Complete Guide to a DIY Golf Simulator PT 1 October 11, 2020 Guides About a year ago, I started to build a DIY golf simulator in my garage. I quickly discovered there is a lot more to creating a golf simulator than setting up a backstop and launch monitor. This article is not intended to be a step-by-step manual on how you should create your golf simulator, but more of companion piece to guide you through the journey. I will give you options to suit your ideas for the perfect DIY home golf simulator. Size does matter… Room Size that is for DIY Golf Simulator Room size is the single most important aspect to any DIY golf simulator setup. The size of your simulator room will dictate everything; from the size of your impact screen, to your projector’s throw ratio, and even which launch monitors are viable for your setup. Starting with the basics, every launch monitor is going to have slightly different length requirements when it comes to indoor use. For instance, Skytrak recommends a room 10 feet wide and 9 feet high. They make no suggestion for the length of a room, however, due to the Skytrak sitting next to the ball. In this case, the golf club only needs enough room to swing comfortably. On the other hand, a unit like the Mevo+ sits behind the user and has a minimum length requirement of 16 feet. This is to account for the 8 feet from ball to screen, and another 8 feet from ball to the launch monitor. My recommendation is to start with the bare minimum of 10 feet wide by 10 feet long, by 9 feet high. While it is possible to go smaller, doing so will increase the possibility of causing negative swing habits, such as indoor swing syndrome. Which Launch Monitor Should I choose for a DIY Golf Simulator? OptiShot2 ($399) OptiShot2 Launch Monitor The OptiShot2 is easily the most affordable launch monitor on the list. It packs in loads of features for the price, however, its accuracy is not on par with the other high-end launch monitors on this list. With that being said, its entry price tag and ability to use foam or no golf balls allows it to stand out from its competition. The Optishot2 is a great choice for those looking for an entry level unit with a low barrier. Read our full review for the OptiShot2. SkyTrak ($1,995) SkyTrak Launch Monitor Launched in November 2014, Skytrak has been the go-to launch monitor for many due to its mid-tier price range and reliable data parameters. Thanks to it being one of the first “affordable” launch monitors, there an active community out there willing to help new users get started. This is an enormous bonus for anyone starting their first DIY golf simulator. That said, it isn’t without fault. Skytrak uses a photometric system which captures multiple images at impact to measure its key data points. The problem with this method is it can be overparticular at times. For every shot, the user needs to place their golf ball on a red dot. Furthermore, the unit needs to sit parallel to the golf back at a distance of about 12 inches. This means your $2,000 launch monitor is directly in the line of fire of a hosel rocket. A metal case is available for purchase which helps with this issue. Read our Full Review for the SkyTrak Flightscope Mevo+ ($1,999) Mevo+ Launch monitor As the new kid in town, the Mevo+ was released in the first half of 2020 and has been on back-order ever since. Unlike the Skytrak, Mevo+ uses radar to measure the ball flight. This is a welcome change for those who worry about damaging their $2,000 investment as the Mevo+ sits safely 6-8 feet behind the user. In addition, this Mevo+ is portable with the ability to use both indoors and out. Unfortunately, after our initial testing, spin numbers have not been as accurate as on other launch monitors. Even with the use of metallic stickers there was no remedy to the issues we were seeing. Read our Full Review for the Mevo+ Foresight GC2 ($6,500) & GCQuad ($11,000) The GC2 and GCQuad from Foresight are a popular choice when talking to industry experts. The GC2 uses 2 (stereoscopic) camera to analyze ball data both indoors and out. It also features a self-leveling accelerometer which makes the GC2 a breeze to setup. The GCQuad on the hand, is like the GC2’S big brother. The GCQuad makes use of 4 (quadrascopic) camera placement with integrated infrared lighting. It increases the hitting area to 6 times larger compared to the GC2. The biggest issue with both of these is the price. The prices of $6,500 and $11,000 are out of reach for your average golfer. Not to mention it is an additional $3,000 for the simulation software. YIKES! Check out more detailed information on the GC2 and GCQuad Uneekor EYEXO ($10,000) Unveiled earlier this year, the Uneekor EYEXO is marketed for its “non-ball marking technology”. Unlike many of the lower-priced launch monitors, there is no need for metallic stickers on the golf ball for the flight to be read accurately. Moreover, the Uneekor EYEXO captures a real image of your club face at impact which is helpful if you are trying to improve your game. We haven’t had the opportunity to try one out yet, so if anyone from Uneekor is reading this, we’d love to get our hands on a demo. Trackman 4 ($19,000 indoor / $25,000 indoor/outdoor) Equipped with 1.9GHz Intel Quad Core, we have reached the most expensive and arguably most accurate golf launch monitor