For many, playing golf is the ultimate pastime no matter the occasion. For all of its many charms, however, golf is extremely reliant on the weather. This means that, sooner or later, your long-awaited round of scramble may come to an early duff.
Thankfully, there are ways to sidestep potential weather concerns. If you’re really keen on always having the opportunity to play golf, you’ll be interested in our best projector golf simulator shortlist.
Now, there are a fair few moving parts to assembling a complete simulated golf course. You’ll need to select a good launch monitor and solid simulation software, for example, but the thing that will either make or break the illusion is undoubtedly the projector you opt for.
Down below, we’ve hand-picked five phenomenal projectors, each of which would make a stellar choice for this particular niche. Depending on your desired features and the amount of money you’re willing to spend, however, there are some creature comforts you may or may not end up getting.
We’ll explain all the nuances of choosing a great projector for your simulated golf course below. As always, we’ve also got a neat little FAQ at the bottom of the article that many help with other pressing concerns you might have in the end.
Let’s get to the fun bit!
Table of Contents
- Resolution: 1920 x 1080
- Maximum Brightness: 3000 ANSI lumens
- Contrast ratio: 20 000:1
- 0.5 – 3.4 m throw
As with most projector niches, Optoma is always up to the task, and their EH200ST model doesn’t leave much performance on the table, all things considered.
This projector isn’t the brightest of the bunch, nor does it have the highest contrast rating or resolution. It does, however, do virtually everything you could be asking from it while still retaining fairly reasonable pricing.
Optoma EH200ST is a remarkably well-rounded device. It offers plenty of customization and mounting options for those who’d like to fiddle with their setup, but the whole process can also be reduced to merely setting the projector down and giving it a whirl.
Naturally, since this is a short-throw projector, you’re going to need to set it pretty close to the surface that you’re going to be projecting your games of golf onto. EH200ST can go as close as half a meter from the wall/projection screen, in fact.
Since it comes with an integrated audio solution – also decent enough – you probably won’t need to worry about adding an external audio output to your sim. A great option for those who don’t mind tinnier, milder sound.
All of this, and there’s really not much we could hold up against EH200ST.
Sure, it could be brighter and it could be upgraded to a 4K UHD solution if you only want the latest and greatest in the home projector technology. However, we’re reasonably sure that most users will be more than happy with what EH200ST has to offer.
- Great picture quality
- 3,000 ANSI lumens is a decent brightness rating
- Really short throw ensures an easy and compact setup
- Pretty quiet
- No VGA input (though most won’t be needing it anyway)
- Onboard speakers aren’t phenomenal
- Limited to 1080p
- Resolution: 1920 x 1080
- Maximum Brightness: 3000 ANSI lumens
- Contrast ratio: 10 000:1
- 1.1 – 4.6 m throw
Our go-to gaming projector that won’t leave a black hole in the middle of your wallet, BenQ TH671ST is on the cutting edge of this specific niche.
As you may or may not know, low response times and minimum input lag are the main reasons to get TH671ST. This comes in extremely handy for mainstream gamers who play first-person shooters or role-playing games, but golf, too, can make use of this feature.
Namely, whereas most modern projectors do have reasonably low input lag – which is the time that passes between your real-world action and its immediate on-screen effect – BenQ TH671ST has trimmed it down to the absolute minimum.
We’re not saying that other projectors will look sluggish compared to this BenQ offering, but those who can appreciate such minutiae will definitely feel the difference in moment-to-moment usage.
BenQ TH671ST is a fairly decent short-throw projector even if we disregard its gaming edge. You won’t be getting exactly the contrast and dark shadows that most other projectors on this list would get you, but it’s still a lovely projection to look at.
A potential issue to consider is that TH671ST likes to run pretty darn hot. This quickly leads to a significant fan ramp-up, which in turn leads to loud operation if you crank up all of its 3,000 ANSI lumens.
So – no real deal-breakers here, either. Long as you don’t mind a bit of looming and zooming in the background.
