Affordable Golf Simulators

If your golf itch is so severe that you are contemplating buying a golf simulator, you have a couple decent, affordable options at your disposal.

Many people who think if a golf simulator, probably think of those big commercial simulators that you see on TV, at the PGA Merchandise Show, or in the home of a golf superstar such as Tiger Woods or Jordan Spieth.  But, it is more than likely that you can’t quite afford one of those models, such as the Full Swing Golf simulator, given that they cost over $50,000!

However, you do have a couple decent options.  If you are open minded, and don’t need all of the bells and whistles, then you can at least partially satisfy your golf itch by purchasing a more affordable option.

The two most affordable golf simulators are the Optishot 2 and the P3ProSwing.  I’m not going to get too much into the details about these products here.  Instead, I am going to focus on the actual set up for such a simulator.  You can find a good comparison of these two simulators here.

The Affordable Golf Simulator Set Up

The most affordable golf simulator set up is to simply buy the sensor pad itself and hook it up to your computer.  Both the Optishot 2 and the P3ProSwing will come with foam golf balls, so you won’t even need a net.  But, the reality is, this won’t be much fun.

We want to simulate a round of golf or practice as best as possible.  So, the last thing we want to do is hit a shot and then have to walk over to the computer screen and see the result.

Also, we don’t want the ball sitting above our feet for every shot, because that is just not how it is on the golf course.  The sensor pad that is the heart of these affordable golf simulators is about 1.5 inches in height.

Lastly, we want to be able to hit a real ball!  Let’s face it, when you hit a tee shot right on the sweet spot when you are out on the course, it’s a sweet feeling.  Hitting a foam ball will just feel like hitting a marshmallow.

So, with that in mind, there are a few key pieces to the puzzle that you should add to your simulator set up.

  1.  Golf net.  This will allow you to hit real balls.  With that said though, I still wouldn’t set up the simulator in an area of the house where there are some fragile ornaments, windows, etc.  The garage, basement or large room with a high ceiling are the ideal places.
  2. Stance Mat – With the Optishot 2 and P3ProSwing you can buy a mat specifically designed to accommodate the sensor pad.  Your feet will then be level with the top of the sensor pad, and therefore, you won’t feel like you are swinging a baseball bat with every shot.
  3. Big Screen TV – the last piece I would add is a big screen TV.  This doesn’t need to be any super expensive piece of equipment…just an average 50 inch screen will do the trick.

optishot2homesetupcmaltbie

This is a fairly common set up for the Optishot 2, although it appears that foam balls are being used here.  The TV screen is off to the side, so you hit the shot, and just have a look at the screen after the swing.

optishot2homesetupb

I am not sure I would go with this set up…you’d have to have a lot of faith in that net!  But, this would allow for a better simulation, since you could maintain your follow through position while watching the results of the shot on the TV screen.

Affordable Golf Simulator Prices

Ok, so you may be wondering…how much would a golf simulator cost with this type of set up?  Well, you can purchase the Optishot 2 in a Box product for under $1,000.  That includes the simulator (sensor pad/software/USB Cable), stance mat and a small golf net.  That set up is similar to the first photo above.  If you add in the 50 inch TV, you’ll be in the $1,200 price range when all is said and done.

The P3ProSwing is a bit more expensive as its sensor pad and software are a bit more advanced and offer a few more bells and whistles.  I like that product a bit more for the golfer who wants to work on swing improvement in addition to playing indoor golf.

Anyhow, you can learn a lot more about golf simulator set ups, prices, and the bells and whistles at the Golf Simulator Headquarters, a pretty cool site I found that focuses on these products.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve never owned a golf simulator before, I advise starting out with one of these more affordable options to start.  You’ll get an idea of how often you will actually use the simulator through the course of a year, and how much you actually enjoy using one.  Then, if you want to step up and invest in a more elaborate system, you can check out other options down the road.

 

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Work on your golf game indoors Part 1

Yesterday may have been Groundhog Day, but it’s no time to be slacking if you want lower golf scores this season.  That means you can’t be hibernating like that groundhog!

There are many things you can do to improve your golf game in the off-season.  What I want to focus on today is FLEXIBILITY.

If you are like me, you HATE stretching.  It doesn’t feel good at all while you are doing it, but man, the benefits are pretty significant.  Here are some significant benefits to stretching.

I would venture to guess that the average golfer over 50 probably hasn’t done any legitimate stretching since gym class in high school.  Sure, you may loosen up before the round, but that won’t provide you with long term improvements in your flexibility.

If you want to increase your flexibility, you need to set aside about 45 minutes at least two days each week, and preferably three.  That’s how long it takes to hit every important muscle group from the neck on down to the ankles.

For your golf swing, you already know that increased flexibility can only help.  And, it can allow you to play the game at a fairly high level at an advanced age.

One of the greatest golfers of all time, who remained very competitive at an advanced age was Sam Snead.  He was so flexible, that he could kick the top of a doorway into his 70s.

Look at Gary Player.  He can still make a pretty full swing and he just turned 81 a few months ago.  Wouldn’t it be cool to still play some pretty decent golf at that age?

If there is one muscle group that you MUST stretch regularly, it’s the hamstrings.  Tight hamstrings are known to be a significant factor for many people who have back issues.  The hamstrings are also critical in the golf swing for maintaining your posture in the swing.

standing-hamstring-stretchThis photo shows you an easy way to stretch your hamstring, particularly if you already have some back issues.  Remember, it is critical that there is no bend in the knee.  Once you get the foot in position as shown above, focus on pushing the center of your chest toward your knee.  Take it to a point where it feels uncomfortable and hold that position for 15 seconds.  Then try to take a little further, and hold for another 15 seconds.  NEVER EVER bounce while you stretch.  That is a sure way to cause an injury.

Ultimately, you’ll want to improve the flexibility in your neck, shoulders, chest, back, glutes, hamstrings, quads and calfs, and you’ll also want to be sure to work on loosening those important joints in the hands, wrists, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles.  You can find an entire stretching routine here.

As we age, it gets harder to stay flexible.  That’s just a fact of life.  But, if you work at it, you can slow down that process and still play some good golf at an advanced age.

Get to it!