How much space do you need for a golf simulator? How much clearance height does a golf simulator need? What are the minimum golf simulator dimensions and what are the IDEAL dimensions for the best simulator experience? You need to be asking these questions when choosing a space for a golf simulator.
You don't want to shell out huge money on a simulator only to find out that the room or space you designated isn't going to work. We must plan ahead and armed with enough knowledge, you can make the correct decision and avoid the HUGE mistakes people make when buying and setting up their first simulator. We have seen people go by the manufacturers recommendations and then discover that their space is WAY too small. Let's not fall into that costly trap!
For a near perfect golf simulator setup, you need a room that is 13 feet long, 11 feet wide, and 10.5 feet high. I would recommend going with 14 to 16 feet wide though, so that you can hit to the center of the screen. If you go less than that, you must hit toward one side of the screen for a center alignment. When in doubt, always add 2-3 more feet onto every dimension the manufacturer recommends. Bigger is always better with simulators.
|MINIMUM Sim Room Dimensions||13 ft||11 ft||10.5 ft|
|IDEAL Sim Room Dimensions||18 - 20 ft||16 ft||11 - 12 ft|
How Deep (Long) Should a Room Be for a Golf Simulator?
You need at least 13 feet (3.96m) in length or depth for a golf simulator setup. This is my minimum for an acceptable experience. Deeper or longer is ALWAYS better. Keep in mind, you need to fit the following inside this space:
- Highly quality hitting mat
- Space for your swing with the longest club in the bag
- Space for the ball to fly between impact and the screen
- Enough space to fit your screen or net
- Mounting and distance to not hit your projector, if you have a projector
- Buffer space (1 foot) BEHIND the impact screen or net so it stops the ball instead of bouncing back at you!!!
- Cameras down the line and front on if you want to analyze your swing
A lot of people say 10-11 feet is enough but I don't think you will be able to swing with longer clubs and the minimal room behind the net or hitting screen will cause balls to bounce back at you after hitting the screen. This is often overlooked but is VITAL so you don't get a nasty surprise when the first shot you hit flies back at your head. Yes, this happens!
For projector usage, you need to have more than 12-13 feet of depth. Short throw projectors like the BenQ MW632ST WXGA CAN give you big enough image from as little as 5 or 6 feet, but you're taking a gamble. I'd always suggest going further out.
My Room Is Not Deep Enough - What Should I Do?
If your room or space isn't deep enough for you to swing your longest club, do you proceed and only hit your shorter clubs, or do you find a larger space with better golf simulator dimensions? Those are your two options.
From experience, DO NOT swing in a cramped area because you will need to adapt your swing to fit the area. This will hurt your golf significantly. Only proceed if you have enough space to swing the desired club so you can get full benefit of having the indoor golf simulator.
An overlooked factor with a small golf simulator room size is that it limits the extras and features you could add. A small simulator is perhaps better than no simulator at all, but it's good to know that a smaller dimension simulator room will mean you might have no space for cameras and mirrors to check out, analyze and improve your swing if you want that.
How deep should my golf simulator room be?
You should really budget about 13 to 17.5 feet. Your impact screen should be about a foot (1 foot) away from the wall behind it. You should position your tee or hitting area where you place the ball, about 10 to 15 feet away from the impact screen. This will give the machine enough space to read the variables. Then you need enough space behind the ball/tee to swing comfortably.
In total, at least 13 to 17.5 feet deep is ideal for a home indoor golf simulator room.
How Does The Depth of the Room Affect My Simulator Setup?
Net and Impact Screen
A smaller room for a golf simulator means you need a high quality impact screen or net that won't deform much when the ball hits it. This is overlooked but should not be! You DO NOT want the ball ricocheting backward, bouncing back at you, and hitting you in the knee caps, shins or your plums. Being closer to your screen means the ball will hit the screen at high velocity and have a better chance of bouncing back at you. Get a screen that will deaden the golf ball on impact.
A shorter simulator space means you have to carefully choose your projector. DO NOT MESS THIS UP. You'll need a short throw projector. This is a special projector designed to work in a smaller room and still provide a good quality picture.
