Regular golf courses are usually massive, and most kids get bored with put-practice fairly fast. Playing golf with your children indoors is much simpler, more practical, and a bit less expensive by the long run (although they’re certainly not cheap).
Golf simulators are great for socializing, as co-op modes are available with almost all units. Furthermore, some of the more popular models are actually pretty realistic, offering accurate tracking and amazing feedback.
Even though they offer plenty of benefits, using golf simulators isn’t as easy as swinging a bat. You’ll need to set them up and acquaint yourself with your unit, the modes it offers, and a couple of other things we’ll talk about in the sections below.
Essentially, golf simulators are comprised of several different parts, which are integrated into an electronic system. There are different types of golf sims, and each works in a slightly different way.
Most golf simulators essentially feature a launch screen (launch monitor), a hitting mat, a golf net, and the golf-simulating software, although certain models include the program exclusively.
Golf simulators require both installation and physical setup; the installation process varies from unit to unit, so you should simply use your user’s manual and follow the steps inside.
As for the physical setup, you’ll need to pick a room with plenty of space, attach the ball catcher net, install the launcher monitor, and depending on the type you’ve opted for, either mount the cameras, activate the radar system, or install the infrared emitters on the club.
First of all, you’ll need enough space for unobstructed swings. Living rooms are ideal, especially if your kids tend to run around the place while waiting for their shot. You should first set the mat and see whether it won’t inconvenience your significant other (it’s fairly at least a few feet tall and relatively wide).
Installing the ball-catching net is a bit trickier. You’ll need to use weighty objects (actual lifting weights are perfect) to prevent the net from moving. Buying a complete monitor & net system is ideal, as certain launch monitors feature a separate arched platform with hooks that can be used to mount both the net and the cameras.
Finally, the launch monitor shouldn’t present too many problems. It’s big and bulky, but it’s much stabler than the net. Again, consult the user’s manual of the specific model you’ve bought and follow the steps.
The right golf simulator accessories can also make your indoor golfing sessions more fun. For example, you can help them practice their putts with a putt trainer. And when they are up for it, you can introduce different sizes of tees to challenge your kids. And in case they become too excitable as they first experience golf at home, you can protect your home knick-knacks from being knocked down with side barriers.
Swinging and putting techniques do not require any adaption when using a golf simulator. Basically, the ball will be stopped by the golf-catcher net if you happen to make a disastrous miss; otherwise, you’ll be hitting the ball against a firm canvas-like material that will immediately stop it.
The cameras, radars, and sensors will do the rest. Some people are afraid that they’ll break something when swinging hard indoors, but the fact is that golf simulator nets are meant to endure everything short of gunshots.
The best thing about golf simulators is that they automatically gather all data regarding each shot you take prior to analyzing it and handpicking relevant information. Some of the most common trackable parameters are shot distance, carry, bounce, roll, club speed, launch angle, club path, club face angle, spin, impact position, and shot type.
In addition to seeing all of these pieces of information, you will also have a visual representation of how your shot would’ve translated in real-time (and real world).
The accuracy of this digital rendering varies from model to model, although even the cheapest golf simulators are fairly accurate. Boutique models are practically reserved for professionals, but they offer surgical precision and track incomparably more parameters.
The features, method of operation, practicality, and price are different for all golf simulators. The ones that share similar characteristics can be grouped into different categories, which include photometric golf simulators, infrared ones, and radar golf simulators.
One of the most versatile types of golf simulators is the Photometric system. The most popular golf simulator of this type is SkyTrak, which is a compact, easy-to-use system that utilizes real-time 3D technology to deliver accurate shot analysis, as well as feedback regarding ball-flight information.
Photometric sims are able to capture thousands of high-speed images mere milliseconds after impact; relying on this data, the software of the simulator compiles all the information of each shot. The unit needs only a few seconds to adjust the digital landscape on the launch monitor.
Furthermore, photometric simulators are also capable of rendering launch angles, the distance from the center, as well as numerous spin-based parameters. A variant of photometric type is the Stereoscopic system; both are based on the same principles, although stereoscopic units capture images from numerous different angles, which boosts the precision and reliability of feedback.
The main drawback of this golf simulator type is that its accuracy can be affected by different lighting conditions. Poorly-lit environments, just like rooms that are flashing with dozens of high-lumens bulbs will invariably hinder its performance.
While photometric sims use cameras to ‘read’ your shots, radar simulators use DR technology that relies on microwave signal emissions, which are transferred from the ball immediately after impact.
Radar sims are, however, not ideal for indoor use, although they can be handy if you’ve already bought the system. It eliminates the shortcomings of other golf simulator types as it’s unphased by lighting conditions, which basically means that it can be a bit more reliable and dependable than photometric sims and infrared launchers in certain scenarios.
Infrared units rely on light signals to read any motion changes on the club’s head instead of the ball. The light emitters are mounted on the practice stick, which feeds data to the system constantly. They’re great for indoor use, although their efficiency varies on several different factors, most notably ambient lighting.
We hope that this brief guide was useful to you and that you’ve learned something new on how to use golf simulators indoors with your kids. Make sure you are staying safe in these times we are all going through and have a good one, guys!