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Creating a REAL GRASS simulator for year round use...tell me why I'm crazy


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#1 Corona King

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Posted 25 December 2018 - 02:08 PM

I don't see why these don't exist, so please set me straight.

Basically same set up as any indoor sim with mats, but instead of mats, you use grass.

Options for how to use grass:
  • Build the simulator outside under a tarp or roof, and use real turf in your yard.
    • Pros: Use your own yard grass, lower cost to build
    • Cons: Requires maintaining grass
  • Build simulator inside a greenhouse
    • Pros: Grass grows no problem
    • Cons: More expensive, keeping grass short in a greenhouse seems like a nuisance
  • Build simulator anywhere and use replaceable sod (like here - portable grass by the foot!)
    • Pros: This is the most intriguing option since it does not require regular maintenance, super cheap. Once you hack up your 4x4 foot striking area, just dump the grass and buy some more.
    • Cons: Not sure?
Thoughts?


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#2 fore_life

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Posted 25 December 2018 - 02:15 PM

Grow the grass on pallets and then switch out the pallets
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#3 jut111

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Posted 25 December 2018 - 02:27 PM

Haha

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#4 augustgolf

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Posted 25 December 2018 - 02:47 PM

Personally, I like this idea. Greatness & madness are so often impossibly close. OP, PM me to discuss
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#5 Corona King

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Posted 25 December 2018 - 03:33 PM

View Postaugustgolf, on 25 December 2018 - 02:47 PM, said:

Personally, I like this idea. Greatness & madness are so often impossibly close. OP, PM me to discuss

Thanks for the encouragement. Here is my expert drawing on how option #3 could work:

First, you have the outdoor shed for the simulator. Nothing special here, others have done this, but with mats (like here or here).

Note the raised hitting surface. This is made up partially by a mat that you stand on and partially by a recessed slot in which you place the grass sod tray. This can be different sizes, but for the illustration I am using a 4' x 1.5' tray. This can likely three rows of divots 4' long each.
  • Version A at the bottom left of the image is the "fixed placement" version. You move up and down the platform to hit off the different parts of the grass tray. This should be fine as TrackMan has about a 10 foot range in which it can recognize ball flight.
  • Version B at the bottom right of the image is the "sliding" version. Basically you put the sod tray into the recessed slot, and you can slide it and lock it forward and backward so you are always hitting from the same exact location.
Posted Image

Okay, now for the hard part. How do you actually grow this stuff? You'd need a "garden" of 12 trays, in total spanning only 12' x 6'. This garden would cost about $40 to actually lay sod into, since even rolls of Bermuda sod are super cheap. You would then replace your chewed up tray from the simulator with a new tray when you were done. At that point you can discard of the old sod in the used tray, and lay new sod in the garden.

The most difficult part of this, I think, would be keeping the grass alive in the tray garden. Once you actually removed it and put it in the simulator room, it wouldn't matter much since you would go through it in a single session. But while it is in "storage" / in the "garden", that is when you'd need to be careful to keep it alive. Then again, hitting off of dead yellow grass on dirt is still better than hitting off a mat, imo.
Posted Image

Edited by Corona King, 25 December 2018 - 03:33 PM.


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#6 Dinosaur

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Posted 25 December 2018 - 04:00 PM

I've thought about using real sod from time to time.  How long does a commercially purchased sod rectangle normally last? Currently, I have a backyard of artificial turf called "real grass" that is pretty darned close to the real thing. I got it from Home Depot at around $32 linear foot x 15 ft width. I happen to have about 55 feet in one continuous roll.  I can hit off it, but feel more comfortable with using mats.

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#7 melly9

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Posted 25 December 2018 - 04:01 PM

What about the fact that unless you have a very high end unit such as trackman, you’ll have to adjust the unit just about every shot. Skytrak, which I’d venture to guess is the most popular unit for home use, would need to be moved every shot due to having to move back each time you take a divot.

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#8 Corona King

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Posted 25 December 2018 - 04:06 PM

View Postmelly9, on 25 December 2018 - 04:01 PM, said:

What about the fact that unless you have a very high end unit such as trackman, you’ll have to adjust the unit just about every shot. Skytrak, which I’d venture to guess is the most popular unit for home use, would need to be moved every shot due to having to move back each time you take a divot.

See my post / image (Version B of the platform) - it allows for the turf to slide back and forth so that you are always hitting the ball from nearly the exact same location.

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#9 melly9

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Posted 25 December 2018 - 04:07 PM

View PostCorona King, on 25 December 2018 - 04:06 PM, said:

View Postmelly9, on 25 December 2018 - 04:01 PM, said:

What about the fact that unless you have a very high end unit such as trackman, you’ll have to adjust the unit just about every shot. Skytrak, which I’d venture to guess is the most popular unit for home use, would need to be moved every shot due to having to move back each time you take a divot.

See my post / image (Version B of the platform) - it allows for the turf to slide back and forth so that you are always hitting the ball from nearly the exact same location.

Ah I hadn’t seen this post when I posted. Good idea

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#10 bigmoneyp

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Posted 25 December 2018 - 04:10 PM

Aren't you going to be throwing dirt at your screen every time you hit a shot?


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#11 Corona King

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Posted 25 December 2018 - 04:17 PM

View Postbigmoneyp, on 25 December 2018 - 04:10 PM, said:

Aren't you going to be throwing dirt at your screen every time you hit a shot?

Yes, this is another issue to resolve. Perhaps projecting onto a white wall that isn't flimsy and cleaning it off periodically. The messy cleanup is the biggest issue.

If you make this modular though, you can always replace the grass tray with a regular mat when you want a less messy round.

