How do golf simulators work?

How do golf simulators work?

Golf simulators have revolutionized the way we practice and play golf, offering a realistic experience without needing to step outside. Whether you're a seasoned golfer or a beginner, playing on a simulator is a great way to play around or focus on certain elements of your game. Here’s a breakdown of the key components and how they come together to create an immersive golfing experience that's more realistic than you think.

1. Introduction to Golf Simulators

Golf simulators allow golfers to play and practice in a controlled, indoor environment. They use a combination of hardware and software to replicate the experience of playing on an actual golf course. Some of the best simulators create a truly immersive experience that accurately depicts what your ball would do on a real course. Let’s dive into the different components that make this possible.


2. Hardware Components

Launch Monitors

Launch monitors are essential for capturing the precise data of your golf shots. They use various technologies such as radar, cameras, or infrared sensors to measure aspects like ball speed, launch angle, spin rate, and club path. Popular examples include Uneekor, Trackman, SkyTrak, and Foresight Sports. Often, these sensors are able to track, with incredible precision, the movement of the dimples on a golf ball to accurately predict the ball flight and distance.

At Another Nine, Cincinnati's premiere indoor golf destination, we utilize the latest simulators from Uneekor: the Eye XO2 model. These are overhead launch monitors which is great for both right- and left-handed players, and doesn't become an obstruction like models positioned on the floor might.

Projector and Impact Screen

A high-quality projector displays the golf course or virtual driving range onto a large, immersive screen. These screens are typically made of durable material that can withstand the repeated impact of golf balls over an extended period of time. These screens are also designed to flex and absorb the impact. The projector displaying on the Impact Screen must have high resolution and brightness to ensure clear and realistic visuals.

Hitting Mat

The hitting mat simulates the feel of a real golf course. It is designed to mimic the turf, providing realistic feedback when you take a shot. Some advanced mats, like the ones available at Another Nine, also include features for simulating rough or sand conditions.

Sensors and Cameras

In some setups, like those tuned specifically for club fittings, there are additional sensors and cameras are placed around the simulator setup to track the player and club movement. These sensors can work in tandem with the launch monitor to gather detailed data about each shot.

3. Software Components

Simulation Software

Simulation software is the heart of the golf simulator. It processes the data captured by the hardware and translates it into a visual representation on the screen. The software options include some combination of: virtual replicas of real and fictional golf courses, practice ranges, and various game modes. Some leading software options include E6 Golf, The Golf Club (TGC), and WGT Golf.

Course Library

Most simulation software comes with an extensive library of courses. These courses are meticulously mapped to replicate famous golf courses worldwide. Players can choose from a variety of settings, from lush greens to challenging desert landscapes.

Playing indoor golf at Another Nine in Cincinnati, you'd be playing on E6 which has over 100 courses available, a virtual driving range (including multiple chipping/putting scenarios), and mini games.

Data Analysis Tools

Advanced golf simulator software provides in-depth analysis tools. This analysis offer detailed feedback on each shot, including ball trajectory, club path, ball speed, spin speed, and launch angle. This data helps golfers identify areas for improvement and track their progress over time.

At Another Nine, guests can log in to a free E6 Golf account to track their range session or round, and access all of the shot analytics later on the go.  

4. Physical Infrastructure

Room Setup

Setting up a golf simulator requires adequate space - you need a place to play! This can be difficult to accomplish in a residential setting. A typical setup needs at least 10 feet of ceiling height, 15 feet of room depth, and 10 feet of room width. This space ensures that you can swing freely and that the projector has enough distance to display a full-sized image. In addition, many launch monitors have specifications about where the ball needs to be placed to ensure accuracy, which can add additional space to the requirements.

Netting and Enclosures

Safety netting, wall protection, or enclosures are crucial to protect your surroundings. They catch stray balls and prevent damage to walls, windows, and other objects in the room. It's not just balls you have to look out for, tees may also become airborne and strike objects or people nearby. Enclosures can also enhance an immersive experience by blocking out external light.


Proper lighting is important for both the sensors and the projector. Too much ambient light can interfere with sensor accuracy and screen visibility. Adjustable lighting helps create the optimal conditions for using the simulator. Some launch monitors require that spotlights shine directly on the ball, some can handle low light, and some are infrared. 

5. User Experience


Golf simulators offer various interactive and engaging features. During a virtual round on a course, players can select different game modes such as stroke play, match play, scramble, and more. Multiplayer options allow friends to compete against each other, adding a social aspect to the experience.


Users can customize their experience by adjusting the settings for weather conditions, fairway and green hardiness, green speed, simulation of putting, wind speed, and course difficulty. This flexibility makes it possible to practice specific scenarios or enjoy a casual round of golf.


Golf simulators are accessible to players of all skill levels. Beginners can use them to learn the basics and receive instant feedback, while experienced golfers can refine their techniques and prepare for tournaments. Those just wanting to play casually enjoy their experience as well - this makes it an option for group outings or date nights. 

In Summary

Golf simulators combine sophisticated hardware, advanced software, and physical equipment/space to create a realistic and enjoyable golfing experience. Whether you’re aiming to improve your game or simply enjoy some virtual rounds, understanding how these systems work can help you make the most of your time on the simulator. Visit Another Nine to experience our state-of-the-art golf simulators in a private sim suite and take your golfing skills to the next level!

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