We get questions all the time about golf simulators. The most common are What’s the best projector? and How far away do I need to be? There are a few things that we’ll need to know about your setup before we can get into making a recommendation, and we’ll go over them now.
Desired Screen Size/Shape
This is going to be the biggest factor in determining what projector is going to work best. Knowing the screen size will tell us where the projector will need to be, and how bright it will need to be as well. Many impact screens are done in a 4:3 aspect ratio. These will have an almost square shape, like big screen TVs from 15 years ago. However, most computers/laptops and software programs are an HD (16:9 or 16:10) aspect ratio. This means that if you have a 4:3 screen, you’ll get black bars on the top and bottom of your screen.
For the best-looking image, it’s best to match the resolution of the projector to your source. If you have an HD computer/laptop, go with an HD projector. It might not fill the entire screen surface, but it will give you the clearest and sharpest image.
The vast majority of projectors on the market have a longer throw range than what’s desired in a simulator setting. For a 10’ wide image, most will have to be 15’ to 20’ away. This means that you might cast a shadow on the screen when using it. There are many short throw projectors that will be a better fit. The key thing to understand is that these units typically will not have a zoom function. Setting the projector up for a specific size will mean placing the projector in a specific spot. Many projectors today have a 0.5:1 throw ratio. This means that for a 10’ wide image, the projector will need to be 5’ away from the screen. To figure out where a projector needs to be, click on the “Complete Specs” tab on the main projector page (under the Recommended Accessories section). Scroll down to the Projection Lens section, and find the Throw Ratio. To figure the throw range of any projector, multiply the desired screen width by the numbers on the left side of the colon. For a 0.5:1 throw, the 0.5 is the only number. For a projector that says 0.69-0.83:1 for example, multiply the screen width by 0.69 for the shortest distance, and then the width by 0.83 for the furthest distance.
We all want to have the best-looking image, and brightness is one of the key factors. For the most part, we’re going to recommend at least 3000 lumens. If you have a big (10’ or larger) we’ll probably recommend at least 4000 lumens. Just remember, the brighter the projector, the higher the cost will be. If you’re on a budget, you may need to control the lighting in the room a bit to get a projector in your price range.We hope this information helps. However, we know you’re going to have more questions. That’s what we’re here for. Call us at 888.248.0675 and we can help you with any other questions you have, and get you the right projector for your needs.