The golf world is filled with technological advances that improve your game piece by piece. And just as you think you are getting to grips with one golf club, manufacturers go and release another that promises to deliver even more yards to your shots.
The technology isn’t reserved for clubs and balls, however, and how you practise your game is always developing. Golf simulators are seen as the ultimate practice aid but how do they differ from launch monitors? Let’s discuss the differences, and similarities, between golf simulators and launch monitors.
Golf simulator vs launch monitor: The main difference
While there are plenty of differences to analyse, the main one is that a launch monitor collects numerical data regarding golf shots and a simulator virtually projects the ball flight onto a screen.
A simulator is the complete package that measures data and converts that into the simulated golf shots you will see on a screen or monitor. It requires many pieces of equipment to make one simulator, including a launch monitor. Launch monitors simply collect the impact data from your shot but won’t present it as a simulator would.
What is a launch monitor?
Golfers use launch monitors to analyse certain aspects of their shots. Launch monitors analyse the spin, club speed, ball speed and carry distance. Fundamentally, a golfer using a launch monitor will be presented with a set of numerical data after they take a shot.
The information they gather is collected in two ways – Doppler radar and photometric technology. Doppler radar uses microwaves to track the movement of the ball while photometric takes a series of high-speed images to analyse the path of the ball.
What is a golf simulator?
Golf simulators actually use launch monitors as part of their data analysis and presentation. A simulator is a system of technologies rather than just one, including projectors, screens, hitting mats and enclosures.
This collection of tools works together in harmony to analyse golf shots and present that information on the screen in the form of a virtual golf shot. They provide realistic graphics to replicate the golf course and make practice more interactive than launch monitors alone.
Launch monitors are portable
Golf simulators require installation in a home or adequate space but a launch monitor is commonly portable thanks to its small size. They can be used outdoors and connected to your mobile phone so you can analyse your shot feedback from anywhere you like. Because they work well with mobile phones, they can also be used with companion apps to provide better visuals rather than simply offering raw data.
Affordability of launch monitors
Perhaps the main reason why a golfer might opt for a launch monitor over a golf simulator is budget. Simulators require more space and technology to work at their best, while a launch monitor performs limited functions by comparison. That doesn’t mean they are all cheap, with premium launch monitors like SkyTrak providing a great overall user experience.
A golf simulator is the ultimate practice aid
While there is an argument about whether a launch monitor or golf simulator is better, ultimately the golf simulator comes out on top. You can practice just about every aspect of your game with a golf simulator, plus it’s something you can do at any time of the day from the comfort of your own home.
With realistic graphics and a choice of courses from around the world, a golf simulator is a gift that keeps on giving to the avid golfer. If you are looking to take shots off your scores, then the improvement you can make in your game through a simulator will get you there faster than a launch monitor.
Presenting data better
Thanks to projectors used in golf simulators, golfers can get a much better feeling for the shots they are making. Simulators give you the sense that you are playing on a real course but they also act as a virtual coach to help make improvements clearer.
The software included in a golf simulator offers accurate feedback, tracking your ball and visualising where things may be going wrong. With a launch monitor, you have to understand the raw data to see where you can make improvements, rather than having it presented to you right away.
Choosing golf simulators or launch monitors at Golf Swing
Here at Golf Swing Systems, we offer a multitude of practice aids from golf simulator enclosures to launch monitors. If you would like to learn how we can help with your golf simulator installation needs, then do not hesitate to get in touch.