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Home Simulators Lets Talk About Them!


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#1 clevited

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 04:47 PM

Since WRX does not yet have a dedicated simulator section, and because the current best place to share information regarding simulator stuff golfsimulatorforum has issues (see this thread to learn more http://www.golfwrx.c...yer-beware-tip/),  I thought I would start this thread (hopefully it gets enough use to get pinned) so that all things home simulator can be talked about.  Use this thread to ask for help and share knowledge about things like....

Launch Monitors eg. Skytrak, GC2, Trackman, Flightscope, ES16, and even the less capable launch monitor devices like Mevo, Swing Caddie, Skypro, etc etc.
Simulator Software eg. E6, World Golf Tour (WGT), Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf (JNPG), The Golf Club (TGC), Fitness Golf, FSX, etc etc
Mats eg. Country Club Elite, Truestrike, Fiberbuilt, etc etc
Screens
Nets
Turn Tables
Projectors
Computers

And the list goes on and on.....

I will be posting what I know about what I currently have soon, but for now I will see if any others want to get the ball rolling.  

Please share what you have learned, share pictures of your builds, ask questions, give a review of something, share ideas on homemade builds etc.  Don't spare the details, lets help save each other time, money, and frustration with our home simulator builds.

Edited by clevited, 06 December 2018 - 05:06 PM.


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#2 fairways4life

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 04:53 PM

Awesome thread. I'm just stepping into the world of simulators so I'm really excited to pick the brains of those who are already immersed in it. Looking forward to hopefully learning a lot here. And I'd love to see some pics of people's setups!

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#3 Jim In SC

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 06:49 PM

I am just starting my build.  It is mindblowing how many items you have to consider.  If you are not getting a turnkey solution my advice is put your plan in writing, review it and do not be in a hurry.  I have my lauch monitor and software, but am still working on the computer, projector, screen and enclosure items.  The other thing I've learned is that it is a little bit like building a house, make a budget and add 40%.
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#4 Loughfad

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 06:57 PM

I've just finished my build with skytrak. I'll post a few pics tomorrow if I get a chance

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#5 fairways4life

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 07:30 PM

View PostJim In SC, on 06 December 2018 - 06:49 PM, said:

I am just starting my build.  It is mindblowing how many items you have to consider.  If you are not getting a turnkey solution my advice is put your plan in writing, review it and do not be in a hurry.  I have my lauch monitor and software, but am still working on the computer, projector, screen and enclosure items.  The other thing I've learned is that it is a little bit like building a house, make a budget and add 40%.

At first I figured I would save myself the headaches and just spring for a turnkey setup. But after mulling it over I think I want to build my own. I think I'll enjoy the process of making it my own. Plus I'm a club ho and I've found myself on eBay lately looking at simulator equipment and fantasizing about all the ho'ing potential that exists with this too.


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#6 clevited

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 08:37 AM

So this is a picture of my set up when I first built it in my two stall garage.  I used black mesh tarps (10'X10') hung from hooks in the ceiling to act as a backup barrier, as well as kind of wall to protect the car usually parked next to it.  I used a cheap black sports netting (10'X10') I got off ebay as my ball stopper, and another net of the same kind but white in color for my overhead barrier (to stop any sky balls or to catch massive flop shots).  The artificial turf on the floor I got on sale for 25 bucks a roll, and the mat is a cheap woven poly mat off ebay.  I use 2 Big Buddy indoor safe propane heaters and I have a carbon monoxide detector in the garage.

My launch monitor is Skytrak, I utilize the Skytrak range app which has become fantastic over the years (I pay the 100 dollars a year for the extras in the range as well as ability to use my simulator software) and I most recently acquired JNPG and play on the OGT tour (though I am not a great golfer at all, but its a lot of fun).  

I improved one major thing recently and I have plans for more improvements in the near future.  I blew too many holes through both the sports netting and the mesh tarp, it just didn't last so I put up several layers of old bed sheets I had laying around.  Those have been holding up fantastic.  I still use the netting and meshtarp as backup stoppers.  The bedsheets are also much kinder to the golf balls.  The sports netting really skinned them up quickly making them hard for the Skytrak to pick up after a while.  The netting also deposited a residue on the golf balls and then my clubs (it had UV treatment in it) which resulted in a lot of flyer ball, very little spin with all clubs.  In the near future, hopefully yet this winter, I will be insulating and heating the garage with a natural gas vented heater and I will be buying a good mat to hit off of as the one I have is very bad.  Next year I hope to have a projector and screen or at least a flat screen tv to have out there as a monitor so I can better see the courses I play.  I also hope to add a good putting surface and a system to slide the skytrak back and fourth so I can easily move it to the putting mat or the hitting mat.

