Choosing the right projector for your golf simulation game on your devices can be a tough decision. You’re not just choosing between different brands, but also what each model offers in terms of features and quality! The jargon is extensive – HDR10 vs HLG? Keystone control versus Skytrack…? It all seems so confusing when you first start looking into it…

In order to make things easier (and more fun!), I’ve compiled this list with some helpful hints about selecting an appropriate projector for golf simulation.

To help you wade through all the jargon, the brands, the cost points, and the models some magazines recommend without really knowing what they are talking about, we’ve put more than 70 hours into compiling a list of most popular and not so popular models that all are answers to the question “what is the best projector for a golf simulator?”

I look at big brands like Sony and Epson but also look at different price points, looking for value for money. Im also look at models that are highly rated by their owners. I don’t take much notice of those that come top in reviews by journalists who don’t really understand which criteria to use.

Short Throw Projector for Golf Simulator

There are plenty of projectors for golf simulator on the market, and we’ll help you pick best one.

We will start with: short throw projector for home golf simulator (we recommend Optoma GT1080Darbee). But before we go into details about this model, let us first look at what makes a good projector for golf simulators.

In short, best projector for golf simulator have to be best of the best in every aspect: from brightness and contrast ratio to picture quality on walls with different textures & colors and last but not least – amount of input lag (delay between pressing a button and seeing it happen on screen). Some projectors score better than others at each of those aspects, and best projector for golf simulator is one that scores best of all.

One thing to keep in mind: short throw projectors (projection distance from wall is less than 100 cm) are not suited as best option for a long-term use and they should be seen more like “on the go” solution – best projector for golf simulator that you can move around.

Optoma GT1080Darbee is best short throw projector with great picture quality, best combination of input lag and no-lag technologies (like auto low latency mode), it has very good brightness levels in dark rooms but also displays colors well on walls with different textures & colors. This projector delivers at its best when combining best of the best technologies like HDR, full array led backlight along with vertical lens shift – all together they make this projector to be one of the best options out there. It’s not cheap option but if price doesn’t matter too much then go ahead and pick up Optoma GT1080Darbee – you won’t regret it!

You may also be interested in: What Projectors works with SkyTrak

Now let us talk more about other best projectors for golf simulator.

In short, best projector for home golf simulators is one that scores best of all at the aspects we described earlier: from brightness and contrast ratio to picture quality on walls with different textures & colors and last but not least – amount of input lag (delay between pressing a button and seeing it happen on screen). Some projectors score better than others at each of those aspects, and best projector for golf simulator is one that scores best of all.

One thing to keep in mind: short throw projectors (projection distance from wall is less than 100 cm) are not suited as best option for a long-term use and they should be seen more like “on the go” solution – best projector for golf simulator that you can move around.

BenQ HT2550 is best projector for home golf simulators with great picture quality, best combination of input lag and no-lag technologies (like auto low latency mode), it has very good brightness levels in dark rooms but also displays colors well on walls with different textures & colors. This projector delivers at its best when combining best of the best technologies like HDR, full array led backlight along with vertical lens shift – all together they make this projector to be one of the best options out there. It’s not cheap option but if price doesn’t matter too much then go ahead and pick up BenQ HT2550 – you won’t regret it!

Lastly we have Optoma HD26 which is best projector for home golf simulators with great picture quality, best combination of input lag and no-lag technologies (like auto low latency mode), it has very good brightness levels in dark rooms but also displays colors well on walls with different textures & colors. This projector delivers at its best when combining best of the best technologies like HDR, full array led backlight along with vertical lens shift – all together they make this projector to be one of the best options out there. It’s not cheap option but if price doesn’t matter too much then go ahead and pick up Optoma HD26 – you won’t regret it!

Before we go into our criteria in detail, let us start with a quick rundown of our top three.

Best Projector for Golf Simulator in 2022

EDITOR’s PICK
«EDITOR’s PICK»
Best 4k projector for golf simulators
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is a top-end 4K projector that ticks all the right boxes.

