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startinlate's Multifaceted Simulator Questions Thread

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Howdy, i'm totally new to golf and golf forums.  To cut right to the chase so there's not a huge wall of text to read through i'll get right to the point though.


I'm nearing 40 and have never played more than mini golf so far, yet over the past year or so I found myself developing an intense interest and fascination with golf and started researching and working on a plan to take me from total newb to hopefully scratch golfer over time.  Yet i'm going to have to do most of that without regular access to "real" golf courses"


Biggest problem for me is access issues (more the time/distance to drive to and from a course regularily than making the time to actually play or practice) combined with wanting more regular play being preferred for a shorter period of time (rather do 20 minutes per night rather than 4 hours in one block on saturday, by what I understand this will probably gain skills faster anyway, there's also that i'm still recovering from a bad car accident and doing more than 15-20 minutes of activity at once is difficult and likely to remain so for a year or two yet is quite possible) i'm hoping to mostly get my fix through golf simulators to start with, and maybe eventually design up and make a home practice green to improve skills on tricky shots.  Add in that I have the most free time in the winter and not during the 3 warm seasons currently and at home practice will be the only way I can do this for awhile while still knowing that I will be unlikely to be able to fully integrate any learned skills without getting in real course time.



I welcome comments and PM's from anyone with suggestions about things like best other forums to go to with a focus on golf simulator discussion or forums more building your own practice green at home.  Otherwise I will mostly plan to post here hoping 'virtual golf' will be on topic enough to get useful feedback on.

post #2 of 9
Thread Starter 

golf simulators - how feasible to learn from zero to hero on sim??

I've done some searches here and it seems a number of people swear by golf simulators... but i'm curious if they are only useful for people that already have a decent amount of skill and experience or how feasible it would be to literally take someone from ground zero up to fairly skilled without actually setting foot on a 'real' golf course?


Assuming the answer is probably no, where (does someone who preferably has experience using them or even training others with them) are the biggest weak points of using simulators, like assume you had to totally minimize your time on "real" golf courses regardless of reason (access, snow season in your area, etc) how would you try to work around this limitation?  Like what would be the most important real world golf coaching to get done on a real course (as opposed to in the simulator) for things which DON'T match up?


It doesn't have to be only one golf simulator or one piece of software, for instance if stroke mechanics are best done with say video analysis at home and not with any of the computerized clubhead path tracking type systems because the latter misses something or could allow a bad habit to propagate, that could still be done at home.  I'm mostly curious where the golf simulators lack in terms of playing on real courses, or how to make the best use of 'real world practice time' if you can only get to a real course a few times per year. (which is the situation i'm likely to be facing myself unless I put off learning golf entirely for multiple years)



Note by simulators i'm including everything from the "real club real ball" level of PC golf simulators on up to the 5 digit cost professional stuff, and a discussion of differences between what can be learned on either of them vs only on the higher end stuff is welcome as well.

post #3 of 9

IDK, but my local Dicks Sporting Goods store has a simulator where you can play 18-hole rounds on professional courses like Pebble Beach, TPC.. etc

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

If designing a dedicated golf simulator room for a new house...

From anyone who has researched or actually built for the higher end options of golf simulators, i'm looking for a few pointers from those who have actually designed a room for their use for a few pointers.


Now this is probably very early in the planning game to be concerned about such a thing (considering i've yet to play more than mini golf in 'real life', i'm a total newbie and I admit it) but the reality is that:

   - The next place I move into i'm probably going to be there for the next 20 years or more, although I cannot predict how far my interest in golf will go I know I won't be able to redesign the house once the plans are signed off on

   - I don't plan on designing it JUST for a simulator, quite the opposite, it will be a multipurpose room (ie home theater and other gaming), this is exclusively a question of "is there anything I should ADD to what will already be a custom home theater room to easily allow for later upgrading to a golf simulator?"

   - The marginal additional cost of planning for a golf simulator may actually be zero in the planning stage if I don't ever use the ability, like since a 12 foot ceiling seems the highest i've seen I would have been out of luck for some options if I had built an 11.5ft tall ceiling.