Things I have learned,

Don't skimp on the netting you use, make sure it has a lot of redundancy or spend the money and buy a really good net or screen to hit into.  You can get a lot of life out of several layers of cheap bed sheets but they do stretch a lot.

Don't skimp on the mat you hit off of and buy a separate putting mat.  Cheap mats don't last and they can really hurt your hands and wrists, even hurt your clubs.  These launch monitors also don't like bouncing balls during putting and a marred mat will create just that, so a separate putting surface is a must if you plan to play a lot of simulator courses.

Give yourself as much space as possible.  Low ceilings and narrow confines make it hard to swing the same as you do outside and also take a lot of the fun away.  I have 11 foot ceilings and 12 feet of width.  12 feet is just enough for me to not hit the wall behind me with my driver, but I can't use my 48 inch long driver without worry of hitting the wall on my backswing.

If you live in colder areas, heat your space!  It is a lot less fun trying to play golf, especially good golf when it is 20 degrees F in your garage.  I just did that last night and it sucked.

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Edited by clevited, 07 December 2018 - 08:38 AM.


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#7 fairways4life

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 08:51 AM

^^^ Awesome stuff.

Newb question about putting --- can you just set it up to where every green is an automatic two-putt unless you hit it inside 6 feet or something then it's an automatic make? Or do you have to putt? (Not speaking of tournament play -- just playing a casual round by yourself).

Edited by fairways4life, 07 December 2018 - 08:52 AM.


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#8 clevited

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 09:02 AM

View Postfairways4life, on 07 December 2018 - 08:51 AM, said:

^^^ Awesome stuff.

Newb question about putting --- can you just set it up to where every green is an automatic two-putt unless you hit it inside 6 feet or something then it's an automatic make? Or do you have to putt? (Not speaking of tournament play -- just playing a casual round by yourself).

Most softwares I believe you can set up auto putt.  You can't usually select the number of putts, it does it sort of randomly.  So if you are say 10 feet from the pin, it will likely give you a 2 putt, sometimes though, it will give you 1 putt, rarer still you might 3 putt.  You can set the gimme range on most software as well.  I think on JNPG I can choose 4 foott, 6 foot, or 8 foot gimmes.

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#9 Petethreeput

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 11:57 AM

First word of warning.  You tell your SO, it'll only cost $1000 and it'll be great.  It'll save us all that money going to the heated driving range, and I will be here at home so if you need me, no problem.
This is a lie.  You just lied to your partner, and there is no getting around it.  You are a liar.
After you buy the flooring, the netting, the projector, the monitor, the computer to run it, raise the ceiling to allow full swings, and the required software you realize it would have been cheaper to rent a house in Cabo, party with Sammy Hagar, and play golf for 3 months.

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#10 Ri_Redneck

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 02:09 PM

I've been interested in this for quite some time. I play and practice A LOT. However, I live in New England which means I have 4 months when I can only do so if I go somewhere else. I want this for nothing more than range use. I have absolutely no interest in playing golf on a simulator.

I am a Home Theater enthusiast, so the computer and projector are easy. I've also researched mats a good bit and have that covered as well. The thing I am having the most issue figuring out is what I should use for the projector / impact screen? I've seen the solid impact screens which are loud and distort after very little time and don't really care for that solution. I've also seen screens with netting a foot or so away that is somewhat transparent so the image is not distorted much (similar to what you see on GC). I even had the crazy thought of using memory foam, say 6" to a foot thick and mounting it on the wall, but I think the balls would eat a hole in it pretty quickly. So, to make a short story long, does anyone have experience with any impact screen or net/screen combinations that they can share here?

Thanks,

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#11 clevited

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 02:38 PM

View PostRi_Redneck, on 07 December 2018 - 02:09 PM, said:

I've been interested in this for quite some time. I play and practice A LOT. However, I live in New England which means I have 4 months when I can only do so if I go somewhere else. I want this for nothing more than range use. I have absolutely no interest in playing golf on a simulator.