Pros:
— True UHDTV 4K resolution makes it sharp;
— HDR support and a good contrast ratio makes it even sharper;
— A good price for a higher-end projector.
«EDITOR’s PICK»
Best HD projector for golf simulators
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Although 1080p rather than 4K, this Sony model supports up to 240 FPS for ultra-smooth golfing action.

Pros:
— Ultra-smooth motion;
— Affordable price;
— Good colors;
— Very easy to set up.
«EDITOR’s PICK»
Best budget ultra-short-throw projector for golf simulators
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Epson has a great name in projectors and this budget HD model is hard to beat at this price point.

Pros:
— A decent projector at a fraction of the price of the Viewsonic or Sony;
— Good output considering the low cost;
— Handy digital zoom;
— Low noise mode that actually works well.

Now, let’s dive into looking at why these three join our list of top 6 video projectors for golf simulators.

Criteria for the Best Golf Simulation Projector

Projectors can be really expensive. So, we have concentrated on 6 of those models which are affordable for indoor home use.

Then i look at each of the criteria below.
best projector for golf simulator

Brightness

Projectors, unlike TVs, are directly subject to the inverse square law – the further the projector screen is from the projector light source (the ‘throw’), then all else being equal the dimmer the image is.

So, brightness is a critical criterion when choosing a projector

Generally, a higher output projector gives a better-looking image. Projector output values are generally shown in lumens or Lux.

Around 1,500 lumens is generally regarded as a good enough figure for shorter throw projection and 3000 or more for a longer throw. The highest-end and most expensive projectors for golf simulators are generally above 3,000 lumens.

However, it’s also important to have a good projector screen for golf simulators. Just projecting on a white wall won’t give an optimal result. You need to have a proper screen too – either choose a projector that comes with a screen or buy a decent one on your own.

Spatial Resolution

Resolution dictates how sharp a picture is (although as we’ll see in a minute, so does the dynamic range and the contrast ratio.

Spatial resolution can be understood with a standard – Snellen eye chart, like the one below.best budget projector for golf simulator

The higher the resolution, the more detail that can be displayed. However, it’s important to note that just as on the Snellen chart, there is a law of diminishing returns, if the detail is very small and you are far away, like the letters at the bottom of the chart shown here, you won’t be able to see it. So, for example, an 8K projector is useless at showing more detail unless you are extremely close to it.

There are four common spatial resolution standards on digital projectors:
SVGA. This means the screen has a resolution of 800 x 600 pixels and is found in low budget projectors

720p HD. This means the screen has a vertical resolution of 720 pixels and a horizontal resolution of 1280 pixels. Today this is a bit of a legacy format for TV but can be perfectly ok for a lower budget projector for golf simulators.

1080p HD. This means the screen has a vertical resolution of 1080 pixels and a horizontal resolution of 1920 pixels. This is the typical HD projector standard.

4K UHDTV. This means the screen has a vertical resolution of 2160 pixels and a horizontal resolution of 3840 pixels. This is 4 times more than 1080P HDTV. Note that you have to be close enough to see the extra detail.

Temporal resolution

Temporal resolution is the number of frames per second (FPS) also sometimes expressed as Hertz (Hz) a projector can show. If the temporal resolution is too low then fast-moving objects or moving camera viewpoints create blurring, juddering and jerkiness in the image.

When you see this happening you will see wheels going backward, golf clubs jumping during a swing, or juddering when the golf simulator makes a “camera move” to change your viewpoint. This is a big issue with some sports and makes it harder to see players’ names on their clothes, text on posters, etc.

24 FPS, 25 FPS, and 30 FPS are too low for good reproduction of golf simulator outputs.

50/60 FPS are the current standards for actual broadcast HD or 4K TV (there is also a legacy 1080i interlaced format but that’s not relevant here) and are OK.

