Golf simulators offer golfers a platform to hone their skills from the comfort of their home.
Previously, the average joe could only access simulators at their local golf store or driving range due to the eye-watering cost. These days there are a wealth of affordable options.
This post looks at the 9 best golf simulators for under $1000. Like anything in life, you get what you pay for. However, I sourced the options which offer the best bang for your buck. The below lists contain the best golf simulators for practice and entertainment, without costing you an arm and a leg.
For golfers that just need a quick recommendation, here are our top choices:
Table of Contents
- 1. OptiShot 2 Golf In A Box – Best Overall Indoor Golf Simulator Under $1000
- 2. Flightscope Mevo – Most Accurate Golf Simulator Under $1000
- 3. Phigolf Mobile And Home – Cheapest Golf Simulator Under $1000
- 4. Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor – Best for Swing Analysis
- 5. Garmin Approach G80 – Most User Friendly Golf Simulator Under $1000
- 6. Blast Motion Swing Analyzer – Best Golf Simulator Under $1000 For Chipping
- 7. Voice Caddie SC300 – Best Portable Golf Simulator Under $1000 For Chipping
- 8. Sports Sensors Swing Speed Radar – Best Golf Simulator Under $1000 for Swing Speed
- 9. Exputt – Best Putting Home Golf Simulator Under $1000
1. OptiShot 2 Golf In A Box – Best Overall Indoor Golf Simulator Under $1000
OptiShot is an award-winning golf simulator system that is built for all types of golfers. The Golf in a Box includes an Infrared Optical Swing Pad, OptiShot2 Software (Download) with 15 Courses, USB Cable (10 ft.), Adjustable Rubber Tees, Two (2) Foam Practice Balls, OptiShot Hitting Mat, OptiShot Full Portable Hitting Net.
- An impact net comes with the set
- The software allows you to play on 15 virtual golf courses
- 6 virtual games
- It comes with adjustable rubber tees
- High-quality turf
- Inaccurate data
- The software does not function on macOS Catalina
- The sensors do not detect ball speed
- Impact Net: 10’ wide x 8’ tall.
- Hitting Mat: 4’ x 5’
- Compatible Operating System (Windows or Mac)
The OptiShot 2 Golf In A Box is hands down the best “cheap” golf simulator on the market. You receive a full simulator setup that includes a hitting net, an infrared optical swing pad, and an impressive golf simulation software. The only parts missing from a complete simulator setup are a projector, an impact screen, and a computer.
The Optishot hitting mat features a USB port to connect it to your monitor. 16 high speed 48 MHz infrared sensors record club head speed and impact data for an accurate reading. It’s also easy to set up and start using.
Furthermore, the set includes a hitting net, which is perfectly fine. However, I suggest considering an impact screen to boost your overall simulator experience. The net requires minimal work to set up and does a solid job protecting your walls.
If the weather is perfect, you can take your mat and net outside and work on your game outdoors, as it doesn’t require any heavy lifting.
2. Flightscope Mevo – Most Accurate Golf Simulator Under $1000
Mevo provides accurate real-time performance data to help you train and improve with every club in the bag, whether on the range, on the course, or in your home. Practice indoor or outdoor with data parameters that include carry distance, club head speed, ball speed, smash factor, vertical launch angle, spin, apex height and flight time.
- Highly accurate data
- Pocket size
- Analyzes club and ball data
- Determines smash factor
- Record clips of each swing to analyze later
- It lacks the complete simulator setup
- Area Behind Mat: 7 to 8-inches
- Compatible Operating System (iOS or Android)
If you don’t mind forfeiting graphics and virtual rounds of golf, you can acquire the most accurate budget launch monitor. The Flightscope Mevo is a device you can use for a DIY simulator. Flightscope offers a simulator package, but it is a little under $2000.
