulators work by studying our detailed guide.
What Do You Need To Build Your Own Golf Simulator?
Before building a golf simulator, take out the measuring tape and ensure you have sufficient space to play with. For example, when you set up a home simulator with a Trackman 4 launch monitor, they suggest an area of 10-feet high, 15-feet wide, and 7-feet between the device and the impact mat.
If the ceilings in your room are too low, your clubhead may smash into it on your upswing. Should the space have insufficient width, you risk smacking your clubhead into the wall on your backswing.
Finally, you will need sufficient space between the impact zone and the launch monitor to analyze clubhead and ball data.
If you acquire a launch monitor such as the OptiShot 2, there is no need to worry about space between the launch monitor and the impact zone because the mat includes sensors that register data when you connect the ball.
However, OptiShot recommends that your mat is at least 8.5-feet from the impact screen and the ceiling is 9-foot high. If you are under six feet tall, you should be safe with 9-foot high ceilings. Those taller than six feet may need a higher ceiling, especially when you swing a driver.
15-feet of width is optimal for this setup. It doesn’t hurt to have more space as there is less chance of you damaging your property. Make sure that there is nothing fragile in a larger room as a shanked ball can ricochet anywhere.
Overall, there is no issue of extra space with a golf simulator, there is generally insufficient space.
Every simulator needs a launch monitor or a device that can record clubhead and ball data to enhance your experience.
Of course, launch monitors such as the GC Quad or Trackman 4 are typically priced above the budget of the average golfer. However, we have moderately affordable options, such as the Flight Scope Mevo. Or the Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor.
In addition, there are alternative options to using a launch monitor, such as the Tittle X lightweight clip-on. It attaches to the shaft of your club and records clubhead and swing data. This device not only offers additional convenience but is also more affordable.
Basically, Tittle X is your budget option, which can run under $200. Conversely, a Flightscope and Rapsodo can usually be picked up for less than $500. The links above show the current prices.
Next, you will need a laptop or PC to run the launch monitor’s software. That enhances your experience and displays your shot data and a view of the ball flight. When purchasing a launch monitor, ensure that your existing laptop or PC is compatible.
Most software runs on Windows and iOS, but you may find some that only function on one operating system. It makes no sense to acquire a launch monitor that forces you to purchase a new laptop or computer because it is incompatible with your launch monitor software.
If we consider the OptiShot 2 software, it functions on Windows and MacOS. If your laptop has Windows 8, 10, or 11, or MacOS X 10.13, there is no need to acquire a new machine.
Here are the specs required for Windows and Mac OS computers
|Operating System Version||Windows 8, 10, 11||Mac OS X 10.13|
|Hard Disk Drive Storage||3GB||3GB|
Should your computer not have these specifications, your most affordable route is a Windows laptop for around $250, like the HP 14 laptop. My current machine is an HP Pavilion, which has served me well for six years and is still going strong.
Those considering upgrading their current Macbook should be prepared to spend around $1,000. One of the lower-end options is an Apple Macbook Air.
If the idea is to use your Macbook for work and leisure, then you can justify the spend. However, it makes no sense if you need a laptop solely for your simulator.
The launch monitor you decide on may include a standard license for the E6 Connect or World Golf Tour (WGT) software. This subscription typically provides access to one or two courses and a driving range. Plus, it includes various skills challenges and games to test your skills against your buddies.
Alternately, you could acquire the OptiShot 2 system, which includes access to fifteen courses, including Torrey Pines South. In addition, you can play six games, hone your skills on the driving range, and alter the weather to enhance the challenge.
Should you wish to upgrade your subscription, you can expect to pay as much as $300 per year in some cases. So, if you are on a budget, my advice is to stick with the OptiShot2 simulator.
If you desire the complete simulator experience, you will need a projector to display your shot data and ball flight on the screen.
It is not compulsory to have a projector, but you will need to walk over to your computer after each shot to review the data. That means you may not see your ball virtually flying through the air.
There are an array of projectors on the market at various price points. However, if you are building a home golf simulator, you best do it properly. I advise looking for a clear, durable option between $350 to $700.
A projector that I have found to offer exceptional value for money is the Epson VS260. It produces clear, crisp graphics, and a dynamic contrast ratio of 15,000:1. Plus, you enjoy superb color accuracy that enhances the reality of each shot on your simulator.
You could save several dollars and acquire a net. However, it would not offer the same experience and protection as a screen. A thicker impact screen slows down your ball and prevents it from flying through into the wall behind.
There are more affordable options on the market, but my advice is to consider a thick, durable construction, such as ProScreens. Their impact screens are crafted from quality, woven mesh and feature reinforced pockets to reduce the risk of golf ball penetration.