I am a Home Theater enthusiast, so the computer and projector are easy. I've also researched mats a good bit and have that covered as well. The thing I am having the most issue figuring out is what I should use for the projector / impact screen? I've seen the solid impact screens which are loud and distort after very little time and don't really care for that solution. I've also seen screens with netting a foot or so away that is somewhat transparent so the image is not distorted much (similar to what you see on GC). I even had the crazy thought of using memory foam, say 6" to a foot thick and mounting it on the wall, but I think the balls would eat a hole in it pretty quickly. So, to make a short story long, does anyone have experience with any impact screen or net/screen combinations that they can share here?

Thanks,

BT

I don't have a screen myself but a couple that have been highly recommended to me are the SQ from Par2Pro, and screens from CDG (custom design golf).  Supposedly both are very durable and quiet.  Maybe worth looking into those, I have not looked into them a lot, they are just on my radar.

No idea about the picture quality of either, just that the people that recommended to me had been through a few other screens prior to these and like these the best.

Edited by clevited, 07 December 2018 - 02:39 PM.


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#12 jeffmilinovich

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 04:34 PM

I've had the Par2Pro SQ screen for about 1 year now. There is still no visible wear (i.e. pilling) that I saw from my previous two screens. The picture quality is excellent on this screen. I had two holes in my first screen (Supertex) in about 9 months. My second screen was the polyester version from the same company as the Supertex. The second screen had started to show wear after about 18 months of use but it was still usable. The picture quality of the Supertex was very good. The picture quality of the polyester screen was OK.

Since I installed the Par2Pro SQ screen, I have been using two different balls when I play. I use one for my SW, LW, and XW since these are the clubs that rough up the cover of the golf ball the most. I then use a different ball for the remainder of the clubs. I stop using the balls when they start to get a rough texture. I'm not sure if rotating golf balls has improved the screen life for the SQ or if the SQ is just more wear resistant by design.

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#13 tocino

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 05:28 PM

I'd love to be able to put something in one half of my garage. I may live in an area where i can play golf 12 months out of the year but with younger kids, its almost impossible to find time around their schedule for practice when you want to go. I'd also need to have a setup where I can move it out of the way when i'm required to park a 2nd car in (yes, my HOA is weird like that).

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#14 clevited

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 05:32 PM

View Posttocino, on 07 December 2018 - 05:28 PM, said:

I'd love to be able to put something in one half of my garage. I may live in an area where i can play golf 12 months out of the year but with younger kids, its almost impossible to find time around their schedule for practice when you want to go. I'd also need to have a setup where I can move it out of the way when i'm required to park a 2nd car in (yes, my HOA is weird like that).

Might want to check if you will get in trouble with them if you are hitting loud drivers shots for any length of time.  For me, its been worth having a cold snow covered car every morning.

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#15 A.Princey

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 09:36 PM

The SkyTrak option has me really intrigued, it's above entry level and minimalist types like Mevo, but won't break the bank if you start out slow with it. My initial investment would be the device, netting and mat/s. I can handle just watching trajectory and shots as they appear on the app, range only is immeasurably better then staring out at the white abyss.. Simulator upgrade could occur a year or more down the road.

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#16 Petethreeput

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 10:09 PM

My experience is this, besides just straight lying.

Hitting a ball into a screen repeatedly gets boring. It just does.

The mind wanders, ďIf only I could...Ē you fill in the blank, play a hole, see the flight, measure clubhead speed, work on a flop shot (for those without top netting), etc.

The $1000 start up is great for about 6 hours, and not all at one time.  And the buying starts.

So truly, buy the best machine you can afford, with the ability to add features, whether itís courses so you can do lay with friends (remember even the nerdiest practicers, and I know bc I am one) loses interest. And I can hit balls for hours outside. Just my &0.02.

Edited by Petethreeput, 07 December 2018 - 11:41 PM.


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#17 clevited

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 09:53 AM

View PostPetethreeput, on 07 December 2018 - 10:09 PM, said:

My experience is this, besides just straight lying.

Hitting a ball into a screen repeatedly gets boring. It just does.

The mind wanders, ďIf only I could...Ē you fill in the blank, play a hole, see the flight, measure clubhead speed, work on a flop shot (for those without top netting), etc.

The $1000 start up is great for about 6 hours, and not all at one time.  And the buying starts.

