What is Virtual Golf? How Does it Work

Golf is a game of passion which demands your time and, of course, some hassle too. 

However, not all golfers afford to reach the golf course every time they wanna play golf. 

Sounds downcast, but hey! We live in the 21st century, where technology has thrown everything at the tip of our fingers. 

So is the case with golf! 

Unable to comprehend? Leave everything and dive deep into this conclusive guide that encompasses everything related to virtual golf. 

With me! 

What is Virtual Golf? A Brief Overview!

Think about a technology that allows you to play a round of golf anywhere you want, cool! right? That’s exactly what virtual golf is!

With the advancement of technology, virtual golf has revolutionized modern-day golf culture through the latest simulator systems that allow you to explore every possibility of golf in a simple and easy-to-access system. 

These systems can be installed at homes, offices, gaming zones, and other entertainment hubs to provide a golf-centered exploration to normal people. 

Besides practicing, you can have a great fun time playing lots of mini-games, online competitions, friendly matches, and much more, even if you’re a non-golfer.

In addition to this, many PGA pros have also adapted to virtual golf to step up their performance.

Don’t believe me? Watch this YouTube video by Full Swing Golf channel;

That’s Tiger Woods Baby!

How to Play Virtual Golf? How Does it Work? 

Playing virtual golf is fun. However, it requires a launch monitor or a golf simulator which functions through the process of simulation. 

The possessor goes through three basic steps to deliver golfing experience. Here’s a brief overview;

1. Taking Input 

When you play a shot, standing by the hitting mat, the input devices of your simulator system, such as motion sensors, light sensors, and radar photometric cameras, record the swing and ball movement. 

This recorded data is instantly measured at about 2000-3000 fps and is transferred to the tracking system.

2. Processing and Analyzation

As soon as the tracking system receives the recorded data, it processes the details of the shot with the help of simulation software. 

Plus, it also analyzes statistical metrics such as club speed, ball speed, launch angle, and much more. 

3. Providing Output

Once data is analyzed, it is transformed into a graphical form, which is displayed as a simulation on the simulator’s impact screen.

In addition to this, every numerical detail of the respective shot is also displayed. 

Unable to comprehend? Jump into this youtube video by DeanGolfallyear;

Pretty straightforward! 

Golf Simulator Vs. Launch Monitors: Are They Same?

Many people confuse golf simulators with launch monitors, but are they really the same, or is there a difference between them? Let’s find out!

#1: Golf Simulators

A golf simulator is a full-fledged computerized golf setup that mimics the real game of golf so that you can enjoy the pleasure of playing golf in the comfort of your home.

With that said, simulators are mostly made for indoor use and require the necessary equipment to function properly. 

Here’s what you need to build a golf simulator setup;

✅ Launch Monitor

✅ Hitting Mat

✅ Golf Impact Screen

✅ Gaming PC/Laptop

✅ Simulation Software  

#2: Launch Monitors

As I’ve mentioned above, launch monitors are a part of golf simulators which means they can be converted into simulators but only with the required equipment.

Devices like SkyTrak or Trackman 4 are often referred to as launch monitors because they don’t come with hitting mats and impact screens.

Furthermore, you can also use launch monitors for outdoor practice sessions. 

Just look at this youtube video by Scott Hogan Golf;

Tells everything about launch monitors! 

So are they the same? I guess you already know the answer, but for those who want a categorical statement, of course not!  

Why Virtual Golf? How Does it Benefit Us?

Although virtual golf doesn’t compare to actual golf, it provides multiple opportunities to explore various golf scenarios and level up your game. 

Wanna Know how? Here are some prominent advantages;

Convenience of Location

Virtual golf benefits a lot in terms of availability of location and weather conditions to give you a brand new experience every time you step into a golf simulator. 

Be that it’s your favorite Augusta National, Pebble Beach, or Pinehurst… the sensors and ultra-realistic graphics of a simulator are well-equipped to give you an on-course feel.

In addition to this, if you’re serious about golf, the weather control options are a great way to practice in extreme conditions to improve your performance.

Adaptation to Virtual Environment

Besides the fact that playing virtual golf is more like playing a video game, the top-notch tech of a simulator system allows it to adapt to the course conditions. 

Every shot, every play, every putt, even the slightest one, feels like you’re standing on the course. 

This is made possible by dynamic sensors, working in combination with adjustable plates that enable your simulator to adjust according to course conditions.

Furthermore, this gives you 360 control which can be used to adjust your stance and golf swing through the adjustable plates of the simulator.   

A Significant Coaching Tool

Virtual golf delivers the most in terms of game improvement by measuring the club and ball data and then displaying it on a swing analysis screen.

This data can be used to improve via comparative analysis between your newly set targets and previous performance history.  

Measure data points include;

Measurable Club Data:

  • Clubhead speed 
  • Club path
  • Smash Factor
  • Face angle

Measurable Ball Data: 

  • Ball Speed
  • Spin Rate
  • Launch Direction
  • Launch/Land Angle

Accessible to Everyone

Last but not least, virtual golf can be accessed by everyone, even kids, which makes it a reliable way of golfing. 

If you’re unable to purchase a golf simulator for the home, you can just head over to your nearest indoor golf club to quench your thirst for golf. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do professional golfers play virtual golf?

Yes, PGA golfers like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Mike Malaska play virtual golf to train themselves. In fact, most PGA pros have their own indoor golf simulator setups in their homes.  

Is virtual golf better than real golf?

Although virtual golf mimics the real game of golf, it can’t replace real golf. However, because of its availability to the common public, it has become far more popular.  

How much does a golf simulator cost?

A golf simulator setup can cost from $10,000 to $50,000 depending on its features, size, and quality of the brand.

Final Thoughts: What Is Virtual Golf?

The golf simulation technology has been present since the late 1900s, but with its modern-day evolution, it has now become an independent sport.   

As I’ve discussed everything related to virtual golf in this conclusive guide which you can freely refer to, whenever you need any information regarding the subject matter.

Most of you might have been exposed to the golf simulation, but if you’re not, go give it a shot! 

Happy golfing!

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