It is highly accurate and is trusted by the long-hitting Bryson DeChambeau and Bubba Watson. Here are the data points that it measures:
- Carry distance
- Clubhead speed
- Ball speed
- Spin rate
- Launch angle
- Smash factor
- Ball flight duration
The Mevo is a compact device that is easy to transport between your home and the driving range. The device synchronizes with an iOS and Android application to display the results on your mobile device. In addition, you can record each swing and add overlays for superior analysis.
Whenever you use the FlightScope Mevo, ensure that you have 7 to 8-inches behind the hitting mat. The device needs this area for the 3D Doppler radar to precisely detect your club and ball data.
The FlightScope Mevo is ideal for low to mid-handicappers looking for in-depth insight into each shot. I will caution you not to compare the results to a GCQuad or Trackman as many customers have.
This product costs $500, while a GCQuad or Trackman runs you tens of thousands of dollars. They are the most accurate in this category. If you want more accurate insight and additional data points, prep the credit card, it will be a hefty bill.
3. Phigolf Mobile And Home – Cheapest Golf Simulator Under $1000
Ultra-realistic gofl play with smart sensor. Powerful golf swing trainer aid with 3D data-analysis system. 76 courses packed into a single device.
- Access to 8 golf courses
- Play against online users anytime
- You do not require a hitting net or mat
- The virtual driving range
- You cannot hit real golf balls
- Not ideal for practicing your game
- LCD Screen
- Compatible Operating System (Windows or Mac)
The Phigolf Mobile And Home Smart Golf Game simulator offers those on a budget an affordable way to enjoy golf indoors.
The package includes a 9-axis sensor stick that records your clubhead speed, path, and point of impact. Plus, it offers access to the WGT and E6 connect software. That enables you to practice or enjoy a round of golf on a virtual course.
If you have played the WGT mobile game, it follows the same procedure. The only difference is that your control is a swing stick. The sensor does attach to the vent of your grip, but it can pop out if you strike an actual golf ball. Therefore, I suggest staying with the stick.
The beauty of the WGT edition software is that you can take on one of 20 million users looking for a game. Alternatively, you could attempt one of the challenges against family or friends.
In reality the Phigolf Mobile And Home simulator is more about entertainment and less about improving your game. However, it is fun to see your avatar mimic your swing on screen. Given its low price, it is worth having it around for entertainment.
4. Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor – Best for Swing Analysis
Awarded 2021 best personal launch monitor by My Golf Spy. Distance accuracy is within 2% of Trackman at just 2% of the price. The real-time video feedback comes with a shot trace and data overlay making it easier than ever to understand cause and effect. Access your stat history to view averages, dispersion, trajectory and standard deviation for each club.
- Shot tracer
- GPS shot dispersion map
- Video replay
- Club gapping details
- Average shot distance data
- It does not function on Android
- It does not provide the full simulator experience.
- Compatible Operating System (iOS)
The Rapsodo is an affordable launch monitor that offers various interactive features to enhance your experience. You can use it at home or on the driving range, but you must have an iPhone or iPad. It is not equipped to operate on Android devices.
This device showcases shot tracing, a GPS shot map, video replay, club gapping, and a shot library. The shot tracing feature allows you to watch your ball fly off into the distance without losing track of its apex and descent angle.
Watching the GPS shot map highlights your dispersion. In other words, where your golf balls finished. Ideally, they should be close to one another. That symbolizes distance control and accuracy consistency.
Like other devices on this list, the Rapsodo allows you to video your shots to review later. Furthermore, the club gapping feature enables you to identify where you may struggle for distance.
For example, you may hit your 3-wood 200-yards and your 3-hybrid 185. If a 3-hybrid is your next longest club after your 3-wood, you have a 15-yard distance gap in your game. Finally, the shot library highlights your average distances with each club in the bag.
This model is ideal for golfers seeking a tool to video analyze each swing, and understand their dispersion rate.
