How Accurate are Golf Simulators?

Throughout the year, going to a golf course can become a bit of a hassle. We can be prevented from doing what we enjoy most due to a busy schedule, rainy forecast, or simply the fact that it’s winter.

Fortunately, golf simulators can bring us the joy we’re missing, even at home.

By using projections that recreate the environment of a golf course, simulators bring you an opportunity to practice and play on a variety of courses.

One issue that has always divided the community is the golf simulator’s accuracy. Previously, they were regarded only as a novelty or toy and thus were discarded as useless. However, as technology improved exponentially, they became more popular and praised.

DETERMINING ELEMENTS OF GOLF SIMULATORS ACCURACY

Before even placing our bet on golf simulators accuracy, we’ll need to explain the technology behind it first. This technology can track your golf shot in a variety of ways, but these 5 are the most common ones:

  • Overall Setup – Based on conditions you put inside of the simulator, such as temperature, humidity, and elevation, calculations may differ.
  • Cameras – Through impact, high-speed images are captured and analyzed to determine various ball and club data.
  • Doppler Radar – Detects the interference of any moving object, i.e., the ball flying through the air. It calculates data based on when and where the ball interrupts the signals.
  • Optical Sensors –  Commonly placed inside of the hitting surface, they track both the ball and the club. They are capable of figuring factors like ball speed, horizontal launch direction, and club path.
  • Infrared Light –  The system can track data such as ball speed, launch angle, and launch direction as the ball passes through infrared light waves.

The most accurate systems are combining at least two technologies mentioned above, and they all need calculations. By using all the data provided from your shot, they calculate where the ball should go. Of course, the more data it gathers, the more accurate the calculation will be.

PROBLEMS MAY OCCUR

Another important aspect when talking about golf simulators accuracy is staying realistic. Keep in mind that different systems may show different data, depending on its quality.

Usually, when a simulator says you can hit seven irons 148 yards, in real-life games you may see 146 or 150. With most of the systems, the accuracy should be within the 90–98% range.

And, yes, the more expensive the system, the more precise the results.

WHY DO LAUNCH MONITORS TEND TO SHOW INACCURATE NUMBERS?

  • The setup is not right

It is critical to configure your golf simulator to your playing conditions. Temperature, humidity, and elevation can all affect the distance of your shot by up to 30-40 yards with your longer clubs.

  • Indoor conditions

A lot of people have said that they tend to hit shorter indoors. Typically, the problem revolves around the fear of hitting something or simply due to the habit of swinging bigger while on grass.

The type of mat you use can also have an impact on your shots. On slightly mishit shots, your clubs may create a different reaction through impact while hitting on a mat.

WHY IS THERE SO MUCH PREJUDICE AROUND GOLF SIMULATORS?

Many players believe they hit farther outside than they do indoors, and that’s why they blame the simulators’ accuracy. But the truth is that developers working on simulation systems spent years collecting data around golf players’ swings and golf ball flight.

With the possibility to measure the velocity, trajectory, and direction of the ball so precisely, a player can watch the virtual ball fly just like it would in real life.

THE TAKEAWAY

So, how accurate are these systems?

For amateur golfers, a simulator will be more accurate than needed. But for professionals who aim for perfect results, the data provided can sometimes be a bit off.

For the most part, the golf simulator is fairly accurate, as long as your system is set up correctly and the components you use are of quality. And as previously mentioned, the higher the quality of your equipment, the more precise the data!

Slight variations in yardage or ball flight are expectable, but extremes usually indicate a simulator malfunction. If some results make your head scratch, make sure every piece of equipment is calibrated well.

But truth be told, golf simulators are much more worth it than they used to be. If you are serious about improving your game away from the course, simulators are an amazing choice. They are also a great tool for withstanding long winters and cold, rainy days. Become a member today and enjoy all benefits.

Before purchasing a simulator, make sure you have enough room (at least about eight feet of ceiling clearance) so you don’t end up smashing something else other than your hits!

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