How to create a home golf swing studio – on any budget.
The disparity between the multi-millionaire golf Tour pros of the world and us everyday folk has become even more apparent during the Coronavirus lockdown. There they are, playing exact replicas of the world’s best courses in their air-conditioned home swing studios, while we’re digging up the back lawn trying to chip a table tennis ball into a crumpled yoghurt pot.
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But it doesn’t have to be this way. If you’ve got the space to swing a club – whether that’s in your house or your garden – you too can work on your swing at home. All you need is something to hit off, something to hit into, and something to measure what’s going on – because hitting balls aimlessly into a net with no feedback isn’t hugely helpful and gets boring rather quickly. So here are three home golf set-ups that offer everything you need, whatever your budget.
Cheap home golf simulator – £450
Putting together a swing studio for under £500 requires a bit of creativity, but it’s still very doable.
First, pick up a cheap, personal launch monitor, like the Swing Caddie SC200 (£249, voicecaddie.com). It’s no bigger than a large smartphone, can be used indoors or out, and provides very accurate distance numbers.
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Launch monitors at this price point won’t give you the detailed impact data you get from those that cost thousands, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a lot of feedback on your strike. Best New Product at the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show, the AcuStrike Golf Mat (£44.99, acustrikegolf.com) is a brilliant piece of kit that will tell you whether you’ve hit a shot heavy or pure, out of the heel or toe, and even the path your clubhead was traveling on through impact.
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Finally, the Pop-Up Quad Driving Net (£149.99, jsint.com) sets up quickly and easily and can be used for short shots and full swings. It even comes with a handy carry bag for storage.
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Mid-range home golf simulator – £2,945
Once your budget gets into four figures, things really go up a notch. Rather than just looking at numbers, you’ll be able to see your shot soar into the digital sky with a simulator screen while playing digital recreations of real-world golf courses.
The SkyTrak (skytrakgolf.com) offers much of the same capabilities as the top-of-the-range launch monitors like TrackMan, but at a fraction of the cost. You can buy the unit on its own for £2,000 and connect it wirelessly to your phone, tablet or laptop, but for the best experience, go for the full package, which gives you a top-quality net with side barriers, access to numerous additional features including skills tests, bag mapping, nearest-the-pin challenges and the ability to play 100,000+ different courses.
You can even hook it up with games like The Golf Club 2 and WGT Tour, giving you an endless selection of courses to play and enabling you to compete with friends online.
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The best home golf simulator – £17,000
Once your budget gets into new car territory, you get access to industry-leading launch monitors like the GC2 and GC Quad, with incredibly true-to-life ball flight and digital courses that are as close as it gets to playing the real thing.
Foresight, manufacturers of the GC2 (foresightsports.eu), offer a variety of options depending on whether you want a simulator permanently set up in your house, or something you can quickly assemble and take down between uses.
For £17,395, you’ll get a full-blown performance simulator, including the launch monitor itself, a simulator screen and frame, realistic turf, a HD projector, performance laptop with stand, and access to numerous courses.
If you have the budget, the accuracy and realism make this the best home golf experience by far.
Alternatively, if you want the accuracy of a Foresight Sports launch monitor but don't quite have the budget for a full-on home simulator like this, their new Net Series range could be just what you need.
All you need is enough space to set up the net and swing a golf club, whether that's in the house, garage or garden. The launch monitor, connected to a laptop with FSX software, will do the rest, enabling you to practise or play virtual courses. The net can be set up and packed away in minutes, making it the perfect solution for those who don't have space for a permanent setup.
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