Whether you’re spending a little too much time on the course, or are just looking to add a little fun to your backyard, outdoor golf simulators are now a possibility for the day to day person. Thanks to their rising popularity, there are more options than ever before. Golf simulators used to be reserved for indoor use. But, our top picks allow you to work on your swing with the wind in your hair.
The best outdoor golf simulators are the ones that are truly built with an outdoor experience in mind. That means, less reliance on projectors or screens, and more emphasis on exceptional functionality. Mevo meets that mark with this fairly compact package.
Included in this Mevo package are the Swingnet hitting net and SwingTurn hitting mat, as well as tech-based tracking in the form of the Mevo+ launch monitor and FlightScope Practice app. Altogether, you get everything you need to work on your swing rain or shine.
Sometimes, less is more, and that is really on display here. Space efficient, easy to set up and tear down, and designed with the everyday backyard in mind– all of this and relatively affordable.
Swinging into more expensive territory, this is a good option for anyone looking to add some tech to their turf without the complication of a projector. In this package, you get your basic components: The Net Return Pro Series V2 Golf Net, Side Barriers, and Turf Golf Mat. But more than that, you get the GC2 Launch Monitor.
The GC2 Launch Monitor is popular. It’s considered by many golf enthusiasts to be one of the best for home use. The monitor is incredibly accurate and versatile. The unit gives users highly accurate feedback without being impacted by outdoor conditions.
This package includes other great features such as the net. The Net Return Pro Series V2 Golf Net returns the ball automatically, graded for speeds of up to 225 mph. Like most outdoor and indoor simulators, you need space for the GC2 package. Before buying, make sure you have around 11 square feet to work with.
Working with some wide open space? Not all outdoor golf simulators include the entire package. In fact, most models built for the outdoors are essentially just software meant to track your swing and give you accurate readings and feedback. But if you have a lot of space to hit balls, and netting and mats aren’t high on your list, the Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor is a great tool for your arsenal.
This model can be used just about anywhere. From your home turf to the green, and even with an existing mat and net set up. Simply charge up the device, pair it with your smartphone, choose a mode, and get to swinging.
The monitor shows you all of the data you want to see, and the GPS lets you know exactly where your shot has landed. When it’s time to move to the next hole, pick up the Rapsodo, and be on your way.
Like the previous GC2 package, this SkyTrack package comes equipped with Net Return Pro Series equipment. Equipment includes the Net Return Pro Series V2 golf net, side barriers, and mat. The difference here is simply the launch monitor. This is a more affordable option, but great for backyard golfing enthusiasts.
This package is portable, easy to set up and tear down, and offers functionality and precision. While not as powerful as the GC2 monitor, it does the job. Users have found the ball flight data and feedback both accurate and helpful to practice. If you’re looking for the same great equipment, at a slightly lower price tag, the SkyTrack Practice package could be the right choice for you.
Sometimes, you don’t need all the bells and whistles. If your only goal is to hit balls in your backyard without running after them, then a great golf net is all you need. The Cimarron Masters enclosure fits the bill. Constructed with a highly stable steel frame and a UV treated netting, this is truly a model meant to be taken outdoors.
The weave of the netting is dense, and the baffle is heavy duty, so even your most powerful swings should be caught without issue. The last thing you want is for your golf netting to underestimate your power. We don’t know about you, but a great day on the putting green doesn’t include a broken window.
Of course, this purchase is just a base. If you have a large yard, then perhaps all you are looking for is a great net to catch your balls. But the beauty of the Cimarron is that it can be built upon. Add a mat. When it feels right, find a monitor that fits your needs.
When all is said and done, the best golf simulator is the one that makes sense for your space, budget, and needs. If you’re just started to build out your equipment, the Cimarron is a perfect place to start.
How To Pick an Outdoor Golf Simulator
There are a few key factors consumers should keep in mind before making their purchase. Most golf simulators have similar functions, but they are not all the same.
Some golf simulators may work well inside, but are not built for outdoor use. We advise our readers to do their due diligence before purchasing a golf simulator that they intend to plop down in their backyard. Before dropping a chunk of change to practice your next hole in one, think about some of the following factors.
The most important line between golf simulators you can use inside, and ones you can use outdoors is their technology. Certain tech that makes some simulators great in an indoor environment can be complicated by the unpredictability of an outdoor space.
Infrared, radar, and even some high speed cameras are not all-weather compatible. Some cameras may be sensitive to light. If your simulator includes a projection, it’s unlikely to be usable in broad day time sunlight.
Speaking of projectors, this is the distinguishing feature between many simulators on the market. It’s important to understand what you are buying before you decide to invest in a projector-based outdoor golf simulator. While the experience of use may be a lot of fun, these models can also become more finicky.
Projectors require more space, planning, and set up. Even with all of that considered, you may not be able to use projector based simulators outdoors during the day. Because they depend on a light projection, bright sun can wash out the image and send you packing without any practice.
If nighttime golf practice is on your bucket list, the projection experience becomes more realistic. Still, most projector based models just made more sense with indoor golf simulators.
Size and Portability
You need to consider size before bringing your golf simulator home. Prior to purchase, think about where in your yard you intend to set up. Do you have a covered outdoor area set aside, or are you trying to fit the model into a small patch of grass beside the pool or deck? Most outdoor and indoor golf simulators require at least 11 square feet of space.
Not to mention room to fully swing your club. We’re opposed to telling anyone exactly what to do, but when it comes to safety, having enough space when swinging a golf club is critical. Trips to the ER were born from lesser mistakes.
Also important, especially with an outdoor set, is portability. Even though all outdoor golf simulators can be used outside, not all of them are all-weather. You probably don’t want to be practicing your swing in the pouring rain. If your model isn’t prepared for the weather, either, it’s important to be able to move and store it easily.
Much of the equipment in outdoor gold projectors doesn’t do well in the rain or snow. A projector and long term moisture exposure are recipes for disaster. On the other hand, simpler set ups or full enclosures are either easy to tear down, or can hold their own when weather becomes inclimate.
Budget and Pricing
We want to encourage readers to spend money on the things that will bring them the most functionality and fun. If that includes an outdoor golf simulator, then by all means, spend the money! But if budget is an issue, know that a higher price tag doesn’t always mean a greater user experience.
The highest price golf simulator may be a technical wonder. But it could also become a disaster and an inconvenience to use outdoors. Some of the best outdoor golf simulators are affordable, and less involved. At the end of the day, a great net set up can outshine a fancy projector in the hearts of many golfers.