People opt for the projector setup because it simulates hitting the ball right down the fairway into the screen. Because of this you’ll obviously need a durable screen to hit into or a protective net in front of it. Good projector screens that are strong enough to withstand repeated drives with a real golf ball can be quite expensive but there are a number of ways to get around this on a budget. Here are a few options:
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.
Jim McLean’s 8 Step Swing, which incorporates the swings of Ernie Els, Ben Hogan and Tiger Woods, is an additional feature many HD Golfers decide to add to their simulators. Step by step, a golfer is able to perfect every element of their swing. The simulator records and analyzes a golfer’s swing in real time. When the system detects that the golfer’s position and swing are out of the “corridor of success” or have committed a “death move”, the simulator will automatically alert the golfer and present virtual coaching from Jim McLean.
I love this thing! I can play 18 holes anytime I want, rain or shine. Couple of points; Putting not so great but once you get the hang of it, not so bad either. I would recommend using the long/short tee on every shot. While it's pretty sturdy in the base, metal, the housing is plastic and the first one I had shattered on a miss hit by one of my friends who did not use a tee. Lesson learned. Excellent feed back on swing speed, plane and face position at impact. really has helped me correct some minor issues. I bought a Rukket 10x7ft Haack Golf Net (great product!) and use it indoor. You can swing without a golfball, of course, but I like the feel of the ball on the club face. What can I say, I've played 18 ... full review
2) You should choose the SkyTrak Practice Package for the lowest cost SkyTrak package. You don’t get a projector or projector screen with this package but that saves you about $1,200! Hit into The Net Return net and display your shot data on an iPad, PC, or better yet, hook it up to a TV. This is a highly portable setup too allowing you to take apart your Net Return net within minutes making this an excellent outdoor golf simulator.
I've had this for a couple weeks now and have played a few rounds on TGC. Pretty fun. As others have noted, this won't register fat and thin swings. My distances also seemed off (short 15 to 20). Adjustments to the club's loft and shaft length (from head to bottom of sensor) helped dial my real distances I guess by changing club speed. It seems like path and club angle at impact are accurate. Can't really tell on side spin and have toed some swings that register as straight shots.