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Building a home hitting net and simulator

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Golf and winter don’t get along very well, which is why so many golfers head indoors to practice facilities that offer year-round climate-controlled environments. The problem for many is these facilities can be busy and often require booking well in advance, which doesn’t work well for those seeking last-minute “driving range” flexibility.

So what is a diehard golfer to do? Build your own home hitting bay/simulator of course, and in my case build it on a budget to offer fun and flexibility all winter long.

Finding the right space

The first part of the process is accessing your wants and needs along with understanding any possible limitations your space might create. You have to consider which clubs you plan on using—and if that means hitting drivers, then you are going to need enough height and width to feel comfortable. The space I used is our garage, which is 12 feet wide and has 11-foot high ceilings, more than enough room to hit any club in the bag, and can easily accommodate both right and left-handed golfers.

Golf net and screen options

The Net Return hitting net

After figuring out your space, it comes down to selecting the best option for ease of use and flexibility—flexibility being the key ingredient in my situation. This is our only full garage bay, and if there is one thing I have gotten used to, it’s not having to clean snow off our car in the winter, so the net and mat had to be easily portable and storable.

If you are repurposing a space that won’t require flexibility, then there are a number of fantastic options including The Net Return and others that provide projector screen capability. On the highest-end, before getting into a full room renovation, Costco has a $20,000 “Sim in a box” powered by a Foresight GCQuad—let’s call this the dream scenario.

Since I have no intention of using a projector, nor do I have $20,000 just lying around, I ended up going with standard golf impact netting from Amazon: 10′ x 20′ golf impact netting, which allowed me to build my own net system which I can open or store within minutes.

The last thing to remember is you will be putting a lot of wear on a small part of the net caused by proximity, which is why if you plan to practice a lot it’s important to reinforce the impact area of the net. There is nothing more dangerous or damaging than a rubber projectile (in our case a golf ball) ricocheting around a small space at over 140 mph.

My solution was fine mesh netting from a local fabric store. It’s light enough not to put extra stress on the suspended cable supporting the net but strong enough to take a lot of abuse. The nice thing is at only $5 per yard and 60″, wide it’s very affordable and easily replaceable. An interesting thing to note, is a net doesn’t wear out specifically from just high-speed impact but from the friction of the spinning ball as it hits the net with shorter clubs, so the more layers the better.

The parts list

The list will vary depending on your situation and personal setup, but here are the tools & supplies I used when putting together my own net system.

Tools

  • Power drill and/or impact driver to drill pilot holes for the anchoring i-bolts. Since there will be a lot of tension on the supporting cable you have to be sure to put these anchors into wall studs.
  • Stud finder
  • Various size drill bits
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Screwdrivers
  • Pliers or vice grips

Supplies

There are a lot of ways to secure the net and create a welcoming space to use as a practice facility but these are all the supplies I used to install and support the net.

  • Stainless steel aircraft cable (2mm) rated for 900lbs.
  • Aircraft cable clamps
  • I-bolts to secure the cable to walls
  • Turnbuckle to properly tension the cable
  • Small hooks to hold the corners of the net up and around
  • Carabiners – Climbing rated ones are unnecessary, but they need to be sturdy
  • Carpet (for noise dampening and to prevent balls hitting the floor after falling from the net)

The Mat

Beyond the net itself, this is by far the most important piece of any home hitting bay or simulator because it needs to have enough give/compression in the impact area to not cause joint or muscle pain when hitting irons and wedge. This could require you to use extra padding under the mat or purchasing a separate hitting area depending on the base it is on.

Note: At the time of publication, I am currently waiting for the soft hitting area of my mat to arrive 

Getting fancy and simulated

This is the part where we go from home hobby setup to full-blown golf nut practice facility. The options beyond a basic net setup can get pretty crazy and for data and shot information it will require a substantial investment, with the most affordable being a SkyTrak unit followed by the all-new FlightScope Mevo+. After that, we get into more expensive options like the Foresight GC2 with HMT or the newest option the GCQuad followed by the radar-based Trackman.

All of these systems can work alongside various simulator software to provide playable course options, but they all come at an additional cost depending on the company and package.

For my personal use, I already happen to own a FlightScope Xi+ (which I purchased used), which requires a minimum of 16′ from unit to net to capture data, and since I don’t have any plans for playing rounds of golf, it is the perfect solution for getting the information I want in the space I have.

So whether you are looking for a full-blown golf simulator at home or just a space to help you keep those “golf muscles” loose over the cold winter months, use this GolfWRX how-to guide as a starting point for finding the best solution for you.

