Golfers who follow golf pros and influencers on social media will not have missed the explosion in golf simulators. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford (or is lucky enough to be given) a top of the range golf simulator to use on the range or at home. However, there are some excellent cheap golf simulators available to help you improve or enjoy golf at home this winter, and this review will highlight some of the best affordable golf simulators under 1000 and even 500 bucks.
In a hurry? The best golf simulator for under $1000 in 2020 is the Optishot 2 Golf in a Box and the best cheap golf simulator under 500 is the Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor. Unfortunately, Rapsodo is only compatible with Apple products. If you don’t own one, go for the affordable Flightscope Mevo instead.
Affordable Golf Simulators: Quick Comparison
|Best Under $1000||
Optishot Golf in a Bag
|Best Under $500||
|Second Best Under 500||
Matro Swing Baro
Cheap Golf Simulators for Under $1000 and $500 2020: Reviews
1. Optishot 2 Golf in a Box
Best Golf Simulator Under 1000
It includes the simulator, projector, impact screen, and net, and also a golf mat.
It is designed with 2 functions: To allow you to play great courses at home in a fun and interactive way, and to help you practice and work on your game.
The Optishot system does not measure golf ball movement, so you can use real or plastic balls with the system.
It works by measuring the speed and angle of the clubhead through impact, and also the clubface angle.
This allows a computer to predict the distance and direction of the golf ball. This is good as it allows you to use plastic balls, which will ensure the longevity of the screen and net, but it does affect the accuracy somewhat.
What it does have though are the Optishot Academy and Optishot coaches, who can look at the video of your swing and the data provided.
They can then offer hints, tips, or full training programs that you can work on in the comfort of your own home.
It is certainly more useful for the average golfer than serious professionals, but when you go back on to the course, your game will be improved and you will have more confidence.
Optishot is compatible with both Apple and Android Operating Systems, as well as tablets or Personal Computers.
Also, it is designed to be fixed indoors in your golf room or garage, so although the unit could be taken outdoors to the course, it is not advised.
Overall, the Optishot 2 Golf in a Box system provides the best “golf course in your home experience” on the market.
It is fun, functional, and usable by golfers of all levels. The practice mode is also very impressive, with the at home teaching element an excellent add-on for serious improvers.
- Excellent visuals and course options
- Training academy adds to the practice options
- Comes as a package
- Not good for putting
2. Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor
Best Golf Simulator for Under $500
It is compatible with Apple products and can be set up extremely quickly.
Once you know what you are doing it can take less than 30 seconds even.
Although inexpensive, this simulator offers professional levels of accuracy.
In tests, the finishing position of the ball was on average 2.5% away from the much more expensive, industry-leading Trackman device used by teaching pros and tour professionals.
On your iPhone or iPad, you receive instant feedback, with shot-tracking and data, including dispersion, trajectory, and comparison with other shots to show your standard deviation.
You can also use your GPS satellite to see where the balls are landing (or would land).
The Rapsodo MLM has been well-received by the golf industry as it was shown to be the most accurate for simulators priced under $500.
It has a number of useful features for individuals and teaching pros, such as the saving of data into a cloud. At this price point, it is unbeatable and would add to the practice of golfers at any level.
- High quality
- Incredibly cheap price – under 500 bucks
- Usable inside or out
- Only compatible with Apple products
3. Flightscope Mevo
Second Best Golf Simulator Under 500 in 2020
As long as the ball can travel 8 feet forward then the readings will be accurate.
The Mevo is linked with renowned golf scientist Bryson de Chambeau.
As such, it offers a wide range of data for you to assess, including carry distance, club head speed, ball speed, smash factor, vertical launch angle, spin rate, apex height, and flight time.
It is accurate, especially so with the carry distance when I tested it on the course. They also provide metal stickers so the unit can measure spin rates more accurately.
The Flightscope Mevo is compatible with both Apple and Android Operating Systems through the Mevo App.
