Home Golf Simulator Buildout
I've always wanted a home, indoor golf simulator. Whenever I go to the local golf store to get fitted for a new set of clubs or take lessons during the winter months I hit into these things and geek out on club head speed, estimated distance, trajectory, spin rate, etc.
I began to wonder if I could put a simulator in my home. Something like this:
Turns out, the simulator pictured above is nearly $30,000. No way am I going to drop that amount of cash on something like this, but I began researching what a more DIY solution would be like. You can build one of these yourself for much, much cheaper than 30K if you're willing to get your hands dirty.
Going to use this topic to document all the materials I'm purchasing and work I'm doing in building my own home, indoor golf simulator.
- 62 comments, 42 replies
Step 1: The Basement
If you're basement is anything like mine, it's filled with a bunch of junk like this:
I needed to find a spot that I thought would work well and clean it up.
The good news is that I have 9-foot ceilings in my basement. You'll need at least 9-feet for most players to swing a driver without smacking the floor joists. I took some light practice swings and it still makes me nervous every time. I'll talk more about what I did to maximize every inch out of the ceiling later on.
I picked an area in the basement, moved the junk, and let the iRobot Dirt Dog do his work (you have a Dirt Dog don't you? mine works great):
Then I took some measurements. Like I mentioned before, 9-foot ceilings. In the picture above I have about 16-feet from steel beam to beam. And, as far as depth goes, I knew that wasn't going to be an issue because those beams run the full length of the house.
So, with measurements in hand, I started looking for something around 9-feet tall and 16-feet wide.
Step 2: Research
You don't need to search for golf simulators online very long before you find the $25,000 - $75,000 systems. You'll find some really amazing setups like this: http://www.fullswinggolf.com/for-your-home/
This is going in my unfinished basement, so I don't need it to be all fancy to match some interior design motif. I did find it helpful to write down some goals before I started doing my research. Here's what I came up with:
With these goals in mind I broke the system down to four main components:
I'll get to #3 and #4 later, but I looked at a lot of nets and screens before I stumbled on customdesigngolf.com. I'll be honest, their website is so horrible I almost closed it right away. It looks like something from GeoCities circa 1997. But, their prices were the cheapest I found on the web.
You can't order online, which was fine with me. I had tons of questions so I called them up. I talked to John about my project and he was very helpful. I sent him a photo of the basement. We talked about the layout of the basement and the measurements. They were able to customize their frame kit and net to my specifications. We went with 8' 9" high (more on this later), 13' wide, and 7' 6" deep.
I bought their Pro Frame Commercial Kit for $399.95 and their 8' x 12' Video Impact Screen for $599.95.
I'm also concerned about light from nearby windows making it difficult to see the projector. I bought four black out panels for the sides of the frame for $25 a piece.
Step 3: Frame Kit
A week later, the frame kit, net, and screen were delivered.
The thing to know about the frame kit is that it's truly a kit. The net and fittings are supplied, but you'll need to provide your own metal pipe to go in the fittings. John at customdesigngolf.com says this is because the metal pipes are too expensive to ship and you can get them at your local hardware store for around $3 a piece.
He was right. I borrowed a truck and bought ten 3/4" x 10' EMT conduit pipes from Lowes at $3.87 a piece: http://www.lowes.com/pd_72713-1792-101550_0__?productId=3129553&Ntt=emt+conduit&pl=1¤tURL=%3FNtt%3Demt%2Bconduit&facetInfo=
With the conduit pipes in hand, I was ready to assembly the frame.
But first I needed to cut the 10' conduit. I already had a reciprocating saw, but I needed a blade to cut the metal pipe. That set me back $2.38: http://www.lowes.com/pd_22122-281-372618B10_0__?productId=3122317&Ntt=reciprocating+metal&pl=1¤tURL=%3FNtt%3Dreciprocating%2Bmetal%26page%3D2&facetInfo=
I cut the pipe to those dimensions and inserted them into the supplied fittings:
Rinse, repeat... and the frame was up:
Step 4: The Ceiling
I hate this part. I really hate it. The next time I build a house I'm going to have 10' ceilings in the basement.
