Are you a golf enthusiast but living somewhere with a climate that makes playing year-round unsuitable?
If so, there’s no need to pack those clubs away.
Today, we’ll outline a range of projectors you can use to practice at home when time’s too tight for a visit to the course or the weather is not to your liking.
Here’s a snapshot of the models we’ll be exploring in our hunt for the best projector for golf simulators:
Brightness in Lumens
1080p Full HD
3840 x 2160p
1280 x 800p
A golf simulator gives you a VR facsimile of a real game of golf, but it’s more than just an arcade game.
The best simulators are highly tech-driven. You’ll enjoy feedback on all the crucial metrics you need to improve your game. You’ll be amazed at the accuracy of the data on swing analysis, ball flight, and spin. The best part is you can take that information and put it to work on the course.
With your simulator in place, you’ll need something to view the game on and that’s where projectors enter the equation.
This is the most complex type of projector. It features a technology developed by Texas Instruments. A lamp sends light through a tiny spinning color wheel. This then bounces off a DMD (digital micro mirror device) chip. Reflected light passes through the tilting mirrors on the lens and then up onto the screen. Quality comes with a high price tag.
Using transmissive technology, LCD projectors are cheaper while still capable of strongly reproducing color. Source light from a standard lamp passes through a trio of liquid crystal display light panels. Some colors pass through while others are blocked, and the image on-screen is generated. On the downside, LCDs are bulkier, lack contrast, and are prone to overheating.
Splicing DLP and LCD technology, LCoS displays are costly but deliver vastly superior color reproduction.
Once you’ve decided on which type of projector makes the best fit for your golf simulator, keep an eye out for some key terms.
The brightness of the image displayed is expressed in terms of lumens.
The throw ratio is the distance from projector to screen relative to width.
Resolution is described in terms of pixels and describes how sharp the picture is.
In terms of brands manufacturing the best projector for golf simulators, Optoma and BenQ are industry leaders. For this reason, we’ve included a pair of projectors from each of these.
ViewSonic also makes some superb projectors. Also, keep an eye out for LG—it’s costly but well worth a look.
OK… With the basics covered, we’ll break down the top 5 best projectors for your golf simulator in a little more detail.
A regular home theater projector you can press into action with your golf simulator is the Optoma HD27.
Occupying a very small footprint at just 11.73 x 3.7 x 9 inches, you’ll have plenty of room left over for your simulator, screen, and clubs.
There are 6 picture modes (Bright, Cinema, Game, Reference, User and Vivid), and 4 presets for color temperature (Cold, Cool, Standard and Warm).
Brightness is an impressive 3200 lumens while the resolution is 1920 x 1080p in full HD. The contrast is acceptable at 25,000:1. This translates to crystal clear color reproduction to make your round of golf pop off the screen.
You won’t miss any of those key details, and you’ll be able to pick out shadows and textures so it feels like you’re on the green and not in the garage.
Optimum operating conditions give you a great deal of leeway. The projector works anywhere from 5 to 40 degrees Celsius and in humidity levels as high as 85%. Altitude is pegged at 3000 meters.
You can expect up to 8000 hours of lamp life, giving you outstanding value for your money from a projector specialist. Parts and labor are guaranteed for 1 year while the lamp is backed for the first 3 months. What’s not to love?
BenQ’s HT2150ST comes in 3 configurations. This version is a short throw model with a firm focus on color accuracy to bring a dose of realism to your simulated round of golf.
This short throw projector gives you up to 100 inches of display at a range of just 1.5 meters, making it ideal if you’ve got limited space for your set-up.
DLP image quality means no image decay and consistent picture delivery. But how about the figures that count?
The brightness of 2200 lumens could be improved along with the 15,000:1 contrast. It’s more than fit for the purpose, but it just lags slightly behind some of the competition.
The resolution is the expected 1920 x 1080p.
You’ll get a pair of HDMI inputs and an onboard 10-watt speaker. Rated at just 29 decibels in operation, you won’t have your peaceful game marred by a noisy projector either.
Weighing 8 pounds and measuring up at 4.8 x 15 x 10.9 inches, you should be able to slip it just about anywhere. A handy remote streamlines operation—an added bonus.
Since this projector was developed with gamers in mind, you’ll get remarkably little lag, so you won’t have the mechanics of your round spoiled by a glitchy performance.