- Stellar input lag
- Stellar response times
- Great pricing
- Reasonably solid color contrast
- LumiExpert auto-adjustment could come in handy
- Limited to 1080p
- Black levels are decent at best
- Runs hot, leads to loud operation
- Resolution: 1920 x 1080
- Maximum Brightness: 5000 ANSI lumens
- Contrast ratio: 5 000:1
- 1.0 – 7.6 m throw
First things first – ViewSonic PG800HD is not a short-throw projector, which are ideal for golf simulators, but it can be set up to project from a significantly closer distance than most other competitors would.
In fact, being a venue projector first and foremost, we’d definitely not have expected PG800HD to support a throw of only half a meter, but it does. This means that getting it up-to-spec for your golf sim will require a bit of fiddling, but not that much.
The main reason why you might want to consider PG800HD as a serious golf sim projector is its remarkably bright light source. The device is rated for a whopping 5,000 ANSI lumens, which is pretty hard for a regular old home-use projector to match.
Aside from that, ViewSonic PG800HD delivers when it comes to color accuracy, with the only real downside to it being that it offers no horizontal lens offset. In practice, this means that you’ll need to mount it directly in front of the projection surface, which might not be ideal.
The simple truth, though, is that PG800HD is one of the few serious 5,000 ANSI contenders at this price point. Having to deal with a more complicated setup is a bit of a given since it was designed for a different purpose altogether.
If you’re okay with that, and if you don’t mind having to take extra time to get everything right with your golf simulator setup, this ViewSonic projector may well be the way to go.
- Phenomenal brightness rating
- Great color accuracy
- Decent stereo speakers
- Designed for venues, might require additional tuning for a smaller setup
- Not a short-throw projector, albeit it can project at a small distance (0.5 m minimum)
- Resolution: 1200 x 800
- Maximum Brightness: 3200 ANSI lumens
- Contrast ratio: 13 000:1
- 0.7 – 4.6 m throw
BenQ MW632ST originally launched back in 2016, which means it’s a fair bit outdated by now, by definition. However, it’s proven its worth as a reliable golf sim workhorse over the past few years, and that alone makes it a worthwhile consideration already.
In fact, the only major problem with MW632ST is its WXGA resolution: you’ll be projecting an image of 1200 by 800 pixels at the absolute max, with downsampling of higher-res content where needed.
Disregarding the resolution shenanigans, you’re getting the whole package here, and at a pretty competitive price point. The picture is not half as bad as you might imagine it would be at 800p, and the color accuracy – while not astonishing – is more than good enough for a golf sim.
In fact, one unexpected upside of being stuck with 1200 x 800 pixels is that you’re getting a 16:10 image ratio. This means your golf sim will display more vertical information than it would with a more common 16:9 projector. Not a huge bonus, to be sure, but it’s pretty neat.
It’s worth pointing out that a newer model of MW632 does exist. One that was refreshed for 2021, even. The reason we’re not recommending that one over the 2016 model is that it’s no longer a short-throw projector, and that’s really the main draw of this device.
All in all, BenQ MW6332ST is a solid enough choice even in 2021, especially if you find one at a reduced price. Remember: this is an older device, so discounts are not quite as rare as you might think.
- Reasonably bright
- Great price-point
- Surprisingly good integrated stereo speakers
- 1200 x 800
- Some amount of rainbow artifacts may be present
- Moderately outdated by now
- Resolution: 4K native
- Maximum Brightness: 2500 ANSI lumens
- Contrast ratio: 3,000 :1
- 0.4 – 0.8 m throw
A bit of an oddity on any list of top projectors, VAVA’s 4K ultra-short-throw projector is a thing to behold in all its glory. Its main draw? The native 4K projector that’s at a hefty $1,000 lower price-point than most of its competitors.
Having said that, VAVA 4K’s got more going for it, and doubly so in the case of a golf simulator setup.
Firstly, setting up this projector is a pretty easy process – long as you can lug its hefty weight around. VAVA 4K can project a perfect image at a mere 40 cm away from the wall, which means you can simply set it down in front of the projection screen and basically be done with it.
Not only will your golf sim now run at a ridiculously crisp 3840 x 2160 pixels, but you’re also going to have the opportunity to use HDR10 for a really top-tier image.
