Indoor golfing has become a phenomenon, but unlike those five-figure ridiculously expensive systems that we saw ten to twenty years ago, it’s become far more affordable.
Some of the biggest brands out there, such as SkyTrak, continually lower their prices to make their indoor golfing hardware more affordable without compromising on quality.
But what happens when you’ve had it for a few years? The software becomes outdated. Tracking performance could be better, you could have more courses available, and so on. Just like technological advancements in every field, in-home golf progresses year after year.
This is a list of the best golf simulator software out there. Keep in mind that there are a lot of barriers between certain hardware and manufacturers, because they want you to use their software above all else.
We’ll do our best to describe which systems these softwares do and do not work on as we go through the motions.
1. E6 Golf Connect
When you look at what E6 Gold Connect offers, it’s hard to not see them as the true best of the best. They simply nail just about every feature and perform with flying colors.
Not only can this be used with your SkyTrak, but it comes with some pretty good graphics to help really illustrate the landscapes in front of you during gameplay.
One of the main points with E6 is the amount of features they have to offer. There are tons of courses for you to choose from, as well as customization options available for your own personal preferences. If you can customize how you play golf in real life, then why not in a simulator? You could get lost in the settings menu for quite some time.
I will say this: installation is where you run into some problems. Most users will need a somewhat beefy PC to get this installed, requiring at least 8GB RAM and an Nvidia 1070 (which isn’t common in non-gaming PCs unless you run multiple displays). Thankfully, you’ll be able to use the E6 Connect feature to use this with your SkyTrak.
There is an older version of this software called E6 Golf, which is not what you want to download for this. It’s actually an outdated version of this software for previous systems, and it cannot run their most modern software on just about anything.
So what’s the main draw, here? It’s affordable. Yes, it runs some higher system requirements than other simulators, but you could upgrade your graphics card if that’s where you really want to use it.
If you already own a SkyTrak, then you’ll have to utilize that app… as well as a Game-Improvement Plan, which is a cheeky little thing they snuck in here. Once all of the groundwork is laid out, you’ll be able to hit the green and carve your mark.
2. The Golf Club
Does it sound like an actual golf club? Yes it does, and that’s exactly what it feels like. You have so many courses to choose from (over 150,000) so you can test your skills in just about every way imaginable.
It’s important to know that The Golf Club is a PC simulator (more on this later). Through these settings, you’re able to design your own course, or take advantage of any and all that are available (which update with new courses from time to time).
The Golf Club is actually also usable on Xbox One and PS4, although at the time of writing this, there is no confirmation whether or not it will be available on the Xbox Series X or PS5 when those come out later in 2020.
Course selection can be a tedious process, because a good portion of courses are hidden behind a paywall. This is a pay-as-you-go premium version that allows you to unlock these courses and use them as you see fit, and while the cost isn’t a lot, it’s still something to consider.
Despite being a PC or console “game”, it implores real-world physics to actually help you train your golf skills. One of the best features, though? Multiplayer. You can actually go head to head against your friends as if you were actually all out on the green, making for some fun times and the ability to sharpen your skills against like minded individuals.
4K graphics also make for a better experience since you can actually see what you’re doing. This can be used on SkyTrak Launch Monitor, meaning all of your SkyTrak gear will be completely usable with that full resolution. Running this on PC isn’t too hardware-heavy.
3. Creative Golf 3D
Want to get better at your swing? Is your posture suffering? Whatever issue you have, Creative Golf 3D is here to help you fix it to the best of its abilities. There are multiple modes here, but chief among them is skill building.
You can interact with tons of built-in games that make it feel like you’re just enjoying golfing, but actually offer benefits like repetition learning and isolation learning. You’re just learning the same thing over and over again, but in a fun, interactive and creative manner.
It’s more than just that—you can play on multiple courses with extensive landscapes and excellent scenery. The graphics are a little 2014, but they get by just fine. The one caveat to the courses is that you only get five right out of the box, which can get boring quickly (especially because I’ve personally found two of them to feel redundant).
You have to purchase additional courses, which can add up if you get them one by one. The one saving grace here is that Creative Golf 3D isn’t nearly as expensive as other systems like SkyTrak, so the money you save is yours to decide what you do with. It very well may go back into courses, but you don’t have to buy the entire store of 100+ course models.
4. Fitness Golf
Do you want to run on a treadmill while you’re golfing? I didn’t think so, but there’s actually a wide market for people who want to do this, which is why Fitness Golf has taken off so well.
This is actually done through SkyTrak, so you’ll have to purchase the software itself, as well as the Game Improvement Plan, which is an annual expense. While that funding actually does go to improving golf games, it’s an aggravating expense when you’re already purchasing the software separately.
Your score is determined on how long it takes you to walk, run, or cycle between each hole at the predetermined length, as well as the golfing score you have. You could redeem yourself with a fast run in between holes if you’re not hitting the ball properly, and vice versa.
This is an excellent indoor activity, although it can take away from the actual appeal of golf from time to time. If you’re a fit person and you’re fond of walking to and from each hole instead of taking a cart, this is perfect for you in emulating that experience.
5. World Golf Tour (WGT)
Did you play World Golf Tour under its abbreviation WGT when it was massively popular on Facebook as a mini game? Many people actually report WGT as the reason they got into golf years ago, and they’re still golfing (in real life) today.