A quality 96 x 96-inch screen sets you back slightly more than $200 at the moment, but check the link above for current pricing. However, there are more affordable options, but the durability of those designs is questionable.
You need an impact mat to hit off, restricting any possible damage to your floor. There are specific mats designed for use indoors, but you can save a few shekels by acquiring a local supplier’s 5 x 4-inch piece of synthetic turf.
However, if you want to operate with quality equipment, you should consider a GoSports Golf Hitting Mat. This mat is thicker, non-slip, and features additional padding to replicate the feeling of standard turf. Plus, it enables you to set up for a drive with a wooden tee.
An impact mat of this caliber will set you back slightly more than $100. Check the link above for current pricing.
DIY Golf Simulator Enclosure
A golf simulator enclosure is not essential to a DIY setup. However, it protects your possessions in the room and others standing nearby. The most affordable enclosure option is to purchase a net and set it up around your simulator.
Of course, a net does not make your setup look as polished as the one in your coach’s studio, but it gets the job done. A solid cage structure will set you back $300 to $500.
One approach is to look at the Yunic Metal Golf Cage. Its durable structure protects your ball from flying wayward and damaging the room or your guests. It measures 10-feet high and wide, sufficient space to fit any impact screen.
How Much Does It Cost To Build A DIY Indoor Golf Simulator?
Based on the information we have looked at above, you can put together an impressive looking home golf simulator setup for $1700. That is $100 less than the FlightScope Mevo simulator, not including an enclosure or impact screen.
How To Build A Golf Simulator
Step 1 – Setup The Enclosure
The first step when assembling a home simulator is to set up the frame for the enclosure. Piece it together in the preferred area of the room, and once that is complete, install the netting or fabric to cover the area.
Step 2 – Put The Screen Up
Once the enclosure is complete, it is time to put your impact screen up. Connect the corners of the screen to the frame, and ensure that it is stretched out to its maximum ability.
Step 3 – Position The Impact Mat
The majority of the heavy lifting is now over. Now is time to place the impact screen in a position that is far away enough from the screen to measure launch and ball flight. If you are unsure how far away it should be, run a few tests with software to see where it works from.
Step 4 – Setup The Software
You will need to download the relevant software and complete the setup process before it is ready for use.
Once the software is good to go, you can begin swinging to reap the rewards of your hard work. It is
Homemade Golf Simulator FAQs
How Much Is A Homemade Golf Simulator?
Building a solid homemade golf simulator setup will cost you around $1900. That is almost ten times less than an entry-level structure from brands such as Trackman or Foresight Sports.
How Do I Make A Cheap Indoor Golf Simulator?
To make a cheap indoor golf simulator, you need an affordable launch monitor, impact screen, and a mat. Once you purchase these products separately using the links I provided above, you will have an affordable indoor golf simulator.
How Tall Of A Ceiling Do I Need For A Golf Simulator?
According to Trackman, you should have at least 9-feet and 10-inches of space from floor to ceiling to comfortably swing your golf club. Anything shorter than this is at risk of your clubhead smashing through it.
How Far Should A Screen Be From A Golf Simulator?
Trackman once more informs us that the ideal distance from the screen to the impact mat is 7-foot, 5-inches. Anything closer than that may struggle to calculate the flight and launch of the ball accurately.
Does Hitting Off Mats Hurt Your Golf Game?
Tour Golf Experience explains that hitting off mats can reduce your fat shots, even if you attack the ball from a steep angle. While your clubhead may strike the ball cleanly off of a mat with a steep angle of attack, doing this on the course can cause your club to dig into the turf.
The problem with a mat is that it provides a different setup to what you are used to on the course, leading to inconsistency in your ball striking and swing.
How Far From The Wall Should A Golf Impact Screen Be?
On average, you should prepare 12 to 16-inches of space between the impact screen and your back wall. That provides enough room for the screen to slow the ball down if it breaks through without it ricocheting violently off the wall.
There you have the answers to how much it costs, what you need, and how to build a DIY golf simulator. By purchasing the parts individually, you can save significantly compared to acquiring a complete simulator set.
On the whole, if you acquire an affordable launch monitor and follow the steps mentioned above, you can expect to set up a home golf simulator for under $2000.
After reading this, if you’d rather buy a ready-made golf simulator, the Flightscope Mevo is a great budget option. You can check the best garage simulators as well. Or if you are a golf business looking for a more advanced setup, read about the best commercial golf simulators.
Matt is a seasoned golf equipment writer and sports fanatic. He holds a Postgraduate in Sports Marketing and has played golf for over 28 years.