Here's the thing. I've been saying my ceilings in the basement are 9', but that's really a lie. When you measure concrete to floor joist, they're 8' 10". I'm assuming that's because the concrete is slightly pitched in this area of the basement to help channel any water toward the sump pump. In any case, I had John at customdesigngolf.com make the frame kit and net 8' 9" tall to give one inch of wiggle room when installing the pipe fittings and net.
Now, it scares me to leave the floor joists exposed. If someone hits a wedge or pops a drive off the top of their club it's going to hit the ceiling. No telling where it goes if it starts rattling in the floor joists, so John suggested I get some thin plywood to screw to the joists.
To cover the area I bought six 1/4 x 4 x 8 sheets of plywood for $14.49 a piece. I assembled the frame first because I had a feeling it was going to come in handy in helping me screw the plywood to the ceiling.
Even with the frame to help, this part was quite a chore. Get someone to help you with this step if you can.
Oh, and I used three boxes of wood screws at $5.97 a piece: http://www.lowes.com/pd_337716-37672-5937_0__?productId=3295464&Ntt=50-count+wood+screw&pl=1¤tURL=%3FNtt%3D50-count%2Bwood%2Bscrew&facetInfo=
Step 5: The Light Receptacle
I knew it was going to happen, but I got five plywood panels on the ceiling before I ran into the light receptacle.
I ended up moving it four floor joists over. Fairly easy to tackle if you're comfortable working with Romex wiring.
I was out of wire connectors so I bought a big pack for $6.98: http://www.lowes.com/pd_114567-12704-30-5152JR_0__?productId=3127579&Ntt=wire+nuts&pl=1¤tURL=%3FNtt%3Dwire%2Bnuts&facetInfo=
I also went ahead and upgraded the receptacle to a model that has a grounded outlet built-in for $4.23 (I won't count the 2 plastic models I broke trying to install): http://www.lowes.com/pd_71102-334-667-SP-L_0__?productId=1098587&Ntt=cooper+ceiling&pl=1¤tURL=%3FNtt%3Dcooper%2Bceiling&facetInfo=
I'm thinking the added outlet is going to come in handy for the projector later.
Light receptacle needed a new electrical box for $1.50: http://www.lowes.com/pd_14099-53911-B520PB_0__?productId=3420124&Ntt=electrical+box+ceiling&pl=1¤tURL=%3FNtt%3Delectrical%2Bbox%2Bceiling&facetInfo=
With the light receptacle moved, I was able to screw the last plywood sheet to the ceiling.
Step 6: Electrical Tape
I'm not a fan of the steel pipe look and how it's going to contrast with the black netting. It's a bit too unfinished and raw for me.
I bought a 10-pack of electrical tape for $4.98: http://www.lowes.com/pd_19456-16878-53723_0__?Ntt=electrical+tape+10+pack&UserSearch=electrical+tape+10+pack&productId=3659314&rpp=32
Took a while, but I took down every conduit pipe one-by-one and wrapped them with black electrical tape:
Haven't tackled the fittings yet, but I'm going to get to it:
@shawn I'm just reading this now, so sorry for the reply to a 2-year old thread. This is awesome, by the way. Is there a specific reason you went with black electrical tape instead of black duck tape which seems like it would have been less expensive and less work (thicker tape might even have allowed you to tape the long way instead of circling the bar)?
@DaveInSoCal no reason other than I didn't think about black duck tape at the time.
@shawn the electrical tape will definitely look and feel better than duck anyway. Nice work!
Step 7: Paint
Nothing too fancy here. Just a gallon of black paint for the ceiling. I did get a paint and primer in one to hopefully cut down the number of coats. $24.97: http://www.lowes.com/pd_356798-86-D58-6-BLACKMAG356798_0__?Ntt=olympic+one+gallon+interior+flat+black+magic&UserSearch=olympic+one+gallon+interior+flat+black+magic&productId=3464876&rpp=32
The paint and primer probably paid for itself given the amount of time it saved. I only had to do two coats:
@shawn, If you had to do it over again, would you paint the plywood before putting it up? I imagine that's some serious back strain.
It wasn't too bad, but the thought did cross my mind mostly when I was trying to paint around the frame.
@shawn, this is awesome! I can't wait to see the finished product. I'm a bit surprised that they wouldn't give you the frame kit for free in exchange for a quick revamp of their horrible website.
