When the weather outside is frightful, there’s only one thing that can make the fire even more delightful: a home golf simulator.

I’m almost certain that’s what most of you were thinking.

Nearly every red-blooded golfer has at one time or another eyeballed his or her garage, family room or basement and thought, “I bet I could fit a golf simulator in here.”

Three key challenges most likely held you back:

What you’d need, how to do it and, of course, the money.

That third one is between you and the House Ways and Means Committee. But the other two?  That’s where companies such as the Indoor Golf Shop can help.

Indoor Golf Shop

 

A Home Golf Simulator Super Store

What’s in a name? In the case of Texas-based Indoor Golf Shop, pretty much everything.

“Residential business is our bread and butter,” says Jeff Wood, Marketing VP for Indoor Golf Shop. “I’d say 80 percent of our customer base are one-off homeowners looking to add a simulator to their garage or basement.”

If you fire up the Google machine and type in “DIY home golf simulators,” you’ll get well over four million hits. Most offer advice on how to piece together all the different components yourself. The Indoor Golf Shop, however, is one of a growing number of one-stop-shop companies that can package the whole thing for you and it does it with a twist. You can get everything from a basic OptiShot package with a mat and net for $849 all the way up to a $70,000 HD Golf Simulator and Complete Entertainment Package.

Indoor Golf Shop

What’s the twist?

While the Indoor Golf Shop buys and resells the technology components (launch monitors and projectors), it actually manufactures everything else right there in Texas. That includes its screens, turf, the surrounds and all the framing.

“We started out as a reseller and distributor of indoor golf products and packages,” says Wood. “In 2019, just before COVID, we started to manufacture our own products in the U.S. That changed the game for us.”

Humble Beginnings

Owner Rene Delgado started Indoor Golf Shop in 2017 pretty much as a hobby.

“He was working for Apple at the time,” says Wood. “He bought himself a golf simulator and went through the whole process of purchase, build-out and set up in his home.”

And, being an Apple guy, Delgado thought there had to be a better way.

“He saw big issues with the experience so he set up a side business as an online reseller,” Wood says. “He did that with his wife for a year or two. Then things started to gain traction and he hired more people.”

By 2019, Delgado started manufacturing his own products and began supplying them to indoor golf businesses and other simulator packagers.

Then COVID happens.

“The business really exploded,” says Wood. “Golf technology was growing but COVID really had an impact on the indoor game. The customers came and sales have been strong ever since. We just had a record November.”

Wood says the company expects the boom to flatten out. He’s just not sure when.

“With Callaway investing in Five Iron Golf and Rory investing in The Puttery and Drive Shack, there are all these alternative ways to play golf. That’s a pretty good sign for our business going forward.”

So You Want a Home Golf Simulator …

How far have home simulators come? Submitted for your approval is a May 2018 article by our own Chris Nickel. Chris DIY’d himself a unit in his basement with help from Home Depot, Walmart and a month’s worth of elbow grease using a Sawzall, masonry drill and Liquid Nails. He didn’t have to blast.

We don’t think.

And it cost him around $16,000, largely due to the Foresight GC2 launch monitor and a new computer to run the software.

“Affordability is really changing the indoor golf market quite a bit,” says Wood. “People are finding all different kinds of options.”

Home golf simulator

The Indoor Golf Shop’s best-selling kit is the SkyTrak SIG10 package which starts at $8,000. It features the SkyTrak launch monitor (a perennial MyGolfSpy favorite), a metal case to protect the SkyTrak, a 10- by 8-foot screen with enclosure, side netting, landing turf, a high-quality hitting mat, an HD 1080 projector with a ceiling mount, cables and installation hardware.

“What we sell these days is something that can be assembled quickly and disassembled quickly, as well,” says Wood. “You’re not changing your home to fit a simulator in. The poles in our framing systems are put together by push-button like you’d put together a simple playground structure for your kids.”

The enclosure and screen—all manufactured in the U.S. by Indoor Golf Shop—are assembled with simple ball bungees. Wood says the entire enclosure, screen and mats can be set up in about an hour, as long as you RTFM (Read The Free Manual).

“We do our best to help out with our manuals, videos and our team of experts,” he says. “But it’s not a huge endeavor. It’s something anybody can set up and have in their home, as long as they have the space.”