High frame rates (HFR) are supported by some golf simulator games and some PC screens and monitors. These can be 100 or 120 FPS or in some cases much higher – 240 FPS is currently about the most. This high frame rate makes for smoother motion if your digital projector can really show it.

HDR (High Dynamic Range)

The dynamic range of a projector means the difference between the deepest blacks and whitest whites in a projected image. So, the first thing to say is you should always use a digital projector in a darkened room – they really don’t work well at all in bright sunlight.

More and more games, games consoles and display devices use a new technology called HDR (High Dynamic Range). There are different kinds of HDR but the principle is the same – deeper more realistic blacks and brighter whites so you have a greater sense of realism. The Problem with non-HDR projectors and other display devices is that they can’t show details in scenes with both very deep shadow and very bright highlights.

An example would be a spectator stand on the 18th hole on a sunny day. Either the projector shows the detail in the shady parts of the stand but ‘clips off’ the bright highlights outside in the bright sunlight or vice versa. But not both. With HDR you can see both. Simple. HDR, when coupled with WCG, which i will look at in a minute, looks absolutely stunning and the team here are big fans. Remember that we all evolved in central Africa, not Seattle, Vancouver or Maine, so we all are wired up to year-round bright sunlight, not a gloomy overcast cloud.

Note of course that your Golf Simulator needs to be able to produce an HDR output and also that there is more than one HDR specification (there are currently 5). For the purposes of gaming, look out for the HDR 10 specification which is used by the PlayStation 4 and also the Xbox One games consoles. Also, look out for the HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) and HDR 10 + High Dynamic Range standards

HDR also works together with WCG to both give more accurate colors.

WCG (Wide Color Gamut)

Humans can see a wide color gamut that is much wider than what most displays (TVs or Computer Monitors or Projectors) can show. This is especially the case for green, which for evolutionary reasons (hunting or being hunted in forests and grasslands in Africa) we are especially sensitive to.

So, the better the projector color gamut display is, the more realistic the picture will be.

Rec. 709 (HD TV) covers about 36 % of what a normal human can see and is the existing standard for High Definition Television. It’s very poor at showing some shades of colors like green and blue.

DCI – P3 (Digital Cinema Initiative) covers about 46% of what a normal human can see and is the current standard for Digital Cinemas. If your digital projector can show DCI-P3, it is noticeably much better than one that only shows HDTV

Rec. 2020 (UHDTV) covers about 76% of what a normal human can see and is the target standard for Ultra High Definition TV. Some digital projectors now get close to Rec. 2020 and (when combined with HDR) look amazing.

We can see this in the diagram below.good projector for golf simulator

So, the closer a digital projector gets to the Rec. 2020 target standard, the more realistic the picture will look.

When we are choosing a digital projector, we also need to be aware of contrast based resolution, which i mentioned earlier. This goes together with HDR and WCG. In a nutshell, how sharp an image looks is not just down to the spatial resolution, or temporal resolution but also the color and dynamic range.

Other Criteria

Aligning a digital projector to a screen or a wall can be a pain, so i also looked for features around autofocusing, and smart geometry (keystone) adjustment.

Im also looked at connectivity, including the ability to use Bluetooth to connect as well as HDMI. Not that very high data rates might not be possible through either. I also looked into mounts for golf simulator projector and possible use of the Skytrak golf simulator system

Now let’s look in detail at our six candidates which answer the question “what are the best golf simulation projectors?”.

What is the best projector for golf simulators?

Choosing the best projector for your golf simulator can be a difficult decision. With so many different models and features, it can be hard to know where to start. We’ve created this article as a helpful guide to help you find which projector will best suit your needs and budget.


1. ViewSonic 4K Projector

Best 4k projector for golf simulators


This Viewsonic model is not cheap but has some impressive specifications. Screen spatial resolution is 3840x2160p (you can get a cheaper Viewsonic model at 1080p HD if you want) and output to a big screen won’t be too much of an issue with a brightness spec of up to 300 inches screen size in 3500 lumens. The contrast ratio is good as well at 12000:1.