Thanks for sharing!
This is the coolest thing you've ever done. Ever.
Hard to know if you mean that as a compliment.
@shawn, Hurry and post more pictures!! I'm excited to see the completed project! ... And maybe you should host a mediocre golf tournament lol...
@dave, haha definitely compliment.
Step 8: Ceiling Tape
I'm a mediocre carpenter, so the plywood didn't magically fit together without any visible seams. I bought some black gorilla tape for $4.98: http://www.lowes.com/pd_293567-18562-60012_0__?productId=3055685&Ntt=black+gorilla+tape&pl=1¤tURL=%3FNtt%3Dblack%2Bgorilla%2Btape&facetInfo=
That stuff doesn't mess around. I used it to tape up the plywood seams:
Oh, and I'm now the mayor of Lowe's on Foursquare.
Congrats on the mayorship. I'm reasonably impressed.
Step 9: More Electrical Tape
I covered the fittings with electrical tape. If you're following along at home, don't be an idiot and tape the fittings before you assemble the frame.
Those little set screws are still silver and it bugs me, but not enough to spray paint them black.
At this point, I'm all done with the frame and ceiling.
@shawn, We should've placed bets on how much it'd all cost in the end and what day you'd finish.
I have a long way to go I'm afraid.
Step 10: Netting
Pulled the net out of the box and spread it out. Damn, this thing is big. And heavy.
Tried to make sense of the instructions and they weren't super clear. Here's what I did that seemed to work out.
I found the four corners of the net. I took the two top corners and attached them to top, front fittings of the frame with the supplied heavy-duty zip ties. Ended up looking something like this (small 3-year old "helper" in his pajamas is totally optional):
Then I attached the net to the top, rear fittings.
Once I had those four corners established, I started attaching the net to the midpoints between the zip ties. I kept added more zip ties to each midpoint until each zip tie was about 12" apart. My guess is attaching the net this way helps to make sure it's nice and evenly tight across the net's surface.
Almost hard to see here, but the net is up:
Then it was time for a test run. I found some old carpet squares, a 7-iron, and a golf ball...
Gonna have to figure out how to deaden the impact when the ball bounces off the net :)
You could build some kind of ball return, similar to what pool tables have?
@shawn, Whoa, your kid really re-set my sense of scale of this project. That net is huge.
Step 11: Screen
Attached the video screen last night. The top attaches to the frame using the same zip ties used for the net:
The bottom attaches using elastic bungie cords that were provided. This gives the screen some ability to move when the ball hits it.
I might need to let it settle for a day and then adjust it again to get the wrinkles out:
@shawn, that's pretty legit.
If anyone has an extra $59,995 laying around, this is what I want for Christmas:
@shawn go look at sky trak! Once I build something similar in my own house I am going to by it to go along with my optishot 2!
Step 12: Black Out Panels
While I'm waiting for the projector to arrive, I went ahead and installed the black-out panels on the sides. These things should help block a lot of the light coming in to the simulator and make the project look nice and bright.
Black out panels went on the outside of the frame and attached using zip ties:
This thing is starting to look legit
The black out panels are cheap enough that I might buy a couple more to complete the look across the bottom of the screen
what a difference that makes! looking good!
I'm actually getting excited!
Step 13: Projector
Pretty much every one of these systems I've seen uses a ceiling mounted projector. Makes sense to me, I can't really think of a better way to do it.
I've never owned a projector before, so I ran over to The Wirecutter to read their reviews. I was ready to purchase the $2,600 Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5020 when I started calculating how far back I'd need the projector to be fill my 12' x 8' screen. With the throw ratio of this Epson projector it ends up needing to be something like 30 feet away to fill the screen. With me standing about 10' away, right in the middle of the screen and the projector, I'd see nothing on the screen but my own shadow.
Found a good video that explains why you need a "short throw" projector for your golf simulator:
I also might want to watch some movies on this thing so @lukeduff told me to get an HD 1080p projector with a 1920x1080 resolution. Honestly had some trouble finding short throw projectors, with 1080p, that could handle a 12' x 8' screen from around 10' deep. There's a couple of $6000 models, but I eventually settled on the BenQ W1080ST for $897 at Amazon:
Doesn't come with a ceiling mount, but Amazon recommended one in their handy people-who-bought-this-thing-also-bought-these-other-things feature that my friend @Erik works on. That set me back $58.95.