5. Garmin Approach G80 – Most User Friendly Golf Simulator Under $1000
- Hole data for 41,000 courses
- Integrated launch monitor
- Measures ball speed
- Tracks clubhead speed
- Inaccurate clubhead data
- You lose out on the golf simulator experience
- Relatively expensive for what you get
The Garmin Approach G80 is a multi-purpose device that acts as a GPS and Launch Monitor. You can detect your distance, clubhead speed, ball speed smash factor, and tempo. Plus, it has hole data on 41,000 golf courses worldwide.
You cannot experience the thrill of playing golf on a virtual course. However, it equips you with the tools to practice and thrive on the links. It is the easiest launch monitor to use, as you simply activate the mode and point it at the impact zone.
One option is to have your buddy hold it while you swing. But, my advice is to acquire a tripod and allow the three legs to optimize stability. Unfortunately, accuracy is a touchy subject, as it is up to 5 mph off on clubhead speed.
You can access the GPS feature and receive yardage on thousands of courses.
If you desire a distance measuring device that doubles as a launch monitor, the G80 is worth a look. The only downside is that it is relatively expensive for what you get.
6. Blast Motion Swing Analyzer – Best Golf Simulator Under $1000 For Chipping
Record and automatically clip video of each swing and stroke. View and analyze in slow motion with metrics overlaid. Leverage the in-app Training Center for tips and drills from expert coaches and PGA Tour players.
- Analyzes every shot that you hit
- Smash factor analysis
- Measures swing speed
- Identifies angle of attack
- Record a video of each swing
- Access to the Training Center
- It does not offer the complete simulator experience
- Compatible Operating System (Apple iOS 8.x onwards or Android OS 5.x onwards)
The Blast Motion Swing Analyzer is not your traditional golf simulator. Instead of working on your game in your garage, you can analyze every shot while you play. The sensors measure your club speed, tempo, and attack angle.
The Blast Swing Analyzer attaches to your golf club via the grip vent. It provides instant feedback on every swing from the tee to the green. A mobile device is required to run the application that displays the statistics and data of each shot.
There is no access to simulation software, and therefore you do not enjoy the graphics of your ball flight. However, the app has a video function that allows you to record every swing and add overlays.
In addition, you receive access to the Blast Motion Training Academy, which provides tips to help you improve your long and short game.
This is another affordable gadget that can benefit every golfer. Whether at home or on the range and golf course, you can employ the analyzer to help you correct any swing errors.
7. Voice Caddie SC300 – Best Portable Golf Simulator Under $1000 For Chipping
- Analyzes carry and total distance
- Measures ball speed
- Detects your launch angle
- Identifies smash factor
- Voice feedback
- It lacks the complete simulator experience
- Ball speed readings are inaccurate by 3%
- Compatible Operating System (iOS or Android)
The Voice Caddie SC300 is built for golfers looking for a detailed analysis of their game at an affordable price point. It does not offer the graphics and entertainment of a complete simulator, but it helps you train.
The SC300 launch monitor displays data on the device’s screen and feeds that information to your smartphone or tablet. The application stores historical data, enabling you to analyze your progress over time.
You can find information on your average yardage with each club in your bag. In addition, it detects your swing speed, smash factor, ball speed, and launch angle. The device is not as accurate at measuring ball speed as premium models. But, it is sufficient for the average golfer.
Furthermore, the SC300 produces voice output to blurt out the distance of your shots. It is also a portable device that you can operate at home or on the driving range. Overall, this is ideal for mid to high handicappers looking for detailed insight into each swing.
8. Sports Sensors Swing Speed Radar – Best Golf Simulator Under $1000 for Swing Speed
Measures clubhead swing speed and tempo time to help golfers optimize their swing to increase distance and improve swing consistency. No need to hit an actual golf ball - you can use a wiffle ball, Birdie Ball, sponge ball or equivalent to simulate a real ball, but swing at a ball replica to release the club properly.
- It measures swing speed
- Determines your tempo
- Detects clubhead speed between 40 and 200 mph
- It only measures 2 data points
- It does not provide any graphics
- Floor Space – 10-inches wide
This product is solely designed to measure your swing speed. If you do not own a launch monitor and are interested in clubhead velocity and tempo, keep reading.
