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What are the best projectors for a garage golf simulator?

How to make sure you get the right projector when converting a garage to an indoor golf playing area.

Bob Wudeck

If you don’t have room inside your house for a golf simulator setup, many people have found that a garage makes an ideal spot for their indoor golf playing area.  While you can always hit into a net, if you want to turn your garage into Pinehurst or Troon, then you will need a projector for your impact screen that is mounted in a safe place.   With dozens of different projectors available, how do you pick the right one for your garage?  Here are three options you may want to consider:

  • Short throw lamp-based projector mounted on the floor
  • Ceiling mounted laser projector with a short-throw lens
  • A laser projector mounted on a cart that uses lens-shift to fill your screen

One thing to consider is that in addition to using your garage for golf simulation, many of the nicer projectors can enable your impact screen to double as a giant 11-foot wide television – perfect for watching the Masters.   Let’s take a look at the basics of these three options that will enable an easy installation – and keep your projector from being damaged from a wayward ball (or club).

Floor Mounted Short Throw projector

This least expensive way to put a projector into a protected closure in front of an impact screen for a garage golf simulation setup, especially for smaller setups and those using traditional 4:3 aspect ratios.   These enclosures have a ramp-type design that deflects any “worm burner” shots up into the screen and has ventilation to keep the projector from overheating.   The power and video cables are run under the floor mat, also saving installation costs.

You will want a “short throw” projector that will fill the entire screen from only five or six feet away from the screen.   Most lamp-based projectors can fit inside these enclosures – and are very affordable.  If you are using a smaller set up with a square screen, then you will want to look at the $600 BenQ MX825ST, which is set up for a 4:3 square screen aspect ratio and has a special lamp that will output 3300 lumens using SmartEco lamp technology that will enable the lamp to last up to 15,000 hours.   If you want a widescreen floor-mounted setup, you will want to consider the $799 BenQ TH671ST, which has a widescreen aspect ratio and 1080p resolution with a short-throw lens. 

Short Throw Laser Projectors with a Ceiling Mount

The bigger your impact screen – the more immersive your garage will become.   In the past, a projector with enough power to light up a large screen 10 feet wide cost a fortune – and required lots of expensive lamps to keep running.   Today, a laser projector with higher resolution is about the same price as high brightness lamp projectors were a few years ago.  And once you have seen your E6 golf course on a 5000-lumen laser projector at 4K resolution, it is stunning.   A ceiling mount is more complicated, but if your ceiling is tall enough for your driver to swing, a short-throw laser projector should work in your garage.  

 

The two most popular laser projector models with this setup are the BenQ LK953ST projector, which is a true 4K projector (UHD), and the LU835ST, which has a similar setup but lower resolution with 2.4 million pixels on a WUXGA DLP chip.

Ceiling or Cart Mounted using regular throw projectors with lens shift

The third option is for a larger garage setup where you have a high enough ceiling for your projector to be mounted well above and behind the player (such as a two-car garage that is set up sideways), or when you are setting up the projector in a cart.  For these setups, you can use less expensive regular throw projectors that have lens shift that enables the projector to adjust the image vertically and horizontally to enable you to have the projector above – or to the side of the playing area.  

For example, the $1699 4000 lumen BenQ LU710 laser projector is ideal for a cart-based system with 30 degrees of horizontal – and vertical lens shift – while delivering home cinema color accuracy that brings out every detail of the course.    For a commercial space with a higher ceiling, the 5000 lumen BenQ LK952 projector offers true 4K resolution with a 60-degree vertical lens shift and a 23-degree horizontal lens shift that enables you to set the projector well above and behind the playing area without creating a shadow.

Which projector is right for me

If you are looking for a projector that fits your budget and works in your garage, then check out the table below for some popular models that might be right for you.  

  Floor Mount   Ceiling Short Throw   High Ceiling or Cart Mount  
 
 
Floor Mount
MX825ST
 
TH671ST
Ceiling Short Throw
LU935ST
 
LK953ST
High Ceiling or Cart Mount
LU710
 
LK952
 
Brightness
Floor Mount
3,200 Lumens
 
3,000 Lumens
Ceiling Short Throw
5,000 Lumens
 
5,000 Lumens
High Ceiling or Cart Mount
4,000 Lumens
 
5,000 Lumens
 
Aspect/Resolution
Floor Mount
4:3 XGA
 
16:9 1080p
Ceiling Short Throw
16:10 WUXGA
 
16:9 4k UHD
High Ceiling or Cart Mount
16:10 WUXGA
 
16:9 4K UHD
 
# of Pixels
Floor Mount
<1 Million
 
2.1 Million
Ceiling Short Throw
2.4 Million
 
8.3 Million
High Ceiling or Cart Mount
2.4 Million
 
8.3 Million
 
Lamp Type
Floor Mount
Lamp
 
Lamp
Ceiling Short Throw
Laser
 
Laser
High Ceiling or Cart Mount
Laser
 
Laser
 
Est. Street Price
Floor Mount
$600
 
$699
Ceiling Short Throw
$3999
 
$5499
High Ceiling or Cart Mount
$1499
 
$4499

Want some expert advice?

With over 75 projector models to choose from, our golf simulation experts can help you find the right projector for your setup.  You can call us at 888-818-5888 or simply drop us a note and we’ll get one of our experts to work with you to find the best projector for your setup – and budget.

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