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#12 dg_1983

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Posted 25 December 2018 - 04:57 PM

How many shots per tray at your anticipating? Using a TV instead of a gets around the divot problem. Couldn't use skytrak with all the dirt flying around.

Why would you need to keep the trays alive for long? Buy enough for week of practice at a time?


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#13 Hawkeye77

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Posted 25 December 2018 - 06:03 PM

Good luck!  Not really seeing it, but not knocking it. You just never know.

And please post lots of vids of hitting shots in that greenhouse!  You could put numbers on the windows and set up kind of a roulette game, lol.

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#14 Corona King

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Posted 25 December 2018 - 06:24 PM

View Postdg_1983, on 25 December 2018 - 04:57 PM, said:

How many shots per tray at your anticipating? Using a TV instead of a gets around the divot problem. Couldn't use skytrak with all the dirt flying around.

Why would you need to keep the trays alive for long? Buy enough for week of practice at a time?

I guess if you buy local you don't need to keep em alive that long. If you order online needs to be bulk, that's why.

I would be looking for like 60-100 shots per tray.

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#15 MonteScheinblum

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Posted 25 December 2018 - 08:29 PM

As soon as you figure this out, tell me how to solve world hunger, create world peace and get my exwife to behave.


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#16 b_f_c_99

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Posted 25 December 2018 - 10:01 PM

Might as well start with something doable, hunger and peace.

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#17 fairways4life

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Posted 25 December 2018 - 11:24 PM

Like fore_life said --- have several trays. When you are finished with a tray, you throw some seed and fertilizer in it and put it back out into the sun to grow again. Then move a fresh tray in. Not radically different than filling a divot in a fairway with sand and seed mix after hitting a shot.

You would need a number of trays and you would have to always be growing grass on them (watering and what not). You would also need to have different grass seeds according to the time of year (Bermuda trays for summer, fescue trays for fall, rye trays for winter, etc.). That would allow you to hit off different types of grasses throughout the year, which would be a neat change of pace.

The Arizona Cardinals do something similar. I believe they grow their grass outside on a giant tray and then slide it into the stadium for games. That way they can play on real grass in an indoor stadium.

Fun idea to ponder.

Edited by fairways4life, 25 December 2018 - 11:26 PM.


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#18 GMR

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Posted 26 December 2018 - 03:59 AM

Best of luck and hope it works! Have thought of doing something similar myself but didn't seem worth the hassle. One word of advice, this isnt going to work with a Skytrak if that's what you have in mind... mine is absolutely terrible picking shots up off real grass due to the interference of flying dirt. GC2 or radar unit, for sure.

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#19 On N 2

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Posted 26 December 2018 - 07:27 AM

If your going to grow and keep the turf alive, your going to have to get a reel mower to simulate the cut on a golf course.

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#20 OakLawnGolfPro

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Posted 26 December 2018 - 07:59 AM

Grass will grow back but it won’t be as healthy.  My courses driving range, we had two decks and we’d let it grow back for over a month before switching decks.  Doing this we still had to have both decks sodded twice a year.

Also maintenance of soil and what not you’ll need to do.  Don’t see it being feasible in a small area.

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#21 BNGL

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Posted 26 December 2018 - 08:56 AM

So you’re going to be hitting from sod squares that you just replace?

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#22 iteachgolf

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Posted 26 December 2018 - 09:02 AM

View PostOakLawnGolfPro, on 26 December 2018 - 07:59 AM, said:

Grass will grow back but it won’t be as healthy.  My courses driving range, we had two decks and we’d let it grow back for over a month before switching decks.  Doing this we still had to have both decks sodded twice a year.

Also maintenance of soil and what not you’ll need to do.  Don’t see it being feasible in a small area.

That seems crazy.  Have never had to do anything close at any facility here.  And they are grass year round

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#23 Atrayn

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 10:46 AM

The very first thing I would do is build the "tray" you are going to use in the simulator, get your sod and put it in.
Proceed to hit balls and see how the sod holds up. My hunch is that it is going to just tear apart with each shot as there is no dirt for the sod to grow into and establish a rooted base....
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#24 SheriffBooth

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 11:10 AM

View Postiteachgolf, on 26 December 2018 - 09:02 AM, said:

View PostOakLawnGolfPro, on 26 December 2018 - 07:59 AM, said:

Grass will grow back but it won't be as healthy.  My courses driving range, we had two decks and we'd let it grow back for over a month before switching decks.  Doing this we still had to have both decks sodded twice a year.

Also maintenance of soil and what not you'll need to do.  Don't see it being feasible in a small area.

That seems crazy.  Have never had to do anything close at any facility here.  And they are grass year round

Fescue or Bluegrass I'd assume in Illinois.  Doesn't self repair the way creeping Bermuda does in Florida.
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#25 OakLawnGolfPro

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 10:51 PM

View Postiteachgolf, on 26 December 2018 - 09:02 AM, said:

View PostOakLawnGolfPro, on 26 December 2018 - 07:59 AM, said:

Grass will grow back but it won't be as healthy.  My courses driving range, we had two decks and we'd let it grow back for over a month before switching decks.  Doing this we still had to have both decks sodded twice a year.

Also maintenance of soil and what not you'll need to do.  Don't see it being feasible in a small area.

That seems crazy.  Have never had to do anything close at any facility here.  And they are grass year round

We were a very high end private facility in AZ - east valley so definitely trying to maintain conditions that were worthy of that.  Always was done right before Member/Member and Member/Guest.  Used to host an LPGA Event and it was right before that as well.  Could have gotten away with it probably, but you could definitely see the grass not as strong as time wore on.

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