A small space also means you're going to have to think carefully about projector placement. You don't want to hit your projector with your swing. You also don't want your own shadow on the screen blocking out the view of the course.
My preferred short throw projector is the BenQ MW632ST WXGA.
Here is a really good website to help with projector calculations. Choose your project and throw distance and the calculator will do the rest, telling you how big your image will be. Take your time and use all of the resources available to make the correct decision - measure thrice, cut once.
High end radar based simulators like TrackMan and ShotScope need to have a longer space. The TrackMan website states the TrackMan4 needs a minimum distance from radar to net of 16ft (18ft for the TrackMan3e). I would go on the side of caution and allow 2-3 feet more than this to be safe. Always add a couple feet to the recommendations. They want to sell more units by telling you the minimums are not high, but do your due diligence and add a few more feet to KNOW that your setup will be great.
How Wide Should the Room Be for a Golf Simulator?
You need enough width in the room for the simulator because you need to have enough space to swing your driver or the longest club without hitting any of the walls in the room. There is nothing worse than worrying about clipping the walls when trying to swing freely indoors. I recommend 11ft (3.35m) as the minimum width for a simulator.
My room is less than 11 feet wide - what now?
If your golf simulator space is not wide enough:
- You can't swing your longest clubs like driver, fairway woods and hybrids because they will hit the walls
- You can swing your longer clubs only if you set up with the ball and simulator against a wall. So when you want to hit a straight shot at the screen you need to aim at the extreme right of the screen. To aim at the centre of the screen you would be aiming left.
If that sounds confusing, it is. The compromises you need to make if the room is not wide enough are big. It's more important to have enough width than to have enough length in your room. If you have a wide enough room, you can swing free, and aim easily into the middle of the screen.
How does the width of the room affect my simulator?
If you can swing a club in the space you have, your simulator will work but there is a sub optimal and optimal setup. If you can accept some trade-offs with less space, you can still get enjoyment out of your simulator.
You could have problems where your center point to hit on your screen is not in the middle of the screen. It may be left or right of center and can feel very awkward when you are trying to hit it down the middle of the driving range software.
If the center point of the simulator is not in the center of the screen, and you hit it there, the flight it shows to you may be incorrect.
You may have to purchase a smaller screen than you wanted if the width is too narrow. The width of the room will determine the screen size you can fit into it. A narrow room might also eliminate some of the mat options you can buy and fit in the space.
The premium mats are larger in surface area which means without enough space, you may have to compromise and buy lesser quality or smaller mats. The netting and black out curtains are unaffected by the room width.
Setting up a correct aim point (right down the middle)
If you've ever been to a Trackman range, you'll note how much they stress that you aim at the right marker in the distance or at the screen. If not, every shot you hit will feel strange and show incorrect results of your shot.
In your chosen area, can you draw a straight line through the ball towards the impact screen, parallel to the mat, so that it hits the center of the screen?
If you can do this, you have decent space. If you do not have this much space, you may have to adjust your 'center' of the screen to the right a little. This CAN feel awkward but is a small sacrifice. You will ned to put a piece of tape on the ground to show yourself where the 'center' of the screen is according to the space you have coupled with your sim machine.
To aim at the right (or left) of the screen means your target line will not be the target line displayed on your screen - this is disconcerting and a little irritating when you know you've hit a great shot as you intended but the ball flies left or right of the center line. The center line of your launch monitor's 'driving range' will not be where you want to aim.
To make sure you're hitting and aiming down the middle of the projected image, optimally you need the hitting area of your mat to be directly in line with the middle of your hitting screen. This allows you to hit the ball to a natural position in the screen, instead of forcing yourself to hit to the left or right of the center line!
Width is key. The wider your space, the easier it will be to achieve the center aim point perfectly in alignment. I would go with 16 feet every day!
How Much Ceiling Height Do I Need for a Golf Simulator Room?
Height is extremely important for your golf simulator room plan. The higher the better, because then you can hit every single club in the bag with total freedom and no worries about hitting your ceiling with the club.
The minimum height you need for your simulator would be 10.5ft (3m) and a comfortable height would be more like 11 or 12 feet. Most golfers would be able to swing any club in their bag with 11 or 12 feet of ceiling height.
