Is It Hard To Golf On A Simulator | Golf Simulator vs Reality

Golf simulators are great devices that can provide a realistic golf experience without going to the course. You can either purchase your own simulator or purchase golf simulator packages and go to a simulator space that rents out slots for people to use their simulators.

All of that makes golf simulators sound great, but they’re not right for everyone. At this point, you may be wondering is it hard to golf on a simulator.

While it is not more difficult to use a golf simulator from an overall perspective, there are some aspects of the game that are more difficult when using a simulator. It is important to understand these differences that way, you can make an educated decision on whether or not to purchase your own. After all, the last thing you want to do is waste several thousand dollars on a machine that you’ll never use.

Read on to learn about the differences between golf simulators vs reality and whether or not a golf simulator is right for you.

Is it Hard to Golf on a Simulator?

It is not harder to golf on a simulator than it is to golf in real life. Golf simulators provide you with an easier first swing and have fewer obstacles than an actual golf course will. They will still have simulated rough patches of grass and sand bunkers, but they are easier to get out of than they are in real life.

So with that said golf simulators seem like a great option for playing golf when you are home or cannot get to the golf course or when you want to get some extra swings in without leaving your house. However, they are not the exact same thing, and it is important to understand the differences between a golf simulator and real golf before deciding if golf simulators are right for you.

One thing that is harder in simulator golf compared to real golf is putting. A lot of the time, the sensors are not calibrated sensitively enough to detect when you make a very gentle tap on the ball.

This can lead to overshooting the hole while trying to get the ball in. However, with time you will adjust to this difference, and if you purchase your own golf simulator, you can have the golf simulator software adjusted to be more or less sensitive.

Weather conditions are also not simulated very well on most simulators. In real life, your golf ball will not the only thing that is affected by a strong tailwind. Your swing will also be affected.

However, since your swing is not one of the computerized aspects of a golf simulator, it cannot affect the full swing in the same way that a natural wind would.

Another thing that makes it harder to golf on a simulator is the feel. This is a difficult factor to describe; however, most golfers will notice the difference when they play. This can make it more difficult for the average golfer to go back to playing on a real golf course after they have played too much golf on a simulator.

A girl getting ready to hit a golf ball

Golf Simulator Advantages

Shot Data

One of the biggest advantages that golf simulators have is that they have launch monitors and simulation software that monitor your shots.

The launch monitors can determine your launch angle as well as swing speed, two things that are not monitored during a real game. You do not have this data when you are playing on golf courses. Well, unless you invest in a portable launch monitor.

Play All Year Long

Another one of the biggest advantages to having a golf simulator setup is that you can play all year long. When you play on a real course, you are subject to the weather as well as the time of year.

If you live in an area that is extremely cold or floods frequently, you won’t be able to play on a real course all year long. With golf simulators, you don’t have to worry about this and can play no matter the weather or time of year.

No walking

When you play real golf, you have to walk or ride in a golf cart between all of your shots. This can be difficult for people with mobility problems and make golf less accessible. Golf simulators don’t require any walking, which makes them a great way to improve your game for people with mobility problems.

Course Access

Playing real golf, you are limited to the golf courses in your local area. With golf simulators, you can play on everything from Pebble Beach to some of the best golf courses in the world.

Some also have driving range settings which can give you extra practice time without having to make the drive to the range.


One of the biggest reasons that people don’t make time to practice golf is that they don’t have the time to drive to their local course or driving range. Simulator golf allows you to fit in practice time throughout the day, which is great for busy schedules.

A man playing golf with a home golf simulator

Golf Simulator Disadvantages


Sometimes, launch monitor accuracy is lacking on home simulators. This can cause the simulator to read your shot as stronger or weaker than it actually was.

Most golfers notice this difference the most when they are putting or making short chip shots. They will often end up going farther than the golfer intended.

Different Feel

A common complaint with simulators vs reality is that they do not provide the same feel as real golf. This means that when you go from playing on a simulator to playing at a golf club, there will have to make adjustments in your playing style.


The last disadvantage to golf simulators is that they can be very expensive. The cheapest golf simulators on the market will run you at least $5000 for a semi-useful that can still give you a  realistic golf experience. But to get a golf simulator that has an accurate launch monitor and feedback systems, computer software, nets, mats etc. you can expect to spend at least $10,000, possibly not more.

A complete setup of an indoor golf simulator


Are golf simulators good for beginners?

Golf simulators are great options for beginners because they allow you to get in lots of practice without having to head to the driving range every time you want to hit golf balls. Of course, there is no better practice than playing real golf on a golf course, but a simulator can make a great substitute. There are some differences in feel that you will need to get used to between real golf and a golf simulator, but other than that, they are a great practice resource.

Can you learn to play golf on a simulator?

Yes, you can definitely learn to play golf on a golf simulator and improve your game using the golf simulator software. Most golf simulators have technology that monitors your ball flight, launch angle, swing speed, and ball speed. All of this feedback will allow you to improve your game while using an indoor golf simulator.

How long does it take to play a golf simulator?

On average, it takes one hour for an individual to play 18 holes of golf. If you are in a group, you should multiply that time by the number of people playing, so a group of three will take about three hours to finish 18 holes.

Is a golf simulator worth it?

For someone who wants to improve their golf skills in their own home or lives far from an actual golf course, a golf simulator can be worth it. Golf simulators are a great way to bring a golf game from the golf club to your home. Purchasing your own golf simulator is a great way to invest in your game and improve your golf swing through constant practice.

Final thoughts

Golf simulators can be a great way to get in extra practice time without having to take a trip to the driving range every time you want to work on your swing. Golfing simulators are high-tech pieces of equipment that allow you to play golf on a video game interface using radar simulators.

These radars track your swing speed, force, and the angle at which you’re striking the ball. This makes it so that you can have instant feedback on your playing without having to brave the cold weather.

Although they are great devices, these simulators are not for everyone. They do have some disadvantages, as not all simulators provide accurate feedback or a fair scoring system. Putting can be more difficult since the sensors may not be calibrated correctly. They also have a different feel than real golf does, which can throw you off the next time you take a trip to the course.

Regardless, these simulators provide a great way for average golfers to up their game and get lots of great feedback on their playing.

Leave a Comment