So, this is a sharp, good-looking projector that works for short-throw (3.2 feet) or long-throw (38.4) feet and it can project onto a screen that’s just 30 inches all the way up to 300 inches.

Pros:
  • True UHDTV 4K resolution makes it sharp
  • HDR support and a good contrast ratio makes it even sharper
  • A good price for a higher-end projector
Cons:
  • The focus ring is not controlled by the remote

Verdict: If you want your golfing prowess to look pin-sharp, the ViewSonic will do the job well. You can also buy it here.

2. Sony VPL-HW45ES

Best HD projector for golf simulators


Ok, i admit it – im Sony fan 🙂 Sony has had its ups and downs over the years but they consistently produce good products. This is a very good product. It’s at the upper-cost end for an HD 1080p projector but has some great capabilities. For example, you can get a temporal resolution up to a whopping 240 FPS (or Hertz if you prefer to call it that). That means ultra-smooth motion without blur, juddering or jerking. Ideal for that full-power off the tee virtual golf swings.

So, if the ViewSonic gives you sharp still or normally moving images, Sony gives you sharp fast-action images – at a very affordable price. It supports 3D projection too (if you like that kind of thing).
Now some projectors can be a little tricky to set up, but that’s not the case with this Sony, which has a very nicely laid out remote control, pattern setup generator and intuitive lens shift controls for left/right and up/down adjustment.

What’s refreshing is the instructions are written in clear English too, which is not always the case with products from some other manufacturers.

All in all a good candidate for best projector for golf simulators. You can also buy it from this store.

Pros:
  • Ultra-smooth motion
  • Affordable price
  • Good colors
  • Very easy to set up
Cons:
  • HD not 4K (but that’s often not an issue)

Verdict: Generally speaking, you can’t go wrong with Sony and this Sony HD projector is just more proof.

3. Epson VS250

Best budget projector for golf simulators


This Epson model is a fraction of the price of some of the other projectors on our list but is definitely good enough for anyone on a budget or anyone just getting started. The resolution is SVGA and the pixel count is 800×600. That’s fine for this price point but you don’t want to go any lower than that, irrespective of if another model is cheaper.

Like the Sony, it is easy to set up and produces a very good output at 3,200 lumens, which is one reason why it is on our list.

Another reason is a handy digital zoom and yet another is that there a handy ‘quiet fan’ that keeps the fan noise down – now some projectors with this feature tend to “cook” which doesn’t help with reliability but Epson are old hands at this and the system works well.

All in all, for the very small costs there’s a lot to like. You can also buy it from this site.

Pros:
  • A decent projector at a fraction of the price of the Viewsonic or Sony
  • Good output considering the low cost
  • Handy digital zoom
  • Low noise mode that actually works well
Cons:
  • A bit more resolution would be nice (but you can’t really complain at this sticker price)

Verdict: An ultra low budget project that’s fine for the beginner or anyone on a very tight budget.

4. Optishot package including Epson VS350 3300 lumens projector

Best package system


For our fourth entry, we’re going a little left field and off the fairway (but not into a bunker) for a total package built around the Epson VS350 3300 lumens projector which is a step up from the Epson VS250. You get the whole kit, including screen, cables, nets, turf, etc. just add some mounts for golf simulator projector and you are good to go. The projector itself is XVGA so that means 1024 x 768, so overall pretty comparable to 1280x720p HD. That means more sharpness than the baby Epson and more detail. Output is a really good 3,300 lumens too, a useful bit more than the VS250.

What’s great about the Optishot package is that is all designed to work as a unit and it’s almost but not quite ‘plug and play’.

Pros:
  • Pretty much everything you need in one package for golf simulation
  • All based around a good Epson projector
Cons:
  • A 1080p version would have been even more appealing

Verdict: If you don’t want the hassle of building a system yourself, definitely worth considering. You can also buy it from here.

