If you are just looking to have fun and play some golf, just about any simulator will do the job. But if you want to improve your game and get good stats, feedback, and improve your game, then do your research and buy a simulator that fits your needs. If you are just starting out and trying to learn the fundamentals each “device” has its place and time in your journey through your golf game as it evolves also. So as with anything as Tom said earlier, you get what you pay for, and be realistic in your expectations for each device. The pros use simulators that cost over $100,000 to help their game, but they also use something as simple as towel under their arm during simple drills to help them with a swing thought. So throwing money at your swing won’t make you better, you have to practice and learn this game to get better. Once you understand your swing, grip and stance, then you can start on the other 1,000 tweaks to make your game better. So before you make a big investment in a simulator, make sure you are getting what you want: Recreation or Improvement.
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.
At this price point, you are most likely looking at an OptiShot simulator. It’s currently around $300, and this is the entry level. You can have plenty of fun with a product like this, but be aware that the accuracy is limited. Optishot only measures the speed, path, and face angle of your club. From there it calculates where your ball is going but is not directly measuring the actual golf ball after impact. So you might not make great contact, but OptiShot would simulate a shot that was struck almost perfectly. It is essential to understand that the info provided could be misleading on individual shots, which could frustrate players.
In the value section, SkyTrak has established itself as the industry standard. Rather than a permanent display, SkyTrak is a portable simulator, essentially a launch monitor that can be hooked up (wirelessly) to a smart tablet or personal computer. But don’t let the lack of bells and whistles fool you. SkyTrak is also compatible with The Golf Club Game which offers 150,000 courses—like Bandon Dunes, Erin Hills and Chambers Bay, plus those created by users—and live tournaments for competition with friends or online challengers.