Ceiling mount came in two pieces. One you mount to the ceiling:
The other you mount to the projector:
Then you connect them together with a bolt and tighten a wingnut. I had a 1-foot power cord laying around and was pretty excited that it reached the receptacle I put in place earlier. Almost looks like I know what I'm doing...
Don't have anything hooked up to the projector yet, but there is a handy test pattern. Check out how dark the inside of this thing is...
I noticed your youtube video is no longer available. We at rainorshinegolf.com have actually created a projector guide video that may be able to help your customers…here is a link to our youtube video and full guide:
so are you virtual golfing this weekend?
Not unless my HDMI cables from MonoPrice arrive. Besides, I've got a bunch of planning to do before our experiments meeting next week.
Banana added for scale
Step 14: HDMI Cable
I knew I was going to need a long HDMI cable to run from the projector mounted to the ceiling to the video source (I'm going to try to use my existing MacBook Air so I don't have to buy another computer).
Not real sure how long the cable needed to be, but I knew it needed to be at least 10 feet. I'm not an HDMI cable expert, but I know most cheap cables at this length won't support 1080p. The projector supports 1080p so I wanted to make sure the HDMI cable does as well.
Did some digging on MonoPrice and looks like they have a line of cables called RedMere that support 1080p over long distances. I ended up with going with a 50 foot RedMere cable for $59.17.
Quite a bargain compared to this $1369.99 cable I could have bought from BestBuy.
The RedMere cables have tiny little chips in them, so they're directional. I plugged the "display" end of the cable into the projector:
Luckily, I had some other cables running with the floor joists. I was able to use the cable guides already in place:
Ran the cable up and over the ductwork to where I'm thinking I'll be placing the laptop, and... holy crap... I still have like 35 feet of HDMI cable left over:
In order to plug the HDMI cable into the laptop I needed a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter. I could swear I have a couple of these laying around somewhere but I also know I was pretty bad at leaving these behind in Amazon conference rooms. Another $6.72 spent at MonoPrice.
I plugged the source end of the HDMI cable into the adapter, then plugged the adapter into my MacBook Air.
Fired up Netflix on the laptop and that was enough to get the projector working as a mini movie theatre which my kids thought was pretty neat:
Cool, had never heard of this RedMere cable. I'll have to see what it's technical limitations are for other applications.
@shawn how clear is the screen when watching movies-- I want to have a theatre/ simulator all in one but not sure with smacking balls into the screen how it would be
@evansbrady5 I don't really notice many side effects when watching movies. My tip would be to make sure you're using brand new, clean golf balls.
@shawn, ha! I think you found the size necessary for the banana-for-scale metric to make a lot of sense -- that is one small banana!
@snapster, @shawn, I'm not seeing the banana in the price breakdown. +$0.20 if wanting to show scale on the internet.
You do know that now that your kids realize it can be used as a mini-movie theater you'll never be able to use it like you planned for golf simulation, right?
@msklzannie, and don't try building a second one. Then they'll know they can each get their own movie.
I was wondering why we hadn't gotten any updates here, but then I remembered...he's actually out golfing.
I saw a photo from his golf outing and my first thought was "wow, the simulator is looking GREAT."
Simulator? Oh you mean the big whiteboard that the kids have been using in the basement?
Step 15: Sensor and Software
With the frame, net, screen, and projector in place it's time to turn this into an actual golf simulator. We need some kind of a sensor to detect the movements of the golf swing and a software package to interpret and display the results.
There's basically two different approaches for the sensor: those that use infrared to track direction and speed of the club and those that use high speed cameras to detect the speed and spin of the ball. The high speed camera approach is more accurate but also more expensive.
I went with the OptiShot Infrared Golf Simulator. It's one of the cheapest and most mainstream simulators out there. You can buy them from Amazon or even find them in your local Sports Authority. I was able to find a new unit on eBay for $279.99.
Here's what the sensor unit looks like. You can see the black strip of infrared sensors in the middle of the mat.