The Sports Sensors register your clubhead speed and swing tempo to help you improve your mechanics for maximum power. Its construction does not require you to hit an actual golf ball. You can get feedback even if you strike foam balls.
Furthermore, it is set up to measure the speed between 40 and 200 mph to cater to every golfer. In addition, it is lightweight and portable, allowing you to use it at home or the driving range.
Naturally, this product is less glamorous than the others on the list. However, it is worth considering if you are after an affordable device that reads speed and tempo.
9. Exputt – Best Putting Home Golf Simulator Under $1000
- 4 modes
- Simulates the impact of break on a putt
- Easy to set up
- Up to 4-players can compete in game mode
- Analyzes your putter path and ball speed
- A cup on the mat would have been a nice touch.
- TV Screen w/HDMI Input/Output
- Mat Dimensions: 40” L x 12” W
Few golf simulators focus on the short game. That is where Exputt is different. It allows you to work on your putting by simulating various breaks and lengths.
The simulator’s design challenges you to cater for undulation and analyzes your putting stroke to identify weak areas. You can hone your skills with the flat stick in 4 game modes, practice challenge, game, and analysis.
In practice mode, you turn your attention to the television and see what distance and breaks lie ahead. Line up and stroke your putt en route to the cup. If you are brave, you may want to take on challenge mode. Prepare for outrageously long putts with slopes for days, and see how many points you can rack up.
Game mode enables you and 3 of your buddies to contest 9 greens with varying setups. Finally, the analysis mode identifies your putter face angle, stroke path, ball speed, and direction.
Every golfer should consider a simulator that enables you to work on your short game. Striking your irons like Will Zalatoris means nothing when you cannot putt.
Is buying a golf simulator worth it?
Yes, a golf simulator is worth it for 2 reasons. The main reason is that it enables you to practice whenever you have a moment. You do not need to worry about sitting in traffic en route to the driving range.
You can hone your skills every day of the week, and if your software permits, you can play virtual rounds of golf. Your golf swing can only benefit from owning a simulator.
The second point boils down to entertainment. It is an excellent way to spend time with your buddies. Whether it is a standard weekday hangout, a birthday party, or a bachelor’s, your simulator can entertain you and your friends.
How accurate are indoor golf simulators?
The accuracy of golf simulators varies between products. However, on average, you find that affordable simulators are 2 to 3% off of premium models. If your average swing speed is 83 mph, a budget golf simulator will read anywhere from 81 to 85 mph on average.
It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t matter for the average golfer. It’s different for serious amateurs or professionals who require precision accuracy.
As a result, indoor golf simulators range from a couple of percent off to pinpoint accuracy. That is also the difference between a device under $1000 and one that costs $40,000.
How much does a True Golf simulator cost?
Tru Golf offers 3 categories of golf simulators, professional, portable, and custom. Professional simulators can fetch beyond $40,000, while the portable options are as low as $11,000.
How big of a space do you need for a golf simulator?
You need approximately 10-feet between the floor and ceiling to allow ample space to swing your golf club. Anything lower could cause the clubhead to crash into your ceiling. Next, you need 15-feet of width for enough space for your backswing. A narrow room could lead to a clash between your clubhead and wall.
The hitting mat should be positioned at least 7.5-feet from the impact net or screen. This provides sufficient space for your ball to launch, enabling your device to detect apex, carry, and total distance.
Lastly, there must be no wall within 8-feet behind the hitting mat. Anything loser can result in a clubhead into the wall on takeaway.
Can you build a cheap golf simulator on your own?
Yes, you can build your own golf simulator for less than $2,000. You need an affordable launch monitor, such as the Optishot 2 or Flightscope Mevo. Then you can source a hitting mat for under $200 and an impact screen for the same price.
Next, you simply need a laptop or PC and a projector. You can use an existing laptop if the specs are compatible with the simulation software.
Purchasing these individual parts can save you thousands of dollars but still provide an effective platform for training and entertainment.