For an immersive and bright display to make your simulated round appear hyper-real, the BenQ is well worth popping on your shortlist.
If you’ve got a more fluid budget and exacting standards, industry legend ViewSonic delivers a stunning 4K projector in the form of the PX747-4K.
3820 x 2160p resolution will allow you to feel like you can see every blade of grass on the fairway and every grain of sand in the bunker.
You can get 4K resolution projected on a screen as vast as 300 inches without any dip in clarity. This should obviously be more than sufficient for even the most ambitious home golf simulator set-up.
3500 lumens of brightness gives you a sharp and precise picture, making you question whether you’re actually out on the course. This brightness is delivered in any kind of backdrop, so it makes no difference where you choose to place this strong contender for the best projector for a golf simulator.
The warranty is class-leading with parts and labor-backed for 3 years and a 1-year guarantee on the lamp. You can expect fully 15,000 hours of use from this, far outflanking the opposition.
The 1.2 wide optical zoom gives you plenty of latitude with mounting.
Everything you need, including the remote, comes bundled so you can break out your clubs and tee off straight out the box.
Next up we’ve got another Optoma, this time a short-throw model perfect if you’re operating with space constraints but not prepared to sacrifice your round of golf at home.
Reasonably costly, it’s the price you’ll pay for the benefit of up to 100 inches of display at a distance of just 3.5 feet from projector to screen.
The 0.5:1 lens gives you 1080p resolution, so the ball and course will all be sharply picked out on screen, allowing you to focus fully on your swing.
Brightness is at the upper end and rated at 3000 lumens. Contrast is 20,000:1 so you won’t experience any vagueness or muddiness with picture quality.
Connectivity is as robust as you’d expect from Optoma. You’ll get a pair of HDMI ports along with the other outputs you need. Onboard 10-watt audio brings a slice of sound to your round.
DLP technology brings you rapid response and refresh rates and, with Texas Instruments’ BrilliantColor Technology baked in, you’ll be glad you dug a little deeper and invested in this projector. When set against the cost of a single decent club, the Optoma suddenly seems like a great bargain.
Using just 0.5 watts of power in standby mode and serving up a fantastic bulb lifespan, you’ve got a complete package here. All you need is the best golf simulator and you’ll be ready to pound the fairway year-round, whatever the weather.
Rounding out our quest for the best projector for a golf simulator, we’ve got a top-notch short throw model, again from BenQ.
With a WXGA resolution of 1280 x 800, you’ll get a noticeable upgrade on the picture offered by SVGA.
The short throw design means this projector works well in limited spaces. And, let’s face it, it’s often a case of needing to set up a golf simulator where there’s not quite enough room for comfort.
With a brace of HDMI ports, you’ll have your simulator set up in no time so you can start practicing your swing and driving those balls, even if it’s pouring rain outside.
To put the 10,000 projected lamp life into perspective, that translates to roughly a decade of normal use. Calculate the cost of this projector per year and the only question you’ll be asking yourself is why you didn’t invest in the BenQ sooner.
You should now have a clear idea the contenders for best projector for a golf simulator, and which best suit your needs and budget.
We’ll round out with a snapshot of 5 of the most frequently asked questions so you can buy with your eyes wide open and get ready to enjoy golf around the clock.
Golf impact screens are made from heavy-duty woven polyester and can withstand direct impact up to 250mph with almost no bounce-back. Some come reinforced with silicon. The best impact screens can take thousands of hits before showing any signs of wear.
The more accurate question would be, “What’s the best golf simulator for you?” Think about budget and your comfort levels with tech to whittle down your shortlist. OptiShot offers a wide range of options to suit all tastes. If you’re looking to spend a little less, the Rapsodo R-Motion is well worth a look.
Many home golf simulators call for a space of 10 x 15 x 10 feet, but this is not always practical. Many basements – a common location for a golf set-up – have ceilings as low as 7 feet while the recommended minimum height for a ceiling is 8.5 feet.
In an ideal scenario, locate your simulator and screen in any space like a garage that’s at least 10 feet wide, 15 feet long and as much above 8.5 feet as the room or outbuilding permits.
Absolutely. You can improve in two key ways. Firstly, you’ll be able to put in plenty of practice at times when it’s impractical to hit the golf course. Beyond that, the way in which the simulator analyzes your game and offers feedback that you can work on is the next best thing to having a golf pro at home.