One of the key reasons my handicap is now down to a 7 is because of my home personal launch monitor setup. I should confess that I have had some lessons this past year and I do practice my short game a lot more than in prior years. But my home golf simulator setup has been invaluable in working on my swing changes. I am on my golf simulator almost daily.
These day's you don't need to spend a whack of dough like you did in the old days. It used to be you had to spend $15K on a GC Quad and then $10K more on the setup for a screen or net, hitting matt, computer etc. My setup was close to $3500. That is real money but is isn't crazy if you think a golf membership will likely be similar or more. That being said you can go even cheaper these days with some of the new launch monitors like the Garmin R10.
What You Need for a Home Personal Golf Simulator - the bare minimum for a cheap golf simulator setup
Golf launch monitor
Golf Net or Screen
Golf Hitting Matt
That is it. You don't need a projector, expensive computer, special room setup, a $15K GC Quad etc.
My Home Golf Simulator Setup
That is all you need. This is assuming you have an ipad or tablet to run the software. I personally had a spare computer and run my Sky Trak software on that PC.
You do not need a projector or some elaborate screen to hit the golf balls into. It is all about getting feedback on your swing.
The Net Return is the best hitting net you will ever get and really you just need a target on the screen (I use a shoelace). You don't need to project an image on the screen. Then you are good to go. The ipad or computer monitor will show you all the details on the ball flight. Did you hook it? Did you slice it? How far did it go? What was the spin? all the information you will need without all the bells and whistles.
Incidentally you can also play golf courses and go full simulator on SkyTrak as well but honestly I use the golf driving range and all the stats it gives 99% of the time.
One piece of advice when building your cheap golf simulator. Don't cheap out on the hitting mat. You need a mat that will last, not hurt your body (can you say tennis elbow), and one that gives you proper feedback. Some mats allow you to hit it fat and there is no discernable decrease in distance. Some mats the ball actually bounces up if you hit behind the ball and will give you unusable golf swing data. The Real Feel - Country Club Elite is great for feedback. When I hit fat shots they are penalized big time. In fact, fat shots are penalized more so than on grass. So this golf matt is really helping my ball striking when I get on the course. My only regret on the golf mat is I bought it in two individual pieces (I am cheap) instead of one larger piece. So it moves around a bit. But I will upgrade shortly.
Here are some sample SkyTrak screen captures of the info you will get on each swing. This stuff is gold:
Now Skytrak is not the be all and end all. It has its limitations. There are other options out there on the cheap side that are also quite good. Do your research.
Other cheap Golf Simulator Options:
Garmin R10 - $649!! I have not used this launch monitor but I hear it is quite good. Especially for the price!! If you are interested check out some of the R10 review videos on YouTube. It looks like a pretty solid product. Not quite the SkyTrak level but as I said decent for the price. On Amazon it has a current rating of 4.3 out of 5 so users are happy with the R10
FlightScope Mevo+ 2023 Edition - I have also heard very good things about the Mevo+. The only issue I had with the Mevo+ and I guess the Garmin R10 as well is that you need to have it setup 7 to 10 feet directly behind the golf mat. This is because it is radar based technology. But again, good reviews and about the same price as the SkyTrak. On Amazon it has a current rating of 4.5 out of 5
That is it for my setup. If you have the room in your house and a few extra dollars lying around I would say don't hesitate if you have been thinking of getting a personal launch monitor. I love mine! Do your research and make it happen.
One final note: check out https://golfsimulatorforum.com/ also for information on Golf Simulators. This was a great resource for me and if you are serious about purchasing a simulator and have questions, you will likely find the answer on this forum.