Golf simulators used to be a training device only found in pro shops. Now, they are affordable and portable enough to be set up in your home. A golf simulator can help improve your game by calculating club speed, ball speed, distance, and accuracy. Are golf simulators accurate, though?
How Golf Simulators Get Their Data
A simulator will use monitors to view and measure your swing, the head of the club, and the ball impact. The more monitors you have, the more accurate the calculations. There are several different types of monitors available.
It stands to reason that the simulators with the most monitors and the most variation of monitor types will be more accurate.
Ball Data Collection
The accurate systems will use two types of monitors for ball data collection. The primary methods are high-speed cameras and Doppler radar. Some systems, like the SkyTrak, use both.
High-speed cameras take multiple photos per swing to determine things like impact angle, shot speed, trajectory, and launch height. The Doppler radar also measures ball speed and height as well as distance and path based on mathematical calculations.
Swing Data Collection
Along with high-speed cameras, the club and your swing are also measured by infrared lights. The infrared lights can sense when and where the ball passes through the field and from there, calculate your clubhead speed, angle, and distance.
Having one monitor is helpful if you want a general idea, but multiple monitor types will run calculations together to get a more accurate data field.
Tweak During Use
One thing most golf simulator users don’t understand is that there is a lot of math involved in these calculations and they aren’t always going to be right. You will notice that right out of the box these machines aren’t as accurate as you may hope.
You may find that it reports distances different from what you are used to. Some reports come in that 4-iron reports as traveling further than a driver, for example. Several factors go into this, but usually, it comes down to calibration.
You will have to tweak the settings as you go along to achieve and maintain accuracy and reliability. And while no indoor simulator can replicate the conditions you face outside (wind, humidity, etc.) using an accurate golf simulator can help your game improve, and your shots become more constant.
Ready to Jump in?
When it comes to purchasing a golf simulator, you have your choices. You can go with a budget-friendly model to save money. However, you will lose features and accuracy. The more your budget will allow you to spend, the more accurate the system you can bring home.
Currently, the most accurate models on the market are the SkyTrak and the Optishot 2.
The SkyTrak system uses multiple monitors for one of the most accurate data collection systems around. For the more budget-conscious the Optishot Home package also uses multiple monitors but offers less in other feature areas.
If you want to get started and don’t want to spend more than a few hundred bucks, the OptiShot 2 Golf in a Box system is a good starting point with highly accurate reports.
Do you have any experience with indoor golf simulators? Tell us about your experiences in the comments section below.