No matter how big your passion for golf is when it comes to buying golf simulator essentials such as an impact screen, breaking your bank is not a wise move.
You might think of buying a budget impact screen, but it’ll also cost you around $2,000, which may be less compared with the premium one but isn’t actually a budget choice.
What to do now? Well, there’s always a way around it, and you can go for substitutes.
Most golfers already know it, and that’s why golf simulator impact screen alternatives have recently been a hot topic on golf community forums.
As I was conditioning my research on the subject matter, I came across some cool ideas regarding impact screen alternatives that we’re going to explore in today’s article.
Let’s hop into it!
What to Look for in a Golf Impact Screen Alternative?
Before we get down to the nitty-gritty of golf impact screen alternatives, here’s an overview of the impact screen’s basic features that you have to look for in the substitutes you’re going to use.
First is the build material because it determines the image quality and durability of the impact screen.
Also, it directly impacts its flexibility, which is the second thing you’ll need to consider because it’s related to impact bounceback and sound reduction.
So if you get your material right, you’ll have better visuals, impact resistance, reduced bounceback, and minimized impact sound.
Next, look for the size of the alternative depending on your enclosure size and the aspect ratio you want to experience with it.
Lastly, you need to calculate the total amount required to get it working, which must not exceed the cost of a real impact screen. Otherwise, the whole purpose of getting an alternative is defeated.
Best Substitutes for Golf Impact Screens:
1) Billboard Vinyl Tarps
Billboard vinyl tarps are the best alternative to a golf simulator impact screen not only because of their durable nature but also because of their certain properties that are closest to an impact screen.
In fact, billboard vinyl tarps are typically used as an impact screen by many golfers. Don’t believe me? Here’s some evidence:
I have seen some golf shops using tarps as impact screens (no projection) and they seem pretty durable.Yongchai
I’ve been using billboard tarp for close to 3 years. I’ve only used Golf balls on mine so far. Picture quality is pretty good, but not quite as good as some impact screens I’ve seen.Jeff Tilley
Made with polyethylene vinyl, these tarps are thicker enough to take golf balls at high speeds, allowing you to practice at your full potential.
To produce a sharp and crispy image of the projection, the surface of these tarps is made smooth and washed in plain white on both sides for brighter visuals.
However, the screen might show glare at times, which disrupts the image, but the odds are very rare, so you don’t need to worry much about this.
As these tarps are made to last longer, there’s a flexibility deficit which causes them to produce a loud sound on contact with the golf ball.
In addition, you’re expected to experience bouncebacks if they’re stretched too tight while hanging.
If you can find a way to deal with these abnormalities, they’re quite an alternative for golf simulator impact screens.
2) Painter’s Drop Canvas
Looking for an impact screen alternative that’s best for canceling out bounceback? Painter’s drop canvas might be the right choice to satisfy your requirements.
The cloth is made with high-grade cotton duck material that is known for its durability and thickness but is usually half as strong compared with a billboard tarp by default.
So before buying it, make sure to get a double-layered cloth for enough resistance to stop the golf ball; otherwise, it can put a hole in the cloth after some use, particularly when you’re hitting at higher speeds.
The painters drop cloth was used with almost golf balls. Believe me, I had one for a little while with my optishot setup and it was fine for almost golf balls, but a real ball would go through it, even on a pitch shot.goatbarn
In terms of image quality, the canvas gives a decent performance, but don’t expect it to perform exactly like an impact screen. It may seem a bummer at first, but comparing the huge price gap between the two justifies the whole situation.
Painter’s drop canvas delivers the most in terms of flexibility, which is the real reason for its popularity. With great impact resistance and sound cancellation, the cloth is also capable of stopping right at the point of contact.
If this sounds unreal, have a look at this comment on the Golf Simulator Forum:
My 12 oz painter’s drop cloth lasts for a few months and cost $30. Ball basically falls straight down when it hits it.Dewey
In simple words, the canvas is not the perfect substitute, but it has qualities that are close to an impact screen, making it a considerable choice.