on this list. The Trackman 4 comes as a standard with full HD 1080p radar synchronized camera. In addition, the Trackman 4 tracks 26 impact and ball flight parameters including spin rate, launch angle, carry distance, ball speed, attack angle, and more. If money is not a consideration the Trackman 4 should be on your shortlist. Check out more detail information on the Trackman 4 This is by no means a complete list of all the launch monitors with simulator abilities available. Even so, I feel these options are a good representation of the market. Bonus Putt simulation Hardware for DIY Golf Simulator Exputt EX300 ($399) When jumping into the world of golf simulators the first thing you will find is that almost all are universally bad at putting. Many users will abandon putting altogether. They reach the green and the simulator adds +1 or +2 depending on their proximity to the hole. This is where the Exputt comes in; it is a stand-alone putting simulator designed to improve your skills. The Exputt uses an ultra high-speed camera to track the ball after impact. In addition, it uses stickers on the putter face to help calculate face angle and path. We were impressed with the Exputt’s ability to display such detailed and accurate data. On the downside, we noticed some slight abnormalities when using a putter with a white insert, so that is something to consider. Furthermore, the Exputt does not directly connect with widely-used simulation software; instead it uses its own proprietary software for practice. Check out more detail information on the Exputt EX300 Which Golf Mat for DIY Golf Simulator? A good golf mat which suits your specific hitting style is a must-buy for any home simulator. Not only is the mat a defense between your club and a hard surface, but it protects your joints against any wear and tear. I will not go into great detail on all the available golf mats as it is likely to double the size of this article. Instead, I have listed below some of the most popular golf mats and a brief description of each. Click on the link to learn more. Fiberbuilt Considered by many to be the pinnacle in golf mats. The Fiberbuilt mat is constructed of blend of monofilaments giving the mat exceptional durability in a low friction surface. Our main complaint is that fat shots are not punished as heavily as they are on other mats. Read more on the Fiberbuilt mat DIY Divot action Cheap, easy to make, and fun to hit off, the DIY Divot action mat is extremely good. The biggest issue we had was again fat shots. Due to the bounce back characteristic of Lexan, fat shots would still allow the ball to strike the clubface square. Read more on the DIY Divot action Read our tutorial on constructing the DIY Divot Action DIY TrueStrike Similar to the DIY divot action mat, the only difference being that you replace the Lexan with a gel pad. The performance to price ratio is acceptable, yet we would recommend the Lexan version as the DIY TrueStrike had a tendency of digging in during our testing. Over time this could cause joint pain especially for those who are have had previous injuries. Read more on the DIY TrueStrike Country Club Elite One of the more controversial mats the on the list, the CCE is one of those products that you love or hate. User reviews range from, “The best mat ever” to “Returned on the first day”. In our experience, a golfer’s swing is the biggest indication if this mat suits them. For golfers with a deep swing and tend to take a lot of ground, the Country Club Elite mat can be unforgiving. Others with shallower swings may find this the perfect fit of cushioning and true-to-life feel. Read more on the Country Club Elite Rawhide Golf Ball Co. Mat Rawhide Golf Ball Co. mats are previously used (rumored to be used by Top Golf) and then sold at a discount when they are replaced. They are therefore premium mats sold at gentle to heavy discount rates, making them affordable for everyone. Rawhide mats fall in-between some of the previous mats on this list. They are not nearly as forgiving as a Fiberbuilt mat, but more so than a CCE mat. With prices starting at $100 it is an unbeatable price for many value-conscience consumers. However, due to of the nature of the business supplies run short at times. Currently, as of writing this post, the website is showing consistent ‘out of stock’ of all used inventory. Read more on the Golf Ball Co. Mats Wittek Quattro / Dura-Pro High Tech / YGT-3D While this mat goes by many names, the one thing that remains constant is that it is highly revered by those who own it. The mat features a nylon surface that is welded (not glued) to a shock-absorbing pad. This allows the mat to be durable and will not mark a player’s club, putting the Quattro in fairly good position with its price range to compete with the CCE and Rawhide mats. Read more on the Wittek Quattro here All Turf Mats I am obligated to include All Turf Mats because their entry level price for a 4’x5′ is $109. They are relatively thin for a mat and include a nylon outer-layer that keep your clubs from marring. This makes the All Turf Mats Premium Residential Golf Mat a go-to for me when constructing a DIY golf simulator. Read more about the Premium Residential All Turf Mats Continue to Complete Guide to a DIY Golf Simulator part 2 Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.