It connects through a 10 foot USB cable.
I tried to run the OptiShot software on my Mac using Parallels, but the virtual video drivers can't handle the OptiShot software written in OpenGL. So I had to use Boot Camp to boot my Mac using Windows 8.1. This configuration works fine and once the software loads you can pick between about a dozen courses or the driving range (you'll notice I still need to make some adjustments to my projector to get the picture aligned):
With that in place, I'm getting some of the stats I'm looking for like club speed, swing path, and face angle at impact. Seems fairly accurate. I've always been a toe hitter that fades the ball, but I question the 175 yard distance for a 7-iron:
Here's a slo-mo video of this thing in action (and yes, those chirping birds are part of the software and they're awful):
So when do we hack this to work with Mario Golf?
Wow, that's quite a build. I'm jealous. mostly that you have a 9' ceiling in your basement. Ours is < 6' - I don't think we could swing a wii-mote down there, let alone a club.
@Thumperchick, Yeah, I was thinking about our attic, where we oddly have really tall ceilings, but then I pictured accidentally missing the screen, it flying out a window, presumably bouncing down the street and probably causing an 18 car pile-up.
Nice work on the setup, even nicer work recording everything and giving us a breakdown of what all this project entails!
Electrical tape? Definitely!
I honestly thought the ball was going to re-tee itself.
Great build out. I must admit that I'm impressed. Have you considered putting a mat under the screen to help prevent ball bounce? Those snap-together foam mats sold for playrooms with hardwood floors would probably work, but I'm sure there is something that looks nice available as well.
You should also see if there is anyway to do away with the bird sounds. They would just make me angry
I'm wondering if you could put together a gutter/trough ball collector/returner rig below the screen so you're not chasing the balls around all day...
Awesomesauce! Nice work!
Haven't forgotten about my golf simulator project, I've just been busy building ecommerce experiments.
Current status: reviewing artificial turf samples
Excited to see the next steps and finished product.
If I had a dollar for every day I had to review artificial turf samples, I'd be broke.
@shawn Did you com to a decision on your turf/mats ?
@shawn just wondering where these samples r from. I'm in the same stage of my Sim room looking for turf but can't find anything with rubber backing like u r showing in the picture?
@BiggestQuill Samples are from ondecksports.com
Hey Shawn. Thanks for all the detailed information you have given to us golfer who want to do the same thing.
DO you have any thoughts about incorpurating a pass through screen.
I need help coming up with the design. I have some details on supplies needed, bands etc.
This looks really neat. I've never seen anything like that before. Have any links or pricing information?
@findmiguel do you have any reasonable suppliers for a pass through screen. Appreciate your help.
No, I contacted full swing a while back and the said the pass through screen is back in development and is currently not for sale. I am currently working on making one that would work with your current style of setup. My initial build was out of wood and the tension on the bands was to much for the frame, currently working on a metal frame. Can I message you direct? Bands from http://www.ctsusa.com/
@findmiguel shawn at mediocre dot com
Years ago I worked with the company that developed the About Golf simulator camera system. Very cool stuff, so I'm interested to know how you feel about your setup once it's done. Are you doing this to improve your golfing, or just to enjoy golfing?
Just read your post above. Wow, great job.Not ony was it well written, but also informative and enjoyable reading. I'm in the market for a home simulator and looked at OptiShot. Wasn't quite convinced that a $400 club-face detector would satisfy my needs to improve my game. How do you like yours? Have you given any thought to upgrading and if so what are you looking at.
@shawn thanks for sharing so much detail! I came across this picture of your son hitting balls. Do they similate onto the field, or is that a still shot? Would love to recreate this!
would love to here what specific Turf you decided on. I am doing a very similar build in my basement and currently researching turf. Also how far is distance from simulator t spot to screen. Thanks
@epattr @gillbuddy Haven't got any turf yet. What I really like is this Tee Line Artificial Turf from On Deck Sports: http://www.ondecksports.com/Tee-Line-Artificial-Turf_2
@gillbuddy I've been playing around with various distances from the simulator sensor to the screen but usually keeping it around 12 feet.
Great read. Looking forward to more.
your simulator is 13' wide, but you bought 10' conduit. Did you use a coupler or something?
