Top Three Projectors for Use With a OptiShot Golf Simulator

  • BenQ
  • 2021-05-17

How to upgrade to the perfect projector for your Optishot golf simulator setup

If you are looking at a quality home golf simulator, the OptiShot is an extremely popular option for golfers who are on a limited budget. The $399 OptiShot enables you to practice and play using an impact screen and a projector to provide a simple – yet immersive – playing area.  While you can get a basic projector included with the “Golf in a Box” packages, you can often save money or significantly upgrade the quality of your projector by purchasing it separately, especially if you want to have your space double as a home entertainment area.  Here is what you want to look for:

  1. A projector with a lens that enables effective placement for your playing space

  2. The right aspect ratio and resolution that is best for your impact screen

  3. A bright enough projector to enable you to play with the lights on in the room

  4. Whether you want a traditional lamp projector or maintenance free laser projector

How to get the right lens for your projector placement

An OptiShot system allows you to convert nearly any room to an indoor playing area, but most DYI golfers have lots of questions on where and how to mount the projector. For home setups, there are three basic projector placements that are used – and each requires a different type of projector lens so you can keep the projector away from your driver.

Floor mounting – short throw lens

The first option is a floor mounting system where the projector is in a protected enclosure on the floor.  The best projectors for these are “short throw” projectors that have a throw ratio between .5 and 1.0.   This will enable you to fill your screen without having the projector too close to the hitting area.   The $600 BenQ MX825ST is an excellent short throw projector for golfers wanting to use the 4:3 aspect ratio hitting bay.   It has a special SmartEco lamp mode that enables the lamp to last up to 15,000 hours, and 3300 lumens for a brighter image than the standard projector sold in a pre-configured kit. It also uses the same DLP technology used in a digital cinema and supports over 1 billion colors.

Ceiling mount or cart – brighter laser projectors with lens shift

If you are looking for a widescreen setup or want to use your playing area for home entertainment, a ceiling mount enables you to significantly upgrade your resolution and image quality.  The most exciting options are the new laser projectors which generate brighter images, dramatic color, unsurpassed realism, and turn on in just seconds.   The best projectors have lens shift that enable you to move the projector to the side of the playing area while still showing a stunning image.  BenQ makes a nice 4000 lumen simulation laser projector with a shorter throw ratio (just over 1.0) and vertical/horizontal lens shift that costs just $1499– and eliminates having to buy replacement lamps.

What is the right aspect ratio and resolution for Optishot projector?

While TV’s and monitors typically come in only 1080p or 4K, selecting the right aspect ratio and resolution for your golf simulator is one of the biggest choices for your investment.  Why?  A home golf simulator projector will display the course on a large impact screen.  The larger your screen – the more important resolution is to enable an immersive experience. 

Most affordable - 4:3 aspect ratio and XGA resolution

If you are space-constrained or on a tight budget, a square screen using a 4:3 XGA projector is an easy and inexpensive way to start playing courses.  Many XGA projectors were designed for classrooms – and have the right throw ratios and over 3000 lumens of brightness to make them perfect for entry level home golf simulators. 

More versatile – widescreen Aspect Ratio and WUXGA resolution

For Optishot customers looking to the more advanced Ball Flight system, you will probably be looking to get a higher resolution system to provide a more immersive experience.   With the widescreen hitting bay such as Optishots 12 foot bay – you can have a more realistic and immersive experience.  A higher resolution WUXGA projector has well over 2 million pixels, and the latest 4K models have over 8 million pixels - enabling you to see every detail of the course. 

One other benefit widescreen is that it will enable your impact screen to double as an amazing home theater for movies or watching the Masters.

How bright does my projector need to be?

Floor mounted projector

If you are space-constrained or on a tight budget, a square screen using a 4:3 XGA projector is an easy and inexpensive way to start playing courses.  Many XGA projectors were designed for classrooms – and have the right throw ratios and over 3000 lumens of brightness to make them perfect for entry level home golf simulators. 

