We get this question a lot. Let’s start by examining the most crucial element, golf simulators.
What does a golf simulator cost?
The price ranges also vary by brand.
Cost ranges by commercial golf simulator brand:
Starting an indoor golf business
Yardstick Golf has done extensive research on what it cost to open indoor golf centers. There is a wide range of startup costs for the indoor golf bars we studied. Four of the biggest factors driving the range in costs are:
Small Indoor Golf Centers
Small golf centers we studied cost between $50,000 and $250,000 to open. They had between 2 and 4 simulators and were between 1,500 and 3,200 square feet. Simulator choices were on the lower end of the commercial range.
Medium Sized Indoor Golf Centers
Medium sized golf centers we studied cost between $350,000 and $650,000 to open. They had anywhere from 6 to 8 simulators and were between 5,500 and 10,000 square feet. Simulator choices were generally mid to high end of the commercial range. Beverage services were much more common that food service.
Large Indoor Golf Businesses
The largest golf centers we studied cost between $750,000 and $900,000 to open. 7 to 10 simulators were the norm for this group and the facilities were between 6,800 and 12,000 square feet. Simulator choices were typically high end, but a few went more in the mid-commercial range. Beverage services were also much more common that food service.
What do you think?
Now I’d like to hear from you:
Did you have a different experience opening your center, or are there other cost questions you’d like to know?
Comment and share your experience or question.
I've been running a short golf simulator survey on this site for a couple months to collect information on simulator buying behavior. I thought I'd take a moment to share some of the results to date, but before going into details, I want to highlight a couple points. First, this was by no means a scientific study. I did not attempt to make my sample represent the general buying public - in fact I did not control the sample in any way. This is also a relatively small group, so the results may not be representative of a larger group - that said, here is what the results are showing.
Most of the folks taking the survey plan to purchase one or more simulators. Not surprising given they probably came to my site looking for information on simulators. It does appear though that folks looking to buy, know a good bit in advance and take some time to research and plan their purchases.
Almost all of the survey participants indicated plans to look at more than one simulator before making a purchase decision. More than half indicated looking at three simulators. I wish I'd included a comment section to collect info on the pro's and con's of each brand reviewed. Please comment if you have info to share on this topic.
Price Paid / Quoted
Admittedly, this was the question I was most interested in seeing. Prices for a mid-range golf simulator appear to be $25k+ based on survey responses. I'm not sure what to make of the under $10k response - maybe it was for home versus commercial use.
Since this one allowed multiple selections, it has the most responses. In this small sample, it looks like there is a primary and secondary tier of golf simulator brands being considered by potential customers.
If you like this article, you may also want to check out our article on Golf Simulator Market Share
With the continual advances in technology and the wide range of options, choosing a golf simulator can be a daunting task. By understanding the key features of a golf simulator and comparing them to your needs, you can narrow the field rather quickly and hone in on the best choice for you. We'll review many of the key features here to give you a jump start on your research.
Determining if this is for Home or Commercial Use is the best place to start. Are you looking for something for your home or for your business. If you are looking for your home, the most important considerations will be your budget and your space. If you are looking for your business, there are many more features to consider and we'll address many of those here. These may also be helpful to get an understanding of features for home use.
Price. This is an obvious consideration as we all live on a budget and even our businesses need to carefully consider costs. For a functional full size system, you can expect to pay anywhere from $5,000 to $60,000. Most systems designed for commercial use will fall in the mid to high end of that range. The price will be driven by the choices you make in the options below.
Graphics. You need to figure out if you want 2D, 3D or photo-realistic graphics. In addition, do you want the image to fly with the ball or stay static from the tee. Simulators will also come with HD graphics, wide screen formats and real time rendering of images Speed of rendering is a critical component for most commercial applications as customers don't like waiting for images to load.
Number and type of courses. The number of courses will drive the price. Many simulators have standard packages that you can start out with and add to later as you desire. Some include new course downloads in their support, others require you to purchase them. Folks in commercial use situations also look for famous courses as they are often requested by clientele. Having more and famous courses can help drive indoor golf revenue.
User interface and game modes. Many of the high-end systems now come with touch screen control panels to help with set up, aim, mulligans and more. Some systems also come with options for internet gameplay and tournaments so you can compete against other players around the world. You may also want to look for options to play different types of games like best ball, closest to the pin and long drive contests.
Golf swing analysis. There are several different methods for golf simulators to provide for swing analysis. Many of the top line models offer one or more of these methods. Club path analysis shows the swing path, clubhead speed, position and angle of the face at impact. Ball flight analysis will look at launch angle and spin rate. Lastly, video capture allows for instruction and feedback on particular parts of the swing sequence.
Support and maintenance. You also need to pay close attention to the support that comes with the product itself. Look at the length of the warranty, what it covers, whether there is remote support available, and if there is any sort of installation support. Also ask about life of the parts and replacement costs for things like projectors, screens, bulbs and mats.
Have you played indoor golf recently? Do you run a golf center? Join our Indoor Golf Center Customer Satisfaction Survey.
We have decided to create a pooled customer satisfaction survey. Our premise is that we can all benefit from the results of an industry wide customer satisfaction survey.
By participating, you'll not only get the full details on any specific response about your golf center, but you'll also get an aggregate view of customer feedback for all golf centers.
Think about how powerful that would be. You'd get a much wider audience view on things like what incentives would encourage more summer play. The power of the pooled survey is that we can drive a lot more response that will create more confidence in the answers we are getting from the survey.
Please note that we are not collecting any personally identifiable information on the survey, so you can be assured of customer confidentiality.
Here is a link to the survey:
There are several ways to get your customers to participate in the survey. You can add the link on your website, you can email the link to your client list, or you can post it on your social sites like Facebook. We'll run the survey through March and then provide info to all participants.
Thanks for your participation!
You can vote and see the results or if you click on "View Results" below the survey, you can see the results without voting. Tell us what you are planning.
An encouraging sign from the survey is the increase in the percentage of visits from repeat customers. As a golf center matures, it appears its clientele is increasingly made of up weekly golfers. How does your center stack up and what are you doing to increase repeat visits?