Almost every single simulator package is going to require a computer to run its software. Hardware is an added cost that many golfers will not consider. It’s possible you may already have a laptop, tablet, or desktop option that is capable of running the software. Most systems will require a more robust graphics card, which you can easily upgrade on an older computer if you are handy.
The benefit of using a system like OptiShot is that you don’t need to use an actual golf ball. You can use a foam ball or a plastic one. This will allow you to save a ton of money because you don’t need to use a high impact projector screen or net. Cory has seen some people use painter’s tarp or a bed sheet, which will save you several hundred dollars.
I built my home simulator late last summer. I went with the SkyTrak w/Game Improvement Pkg for $1750 on sale, Rukket Haack Golf Net for $129, a used commercial grade 5×5 hitting mat (Grade A) for $200 off eBay. I used my old laptop and used it for displaying the shot data. I set mine up in my garage. I leave the net up full-time and move the mat in/out of position, if needed. This is a very workable and relatively affordable solution for $2079 in total.
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where there is a local golf center with simulators and indoor driving ranges/domes consider yourself blessed. Today’s commercial golf simulators really are top of the line and the spacious room allowing you to use your full swing really is priceless. Unfortunately though these simulators can be both crowded and costly as they look to cater to all of the other anxious golfers who are not so patiently awaiting the arrival of spring.
The first comment I will make is if you go into purchasing this product assuming you will get the same accuracy as a $10,000 simulator, you shouldn't purchase this. Expensive professional simulators use ball tracking to provide the most accurate 'simulation' to an actual hit outdoors. They also require large equipment, and in most cases a dedicated room to be used solely for the golf simulator. This simulator uses swing (club) tracking to provide calculations and assumptions on where the ball should go.
Features– That brings us to the final consideration- the features. You can get a bare bones simulator that only does the basics, but you’ll get more mileage out of a fully featured simulator. One that can simulate different weather conditions or even allow you to play a virtual facsimile of actual golf courses will give you a lot more assistance than one that is decidedly simpler.
Another factor that you need to consider is space. If you have the space and all the proper equipment such as golf net, golf mat and a golf set, then you are able to take your practice session to an even higher level by using a projector. If you opt for a projector, you will be hitting the ball straight at the target because the image will be projected right in front of you in full size. On top of that, you’ll be able to invest in a unique screen material that is designed to withstand the powerful impact of a real golf ball.