How does a golf simulator work?

How does a golf simulator work? Is it sorcery, magic or an optical illusion? Just how do golf simulators work?

If you have been asking yourself that question then we are glad to offer you some insights into the inner workings of golf simulators. From the technology involved to the golf equipment you need, let’s look at how golf simulators work.

Ball-tracking technology

Perhaps the most vital aspect of a golf simulator is the way it gathers data about how a ball is struck and the movement of the club. There are two common ways this is done.

Photometric technology, which uses a camera system to take a series of high-speed images to interpret the speed, spin and angle of a shot. And radar technology, which is a system that uses microwaves to track the ball movement through the Doppler effect. Some sophisticated golf simulators can even use both types of ball and club tracking technology.

Simulator technology can register the head speed of the golf club, while also mapping the spin and speed of the ball. As for where the shot goes, the clue is in the name, and a simulator simulates the rest of the ball’s flight path once it makes contact with the screen or net. All of the information gathered from the moment of impact with the club until the ball hits the screen is used to predict where it would have gone.

Extra equipment

In truth, a simulator is a combination of hardware and software. The device that tracks the ball’s movement is known as a launch monitor and it provides a lot of raw data. But, a golf simulator won’t work with just ball-tracking technology, it needs a display screen and projector so that golfers can interpret the data their shots create.

Commonly, golf simulators use an impact screen that players hit their ball into to better simulate the feeling of being on the course. The same results can be achieved by hitting shots into a net with a screen to the side but this does remove the level of immersion. Other hardware that makes up a golf simulator includes hitting mats, nets and enclosures.

Can you use regular golf equipment?

You might think that because you are hitting golf balls indoors that a different type than the ones you play with on the course is needed. Maybe ones with sensors in. However, this is not the case and there are no special requirements for the types of balls golfers use. The same goes for the clubs used, which means golfers can fine-tune their ability to play with their chosen balls and clubs.

What types of shots can you take on a golf simulator?

One of the main reasons to choose a golf simulator over the driving range is the diverse range of shots you can play on them. Simulators allow golfers to practice all elements of their game, they can even incorporate putting elements. There is a range of modes golfers can use with a simulator, from replicating some of the world’s best courses to mini games with friends.

Your virtual coach

Thanks to the diverse playing options and detailed shot feedback and analysis, a simulator like that provided by TrackMan can act as a virtual golf coach. It can show you where you are going wrong with your shots and help you to make the improvements needed to reduce your handicap. From spin and draw to clubhead speed, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of your shots which you can take with you onto the course.

How a golf simulator works: the process

The process of data collection and presentation in a golf simulator is just the same as if you were playing golf on the course. It begins with taking a natural shot from a hitting mat and aiming in the direction of a screen or net.

Once the ball has left the impact zone, the tracking and simulation technology begins to gather shot data. The data is analysed and then used to predict where the ball will go, how far it has been struck and the effects of spin.

All of that data is understood in a flash, projecting onto the screen the movement of your ball beyond the impact zone. It shows where the ball will land and provides shot feedback to help golfers develop their game.

How can Golf Swing Systems help?

Here at Golf Swing Systems, we specialise in golf simulator enclosure installations. Whether you are considering your first simulator or looking to add some technology to your existing set-up, we are here to help. Feel free to drop by our showroom or get in touch with some of our experts to see how we can assist.

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