Getting your indoor golf simulator setup properly can be a major job as there are quite a few things you need to work out in order to ensure everything fits and you have enough room to swing.
Most entry level simulators do not work outdoors, unless you spend a fair amount of money on a more professional model you will have to setup inside. This means you will have to ensure you have enough room somewhere at home to make a full golf swing. Getting a golf simulator ready for use can take over half an hour to calibrate the sensors. This means you need to try and find a permanent area to install it as you don’t want to mess about when you feel like having a quick practice session.
I have several friends with simulators and most have chosen to install in the garage. This makes sense for a few reasons but the most important is the roof clearance height. Most garages have sufficient space in between the roof beams to allow for a full golf swing.
Lighting is also important as the indoor models can lose their ability to track your golf club if the light is too bright. The opposite is also true and having a very low light can cause your unit lose track of your club. You will have to fiddle around with the lighting to find the right level. The required lighting seems to vary depending on the model you buy and the sensitively of the sensors.
To get your simulator working properly you will need a fairly decent computer and some type of display. A decent graphics card is recommended to get lifelike graphics and a sense of realism. These days you can get really powerful video cards for reasonable prices. I would also suggest making sure your display is High Definition; this will give you a much better picture and make the whole experience that much more enjoyable.
If you have more space at home, or even a dedicated room, then you may want to look at installing a projector. This will mean you can actually hit the ball straight at the target as you can have the image full size in front of you. You can also buy special screen material that will withstand the impact from a golf ball. Most golf simulators are also available with a computer and projector as a full package, but, these can set you back around $2400 at a minimum.
When it comes to actually using your simulator you have the option to use real golf balls, plastic practice balls or no ball at all for swing practice. Ensure you have either a decent catch net or a projector screen to catch your ball if you want to use real ones, otherwise, it may get rather expensive!
Golf simulators are well worth the money. They are perfect for entertainment, practicing golf swings, keeping swings alive in cold winter regions or a combination of all. Some of the more expensive models are even able to assist with fitting your golf equipment so you know that your clubs have no errors or faults.
I highly recommend avid golfers out there spend some time looking at the reviews on this site to learn more about the different options available and the costs involved as it really is a worthwhile investment.