So truly, buy the best machine you can afford, with the ability to add features, whether itís courses so you can do lay with friends (remember even the nerdiest practicers, and I know bc I am one) loses interest. And I can hit balls for hours outside. Just my &0.02.

That is why its important to not buy one of those home sim bundles that places offer, like trugolf or protee.  You will struggle to sell it if you have to. I recommend the person interested in winter practice but unsure about how much they will actual use it, to buy a mevo, or a swing caddie to start.  Use them, see if you enjoy it and actually find the time to use it.  If you do enjoy it and want more, take the next step to a skytrak and try that.  

Usually what I see are guys start with a very entry level option and work their way up depending on funds, time and space.  I will tell you one thing.  Once you perfect your set up, and have the best indoor LM you can get currently (arguably a gc2), and join an online tour, you will have a blast.  At least with JNPG and Online Golf Tournament (the group that runs online tour stuff on that sim) I have met a great group of guys.  We chat on discord all the time and play scrambles and tournaments including closest to pin and long drive.  

My set up is a work in progress but the online gaming with jnpg is a ton of fun.  I know TGC has something similar and the other softwares do to i think but they are lacking quite a lot of options at this time.  I think prices and options will only get better as its becoming a more competitive space

Edited by clevited, 08 December 2018 - 09:58 AM.


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#18 Petethreeput

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 01:26 PM

I kind of disagree.
For those who spend $200, they will almost immediately want something better for the reasons mentioned.
It makes sense to get a machine to grow with, rather than outgrow it in 6 hours.
We already know we like golf, so itís not a stretch to think their is already interest in what can I do/ play/ find out in the garage.
But, everyone jumps into a pool differently.

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#19 dxdgenert

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 02:33 PM

Iíll get around to posting some pics of my setup later but I wanted to get a post in here. Iím currently running a Skytrak with WGT software (I know, the horror!). I picked up the Skytrak with an Armour case used for $1200 cash, locally. Iím hitting into the Haack net, off of the included mat. While it has been OK, I felt I wanted a little more so I just purchased the Fiberbuilt Practice Station for $199 from Costco. I live in MN and everything set up in my garage. The garage is partially insulted but is very cold in our extreme winters. I run a propane heater and can get things up to 50-55 degrees.

Edited by dxdgenert, 08 December 2018 - 02:35 PM.

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#20 clevited

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 03:14 PM

View Postdxdgenert, on 08 December 2018 - 02:33 PM, said:

Iíll get around to posting some pics of my setup later but I wanted to get a post in here. Iím currently running a Skytrak with WGT software (I know, the horror!). I picked up the Skytrak with an Armour case used for $1200 cash, locally. Iím hitting into the Haack net, off of the included mat. While it has been OK, I felt I wanted a little more so I just purchased the Fiberbuilt Practice Station for $199 from Costco. I live in MN and everything set up in my garage. The garage is partially insulted but is very cold in our extreme winters. I run a propane heater and can get things up to 50-55 degrees.

Nothing wrong with any of that, good set up!  I never got wgt because I didn't have an apple product to run it.  If I did that would likely have been my first sim software.


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#21 dxdgenert

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 05:04 PM

View Postclevited, on 08 December 2018 - 03:14 PM, said:

View Postdxdgenert, on 08 December 2018 - 02:33 PM, said:

Iíll get around to posting some pics of my setup later but I wanted to get a post in here. Iím currently running a Skytrak with WGT software (I know, the horror!). I picked up the Skytrak with an Armour case used for $1200 cash, locally. Iím hitting into the Haack net, off of the included mat. While it has been OK, I felt I wanted a little more so I just purchased the Fiberbuilt Practice Station for $199 from Costco. I live in MN and everything set up in my garage. The garage is partially insulted but is very cold in our extreme winters. I run a propane heater and can get things up to 50-55 degrees.

Nothing wrong with any of that, good set up!  I never got wgt because I didn't have an apple product to run it.  If I did that would likely have been my first sim software.
It gets absolutely crapped on but I find it usable for $99 a year.
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#22 bradski

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 09:03 PM

I bought a computer,  projector, and was planning on playing sim golf. I moved my setup into a different room and now I only hit balls on the range with an iPad. I am the type that likes going to the driving range so working on my swing is preference

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#23 dg_1983

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 02:06 AM

I love my skytrak range but for me the SIM.golf element is a must.

I've a couple practise sessions a week mixed with a couple SIM rounds - awesome.

