Having a golf simulator in your home or office can be a great way to relax and work on your shot when you can’t make it out to a green. With the array of high-tech projectors available today, you can create a massive picture that makes it feel more like you’re playing for real. The best projector for golf simulator use has similar requirements to other gaming applications, namely a high-quality image and a quick response.
We’ve picked out five of our favorite options and reviewed them below to give you an idea of what options are out there. Projectors for gaming aren’t exactly cheap, but you don’t have to spend a fortune, either. There’s something on the list for every budget and environment. Read on below to find the one that’s right for you.
Best Projectors For Golf Simulators 2020
|Optoma GT1080Darbee||BenQ HT2150ST||Optoma HD243X||ViewSonic PX800HD||ViewSonic PX706HD|
|Measurements||3.50" x 12.37" x 8.80||4.80" x 14.90" x 10.90"||4.25" x 12.50" x 9.75"||6.02" x 17.09" x 15.28"||4.53" x 11.54" x 8.66"|
|Contrast Ratio||28,000 : 1||15,000 : 1||24,000 : 1||100,000 : 1||22,000 : 1|
|Input Lag||16ms||16ms||No data||16ms||No data|
|Throw Distance||1.6' - 11.0'||3.6' - 15.1||3.3' - 32.2'||1.2' - 2.5'||3.6' - 6.0'|
|Image Size||45.16" - 302.90"||59.72" - 300.31"||28.05" - 301.59"||70.04" - 150.25"||59.72" - 120.12"|
|Built in Speakers||2 x 10W||2 x 10W||10W||10W||5W|
|Price||Find Best Price||Find Best Price||Find Best Price||Find Best Price||Find Best Price|
When it comes to short-throw gaming projectors (>>> Check projectors & TVs gaming experience comparison), the Optoma Darbee has pretty much become the industry standard because it checks off all the boxes of a great gaming projector. In terms of price, it’s in a comfortable mid-range—you can find gaming projectors cheaper (and can certainly pay more if you want to), but the Darbee will give you a quality piece of equipment that is, in our mind, the top pick for golf simulators and other similar gaming applications.
The most impressive thing about this projector is the DarbeeVision processor that’s inside. This gives you an incredible amount of detail without slowing down your game or causing any kind of lag. It even has a designated game mode, which can be great for something like a golf simulator, making it feel even more like you’re playing in real life. Adding to this is the fact that the Darbee supports all currently standard formats of 3D, whether that’s in a movie or in your game. When you’re playing on this projector, you’ll feel like you’re really on the green.
- DarbeeVision processor gives you better depth and texture
- Gaming Mode gives you a super-fast response
- Supports all 3D format including those from gaming consoles
- 28,000:1 contrast ratio means deep, rich dark tones
- sRGB colors for a bright, vibrant image
- Low-maintenance with a long-lasting bulb
- Some users report graininess at larger sizes
The lamp that comes installed on this projector isn’t just bright (up to 3,000 lumens), it’s also efficient. The energy-saving settings on the Darbee can extend your lamp life to as much as 8,000 hours. This makes it a very cost-effective option in the long term, both in how much energy it uses and because you won’t have to replace the bulb as often. Taking all these factors together is what makes the Darbee our top choice. Find the comparison of the newest Optoma GT-series projectors here.
Here’s a similar option from the brand BenQ, coming in at a comparable price point and offering similar features to the model above. Also like the model above, this one is designed specifically for gaming, though it can be used just as well for other home theater applications. The quality of the image is really where this one excels. Giving you one of the best contrast ratios on the market so you can use your projector in any light level.
When a projector says it’s designed for gaming that usually means it has a relatively low lag time. That’s at least the case with this BenQ projector, which has a specific gaming mode designed to provide an immersive, smooth play experience. The different modes on this projector also give you different color profiles so your display will be ideal for your purpose. The cinematic color option is perfect for movies, for example, and there’s a different color profile for your games. Whichever mode you’re in, the advanced color wheel system guarantees the accuracy of the hues.
Being able to see details clearly is another thing that’s important when you’re playing a game like a golf simulator, and this projector provides you with that benefit, as well. The lamp brightness of 2,200 lumens means you don’t have to play in the dark. Even with ambient background light, you’ll be able to track your shots on the screen, and the high resolution ensures it’ll never be fuzzy.
- High brightness and contrast ratio gives you a sharp image
- Short throw projection of up to 100”
- Gaming mode with reduced lag for a smooth playing experience
- Different color modes tailor the screen for different uses
- Sharp, crisp image with great details in all modes and screen sizes
- Calibrating the correct screen size can be tricky for some users
- Contrast ratio isn’t as high as with the Optoma projectors
If you’re looking for the top of the line in home theater projection, the Optoma HD243X is a very appealing option. It has the features you need for a golf simulator, too, including a low input lag and a high image quality.
