Golf Simulator - How to make your practice count

  • Author: Iain Highfield
  • Game designer extraordinaire
Facebook Twitter Share Email Print

The Fun of the Golf Simulator

It’s easy to understand the attractions of golf simulators.

If you have a spare room or corner of a room with space to swing you can set up a simulator and play a few holes, or even a full 18, on those days when adverse weather or time limitations prevent you getting to the course.

Today’s launch monitor technology gives a very accurate picture of how you’re striking the ball, and how this would look on the course, and you can also get an idea of what it’s really like to play St. Andrews, Augusta or any number of great Championship courses.

But can a golf simulator offer more to players than just a fun virtual experience; is there a way to use them as an effective tool for learning and practice as well as play?

We think there is.      

How to Use a Simulator for Effective Practice

If you’ve ever had the chance to watch the top pros swing close up, you may well have wondered just how they got so good, how they can generate so much power with so little apparent effort.

The answer, unfortunately, is almost certainly that they spent long periods of their youth and early adulthood hitting literally hundreds of practice balls each and every day. Naturally, very few amateurs have the time to adopt this approach to game improvement. Fewer still have the necessary drive.

But the good news is that this kind of repetitive practice is in any case an extremely inefficient way to work on your game.

The modern science of learning is clear that the effective learning of motor skills and increasing your ability to “take your range game to the course” depends on practice sessions which contain the three key elements of spacing, variability and challenge.

This means undertaking a variety of tasks, spaced out to make the brain work harder to remember the feel of the correct movement, and also carrying out performance challenges to add an element of game pressure and immediate motivating feedback.

The golf simulator, of course, lends itself extremely well towards this kind of practice and there are any number of games which can be devised, apart from just playing holes or rounds, which will provide visually interesting, challenging and effective practice sessions.

The ever-increasing popularity of video games and virtual reality, and the hours which many people spend on them, shows just how absorbing and even addictive they can be. And there seems no reason why effective golf practice using a simulator should not be just as enjoyable.

Get more from your golf Simulator - Watch the video below 



Game Like Training (GLT) and the Golf Simulator 

GLT Golf has already announced plans to release weekly golf challenges, along the lines of the CrossFit Workout of the Day, intended to build on the success of the Trackman Combine.

But you can also use a golf simulator for games in which you can compete either against yourself or a number of other players, and which will involve a wide range of visually stimulating challenges for the different skills of golf, while including the essentials of effective practice .

You might, for example, have a performance challenge to drive into a 40 yard fairway, hit a 9 iron to within 10 feet of the pin and hole a putt from 3 feet. Points can be scored for each element, and you will see that the challenge resembles, but is not the same as, playing a typical par 4 hole; so that the skills being practiced should be readily transferable to a real course.

The number of these challenges which you can attempt is limited only by your imagination and the time you have available. The immediate feedback provided by the simulator is highly motivating, and you may even find this kind of practice as addictive as your kids find their video games.

But however much or little time you devote to it, there’s no doubt that this kind of purposeful, creative, simulator practice will be an enormous help in improving both your performance and your enjoyment of the game.

Watch GLT's 'Golf Out of the day'