   - Even if I personally don't get as much use out of it as i'm hoping, I might have clients i'd want to invite over who would enjoy it more making it a business writeoff. (if a future marketing consulting business takes off like I hope)  So even if my personal use is not as much and my other postings reveal i'm still a total newb, i'm still interested in making room for such a thing.  :)



By what I can tell the main things you have to be concerned about are having a nice high ceiling, like 12 feet for the tallest ones i'd seen listings of, and of course the ability to whack physical golf balls around the room at 200mph without breaking things that matter if the nets fail, so it mostly means the obvious to me of no chandeliers, physical protection so that delicate equipment isn't exposed to potential physical impact, and so forth.  Media and equipment libraries will probably have to be behind replaceable wooden panels "just in case".


Are there any other special considerations though like "I wish I would have known to allow for X so I could use so-and-so high end golf simulator instead" type factors?  I'd assume some sound insulation as well if you want to play at 3am (but that's a given with the home theater anyway) but mostly wondered if there was anything else not obvious. :) Yet since I don't even have a canonical list of all the simulators out there at the moment I can't compare everyone's architectural requirements for certain.

post #5 of 9

I guess a couple things simulators will lack of course is the natural conditions of a real course like wind, slope of the ground, and visualization. As far as learning an efficient golf swing I don't see why not it's just you will still have to learn to transfer one environment to the other. I remember an article in a major golf publication where the writer was doing a story on golf in Japan, and he was at one of the multi decked driving ranges and saw a young man just striking perfect shot right after another, the writer struck conversation with the man and then asked him what handicap does he carry? The young man said hes never been on a course his entire life so I guess a good swing is attainable.

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Designing a home practice green on a few acres...suggestions?? Articles/books?

My longer writeup just got eaten by the system so i'll make this a short post and expand as needed.  :P


Having seen Dave Pelz's opinions about the short game being the most valuable to practice to improve your score, and his design for a 2.5 acre home practice green where he can practice difficult shots, I was curious whether others have done likewise or if there are must read articles on the topic and similar.


I'm in the early stages of planning a move to a rural area where I will have at least a few acres (maybe 5-11 though no it can't all be dedicated to just golf, however it can multitask like part of a future in ground swimming pool area or stream on the property doubles as a water hazard :P ) available which includes the option of doing some landscaping planning of my choice.  I would like to explore options to draw up a possible implementation of a similar home practice green (less a course for 'fun' or aesthetic and more one primarily for building skill for someone who cant get to a 'real course' at all) however the design of what is necessary to get the variety of shots you want to be practiced needs to drive that in reverse instead of just haphazardly adding holes around where you have room.


I'm not seeking specifics just general suggestions and principles, like what variety of shots would you need to practice or design in for challenge yourself if you could?  What's the minimum number of holes and the minimum space you think you could design around to provide decades of challenge always improving the game?  Note changing the landscape in the future is always an option but the available room and overall shape won't be able to really change.

post #7 of 9

Google search for ottawa golf simulator discussion


Those guys have lengthy write-ups and discussions about every simulator on the market.  I have personally used the Optishot which is a very low end simulator and will tell you that it would do more harm than good for someone that is new to the game.  Also, for someone that is new I would definitely make sure you get a full netting enclosure.... those wayward shots will break windows and put holes in the walls if you don't have netting to catch them.  


If you have the cash, I think the best option on the market right now is the Foresight GC2.  It's around $8k for the simulator unit, but doesn't include any computer, netting, mats, projector, etc.  The GC2 reads the ball data to simulate your shot and is extremely accurate.  It's the same simulator that they use at the Golfsmith's around here.


A slightly cheaper, yet still pretty good option, is the ProTee.  It reads club data to calculate what it thinks the ball will do.  It is slightly less accurate than the GC2 from what I've read, but you get a ton of club data that can help you diagnose problems with your swing.  I think the entry for that unit is around $6k.

post #8 of 9

Yeah, I also have an Optishot and wouldn't recommend it. At the time, I thought it would be really good for winter, but I think a launch monitor and net would've been a better investment.