The How-to Video

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Ryan Barath is part of the Digital Content Creation Team for GolfWRX. He hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on the GolfWRX Radio Network which focuses on discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Max R

    Oct 31, 2020 at 9:08 am

    Thanks for the information. It’s extremely timely for me and my neighbor. We were looking at the Rapsodo MLM Launch Monitor. I would love to have $20K+ to get the cream of the crop but as a senior, your option for keeping everything affordable is the best way to go. I agree that money needs to be spent on a high mid to high quality mat. Otherwise, you’re potentially damaging your clubs.

  2. Pelling

    Oct 30, 2020 at 4:38 pm

    Instead of spending mega bucks for a new mat, order a 5’x5’ Used commercial driving range mat (B grade) for about $150-$170, free delivery, off EBay from balldiver812. Excellent condition, like new. I ordered one for my son, prompt delivery, outstanding experience.

  3. Cris Kennedy

    Oct 30, 2020 at 9:59 am

    The problem with this setup is when you sky a driver/3 wood/hybrid. Don’t think it won’t happen.

  4. Grat702

    Oct 29, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    Thanks for this article, great stuff!

  5. Shallowface

    Oct 29, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    I’ve had a net for 20 years. When I finally blew a hole through it, I hung a sheet of canvas duck material in front of the hole. Like the other materials mentioned, it’s cheap, durable and readily available.

  6. Steve Hjortness

    Oct 29, 2020 at 11:42 am

    Ryan, thanks for the info. You mentioned your source for the netting and the launch monitor. Can you tell us what you purchased for the mats?

    • ChristianR

      Oct 30, 2020 at 3:07 am

      https://www.realfeelgolfmats.com/

      Someone can confirm they are really working as advertised?

      • Q

        Oct 30, 2020 at 10:33 am

        I’ve got a full GC2 simulator setup at home and chose the CCE reel feel mat. It’s expensive but is as exactly as advertised. You know exactly when you hit it fat, can get the sensation of taking a divot, and it holds a tee. Have had my setup since 2014 and have been through two hitting screens but the mat looks virtually new.

  7. Large chris

    Oct 29, 2020 at 9:32 am

    I’ve tried lots of different netting solutions. You won’t do any better than archery netting. It’s much quieter and more durable than anything else. Make sure to use a bungee type attachment solution to reduce the stress whatever net you use, Also, with sufficient unit to net flight space for a flight scope 11, you won’t have the net height to hit wedges or maybe even nine irons.
    Lots of things to consider, it’s not an easy thing to get right and reliable.

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Equipment

Golf 101: 5 Tips to building your golf bag with CH3 (+ Charles Howell III WITB)

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I think at this point it’s safe to say that Charles Howell III is the adopted son and patron saint of WRX.

Not only is he a member of the site and visits regularly, but he’s also an avid club nerd and tester. I’ve become friends with CH3 over the past couple of years and have had some fun gear geek sessions with him. Want to know the coolest thing of all? He’s still as passionate and curious about gear as we are and not just Titleist (who he is on staff with) he’s curious about it all.

So who better to ask about how to build a great golf bag than with a man who knows it, does, and plays for his livelihood week in and week out?

These are 5 Charles Howell III golden nuggets that any golfer can learn from—and oh yeah, his take on the future is spot on.

Rule #1: Stability over speed no matter what

“Even for the guys on tour, stabilizing the clubface is paramount to good driving. One of the reasons I love testing shafts so often is to see if there is that magic combo of speed and control. However, the stability of the clubhead and shaft have to be there—I could find a combo that’s 20 yards longer, but if it’s something I can’t control, it doesn’t have a place in my bag. Extra yardage is fun until it isn’t.”

Rule #2: Find wedges that can do it all

“I chose the Vokey SM8 M Grind in the 56 and 60, because as the grind spectrum goes, they fall dead in the middle for me but everyone is different. I discovered that finding a middle ground grind wise solves the “different wedges for different grass problems” some players find themselves in. Even at Augusta, there was more Bermuda sticking out than normal which made shots from behind 15 different for example a little trickier. Not only are you chipping back towards a downslope with water behind, but it’s also now into the grain. Knowing I had wedges to combat either scenario made it that much easier. As a player, you have to put all the grinds through the paces and see what one checks off the most boxes. It might be something you never considered.”