You’ll get an incredibly realistic image from this Optoma projector. It has a high color accuracy and a sharp, detailed picture—you’ll be able to track your shots the whole way to the green. Deep black levels and a high contrast ratio add to the realism of the picture. The brightness of 3,300 lumens is nice, too, since you won’t have to turn down the lights too much when you play.
You can get a pretty large screen using the Optoma HD243X—up to 301” diagonally, which is as big as you’re likely to find among home theater projectors. Keystone adjustment allows you more set-up flexibility, too.
The only thing lacking from the Optoma HD243X is sound. There aren’t any speakers, so if you want to hear the simulation you’ll need external speakers. Considering most projector speakers aren’t that great anyway, this isn’t a huge loss in our opinion. Overall, we’d still call this projector one of your best options when you’re setting up a golf simulator. (Find more detailed review of this projector here).
- Highly detailed, sharp picture
- Bright enough to compete with ambient light
- Low input lag for instant response
- Easy to set up and operate
- Long lamp life, especially in Eco mode
- No built-in speakers
Our first ViewSonic entry on this list is the PX800HD. It’s from the upper end of their price range, and it is on the pricier side as home theater projectors go. That being said, if you can afford it, it’s well worth the extra money—especially if you have a relatively small space and want the option of an ultra short throw. The PX800HD can be placed within just a few inches of the screen and still give you the same clear picture. You can get an image of up to 150 inches, at a resolution of 1080p.
A quick visual response is important for games like golf simulators, and that’s one of our favorite things about this projector. It has an extremely low input latency of only 16ms, which functionally translates to no visual delay. The contrast and color are also important for a truly immersive playing experience, and you’ll be amazed at how realistic the image from this projector is. Once you see the brilliant image you can get from this projector, you’ll want to use it for all of your home theater applications.
- Ultra-short throw with a minimum distance of just a few inches from the screen
- Screen size of up to 150 inches
- Lamp produces up to 2,000 lumens for a clearer picture in varying light conditions
- Smooth on-screen response is ideal for gaming
- Realistic colors thanks to Rec. 709 color accuracy
- Most expensive option on the list
If you want to set up a golf simulator in your office—or a similarly small space—a short-throw projector will get you the biggest screen with the least distance. The ViewSonic PX706HD can give you an image of 100” at just a few feet from the screen and can go as big as 300” if you do have a bit more space.
The ViewSonic PX706HD doesn’t disappoint when it comes to image quality, either. It has a high brightness and contrast ratio, with realistic, cinema-quality colors. The image is smooth, too, and there’s absolutely no delay between your movements and the response on the screen. You’ll be able to immerse yourself fully in your simulator with this projector controlling the image.
The on-board speakers also help the ViewSonic PX706HD give you an immersive gaming experience. (Find our top choices of 4K gaming projectors) The sound quality is much higher than we usually expect from a projector. You’ll probably still want external speakers for watching movies, but for a golf simulator, they’re plenty loud as-is.
If you’re looking for convenience in your golf simulator projector, this ViewSonic is the one for you. It has a portable, compact design and can work in pretty much any space. Thanks to the speakers, you also won’t need any external sound. It’s not the cheapest projector out there, but the features make it worth the investment.
- Short throw ratio makes it ideal for offices and small spaces
- Low 16ms input lag
- Bright, sharp images in most lighting conditions
- High-quality built-in speakers
- Automatic vertical keystone for more set-up options
- Compact and portable
- Replacement bulbs are on the pricey side
- Fan is noisier than other models
How to choose the projector for golf simulator
A quick response is honestly the most important quality to look for in a projector for a golf simulator, in our opinion. Even though it’s not a fast-paced multi-player game, it can still be very frustrating if what you see on the screen doesn’t coincide with what you’re doing.
Beyond that, it all comes down to the quality of the image that you see. Remember that this isn’t only a factor of the projector itself. It’s also about how the projector works within your space. Even standard indoor lighting can make it hard to see some dimmer projected images, so if you want to be able to play with your lights on, make sure you get a projector whose lumens are on the high side.
We think all five of the options above can qualify as the best projector for golf simulator use for one user or another. We hope one of them ends up being the perfect one for you!
REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING
- Golfdigest on Golf Simulators
- “How Golf Simulators Work” by howstuffworks.com
- Golfweek on Benefits of Golf Simulators