Sim Build

HOW TO BUILD AN INDOOR GOLF SIMULATOR

A few years ago I decided to take the plunge and build my dream indoor golf simulator. I found myself overwhelmed with options and discouraged by package prices and set dimensions that did not work with my space. I decided to put in hours of research and built one exactly how I wanted to fit my space for far less money. My wife helped me document the process which led us to make a YouTube video to share with others facing the same issues I was. Over the years my build has been discovered and shared by others saving those people time and money. Rather than focusing on these big box packages with one size fits all mentalities that are typically cutting cost on quality and components, I am going to show you how to build one exactly how you want for thousands of dollars less.

Below are the products used in my build in the exact order I started in, which I highly recommend if you decide to spread your hard earned money out and piece it together over time, or just simply take the plunge if you have the funds and make one of the best decisions ever! 

THE SCREEN / ENCLOSURE

The absolute best place to start in your build is the enclosure. This is the largest component in your build and sets the stage for your setup. We tried three different manufactures for enclosures before landing on Carl’s Place with the premium screen, and it blew us away! We have nearly two years on our screen and it still looks great. Here are two options we recommend:

Full Custom DIY Build

With this option you get to design your enclosure by entering your room dimensions and picking every aspect of your build. You can even add components as you go and see your price adjust in real-time to stay in your budget. We also made a helpful walkthrough video using this tool that you can watch on our YouTube channel.

DIY Enclosure Kit

With this option you are presented with enclosures set at a standard 5’ depth, but you get to choose the overall size from their six offerings and your screen material (we recommend premium). This is a great option if you can find a size that works with your space. They provide you with what size 1” EMT pipes you need that you can easily source from a nearby home improvement store.

THE TURF

Now that you have your enclosure selected, the next step is selecting the turf. I decided to build my own which cost me less than $600 for a massive 10’x13’ piece that not only looked the part, but also gave me the ability to use it as a putting green. I used 1” dense foam puzzle gym mat that is affordable and trimmable to get my desired dimensions. I locally sourced the putting green turf to drape on top. The best part the turf is it’s easy to roll up and put out of the way if you need to.

Putting Turf

We sourced our putting turf from our local turf supply company. They had three different types to choose from and I picked the one that rolled a ball the truest. They are typically sold in 15’ wide rolls by whatever length you need. Ask for remnant pieces or end of rolls that might save you some additional dough. 

Hitting Insert

For the part of the mat that you will be actually hitting the ball off of, you can buy a very affordable hitting strip as long as the height is close to the depth of your turf and. Simply trace it on the turf and cut it out so you can drop it in. We have a video showing you how to make your own on our YouTube channel.

THE LAUNCH MONITOR

For the launch monitor there are several options to choose from. We started with a Mevo+ and created a detachable piece using the same turf and gym mat to accommodate the extra length needed to use it (16’). If you have the space and left-handed hitters, the Mevo+ would be a great option and will save you a ton of money. We had a blast in the time we had it, but the extra space needed landed us in the spot to go with a camera based unit. We decided on the LaunchPro/GC3 and it has been an absolutely amazing addition to our build! We went with the subscription based Bushnell LaunchPro at first, but if we could do it over again, we would just fork out the extra cash to get the unlocked GC3. Either way, both units share the same technology and all the information you need is on the screen right in front of you. It’s also nice to take it to the range as the battery life is amazing.

Bushnell Launch Pro

THE COMPUTER

There are endless computer options to choose from, but we highly recommend at least 16gb of ram, i5 or higher Intel CPU and an Nvidia 2000 series or higher graphics card. Some software struggles with AMD cards or lower Nvidia offerings. We decided to go with a laptop in our build as you can play right off the screen and it’s easier to travel with for mobile setups or range sessions if you want the visuals, but a desktop is a great option as well. See some of our recommendations below.

Best

Alienware X15 R2 Gaming Laptop – 15.6-inch FHD 360Hz 1ms Display, Core i9-12900H, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070Ti 8GB GDDR6, Killer WiFi 6, Windows 11 Home – Lunar Light

Good

ASUS 2022 TUF 15.6″ 144Hz Gaming Laptop, Intel 11th Core i5-12450H, 32GB DDR5 RAM, 1TB PCIe SSD, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Graphics, Backlit Keyboard, Windows 11, Eclipse Grey, 32GB USB Card

Better

ASUS TUF Dash Gaming Laptop, 15.6″ FHD 144Hz Display, Intel 12th Gen 10-Core i7-12650H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070, 16GB DDR5 RAM, 1TB PCIe SSD, HDMI, Backlit KB, Wi-Fi 6, Windows 11 Home, Black

THE PROJECTOR

For the projector, one of the most important things to consider is the throw distance. While some projectors look good on paper, you need to factor in how far back they need to go to fill the screen size you chose. Projector Central has a handy calculator to help.

We have chosen and use one of the offerings below from Optoma, as they have the absolute shortest throw length with exceptional image quality and brightness. There is a reason you see these models used often in golf simulators. 

What We Use

Optoma ZH450ST Golf Simulator Projector

Great Option

Optoma GT2000HDR Golf Simulator Projector

Good Choice

Optoma GT1080HDRx Golf Simulator Projector

THE SOFTWARE

When it comes to software, just like everything else, there is a lot to choose from. The good news is the launch monitor you pick more than likely comes with its own simulation software. The GC3/LaunchPro from Foresight has a great software package called FSX play that has stunning visuals and comes with a handful of courses to play and the Mevo+ uses E6 that has good overall graphics and comes with a few courses as well. Both offer options to further expand your course library through additional fees as well. However, it is in our humble opinion that the best software taking the sim world over and for good reason is GSPro.

GS Pro is a standalone software company that offers a annual membership of around $250 that gives you the ability to play all of those iconic courses you’ve seen around the world, with insane graphics and a great community. The software isn’t fully integrated for some launch monitors, so it requires a program to run with your launch monitor to work, but I can tell you I have been using it for well over a year and it’s hard to use anything else! It has an amazing Discord community to help with setup and it is fairly straight forward to use. 

Other than all of the components above, I have compiled a list of other accessories used in my build:

Affordable Laptop Stand
Hdmi Cable
Cable Routing Track
LED Ceiling Lights
LED Lights
Mattress Pad Behind Screen, California King

I hope this write up has been helpful in your journey and I can assure you it will be an amazing addition to your home. Not only does it give you the ability to get off the couch and do something active, but it has seriously has improved my handicap and encouraged my kids to get involved in golf. It is not only a simulator, but a place for our family and friends to do movie nights, host sporting events and have epic video gaming days and dance parties. My wife also really enjoys using it for home workouts, if that helps your case for convincing her to let you make one of the best decisions of your life (wink).

If you need any further assistance feel free to reach out to DJ at 602-430-0279 or pixelgolfco@gmail.com