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10 Tips for Maximizing Golf Simulator Practice to Improve Your Game

Golf simulator practice may not be quite the same as heading to the golf course or the driving range, but it can absolutely be effective.

If you are lucky enough to have a golf simulator to work with, I’ll show you how to practice more effectively and gain actual skill.

It takes a little while to get used to simulator practice, and you have to understand that there are issues with outliers and accuracy at times. However, golf swing mechanics are golf swing mechanics, and as long as you are working on them the right way, you will improve.

Key Takeaways

If you are a little too eager to jump on the simulator and get started, you may want to bookmark this advice and come back later.

However, before you go, here are some key golf simulator tips to improve your practice.

  • Golf simulator training can include both driving range and on-course practice; the software package you use with your simulator will determine some of what you are capable of doing.
  • Incorporating golf training aids and devices like HackMotion into your practice routine can make a big difference when it comes to the effectiveness of practice.
  • Golf simulators will give you more data and stats than a typical practice session at the range, use this data and track your stats to get your golf game to the next level.
  • On course practice is a real possibility with a golf simulator; take full advantage of it!
  • Finally, don’t forget about your pre-shot routine; you should be doing it with your simulator so that it translates to your round on the golf course.
Take a 2-minute Quiz and Step Up Your Game!

1. What do you want to improve in your full swing?

What to Practice on the Golf Simulator?

A golf simulator allows you to practice everything from your full swing to course management to shot accuracy.

You will struggle to practice sand shots on a simulator, as well as some recovery shots. Also, depending on the simulator technology that you have, putting practice is a bit different. I would consider getting an indoor putting green or mat to use in addition to the simulator to ensure you accurately address this area of your game.

10 Proven Tips for Effective Golf Simulator Practice

Golf simulators can be an endless source of entertainment. Whether your round of golf gets rained out or you simply enjoy a day away from the sun playing a course that you would not be able to play otherwise.

The possibilities with a golf simulator are endless, and golfers often overlook golf simulator practice. Don’t miss the chance to use your golf simulator to make you a better player.

man is playing golf on golf simulator

Set a Goal for Your Practice Session

When you first start working with your golf simulator, you will probably make the same mistake that I did. You will head over to the range, start hitting balls, play a round, back to the range, etc.

However, at this point, you are mostly just exploring the technology and not working specifically on your golf game. As time goes by, you will need to start setting goals for your practice session.

Decide exactly what you need to work on, and use the features of your simulator to target these specific goals.

Do you need help with accuracy, distance, course management, club selection, or distance control? There are many areas of your game that you can work on with the simulator, start to treat it like a practice session at the course.

Don’t Forget Other Technology

I know the simulator is a lot of technology to handle at once. If you are not a techy person, you may be a little caught off guard by all that the simulator can do. However, when you get settled with how everything works, you should be incorporating other technology into your practice session.

As great as golf simulator technology is, it’s not the same as a golf training aid or feedback tool.

I have found that one of my most powerful combinations is using the HackMotion with the simulator. The HackMotion gives me data on wrist angles throughout the golf swing. As I use the HackMotion, I can see real-time results of what the proper wrist angles will do for my golf game.

Utilize all the technology you can during a practice session so you walk away with a lot of data and information.

Reinholds focus mode learn correct wrist motion

Play Golf and Track Data

Some golf simulators allow you to track data while you are playing golf. Strokes gained data is incredibly valuable. However, many golfers don’t track it on the course because it takes a little time and can even pull your focus away from your golf round at times.

However, when playing with a simulator that tracks this data for you, take full advantage.

One of the best things about this strokes gained data is that it can then be used to develop your practice routine. Strokes gained can give you information like what clubs to work on, where your game excels, and what is truly bringing you down.

Create an On Course Situation

Do you ever finish a round and wish you could go back and practice one specific shot. Maybe it’s a 160-yard approach shot or a fade off the tee on a dog leg hole? Whatever your on course situation is that brings you some anxiety or fear, you can set it up on the simulator.

Trying to do this at a driving range takes a lot of strength from a visualization standpoint.

However, with access to various courses, you can find the situation with your simulator technology and set yourself up for a practice session from this location.

I’ve done this, too, with weather conditions. If the wind throws you off, add some wind to your simulator rounds and see if you can wrap your mind around playing in the wind.

Experiment and Improve

Are you curious about things like adding wrist flexion at the top of your swing or improving balance with a narrow stance? How about switching your grip to a more neutral position? The simulator is a perfect place to work on swing mechanics and experiment with different ways to improve.

What I love about simulator practice like this is that you can often set the environment up to be perfect for your learning ability. A driving range is often distracting and can take your mind off of the task at hand.

Focus, experiment, and improve inside your simulator.

golf coach give lesson to golf player

Change up the Golf Ball

One of the distinct advantages of a golf simulator is the ability to use the golf ball of your choice. On a driving range, this is hard to do.

