Best Golf Simulator Projectors - Ultra Short Throw Projector Guide
We get asked all the time, "What is the best projector for Golf Simulators like the SkyTrak Golf Simulator or the OptiShot Golf Simulator?" The projector you decide to go with is indeed a very important decision in creating your dream home golf simulator setup.
The issue is, reading projector specification sheets can be extremely confusing for someone who has never used a projector before.
Ultra short throw projectors, lumens, lighting for golf simulators, golf simulator projector recommendations...
Lumens determines the brightness of the image your projector displays. The brighter your room is, the more important it is to have a high lumens projector. As a general rule of thumb, you can get by in dark rooms with lumens of 1500-2000, rooms with reduced lighting you will need lumens above 2000+, and rooms with a reasonable amount of lighting you will need lumens above 3000+.
Throw ratio refers to the distance the projector is from the screen versus how wide the screen is. If you do not want your shadow showing up on your hitting screen, you will need what is called a short throw or ultra-short throw projector which range anywhere between 0.3:1 to 1:1.
To find the optimal throw ratio, you will divide the distance from your projector to your screen by the width of your screen. As an example, if your screen is 10 feet wide and your projector is 5 feet away from the screen, your optimal throw ratio is 0.5:1 (5 feet / 10 feet).
Aspect Ratio and Resolution
Aspect ratio and resolution tend to go hand-in-hand. To put it simply, aspect ratio refers to the shape the image will take on the screen or the ratio between the width and height of the image. Resolution refers to the number of pixels inside the image. The more pixels, the higher the image quality.
Most commonly, you will see the following aspect ratios & resolutions:
- 4:3 (XGA & SXGA)
- Image will take more of a square shape
- Lowest resolution: 1024 x 768 resolution
- Lowest cost option
- These projectors are also more lightweight and portable
- 16:10 (WXGA & WUXGA)
- Image will be more rectangular
- Higher resolution: 1280 x 800 resolution
- Crisper picture but more expensive than XGA & SXGA
- 16:9 (standard HDTV, 1080p)
- Image will be more rectangular
- Highest resolution: 1920 x 1080p resolution
- If you want to turn your golf simulator into a home theater, we highly recommend opting for this resolution
Important note: We would recommend trying to match the resolution of your computer with the resolution of your projector. Your projector will never be able to project a higher resolution image than your computer is capable of!
- For example, if your computer has a resolution of 1024 x 768, and you have a higher resolution projector such as 1280 x 800, the projector will only project an image in 1024 x 768.
A final feature to make sure your projector has is the necessary HDMI Input. Almost all new projectors have this, but it is necessary to work with any of our golf simulators.
Best Projectors for Golf Simulators
Please note that since we need to hit wedges into our simulator, the screen must be slightly taller than it is wide. To get this height, the screen becomes more square rather than the true 4:3 ratio. Although these projectors can provide HD clarity to your golf simulation video, since the screens are more square than a true 4:3, you will be left with a slight blank space horizontally on the screen (about 18"). Overall, the projectors still work great and the Optoma listed below will provide you with a CRYSTAL clear image!
BenQ MW632ST 3,200 ANSI Lumen Colorific MHL DLP
Time and time again we hear about how much our customers love BenQ Projectors and this model specifically for their golf simulator. All-around, this BenQ Golf Simulator Projector is our pick for best golf simulator projector for the bright display, higher resolution for a crisper image, and short-throw feature perfect for a golf simulator.
- High lumens at 3200
- 0.9:1 throw ratio (Please note that this projector is built for use of a universal ceiling mount) For the Platinum Studio, we recommend the Optoma Projector listed below since the projector mount will not extend out far enough for this projector.
- WXGA 1280 x 800 resolution with 16:10 Aspect Ratio
- HDMI Connectivity
Our customers have had success with this budget-friendly ViewSonic Golf Simulator Projector. ViewSonic Projectors have everything you need and fits perfectly on The Net Return Simulator Screens at a 4:3 Aspect Ratio.
- 3200 Lumens for a bright image
- 0.6:1 Throw Ratio
- Native XGA 1024 x 768 resolution with 4:3 Aspect Ratio
- HDMI Connectivity
At HD 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution, this Optoma Golf Simulator Projector is a great pick for an HD quality golf simulator experience that you could easily turn into a home theater. With a 0.49:1 throw ratio, Optoma Projectors also fits the criteria for The Net Return Golf Simulator Screens.
- 3000 Lumens for a bright image
- 0.49:1 Throw Ratio
- HD 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution
- HDMI Connectivity
Best Golf Simulator Projector Screens and Best Projector Mounts
This is our favorite self-contained golf simulator screen with projector mount on the market. The projector mount kit attaches right onto The Net Return Simulator Series Studio which means you don't have to worry about putting any holes in your ceiling or wall.
- Made with a 4:3 Aspect Ratio accommodating all projectors
- XGA & SXGA projectors will fit the 4:3 ratio almost perfectly
- WXGA & WUXGA or HDTV & 1080p resolution projectors will have some open space on the top and/or bottom of the hitting screen
- Optimal Projector Throw Ratio: between 0.6:1 - 0.9:1
- Between 0.4:1 - 1:1 will still work, but we do not recommend going beyond those parameters
- Max Projector Weight on Projector Mount Kit is 12 lbs
With the HomeCourse, you will have to purchase a separate projector mount, but this setup is super cool if you are willing to get a bit handy. With a push of a button, you can fully retract your screen and return your room back to its original form. We have seen customers turn their garage into a multi-purpose golf simulator space retracting the HomeCourse when their car needs to be parked inside.
For a more economical option, you can purchase the all-season Pro Series Net and turn it into a golf simulator screen in minutes with the attachable Pro Series Screen. When you don't want to use it in your golf simulator room, you can detach the screen and use the net anywhere you wish with automatic ball return.
This is our favorite universal projector mount that allows you to mount your projector on your wall or ceiling. It also fits all top brand projectors including BenQ, Optoma, Epson, ViewSonic, and more.
Make your dream home golf simulator room a reality!
We have given you all the tools and information necessary to make your golf simulator setup a reality. Now it is time to go check the max resolution of your computer, your hitting screen size, the distance you want to place the projector away from your hitting screen, and estimate the amount of light you have in your room. From there, work through our guide again and match your needs with one of the projectors we have recommended for you. One final piece of advice that we can offer: do not be cheap! Yes, buying a golf simulator projector is indeed a sizable investment but time and time again we have seen customers opt for relatively inexpensive projectors (in the $100-$200 range) and come back displeased. The whole reason you are creating a home golf simulator setup is to get as close to the real golf course feel as you can. Having a bright, crisp display goes a long way in creating the home golf simulator setup you dream of. Have any questions or want help finding a golf simulator setup for your budget? Give us a call or shop our wide selection of affordable golf simulators.
Want to take this guide with you? Download a PDF version of the Golf Simulator Projector Guide here.