The uograde Path is interesting. While I don't disagree folks get hooked and look to upgrade, the cost jump can be prohibitive. What I've realised is alot of guys in the SIM world have spare space and spare cash.

I managed a skytrak setup, can't really justify a GC2 setup and would be crazy if I committed to a GCQUAD


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#24 fairways4life

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 09:29 AM

What is the big difference between a skytrack and some of the other really pricey launch monitors that justify a cost difference of thousands and thousands of dollars?

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#25 dg_1983

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 09:37 AM

The difference - a sliding scale of accuracy on data captured and additional data points.

Justifying the cost difference is another discussion!

Skytrak is entry level for capturing the ball data points required for accurate flight modelling

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#26 clevited

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 10:35 AM

Arguably, Skytrak or GC2 are the best LMs available for home sim golf.  GC2 is a roided up version of ST.  It has very consistent accuracy, and is much less frustrating when it comes to short chips and putts.  ST does very very well though and is a great starter LM.  Can always sell and buy gc2 if or when you decide you need one.

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#27 dxdgenert

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 11:04 AM

View Postclevited, on 09 December 2018 - 10:35 AM, said:

Arguably, Skytrak or GC2 are the best LMs available for home sim golf.  GC2 is a roided up version of ST.  It has very consistent accuracy, and is much less frustrating when it comes to short chips and putts.  ST does very very well though and is a great starter LM.  Can always sell and buy gc2 if or when you decide you need one.
This. Someone will chime in with specifics but both Skytrak and Foresight (GC2 and Quad) are camera based systems. Skytrak captures a few images (3?) and the others capture much, much more (up to 10k?). Iím sure the optics are also much better in the Foresight products. For comparison, both are electric cars. The Skytrak is a Smart Car and the Foresights are a Tesla.
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#28 clevited

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 01:04 PM

What I did was buy a Skytrak and just use the range app for almost 2 years.  I recently trade up, with the help of friends on the JNPG tour to get a Skytrak with an existing JNPG license.  TGC did have everything I wanted, including people I already knew, add to that Protee antics on GSF and that is what made me pursue JNPG.  I don't get to play as much as I would like, most of that is cold, and child related but it is a lot of fun when I do.  I especially like playing scrambles, its a lot of fun.  

After a few upgrades to my set up, it should see much more use this and coming winters.

I recommend Skytrak to anyone starting out and interested in a simulator.  Don't buy the Protee or Truegolf junk or any of the complicated multi component commercial junk.  It is just that, junk and you will eventually regret it unless you don't care for accuracy and resale ability.  Just my two cents.

Get a gc2 if you have the capital, don't do TM or FS or GCQ.  The 2 radars do struggle indoors for sure, I have used them indoors, not nearly as good of any experience as it is with gc2 or skytrak.  GCQ or even GCHawk cannot as I understand, play 3rd party sims like gc2 or skytrak can.  That means no jnpg or tgc.

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#29 aleph

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 01:04 PM

Anyone have experience with TruGolf simulators? There's a place nearby that has a new one installed and I was able to try it for a while. With driver swings it was reading my club head speed at 115 MPH (where I normally swing 105-110 in summer form) and getting like 250 carry. Full swings on irons seemed a bit more accurate in terms of yardage but balls just wanted to go straight even when someone clearly had the face dead shut. I watched several people pitch and chip with decent contact and there was just no check up at all. A little more research shows they start at only $8K for their base model so maybe I shouldn't be too surprised?

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#30 clevited

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 02:46 PM

View Postaleph, on 09 December 2018 - 01:04 PM, said:

Anyone have experience with TruGolf simulators? There's a place nearby that has a new one installed and I was able to try it for a while. With driver swings it was reading my club head speed at 115 MPH (where I normally swing 105-110 in summer form) and getting like 250 carry. Full swings on irons seemed a bit more accurate in terms of yardage but balls just wanted to go straight even when someone clearly had the face dead shut. I watched several people pitch and chip with decent contact and there was just no check up at all. A little more research shows they start at only $8K for their base model so maybe I shouldn't be too surprised?

Simply put, don't put any stock in a truegolf system, they don't measure spin at all and are not accurate with ball speed at all.  They are a fun game to play on but not a good measure of your skills or a good simulator to learn things on.  Going to constantly question it.  This is from experience.  Club speed measurement is also questionable.


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