In recent years, the technology behind golf simulators has evolved to a point where many individuals have started to build their own DIY simulators, giving those who might not have otherwise had a chance to frequent golf ranges a chance to focus on their golf skills in the comfort of their own homes and at the time of their choosing. But what does it take to build your own golf simulator and what are some of the things you need to know before you start on such an endeavor?
A complete golf simulator setup with the four key items
Given the spatial limitations inherent in any indoor golf simulator, installing the projector properly is a challenge full of nuances that will help determine the success of the entire project. To ensure that your projector is at its most effective, make sure that you fulfill the following four criteria when choosing/installing a projector:
Choose a location where your projector can avoid your swing and the flight of the ball
Take note to avoid shadows cast by the user or any other obstructions
The light sources for the most commonly used projectors usually fall into three categories: traditional (either a high-pressure mercury or xenon) lamps, lasers, or LED lights. Traditional bulbs have the advantage of being a tried-and-true technology with low purchasing costs, but they come with the major disadvantage of a short-life span. Under normal conditions a traditional lamp gives you about 4,000 to 6,000 hours of light. Furthermore, in the span of those thousands of hours, the light from the lamp tends to deteriorate, becoming both darker and more yellow. This results in mounting maintenance costs.
With the costs associated with laser technology lowering in recent years, there has been a corresponding drop in the price of laser projectors. As lasers are able to produce a wider selection of wavelengths, they feature a larger color spectrum allowing them to re-create over 90% of the colors visible to the human eye for near perfect color representation. At the same time lasers feature ultra-high brightness and long lifespans of roughly 20,000 hours of use, thereby drastically reducing maintenance costs. With the benefit of such high-quality output and overall reliability, laser projectors are ideal candidates for golf simulators.
A projector’s throw ratio refers to the ratio of the throw distance (the distance from the projector to the screen) to the width of the projected image. Knowing a projector’s throw ratio lets you calculate the desired screen size and corresponding installation distance ahead of time.
Calculating a Projector’s Installation Distance:
Screen Width (in centimeters) x Throw Ratio = Installation Distance
Online Throw Distance Calculator
Based on research, the ideal screen size for a golf simulator is roughly 5.4 to 6 meters wide by 3 meters tall. An average long-throw projector most likely won’t be able to achieve this screen size in the limited footprint most golf simulators occupy. And even if they are able to, they might produce shadows due to the distance their installation requires in order to achieve that screen size. Ultra-short throw projectors, on the other hand, though they are, by definition, equipped to produce large images in a short distance, would probably need to be installed within the flight path of the ball to produce the ideal screen size mentioned above, leading to a high risk of damage. If you want the distance between the screen and the golfer to be about 3 meters, a projector with a throw ratio of roughly 0.8 will be able to accommodate a 100-inch image at a 4-meter throw distance. These conditions give you the most ideal and effective space without producing shadows.
Given that most spaces for golf simulators have height restrictions due to the ceiling, it’s best to avoid installing your projector straight in line with the center of the screen so as to keep your projector away from your swing radius. Consequently, installing the projector at an angle (i.e. projecting from the side) is your best bet. In order to do so you’ll have to have a projector with 2D keystone correction or corner fit capabilities. These features allow you to correct for distortions to the image that results from an off-center projection. In addition, BenQ offers a selection of high-end projectors with horizontal and vertical lens shift features that let you make major adjustments to the projected image without having to touch or move the projector at all. With all of this in mind, it’s easy to see how features such as these, that give you greater flexibility in terms of projector position, are must-haves to optimize your simulator.
2D Keystone and Corner Fit features help correct distorted images
Horizontal and vertical lens shift features that let you make major adjustments without moving the projector
BenQ has trained staff to help you find the perfect golf simulator projector – within your room size and budget. To help you make the best decision, you can reach out to one of our experts to set up anything from a chat to a complete online demo, to help you find the right projector for your needs.
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