WGT advanced, being available on iOS and Android, and from there adapting to SkyTrak if you have a bit of know-how to get it to function. It’s not a direct game purchasable through SkyTrak, so some technical wizardry will be necessary.
The only odd thing about this is… it’s owned by SkyTrak, so the lack of compatibility is a bit odd. It’s apparent that they want to keep it appealing to the mobile market, which is fine, but it should be made a little easier to actually pair with your SkyTrak hardware. We would like to see that as a feature in the future.
You’ll have access to full course play for plenty of famous areas, but you also have some challenge-only exclusives that make WGT a lot more fun depending on what mood you’re in. The physics are comparable enough to real-world physics, so you’ll actually encounter some rather similar conditions to what you would actually face out on the course.
6. ProTee Golf 2.0
ProTee is another excellent golfing company, but unfortunately, they didn’t make this accessible with SkyTrak or Foresight, so you’re left buying their hardware if you really want to make this work for you the right way.
Knowing that and having the right hardware set up already, you can go into a simple play mode that just lets you take over a default character and begin swinging. Choose from any course that comes in the 2.0 system, which is over 100. Not as impressive as The Golf Club, but again, it’s quality over quantity in this case.
If you’re really trying to improve your game, you can use the ProTee play option to customize your session any way you like. This allows you to focus on specific issues that you know you have in golf, and iron them out over time.
There’s also a network play option, allowing you to go head-to-head against another local player (meaning they would have to have the same hardware on the same network), or online to go against friends or strangers. It’s not quite four ball, but it can feel like it.
Then there’s simply a practice function, which isn’t anything special. You can practice any course or hole as you see fit, where you’ll basically be at a driving range. It’s basic and functional, just not a focal point of the ProTee Golf 2.0 system. However, the challenges mode is a ton of fun, and gives you something to do when you’re not in the mood to play a standard round of virtual golf.
The graphics requirements here are very low, and that’s for a reason—they’re not the most attractive graphics you’ll find out there. Still, it’s a full-fledged system that allows you to practice golf when you otherwise wouldn’t be able to.
It’s fair to say that the ProTee system has a few kinks to work out, but in the meantime, it gets the job done. It’s also more affordable than a new SkyTrak system, so if you’re on a budget and want to get a brand new system, it’s a viable option.
This one is specific to Foresight Sports Professional Launch Monitors, so if you don’t have these, this option won’t fit for you.
The reason it’s mentioned here is because it’s one of the latest 2020 golf simulators out there, and it really packs a punch in terms of features and enjoyment for what you get.
FSX is a pricier option, and one of the downsides is that you don’t get as many courses as you would with something like E6 or The Golf Club, but each course is more in-depth and fleshed out, granting better immersion. After all, it’s going to take you some time to go through every course that they do offer.
To diversify your experience, you can choose between three different modes: play, compete, and the improve mode. Play just drops you right into the heat of the action, allowing you to customize your settings, and get right to it.
You’ll be able to change small things like the firmness of the green, which is going to drastically impact your swing performance. The sensors are sensitive, but if you don’t place your settings right, you’re going to run into some problems.
You can use the play mode to go head to head against friends or play four ball, if that’s something you really want to do. Four game modes are available within play to help you keep things interesting.
With compete, it’s all about being skilful. Everything here is challenge-based, so you’ll be able to compete against yourself to complete a series of tasks that help you reach accolades. This is a good go-between when you don’t want to hop into play, but you’re not quite ready to fire up the improve mode either.
Improve mode is perhaps the best aspect here, because it scrutinizes everything. Your swing speed, your ball performance, everything under the sun. This is analytical to a very detailed extent, so you’ll absolutely be able to see where you’re failing and where you need to make improvements.
The main pitfall here is graphics. While the courses are more in-depth, they’re not necessarily prettier, so until you get used to it, immersion might be an issue. This is just what happens with Foresight Sports systems over SkyTrak as a general rule, so while the software might be able to perform differently, it is limited by the hardware.
Will Golf Simulation Software Actually Help Me Improve My Golf Skills?
In the same way that Flight Simulator (a PC game) actually does improve some of your working knowledge about flying a plane, golf simulators do the same thing—under certain conditions.
If you don’t have an analytical tool built in to track your progress and KPIs, then you will be limited. It’s hard to get better at something when you don’t know where you’re starting from.
While some golf simulators are simply games, most of them implore real world physics that emulate the real thing. When you’re using one of these, you’re able to get better feedback that actually helps you.
This is also a two-part question, because while computer simulators that don’t require you to actually swing will help you understand the game better on a mechanical level. However, you still have to acquire mechanical skill through actually playing, which is referred to as kinesthetic learning.
Sensor-based programs such as SkyTrak are going to be far superior in actually helping you improve your golf game while indoors. If you can’t make it out on a Sunday or it’s raining, SkyTrak will help prevent your skill from diminishing in the meantime, and teach you a thing or two through analytics.
Training in the Comfort of Your Own Home
Golf simulators allow you to train at home, go a full 36 holes in the time it takes to do 9, and just relax without having to endure the sun.
It’s 2020 during the time of writing this, and being able to enjoy golfing without a mask or worrying about catching something while in the club lobby is also a big benefit.
You still need the physical setup to really get the most out of your golf software, but if you’re able to get that ahead of time, you’ll be good to go. Utilize these softwares for more courses, features, and overall immersion in what you’re doing.