5. Optoma HD27 HDR 4K projector

Best mid-priced 4K HDR projector


Moving back upmarket, pair this Optoma up to the right games console and you are going to have a great combination. You get HDR10 technology paired with DCI-P3 wide color gamut at up to 120 FPS. That’s good. Be a bit careful with the ‘4K’ tag – the projector accepts a 4K input but downscales it to 1080p. The result still looks good – in fact it can be better than a straight 1080p image (if you want to understand why look up ‘oversampling’).

But winding back, the cool thing is the 120 FPS temporal resolution. At this price point, that’s a big win as it makes the action look smooth (and frankly more than 120 FPS is another law of diminishing returns, at least on some content).

So, definitely a recommended candidate for our list

Pros:
  • Great colors from the DCI-P3 color gamut
  • HDR support means stunning images
  • 120 FPS means smooth motion
Cons:
  • It’s a bit tricky how they market the 4K which is in fact only 4K input, not output

Verdict: If you ignore the Optoma marketing department and focus on their engineering department, you will really like the Optoma.

6. VIVIMAGE C680

Best for high output

Do you want a bright projector? I mean really bright? Then our final model should be worth a look. The Vivimage C680 is a 1920×1080 HD projector – so far so good – but with a blindingly bright 6,000 lumens output. Wow. Now finally you have a use for those old 3D glasses (just it won’t be for 3D). You get a good 6000: 1 contrast ratio too and – unusually – built-in loudspeakers, if that is your kind of thing. You can still hook up external speakers if it isn’t. It’s a manufacturing overhead that you might not want to pay for.

Pros:
  • Did i say bright? 🙂
  • Good contrast ratio
  • Built-in speakers
Cons:
  • Are you sure you really want built-in speakers, except for a portable unit you need to test?

Verdict: A slightly offbeat model – very bright and with internal speakers – but worth a look.

best golf simulator projector

Best Golf Simulator Projector

So, there you have 6 candidates to answer the question “what is the best projector for a golf simulator”. It mostly depends on how much money you are prepared to pay for extra bright, colorful and sharp pictures. Beware buzzwords and hype, just think about your budget and then choose. Science is science.

I hope you have found this interesting and would love to hear from you with either questions or comments. It’s fine if you disagree too.

So, just leave them in the comments section and thanks for reading.

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12 Comments

    1. Yes There are some other standards, such as 4K digital Cinema (2160×4096) and 8K, (4320×7860) plus a legacy 2K format (1080×2048). 8K is topical right now and the subject of a lot of vendor hype but frankly is overkill for a good projector for golf simulators as you really won’t see the extra detail in 8K compared to 4K in normal circumstances. In fact, you may not even see the extra detail in 4K compared to HD.

    1. As you can see in this Pelli-Robson chart, high contrast images like the ones at the top of this chart are sharper than the low contrast images at the bottom.
      Pelli Robson chart
      So, lookout for a projector with a good contrast ratio. Of course, you also must be indoors in a darkened room and a good screen really helps too.

    1. Of course, you need to have good color discrimination yourself to get the full benefit and not all people have that. You can check out an Ishihara chart like the one in this picture to test yourself on your color acuity if you want to before buying a high-end digital projector.

      HDR also works with color blind people up to a point however as it’s benefits are based on luminance (brightness) not just chrominance (color).

    1. Of course, you need to have good color discrimination yourself to get the full benefit and not all people have that. You can check out an Ishihara chart like the one in this picture to test yourself on your color acuity if you want to before buying a high-end digital projector.

      HDR also works with color blind people up to a point however as it’s benefits are based on luminance (brightness) not just chrominance (color).

    1. Well, it depends. Most projectors need at least 2000 lumens and some may require up to 4000 depending on how bright your room’s environment needs to be in order produce an enjoyable experience with better visibility when playing games or even just watching videos privately from different angles because there are so many adjustable features available!

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