Jake was a competitive golfer for over a decade dating back to the days of being the Captain of his high school golf team. He has played more than 200 courses across 32 different states in the US. Now semi-retired, Jake continues to golf 3-4 days a week with a current 2 handicap, gives golf lessons to his friends and family, and provides a wealth of knowledge to Golf Circuit from his competitive playing days. Jake combines practical expertise with technical knowledge to create golfing strategies and training techniques for both beginners and scratch golfers.
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Golf simulators are becoming both more accurate and affordable. However, many skeptics still question how accurate a golf simulator can be.
The answer to this question is a bit more complicated than you may think. Golf simulators have varying levels of accuracy, and some are not accurate at all.
Here’s how to understand how accurate are golf simulators and how they will impact your use of them.
How Accurate Are Golf Simulators
A golf simulator is only as accurate as each of its individual components. The most important of these components is the launch monitor.
Trackman golf launch monitors are generally considered to be the most accurate of all simulators, and their accuracy rating is within one foot at 100 yards. That means if you were to hit a 100-yard shot on the course or with your simulator, the accuracy would be almost perfect.
As you get more distance with the shots, you lose a bit of accuracy, but the Trackman is still incredibly accurate.
However, not all golf simulators are set up with the Trackman launch monitor, so you will see accuracy in the 90% range for most other simulators. The problem is that golfers use information from their simulators when they return to the golf course.
Just the other day, I was using the Foresight GC3 launch monitor and noticed that it was highly accurate on shorter shots but struggled a bit as the ball got further away.
I had just come in from playing a round of golf, and the total distance on my drives was measuring about 15 yards less than it was while I was on the course. The course yardages were accurate based on my rangefinder.
Why Does Golf Simulator Accuracy Matter?
There is good and bad news about golf simulator accuracy.
The bad news is that it is not always accurate. Golfers that are going to use this information to help them choose clubs, pick yardages or work on improving their games have to be careful with the equipment they use in their simulator.
However, the good news is that if you are using your simulator to play a round of golf, it doesn’t matter if the accuracy is a little off.
Let’s say, for instance, that your normal 8 iron flies about 135 yards. When you play on the simulator, it goes 130 yards.
This won’t matter if you simply make the adjustment and play the rest of your virtual round with this number in mind. The fact that golf simulators are not always 100% accurate does not necessarily have to be a bad thing.
Factors That Impact Golf Simulator Accuracy
Here are the key factors that impact golf simulator accuracy and some tips to help make your experience with a golf simulator all that much more accurate.
Indoor vs. Outdoor
Many golfers find that an indoor golf simulator setup is considered to be the most accurate. There are fewer outside factors, and the numbers tend to read more consistently.
Launch Monitor Quality
As I mentioned, the quality of the launch monitor is the best indicator of the accuracy of your entire golf simulator. Portable launch monitors are great for testing certain components of your swing, but for an accurate simulator experience, you need a high-quality launch monitor.
The key to look for in a great launch monitor is the number of data parameters. When your launch monitor gives you more data, it is easier for the software to convert that data into valuable information.
When launch monitors don’t have swing path or club head data, the distances, spin rates, and overall stats will be a little off.
There are many different golf simulator software options on the market. However, some are better than others, and it will impact the accuracy of your simulator.
Although it’s unfortunate the simulator software with higher fees and sometimes even recurring monthly fees tends to be quite accurate. Most of the best golf simulators come setup with great software.
You must ensure that the setup of your golf simulator is correct. Sometimes the positioning of the launch monitor or the lighting in the room can throw off the accuracy.
Follow all recommendations from the manufacturer to ensure that your simulator accuracy is as high as possible.
An accurate golf simulator takes a bit of time and money to put together. In the end, if you are smart about the pieces you invest in, you can expect accuracy above 90%.
To get nearly perfect accuracy, investing in a launch monitor that is over $15,000 may be necessary, but there are many great options for golf simulators under $5,000.