You can automatically capture the data and video, and record it to the cloud so it can be used for future practice sessions.
It allows you to overlay data on to video of swings, so you can compare visually if you prefer to do that.
The app itself has a variable interface, so you can work on the factors that you want, rather than having to search through a range of options.
This is just an example of the usability of this product. For the cheap price, it is a great product and will help any golfer.
- Very affordable – less than $500
- Recognized Brand
- Usable on all OS
- Accuracy can be affected by monitor placement
4. Phigolf Mobile and Home Smart Golf Game Simulator WGT Edition
Cheap Golf Simulator
Linked to your TV, you can enjoy a round of golf without any set-up time of balls, nets, or travel to the course.
Using the swing trainer instead of your golf clubs, you can play 24 well-known world-class golf courses in an immersive, 3D environment.
The picture quality is excellent, and it gives the feeling of playing the course. The Swing Trainer measures only 2 feet / 60cm in length, so you can play in your living room or bedroom if you have space.
There is no need to worry about stray golf balls causing damage, or bad weather affecting your range time.
The Phigolf Unit offers a range of practice opportunities. You can challenge your friends to a game online, or you can use the practice function, which provides daily drills and challenges to improve your game.
Alternatively, you can practice freely on the Phigolf Driving Range, and then assess your skills using the Phigolf Ability Test. You can also use it to practice your putting.
Overall, the Phigolf simulator offers a realistic golf experience that you can use to improve your game. The price is much cheaper than other simulators, and it can be used in the comfort of your own home.
- Can play in your home
- Has multiple practice options
- Doesn’t allow the use of real clubs or balls
- Can only be used indoors and not on range or course
5. Matro Home Screen Golf Practice and Playing Simulator – Swing Baro
Due to the severe winters in the Korean peninsula, the affordable golf simulator was much needed.
The golf mad population needs outlets during the colder months, and one of the most popular is a home simulator such as the Swing Baro.
The Swing Baro allows you to play golf anywhere you can swing a club. Just attach the monitor to your TV using the HDMI cable and away you go.
You do not need the internet, wi-fi connectivity, a computer, or your phone. Plug it in and away you go. A mini golf club is included so you don’t have to worry using your own.
The Swing Baro has 2 main modes. Firstly, South Korean golfers love to practice and this monitor allows you to practice all facets of the game, including driving, irons, wedges, chipping, and putting.
It will analyze your swing, providing data based on how the club moves, so you do not have to use a ball if you have no space to do so.
Secondly, for those who enjoy golf or want entertainment, you can play 24 golf courses from around the world from the comfort of your own home.
As with real on-course golf, you can change the level of difficulty to suit your level, and play against your friends in a fun way.
The Swing Baro is a multi-functional simulator that would be enjoyed by both serious or social golfers.
- Usable at home
- Very easy to set-up
- Doesn’t allow the use of real clubs or balls
- Can’t be used on range or course
There are two distinct categories of budget golf simulators. Some are used as practice aids for serious golfers and professionals, and those that are used as fun golf practice tools in the home and also offer some practice functionality.
The best golf simulator for under $1000 in 2020 is the Optishot 2 Golf in a Box.
And the best affordable golf simulator for under $500 is the Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor. It’s accurate to within 2.5% of the most expensive launch monitors available, but for a much-reduced price. Rapsodo is only compatible with Apple products though so if you don’t own one, go for the Flightscope Mevo instead.
Both the Rapsodo and the Flightscope Mevo offer a range of data options that allow analysis, just like the pros do, and with a reasonable level of accuracy. Both are also mobile, so they can be used on the course, at the range, or at home in a golf room or garage.
All the at home simulators offer a range of the world’s best courses for you to play virtually, as well as the chance to play competitively against friends or family.
So there you have it. Which one of these cheap but great golf simulator are you going to get to improve your golf game either at home or on the range this winter?