Ceiling mounted projector

Brighter projectors in the 4000 and 5000 lumen range are becoming more popular for home golf simulators, since they use lasers – and are much more affordable than in the last two years.  They also use the new higher resolution chipsets from DLP, have lens shift, and most use lasers instead of lamps.   Also keep in mind that while a traditional lamp will be at the rated lumens at the beginning of use, it will decay faster than a laser powered projector – so after a year or two of regular use you may see a big difference in brightness on your screen. 

Traditional lamp or laser projector?

BenQ introduced the first laser projector in 2011, and a laser projector is an affordable option for your OptiShot simulator setup. Is it worth the extra cost for your home simulator? Here are the key differences between a lamp and a laser projector for golf simulators for you to consider.

Your impact screen size and amount ambient light

A 3000 lumen projector does a good job on a smaller screen with some ambient light in the room, but for larger screens, a 4000 or 5000 lumen projector may be needed to show a bright and vibrant image in a normally lit room. According to the projector analyst company Futuresource, nearly 75% of 5000 lumen projectors sold in North American use lasers instead of lamps as their light source. While they are more expensive up front, they can be less expensive in the long run.

Instant on/off

One of the biggest advantages of a laser projector is that it on instantly – just like your TV. Traditional lamps require a warm-up period and the more powerful the lamp, the longer it takes. Laser projectors are ideal when you just want to drop in and hit a quick bucket of balls. Laser projectors also don’t need extended cool downs to cool the lamp, so there is less risk of overheating if the power goes out when you are using the projector.

They stay brighter longer

A 5000 lumen lamp that is rated for 3000 hours of life will only be displaying 2500 lumen at the end of its life before it’s replaced. By contrast – a laser projector with a 20,000 hour life will look much brighter than a lamp projector after the same 3000 hours. Of course, over time the laser will eventually lose brightness – but it takes much longer than a typical high brightness lamp.

Replacement lamp Costs

While projectors with traditional lamps are less expensive to purchase– the cost of replacement lamps – and the hassle of installing them – is something to consider. Higher lumen 5000-lumen golf simulator projectors that use regular lamps have shorter lamp life and are more expensive to replace than traditional home theater lamps. For example – one popular golf simulation 5000 lumen projector model has a replacement lamp cost of $350 - which adds up to $1400 over the life of the projector. While laser projectors have a higher initial cost - they are rated for 20,000 hours – which is a lot of hassle-free course time.

What projector is right for your Optishot simulator setup?

If you want to go beyond the generic projector for your simulator, here are a number of good alternatives at a variety of price points and mounting positions.

  BenQ
MX825ST
BenQ
TH671ST
BenQ
LU710
BenQ
LU935ST
BenQ
LK953ST
 

Location

Floor

Floor/Ceiling

Ceiling/Cart

BenQ
LU935ST

Ceiling
Short Throw

Ceiling
Short Throw

 

Brightness

3,300 Lumens

3,000 Lumens

4,000 Lumens

BenQ
LU935ST

4,000 Lumens

5,000 Lumens

 

Resolution

1024x768

1080p

1080p

BenQ
LU935ST

1920x1200

4K UHD

 

# of Pixels

<1 Million

2.1 Million

2.1 Million

BenQ
LU935ST

2.4 Million

8.3 Million

 

Lamp Type

Lamp

Lamp

Laser

BenQ
LU935ST

Laser

Laser

 

Lamp Life
(Normal Mode)

5,000 hrs

5,000 hrs

20,000 hrs

BenQ
LU935ST

20,000 hrs

20,000 hrs

 

Est. Lamp Cost

$200

$200

N/A

BenQ
LU935ST

N/A

N/A

 

Est. Price

$609

$799

$1699

BenQ
LU935ST

$3999

$5499

Want to Talk to A Golf Simulation Projector Expert?

BenQ has trained staffs to help you find the perfect golf simulator projector – within your room size and budget.