Sadly, you will have to settle for a “mere” 2500 ANSI lumens with this projector, but that shouldn’t be a major problem if you have some way of controlling the ambient light level of the room you play in.
A potentially important feature for some – VAVA 4K UST comes with an onboard Android OS pre-installed and good to go. This means that the projector will easily pull double duty as a media center, too, if push comes to shove.
Aside from its low-ish brightness level, the only other major downside is that input lag clearly wasn’t a major concern during the production of this device. Expect about 100-or-so milliseconds of lag while gaming.
This is borderline unusable for fast-paced games, but you shouldn’t have major issues enjoying your favorite golf sim on VAVA 4K. As always, however, your mileage may vary, so keep this in mind.
- Native 4K image at a lower price-point than most other competitors
- Phenomenally short throw
- Stellar picture quality
- HDR10 support
- Integrated Android OS
- Remarkably heavy (10 kg, give or take)
- Significant input lag
- 2500 ANSI lumens is on the lower side of things for a golf sim
Golf Simulator Projector FAQ
What kind of projector do I need for a golf simulator?
A reasonably bright one, to begin with. Unless you’re eager to shuck putties in abject darkness, we would recommend you try to choose a projector that’s rated to operate at least at 2,000 ANSI lumens.
Doing so will allow you to let in a bit of ambient light into the room, as well as generally ensuring that the quality of the projection doesn’t get significantly degraded whenever the lighting conditions change for the worse.
Where do you put a projector on a golf simulator?
Whenever you want, really. The rule of thumb is that you should either mount the projector on the wall, or simply set it down on the floor. Of course, the exact nuances of the device’s placement and mounting mechanism will depend on the layout of your room.
You’re also going to need to keep in mind if your projector has a long or a short throw. The projection technology will greatly affect the distance at which you should be setting your projector up.
How much does a commercial golf simulator cost?
While this isn’t strictly related to the topic at hand, we’ll allow it since it relates to the niche we’re discussing. If you’re hoping to set up a home golf simulator, you’re looking at an expense that’s north of $5,000, easily.
And that’s without accounting for the projector, mind. Truly high-end golf sim systems will easily reach the comparatively astronomical prices of $50-70,000.
That said, even the most affordable home golf sim kit will ensure a quality golfing experience from the comfort of your home. This means that even those who are on a budget will have little issue in getting and setting one up.
How far should a screen be from a golf simulator?
Optimally, you should set up your projector screen to be exactly 8 feet (2.44 meters) from the default striking position. Since this will greatly affect the specific placement of your projector, too, you’re going to need to take it into account.
Do I need a dedicated room to use a golf simulator?
While you don’t actually need a whole room to enjoy the many upsides of your very own golf simulator, it goes without saying that it would be ideal if you had one.
Not only would you be able to fully optimize the placement of all the gadgets necessary for the simulator to run properly, but you’d also have full control over ambient light, for example. This is very important if you choose to use a lower-end projector for the sim.
Do keep in mind that a golf sim setup is semi-permanent at best, and fully permanent at “worst”. Chances are that you’re going to want to keep it in one place most of the time.
Do golf simulator kits come with an included projector?
Most of them, do, in fact. Whether you’re okay with using a baseline 1080P projector or a fancier, more kitted-out option like one of the five featured in our article, however, will be up to you.
Does a golf simulator need a short-throw projector?
While a long-throw projector might do the trick for some users, it’s worth keeping in mind that a short-throw option would likely be the superior choice.
This is the case because a short-throw projector will be set up in front of you, ensuring a crisp and clean image with no distractions. A long-throw projector, on the other hand, will project from behind you, which will easily lead to excessive shadowing and a diminished sense of immersion.
We hope you find this article handy for your quest for the ultimate home golf simulator setup! Any of the five projectors listed here will do a phenomenal job at projecting the image onto the screen, and it goes without saying that they’re great as general media devices, to boot.
Even if none of these devices have really tickled your fancy, you now at least have a better idea of what to look for in a projector for this niche. Good luck with your search!