On a side note, you're talking about putting thousands of dollars worth of stuff into your home for a sport you haven't played yet. It's your money, but you might consider going to a driving range or something to try it out first. They have golf simulators you can pay to play in some places that would work as a trial, as well. You could probably even make some inquiries as to what system they use if you try it and enjoy it.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Wow, a year sure goes by fast. :P Still mostly watching from the sidelines, just priorities (including opportunities for extra work and putting up savings towards a house) been in the way but plans not changing, any questions in my head the same as they were a year ago.

"...spending thousands on a sport I haven't tried yet"

Aware of how it possibly sounds but actually all i'm doing is planning for a future expansion which may or may not even occur because i'm compulsive about planning and taking advantage of secondhand opportunities. Originally i'd have thought it out of reach to consider but after seeing an $8k sim go for $2k over someone desperately needing the cash, it made me kind of say 'hmm!'

Thousands will be spent on equipment in a home theater room no matter what, it's mostly tweaking fine details to allow for potential future installation of a golf or multisport simulator being not that big of a change - I already planned to start with things like the Electric Spin Golf Launchpad at the bottom and potentially move up to the P3Pro over time, and an 11 foot high ceiling for that was a cost already expected as a minimum.

The biggest difference is what changes would be needed to take things further, with the idea that a "deal too good to refuse" on the secondhand market eventually turns up (obviously assuming i'm totally in love with the game) at which point the house was either set up to take advantage of the opportunity or it's not. If i'm living in the same house the next 20-30 years I can't change it later, I design it in now or I don't, and if it's changes as minor as altering a 15x18ft room originally planned to now be 20x20 with other rooms being smaller that's not even an additional cost, just moving two walls before things are built. Whether or not I ever get to stick in the fancy pro golf simulator hardware later that's the thousands or tens of thousands that may or may not be spent.

Other than a room at least 20 feet long, 20 feet wide, and 11 feet high which would seem to work with anything i've looked into so far from their public specs (ie - about Golf, X Golf, Full Swing Golf, etc. unless there's a larger/taller one anyone knows of?) plus of course a dedicated circuit and probably some soundproofing for the noise of whacking balls around at any hour, it's more wondering if there's any unadvertised issues relevant to being able to accomodate such sims or which people considering such sims are suggested to keep in mind? They might be obvious to people seriously in the market and planning to have one and not obvious to me browsing from the outside is all I mean.

Questions about an outdoor backyard practice area would be a similar separate issue - the plan is to have 5 acres of backyard anyway which is common in the rural area we'll be living in, since the house is probably at least still a few years from acquisition anyways I still have time to sketch up some landscaping designs to be fun. Whether or not they'll ever be implemented is obviously the question but it's a fun idea to play with for the time being plus enough potential clients are into golf that invites out for private play could very well justify it as a business writeoff if the total cost isn't too high (which was a second purpose for the simulator in the meanwhile if I forgot to mention in the original post - it's not just 100% for my own interest i'm planning such entertainments). To be clear it's nothing about being a millionaire either which is why i'd be DIYing most things, it just seems like an audacious idea to figure out how to set up your own mini course to give what I call million dollar experiences on a few thousand.

The bigger question about the backyard training course design though is coming at the problem from the reverse - not starting with some backyard mounds then adding some holes wherever they look good, but rather designing the landscaping to actually train a set of relevant skills to improve one's golf game the most you can in the smallest possible layout of space. Again the cost is minimal - nothing until implemented (expected to get 5 acres anyways) and only starts with just pushing dirt around. But where would one even go to discuss things such as engineering your own chipping course to challenge the players?? AKA David Pelz had his own ideas and I guess i'd like an insight into his thought processes or anyone else who may have attempted similar of why everything is set up the way it is. Even if I play a hundred different courses I wont necessarily intuit either the 'science of fun' or the science of training benefits, where could I best find recommended texts on golf course design? Or texts on designing training programs for golfers amounting to "you need to practice THIS KIND OF TRICKY SHOT because it's so common" to then design the holes exclusively around those demands?

PS the suggestion to check out the ottawa golf boards has been useful and i've been lurking and randomly reading some relevant threads.
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