You will know the highest point you need by swinging the longest club in your bag, usually the driver. This will change depending on your individual physical height. Taller people need more room height for their golf simulator. If the ceiling is not high enough, the club will hit the ceiling and you will be limited to hitting the clubs that do not hit the ceiling.
Any golfer over 6 foot will need 10-11 feet of clearance. Average height golfers under 6 foot will need 9.5 to 10.5 feet of clearance.
If you do not have enough room height, I would recommend holding off on the simulator dream. When you get the necessary room height, it will make setup hassle free without any compensations. You do not want to adjust your swing to fit the room, thereby counteracting the point of a simulator - to get better at golf.
How Does Room Height Affect My Golf Simulator Setup?
If you don't have enough clearance to hit a driver or fairway woods and want to work on your irons and wedges, you can still create a golf simulator setup that works. You need an enclosure and net for the irons and wedges hitting bay. The enclosure will have to be the correct height if you're buying a ready-to-use enclosure.
You don't even need a projector or a screen for this simulator setup. You can use whichever golf hitting mat you like. I would purchase a machine that can tell you the distances you are hitting the ball. This can really help you dial in your distance control at home. There are certain GPS units that have a kind of launch monitor feature, but are not full-blown golf simulators.
How to Check Ceiling Height in Your Room
Take your longest golf club you want to use in the simulator to the place you intend to setup a simulator. Take a couple tentative and low practice swings to check the radius and circumference of your swing. Get comfortable and loosen up until you can take free swings. It only takes 20 seconds or so, and will be easy to see if you have enough height. This is a very valuable 20 seconds.
If you can swing comfortably, and don't need to adapt how you swing to fit the space, then you have enough clearance.
What are the OPTIMAL Room Dimensions for a Golf Simulator?
The ideal amount of space for a simulator will always be a huge area. But in terms of home indoor use, we are talking about basements, garages, spare rooms or outdoor cottages in the yard. You can achieve a perfect and relaxing simulator experience at home.
The dimensions for the most relaxing and comfy golf sim space are:
If you can have a room 18 long x 11 high x 14 feet wide, then you will never worry about the problems associated with rooms that are too narrow or short.
With a 18 x 11 x 14 foot room, you can:
What Else Can You Put in the Optimal Golf Simulator Room?
Mirrors can be used to check your swing from down the line behind you and in front of you face on. You can check your ball position, how you look at address and can help to learn setup positions. If you position a camera in the correct area, you can get two angles at once to assess your swing.
If you have friends over to play sim golf with each other, you want to have some seating if you have 3 or more people. Standing around is okay for only two but if you have more than 3 then you want some place to chill out.
Correctly positioned cameras with high frames per second filming can be invaluable. You can use them at impact to see the club face position, you can use them down the line to see your swing plane and front on to see your weight transfer and any swaying in the swing. These cameras do not lie to you and will show you EXACTLY what you are doing.
This is the most important aspect if you want to improve your swing as part of the function of the simulator.
Conclusion – How much space do you need for a Golf Simulator?
Try these ideas to check how much space you need for your golf simulator:
- LENGTH: Get a friend to help with a tape measure. Stand in your driver stance with your driver. Take the club back as far as you can without hinging your wrists. Stop when your wrists want to hinge. Measure from your front foot to the driver head. Add two feet to that measurement.
- HEIGHT: Hinge your wrists and pick your hands up with the driver shaft perpendicular to the ground. Push the driver head up in the sky as high as you can in a three-quarter swing position. Have your friend measure from the ground to the driver head. Add 1-2 feet to that measurement.
- HEIGHT: Do a slow motion swing and stop where your driver shaft goes perpendicular to the ground on the follow through. Push the driver straight up to the ceiling in this position. When your body won't allow you to push your straight arms up anymore, measure from the ground to the driver head. Add 1-2 feet to this measurement.
- You can assume:
- 1 foot buffer space behind hitting screen
- 10-12 foot from front foot to the screen
- the distance you measured in number 1 above to the simulator machine
- space behind for seating
- for the ceiling: the measurement from number 2 and 3