3) Archery Netting
Archery netting is quite common when it comes to golf simulator impact screen alternatives, and many golfers recommend using it when someone asks for substitute ideas.
For instance, have a look at this conversation from the Reddit community;
I’m looking to buy either a 12’x12′ or 10’x10′ impact screen, is there anything that would work well besides one from like carls golf?bobbybdennis
I’ve heard archery nets are quite commonly used, more durable and cheaper than impact screens. Picture quality is not as good but still good enough if you want later to install projector.Bauermander
The best thing about these nets is their build material that’s similar to that of a real impact screen, providing them with the most favorable features as an alternative.
Furthermore, the netting is incorporated with interlocked mesh panels which not only allow it to tackle high-speed balls but also increase its deformity to provide improved impact resistance and sound cancellation.
However, if you’re conscious about the image quality, you’re unlikely to get the best results as the netting has small gaps which can’t provide the necessary smoothness for a crispy and vibrant image.
For those who just want a visible image without distortion, archery netting will do fine.
What Are the Best Material for Golf Impact Screens?
Typically, impact screens have three varieties when it comes to the material. Each of them has its own specific properties, allowing you to choose the right one based on your priorities.
To make it comprehensible, here’s a brief overview:
1) Polyester Mesh
Because of its most favorable qualities, the polyester mesh is the most common material used for making golf simulator impact screens.
Made with powerful synthetic resin, it provides great durability and is flexible enough to extend both horizontally and vertically, absorbing most of the sound produced by the golf ball.
The criss-cross knitted pattern of the fabric develops resilience against the striking object sucking up most of its kinetic energy and reducing the bounce, hence providing better shock absorption.
Lastly, the image quality of the polyester mesh is also excellent because of its smooth finish.
2) Sawdust Mesh
Sawdust mesh is a relatively economical impact screen material compared with polyester mesh.
It is also made with polyester material but has a rough finish because of the thicker thread and prominent gaps to it which make it look more like a net.
The quality of the sawdust material isn’t as impressive as the polyester mesh, but it performs its job well at producing a fair image quality, reducing the impact bounceback and blocking the sound.
If you’re looking for something tough, consider nothing else but the Kelver material!
Used as a go-through material in making bulletproof vests because of its high impact resistance, it has an unmatched capability of handling high-speed golf balls without any sign of wear and tear.
When it comes to image quality, the Kevlar impact screens are best at producing a high-end, clear, and vibrant image that gives you the most realistic golfing experience.
However, despite all the pros, the material is not good at absorbing sounds, and it’s also expensive because of its extraordinary features.
For more insights on golf simulator impact screen materials, hop into this conclusive guide.
Best Budget Golf Impact Screens Available in the Market:
While you’re looking for golf impact screen alternatives, take a look at the best budget impact screens available in the market.
Best Budget Golf Impact Screen & Enclosure: PerfectBay Golf Simulator Screen Enclosure
✅ Optimized for both 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios
✅ 100% on-screen image
✅ Provides shading effect for clear image
✅ Easy assembly
✅ Economical price
❌ Not a premium-quality enclosure
Not enough? Look for more options by jumping into this conclusive guide.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will a billboard tarp stop a golf ball?
A billboard tarp is made of vinyl, which is good at stopping golf balls and absorbing their impact. That’s why it’s the most used alternative for golf impact screens.
Which material is best for golf impact screens?
Kelver is expected to last longer than any other material, but the polyester mesh is the most used because it has almost the same qualities but at a relatively lower cost.
Will a bedsheet stop golf balls?
The answer may be surprising to you, but yes, bed sheets are capable of stopping golf balls, provided that they’re not too taut.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, golf simulator impact screens can cost you a handful of dollars, and for most golfers, that’s a hard pill to swallow.
However, we’ve explored the best golf impact screen alternatives through this guide, and I’m sure that by now you would’ve made up your mind about the one you’re going to use.
Whatever choice you make, remember that it’s not going to deliver the real golf impact screen experience, and you’re getting it for a fraction of the price, so if anything wrong happens, take it easy!
Catch you in the next one.