I did use a coupler. Put one couple on the left side and one on the right side so they offset. Wrapped them up with tape so they're hard to see now but here's a picture.
@shawn how is that 9' ceiling working for you? i'm looking at a new house build where i can choose 9ft ceilings and the only reason i would do so is for a basement simulator. I'm 5'10. are you able to swing at least most of your clubs comfortably?
@djc225 I'm 5'11" and I can swing every club in my bag just fine. I've had others hit the ceiling though. Somewhat depends on how flat your swing is.
ah, that makes sense. So you used the leftover conduit from the ones you cut, rather than put the coupler in the middle and cutting two 10' down to 6.5
Where is the projector in relation to where you are standing (the sensor)? I assume its x feet behind the sensor to avoid hitting it while swinging. Does this cause any shadows on the screen? How far back is the sensor from the front net? How far back is the projector from the front net?
Outstanding, how happy are you with everything? Is there anything you would change and will you be putting up more pics?
Step 16: Turf and hitting mats
Up until this point the simulator has been looking like this:
I totally underestimated how difficult finding an economical solution for the turf was going to be. This past week I finally came up with something. I'm not sure it's the greatest solution, but I'll share what I did. Basically, I decided to go with a two part solution: one for the hitting area and another for the remainder of the concrete floor.
To cover up the remainder of the concrete floor I was simply looking for something large enough (the simulator is about 15 feet wide at its widest point) to cover the floor. Ideally this would solve for 3 criteria:
I ended up purchasing the Synturfmats Green Artificial Grass Carpet Rug - Indoor/Outdoor Synthetic Turf Runner Area Rugs for dogs, patios, porches 10'x15' from Amazon.
It arrived in a roll:
It ended up being super thin and crappy:
It was so thin I was worried it wasn't going to do much to deaden the ball when it landed on the floor. Happy to report it works well at this task. At this point because of all the folds and creases there's no way to use it as a putting green. Hoping that maybe over time I can stretch it out to eliminate all the bumps.
Even though the material was rather crappy, it sure did make a world of difference on the aesthetics:
For the hitting area I've been looking for mats that would work with the Optishot sensor. I ended up going with the Optishot Ultimate Padded 60 x 60 mat.
I was disappointed to find out that the mat is not one solid piece. There's a foam mat that lays down on the floor that is then attached to the hitting mat with Velcro:
The nice thing about it is that I'm now standing on turf that is level with the sensor. Huge improvement:
@shawn - I wonder if some judiciously applied heat would help to relax the folds and creases from the turf. Perhaps a hair dryer or portable steamer? Thanks for sharing the project, it looks like fun.
Your project has inspired me to do the same thing. I've budgeted $5k and will use the SkyTrack. I'll document and post when finished. You just saved me $10k and my marriage. LOL!
@Phatshots how’s your buildout going?
Step 17: Tear Down
Can’t believe it’s been 6 years since I started this project.
I’ve tore down the simulator and I’m rebuilding with some new components (and reusing some of the old components). I’ll try to document along the way.
@shawn why did you tear it down?
@shawn when I only saw the top half of the picture, I said to myself, “oh, he poked his eye out. Makes sense.”
Very cool project. Impressively executed and documented, too!
Glad you bumped it so I could stumble upon it.
Will be interested to follow along with v2!
I’m curious how the electrical tape aged.
In my experience, it’s best used as intended - out of sight and undisturbed buried in a wall and/or electrical box.
When I’ve tried to use it for functional/finish applications, it has ended up coming unstuck and leaving behind nasty black, sticky residue.
My favorite all-purpose replacement for duct tape is pro gaffer’s tape.
It holds and ages well and is easy to remove w/out leaving any residue (if you get the good stuff).
It’s kind of expensive, but I think it’s worth it.
It’s available in many different colors and widths and you can also get it in a matte, cloth finish or a shiny, vinyl(?) finish (I don’t really like the shiny stuff, personally).
I use/have used it to temporarily hold things in place, as a low-key label with a silver sharpie, as grip-tape and as a quick, simple ‘finish’ for things w/ ugly surface or fragile edges - e.g., I’ve made several a/c vent ‘plugs’ w/ 1" foam insulation board and wrapped the edges to make a tight fit and keep the exposed foam edges from becoming a torn up mess, and I’ve also used it to cover metal conduit like your frame to give it a bit more ‘stealthy’ finish.