Rule #3 Forgiveness looks different for every player

“Iron set makeups have changed so much in recent years. Pay attention to the soles when choosing your irons, even in the longer irons. It would be easy to think that bigger heads wider soles would be a no-brainer to hit, but to be honest, it’s not that simple. Sometimes finding a sole that will help the club get in and out of the ground easily will get you that center contact you were looking for. Although guys on tour may choose beefier long irons, it’s pretty rare to find one with a really wide sole. Soles that large encourage a player to try and sweep it off the turf which is counter-intuitive with an iron in your hand. When getting fit, pay attention to attack angles and center contact with your longer clubs; you may find that thinner soles help you more than anything else.”

Rule #4 Enjoy the process of learning and testing

“Obviously playing for a living gives me the advantage of testing a ton of stuff, but it’s just as fun doing the research at home (online) and understanding what certain equipment can do and the idea behind it. I still rely on testing as much as I can to see what works but it’s the pursuit of knowledge that keeps it all fresh week in and week out. Technology is so good these days but like anything you have to ask questions, look around try some stuff and then make a decision. Remember it’s your golf bag, take some pride in demanding that every inch of it works for you.

Eyes on the future…

“I think as we go down this Bryson/distance chase, the ultimate result on tour will be a lot of two driver bags. Look at it this way, having a 47-inch driver for long bombs, and a 44.5 inch for tighter drives, and a 4-wood isn’t all that hard to imagine. Players can tweak lofts in the irons and wedges easily to adjust to gapping. It’s not rocket science, and I don’t think we are that far from seeing multiple players on tour doing it that way.”

Charles Howell III WITB

Driver: Titleist TSI3 (10.5 degrees, A1 SureFit setting)

Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD XC 6 TX

3-wood: Ping G425 LST (14.5 degrees)

Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Black Tour Spec 8 X

7-wood: Ping G425 Max (20.5 degrees @20)

Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Black Tour Spec 9 X

Irons: Titleist T100 (4-6) 620 MB (7-9)

Shafts: Project X LZ 6.5 (hard stepped)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (48-10F @47, 52-12F, 56-08M, 60-08M)

Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron 009M

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Align

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GolfWRX Classifieds (12/3/20): Mavrik SubZero, rare Scotty Cameron, Wilson Staff

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member CLRMTgolfer – Wilson Staff forged combo set

This is one extremely nice custom combo set of irons from Wilson golf – from blades, all the way to the Staff utility, this set has everything you need for shotmaking.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Wilson staff iron set

Member EHSgolf1 – Callaway Mavrik SubZero driver

Your chance to get an almost new Callaway Mavrik SubZero for less than new price!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Callaway SubZero

Member Champ 2430 – Scotty Cameron Timeless longneck prototype

As they say “if you know you know” and this rare Scotty Cameron Prototype longneck is a thing of beauty – the only thing is I really hope you have a big golfing budget.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Rare longneck Cameron

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds

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Adidas X Vice Golf launch The Vice Golf Shoe by Adidas

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Adidas has teamed up with Vice Golf to launch the new Vice Golf Shoe inspired from off the course which includes a dozen Vice Pro Drip Lime x Adidas golf balls.

The Vice Golf Shoe from Adidas contains ultraboost and a signature lime-green colorway to accent the designs for life both on and off the golf course. The shoe features a camouflage pattern in gray and white on the top of the shoe, while a brand-new drip pattern decorates the boost material at the bottom.

The shoe features branding “discoverables”, such as a subtle Vice logo on the tongue of the shoe while a collab logo is celebrated within. The company’s motto “Embrace Your Vice” runs down the spine of the heel, while another Vice logo lives underneath the 3-stripe caging on the inside of the foot.

If golfers want a brighter color pop, the alternate neon lime laces give that option.

“Based in Bavaria like Adidas, we have always looked up to this global ambassador and brand that has made big moves in both the golf and footwear in recent years. It is a great honor to finally present the result of 22 months of work with tears of happiness when the final pair of shoes arrived” – Vice Golf founder and CEO Ingo Duellmann

In addition to the shoe, the packaging of the Vice Golf Shoe by Adidas is made to look, feel and act exactly like their signature golf ball packages. 

The bottom of the box is wrapped in a neon lime camouflage pattern, and the top cover features the exact, embossed Vice logo colored in neon lime drip pattern as seen and felt on the brand’s golf ball packaging. The connection continues after lifting the lid and discovering an actual box of Vice Pro Drip Lime golf balls, with Adidas logos, sitting in its own compartment.

The Vice Golf Shoe from Adidas (plus one dozen Vice Pro Drip Lime X Adidas golf balls) costs $219.95 and is available to purchase from December 7, 2020, 11 AM EST at ViceGolf.com.

 

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