I highly recommend you change the golf ball you are using from time to time and experiment.

Use different compression levels, covers, golf balls with high spin vs. low spin, etc. See if you can narrow down what golf ball gives you the best on course performance.

This may seem like a simple golf simulator tip, but simulator users often overlook it.

Finally Learn to Control the Clubface

The angle of your golf clubface at impact determines the direction of the golf ball. It’s as simple as that if the clubface is open, the ball goes right; closed, the ball goes left. Most golfers don’t know how to control their golf clubface.

The clubface is controlled by the wrists. Using a simulator where you can practice shot shaping and the HackMotion, where you can dial in wrist position, allows you to learn to control the clubface and hit the shots you want to hit.

I would work on a fade and a draw that you can consistently rely on but don’t forget about hitting high and low shots as well.

Take a 2-minute Quiz and Step Up Your Game!

1. What do you want to improve in your full swing?

Test Out Your Course Management Skills

How good are you at managing the golf course?

Test yourself on various holes and golf courses and determine if you are playing the course the right way. I love to play a hole with a driver off the tee box and then play it again with a hybrid or a 3 wood off the tee.

I’ll have a different scenario the second time I play it, and I can see how my course management adapts and whether or not I can still score well on that hole.

Golf course management skills don’t come to you overnight. They are most easily developed through repeated play, something you can easily do with a simulator.

Pre-Shot Routine Practice

One of the biggest mistakes golfers make with a simulator is they treat it more like a game than a practice tool. Standing there trying to hit targets is kind of a game. However, if you want to take this information out to the golf course, you have to work on brain training in addition.

Your pre-shot routine needs to be consistent, and it should allow you to repeat the same swing over and over again.

Practicing your pre-shot routine and then using it when working with your simulator is a great way to increase learning and development.

Distance Control Practice

Distance control is one of the areas of the golf game that I always found to be the most difficult to work on. At most driving ranges, you have a few pins set up at yardages like 75 or 100 yards away from you.

What if you want to practice the difference between a 60 and a 70-yard shot?

It’s so hard to tell if you are doing this effectively, but with a simulator, the process is incredibly easy.

With the data that the simulator gives you, you can finally learn how to shorten your backswing length and chance club selection to achieve every yardage in the bag.

I love the idea of practicing in between shots as well.

Let’s say you hit your 7 iron 150 yards and your 6 iron 160 yards. What club are you going to hit

for your 155-yard shot? Experiment with pushing the 7 iron and holding back a little on the 6 iron to see what it does for your results.

What is the Downside of Practicing Golf on a Simulator?

With all of these positives and great ideas to improve your game, it felt necessary to warn you about some negatives of practicing your game on a golf simulator.

Keep these things in mind but don’t let them stop you from practicing and getting better in the comfort of your own home!

  • The golf simulator’s accuracy can be off by a few yards; you may have to make adjustments when you get to the course.
  • Practicing from certain lies like sand and rough is something that is best achieved when you are able to feel it out on a real course or driving range.
  • Golfers tend to forget to vary their practice and step away from the ball at times when using a golf simulator, don’t let the simulator suck you in; follow the routine that you need on the course to make your practice more effective.
Take a 2-minute Quiz and Step Up Your Game!

1. What do you want to improve in your full swing?


Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about golf simulator practice.

Can you improve your golf game with a simulator?

Yes, you can improve your golf game with a simulator if you approach your practice session with goals, work on swing mechanics, incorporate training aids and devices, and track and analyze your progress.

Can you learn to play golf on a simulator?

Learning to play golf on a simulator is entirely possible. Make sure you have a high-quality mat so that it feels more like actual turf. If you eventually transition to the golf course, that golf club and turf interaction is key.

Are golf simulators realistic?

The better the golf simulator, the more realistic it is. More important than realistic in a golf simulator is accuracy. When a simulator is accurate, you get the most benefit from it.

Golf simulator vs. Reality – what’s the difference?

The biggest difference you will find between golf practice on a simulator and golf practice on the course is the interaction with the golf ball at impact. When the lie on a simulator mat is almost always perfect, it’s a bit of a controlled environment, something that makes things just a little easier.

Final Thoughts

A golf simulator is a tremendous addition to your golf game. However, until you learn how to use it for practice, you may not find it to be all that effective. Be smart about how you practice with your simulator, and you can see real on-course results.

In addition, just because you have a simulator does not mean you need to give up on all other golf technology. Incorporating devices like HackMotion into your practice session can make all the difference in your development.

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Brittany Olizarowicz
written by Britt Olizarowicz

Britt Olizarowicz is a golf professional who has played the game for more than 30 years. In addition to loving the game of golf, Britt has a degree in math education and loves analyzing data and using it to improve her game and the games of those around her. If you want actionable tips on how to improve your golf swing and become a better player, read her guides.