When asked how long a man’s legs should be, Abraham Lincoln answered, “Long enough to reach the ground.” If President Lincoln were alive today, I am sure he would have a similar answer for what size room is needed for a golf simulator.
The easy answer is enough room to swing a golf club. The complete answer, though, has a lot of variables. We will go through those variables and decide if the space you have in mind for your simulator is big enough or not.
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Can you Swing it?
The former president would have been correct; you will need enough room to swing a club. You will also need enough room for a screen, to hit a ball and to set up the sensors and mat as well.
To test your space, you need to either measure with a tape rule or use your golf clubs. There are two important measurements you need to take. First is the ceiling height. Most simulators document room size and state that a nine-foot ceiling is sufficient.
This may be true for a lot of golfers, but those of us over 6-feet tall say otherwise. For a golf simulator to have accurate data, you need to be able to swing the club full, fast, and complete as you would on the tee box. If you are constantly worried you will clip the ceiling of the overhead lighting, your swing will suffer, your data will be inaccurate, and the experience will be awful.
Width measurements aren’t generally accounted for in the product documentation. I suppose they don’t expect you to stretch or move around. However, if you want to know you have enough room, pick your driver and 2-iron and head to the middle of the space.
First, grip the driver by the grip and hold it straight up over your head. If it doesn’t touch the ceiling or lighting, the roof is tall enough. Now take a club in each hand and hold them straight out to your sides. Spin around a few times. Did you hit a wall? If not, you have enough width.
It isn’t scientific, and you don’t have to spin around in a circle, but it is fun to do. The truth of the matter is that as long as there is enough room around you to spin and enough above you to take a full swing, you will be fine. Mostly.
Portable Simulator or Permanent Studio?
What you need to focus on is if you are going to purchase a portable simulator or a permanent studio-style simulator.
A portable unit comes in two varieties. The first aren’t technically simulators; you use them outdoors to take a video of your swing and analyze data based on visual sensors. The FlightScope Mevo will send the video and data to your smartphone. You don’t have to be any place in particular — the garage, hotel, driving range, or use it during a round of golf.
The second variety is an actual simulator with a projector and sensors included. Instead of a studio, you can take the package with you and set up wherever you are, even in your office. You need a place to swing. The PhiGolf Mobile is a decent portable unit that gives surprisingly accurate data.
A permanent studio set up like the SkyTrak or OptiShot studios will have your game dialed in and improving with every swing. They require the launch monitors, unique balls, a swing mat, screen to hit into and lighting.
The studios are understandably more expensive than a portable unit. However, they provide much more accurate data and allow you to play almost any course in the world whenever you like.
Drive for Show, Putt for Dough
Most portable units don’t account for putting, and you will need to opt for a studio instead. However, there are stand-alone putting units if you want to work on your short game. The Pro’s Choice Model or the Country Club Elite studios are designed with the full game in mind. You can chip, putt, and drive your way through a complete simulation.
Any studio will offer the same. You need to know if you will be adding a putting green (The Pro’s Choice green is twenty feet long), or using the swing mat that is included with the studio.
All in all, the space needed is quite large. With a minimum height clearance of nine feet (we recommend twelve), and enough width and depth to accommodate a full golf shot, you need to ensure you have enough room.
Have you experienced a golf simulator before? Was there plenty of room where you were, or did you feel cramped? Let us know in the comment section!