How Accurate Are Golf Simulators?
Are golf simulators accurate? Should you rely on them? Which golf simulators are the most accurate?
Golf simulators can yield a lot of questions regarding their accuracy. And it should be no surprise. Golf is one of the most meticulous, and heavily analyzed games, where the smallest of differences can make huge impacts on the end result. If something is fractionally off, a golfer will be the first to notice.
In this article, we answer the question of golf simulator accuracy. We’ll cover what contributes to accuracy, which golf simulators are the most accurate, and help you understand why you may sometimes see inaccurate numbers when using your golf simulator.
Golf Simulator Accuracy Guide
So, are golf simulators accurate? The short answer - yes! Most golf simulators are backed by rigorously tested and reliable technology. Technology that is used by countless tour and teaching pro’s around the world.
Can they be wrong at times? Absolutely. But oftentimes there are things you can do to make a simulator more consistent. So it's important to understand why a golf simulator may be showing the numbers it’s showing.
Accuracy - Golf Simulator Technology
Accuracy - Golf Simulator Technology
First, we’ll need a crash course in launch monitor technology. There are a variety of ways golf simulators will track your golf shot. Here are the most common:
Cameras - High-speed images are taken through impact. These images are analyzed to determine all types of ball and club data.
Doppler Radar - Signals emitted by the launch monitor get interfered by the ball as it flies through the air. The system can calculate various data based on when and where the ball interrupts the signals.
Optical sensors - Optical sensors, most often placed inside a hitting surface, track the ball and club as it passes the sensors. These sensors can then determine things like club path, horizontal launch direction, and ball speed.
Infrared light - As the ball passes infrared lightwaves, the system can track data such as ball speed, launch angle, and launch direction.
Are Launch Monitors Always Accurate
The most accurate systems will often combine two or more technologies and track both club and ball data. It is important to note that all golf simulators require calculations. The simulator uses all the data produced by your shot and calculates where the ball should go based off the data processed.
Logically, the more data a golf simulator gets to process, the more accurate it should be. If a golf simulator has to calculate your shot using only a few shot metrics then the simulator will have to do more "guessing" in the final calculation. This can result in less accurate data. Luckily, most golf simulator's today track more than enough shot data to get correct results. However, even if you have the best golf simulator technology, other outside factors can still play a role in the overall accuracy of your simulator.
Sometimes, technology can fail us. The good news is, we can normally diagnose these issues:
IT'S NOT SETUP RIGHT
Because your golf simulator relies on making calculations, setting your golf simulator to your playing conditions is absolutely critical. Environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, and elevation can affect the distance of your shot by up to 30-40 yards with your longer clubs.
Let’s say you’re from Florida where the air is heavy. If you get on a golf simulator that’s not set up with the same humidity levels of Florida, then there's a good chance the numbers will show that you are hitting everything farther than you’re used to.
Most golf simulator’s, and launch monitors, will allow you to adjust your environmental conditions.
YOU HAVE A CASE OF THE INDOOR SWING
Hitting indoors can also play a role in abnormal results. The type of mat you hit from can actually play a small role in the distance of your shot. Your club can react differently through impact while hitting on a mat, especially on slightly mishit or chunked shots. This can lead to slightly different numbers from mat to mat and most certainly compared to real grass.
A lot of golfers also report that they tend to hit shorter indoors. It could be the inability to swing freely for fear of hitting something, or just that you tend to give the ball a bigger swing when hitting into the grass. Whatever it is, there is a tendency for some golfers to have lower swing speeds indoors.
RADAR INTERFERENCE WITH LAUNCH MONITORS
This is a big one. Metal roofs, steel walls in a garage, aluminum siding, all of this can potentially interfere with the radar fields that your technology is using to pick up on the ballflight metrics. Please take all of this into account before making the move into a radar based system.
Accuracy of Golf Simulators - Summary
Knowing these things hopefully gives you a better understanding for why you may see different numbers than what you are used to on golf simulators. If you have your simulator set up correctly and are using a high-quality mat - then your golf simulator should be very accurate!
There are certain factors that will not compare to real golf and like any technology, it isn’t perfect. Every golf simulator will miss a shot every now and then, or show a number that leaves you scratching your head. But over an entire round, most golf simulators will provide you very accurate results.
And at the very least provide you lots of entertainment!
Rain or Shine Golf provides a variety of golf simulator packages for all types of budgets. View all our golf simulator packages to find the right one for you. And checkout our Home Golf Simulator guide to learn about some of the best golf simulator's on the market. Golf Simulators are even trusted by the top University golf teams.