@DennisG2014 Damnit! I was blissfully ignorant of the tape coming unstuck. I just checked and it certainly is in parts.
Not bad enough yet to reapply so I’m going to leave it alone for v2.0.
Step 18: Turf
Back in Step 16 I bought a super thin and crappy 15’x10’ grass carpet rug from Amazon. It hasn’t aged well and I’m not surprised to find several holes and worn out areas.
If I were to do this project over again I’d invest in better turf from the beginning.
I went with the TFD Putting Elite turf from Turf Factory Direct. It comes in a 15’ role and I went with 25 linear feet. You’ll see the in photo below I bought a few feet extra and rolled it up just in case I wanted to expand the simulator deeper in the future.
At $2.50 per square foot it’s one of the more expensive components in the simulator but it makes a big difference. Oh, and I found a coupon code
20OFFPEfor 20% off.
I think I’ll start the component list over from scratch with v2.0. Here’s the components for what’s in the build so far (which is basically the turf, the ceiling treatment, and projector):
Step 19: TV Stand
After the new turf was in place, I put back the frame we built in Step 3, the net from Step 10, the screen from Step 11, and the black out panels from Step 12. All those components stayed the same.
I also kept the Optishot Ultimate Padded 60 x 60 hitting mat from Step 16. I’ve replace the Optishot unit (more on this later) but I was able to simply rotate the mat 90 degrees so that the cutout for the old Optishot unit was no longer in the way.
The newest component is a Universal TV Stand so that I could add a second screen to the simulator. I went with a basic model I found on Amazon for around $75.
I had an old 42" TV sitting around that I mounted to it. In a later step I’ll show how I hooked this up, but for now I’ll just say it’s really nice to be able to watch golf while you’re golfing.
@shawn What’s more fun- indoor golf or building the simulator?
@sammydog01 Or… talking about building the simulator? Anyone who’s ever met me on the golf course will tell you I turn into a vegan that does crossfit. I just can’t shut up about the simulator.
@shawn My brother is going to be building one of these in his basement. He wants it to do double duty for video games and movies, and he’s asked me for some advice about projectors and mounting, etc. I don’t know anything about the golf software, but all of the screen shots I’ve seen have a 4:3 ratio (as your setup seems to be). Can the golf software be run at 16:9? Or is that a bad idea?
@walarney it might look like 4:3 from the photos but I’m running everything in 16:9 aspect ratio
Thanks for such a detailed step by step explanation for everything! I sew the screens and blackout panels for a local company that makes and installs the custom simulators all over the country.
Step 20: Launch Monitor
Back in Step 15 I went with the Optishot as the sensor and software. That was a mistake.
If you’re serious enough to build your own golf simulator you should skip looking at the Optishot. It measures what the club is doing using infrared sensors before and after hitting the ball. Other launch monitors measure what the ball is doing and they are far more accurate.
I replaced the Optishot with the Skytrak.
You’ll usually see it priced at $1995 but it’s on sale a few times a year for $1695. I waited for a sale before I bought mine.
The Skytrak has a rechargeable battery and connects to your network over WiFi. I’m running the Skytrak software on an old MacBook on Windows using Bootcamp.
The Skytrak needs to sit next to the ball since it uses high speed cameras to monitor the launch of the ball. I also bought the protective metal case to give me some piece of mind that I wasn’t going to accidentally destroy the most expensive piece of the simulator. So far I haven’t hit the case once but I’m still very happy with the purchase. It contains three adjustable feet that allow you to position the Skytrak unit level with your hitting mat.
5533.97/30000 = 0.1845
Not too shabby
@shawn My brother waited a little too long to start his build. Skytrak is now on backorder.
@walarney I didn’t mention in my previous post but another launch monitor to look at around the same price point is the Flightscope Mevo+: https://www.flightscopemevo.com
Tell your brother to check it out. It was recently released a few months ago and in many ways looks better than the Skytrak.
I wish I had a basement that I could set up a little target range in; pneumatic rifle at 10 meters. But, no basement, and I bet the HOA would object no matter how safe.