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Home Golf Simulator FAQs

If you’ve ever fantasized about having a home golf simulator, you can guess the litany of questions Wood and his team are asked. The most obvious, of course, is how much space do I need?

“That’s the No. 1 question,” Wood says. “Back in the day, people looked at it like, ‘I don’t have the space and I don’t want to redo any of my house.’ But with the options out there now, you don’t need as much space as you used to.”

That may be so but you’re still going to need an area 12 feet wide by 18 feet deep for the SIG10 package, plus a nine-foot-high ceiling. If you want to forgo the screen, hit into a net and use your TV as a monitor, you’re looking at 10×14 feet.

Home Golf Simulator

And then there are the technical questions.

“What do I need for a gaming PC? What do I need for a projector or lighting?” says Wood. “We have experts to guide people through it all.”

The two most common mistakes people make when putting together a home golf simulator are not paying enough attention to the turf and the screen.

“You’re impacting the turf thousands of times,” Wood says. “That can take a toll on your hands, wrists and elbows. Also, these systems include putting so you want turf that will give you the look and feel of real putting.

“I don’t think people consider that enough. They’re just looking at the technology but the turf can absolutely impact—no pun intended—your whole experience.”

The screen can affect image quality, obviously. Not so obvious is that it’s also where the sound comes from. A loud, thumping screen may annoy the non-golfing members of your household.

Indoor Golf Shop

Price Points Galore

The two most costly elements of a home golf simulator are, obviously, the projector and the launch monitor.

“Projector technology is fantastic,” says Wood. “They can sit at an angle and still fill the screen. There are companies now making projectors specifically for golf simulators.”

The real money, however, is spent on the launch monitor. Low-end models feature the OptiShot 2 while the most popular mid-priced systems feature either the SkyTrak or the FlightScope Mevo+.

“The $5,000 to $8,000 range is our bread and butter and that’s what we sell the most of,” says Wood. “It has the accuracy and data points for the everyday golfer. The more serious player who really wants all the metrics, all the analytics and 100-percent accuracy on every swing, you’re looking at the $17,000 to $25,000 units.”

If you just want to play a little indoor golf to keep the winter blues at bay, the $849 OptiShot 2 package connected to your TV might do you just fine. If you want to make it a full-screen simulator, then you’re looking at mid-range packages with either the Mevo+ or SkyTrak.

“At the price point, you’ll get spin rate and impact data,” says Wood. “You subscribe to a golf software package that gives you 100 courses to play. You get the projector, screen and mats.”

Another popular offering is the Flex Space package with a retractable screen. The side netting folds into the screen and can be rolled into the frame when not in use. The turf mat can be rolled and stored.

The High End

If you want to be the envy of your local golfing community, well, those packages are out there as well. Just be prepared to shell out at least$15,000 to $25,000 for a kit with a Foresight GC2, GC Quad or GC Hawk or a ceiling-mounted Uneekor QED or Eye XO.

‘The EYE XO gives you a video of your impact,” says Wood. “It pops up on the screen and shows you exactly how that club impacted the ball. It’s really phenomenal technology.”

Uneekor EYE XO launch monitor

And if the sky is quite literally your limit, you can have an HD Ultimate Entertainment Center. It’s 70 grand delivered and installed.

While everyone’s idea of affordability is different, Wood says the company’s mid-range DIY products remain its most popular offerings.

“The DIY-er is finding the space and finding the dollars,” he says. “And they’re willing to turn their two-car garage into a one-car garage with a golf simulator in there. They just want to have their buddies over on a Friday night and play a cool golf course.”

And many customers are using their simulators as a multi-media room: part-time golf simulator, part-time home movie center. Not a bad approach when dealing with the Ways and Means Committee.

“Yes,” says Wood. “There is a strategy to that.”

Is a Packaged Home Golf Simulator For You?

Time and money are interchangeable. You can always save more of one by spending more of the other. You can obviously piece together your own simulator on the cheap so it truly depends on what experience you, as a consumer, are after.

And what fits your budget.

“There are lower-priced launch monitors coming out from really fantastic companies,” says Wood. “The new Garmin can become an indoor golf simulator and Bushnell is going to have a launch monitor. We’re seeing the market really change from an affordability standpoint so it comes down to what kind of experience do you want?

“The days of a minimum $50,000 for a golf simulator are long gone. It’s much more affordable now than ever before.”

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