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1st Simulator Planning & Build

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  • 1st Simulator Planning & Build

    Alright, this thread is going to be a journey because I've never done this before.... I recently joined the forum but have been reading a lot of the threads here so thank you for everyone.
    I have roughly 5 months before we close on the house and I can start the build.
    The house will be in VA and have 9' ceilings but I am planning to put the simulator in the 2 car garage because it will have a 10.5' ceiling.
    The garage will be insulated but no HVAC so the simulator should be usable pretty much year round (it's a moderate climate).
    [The garage also has to park our vehicle when it's not being used as a simulator so it won't be a dedicated sim space....]
    I am having the builder install recessed lighting in the garage... 1 recessed light will be on a dedicated switch directly over the hitting mat 9' from the planned screen install. I have 2 outlets being installed on the left and right walls as well and one outlet on the wall behind the planned screen]

    Shortly after moving in, the plan is to do the following in preparation for the Golf Sim Install:
    -Switch to a wall mounted garage Door opener (Chamberlain RJ070)
    -Paint the ceiling and house wall Flat Black
    -Paint the left and right walls Gloss White
    -Install a Polyurea 3 Coating Full broadcast Floor Kit (gray with a 1/8" flake)

    -Sim: SkyTrack, undecided between e6 or TGC19. Thoughts?
    -Hitting Mat: Trying to decide between a SIGPRO 4' x10' or Fiberbuilt 9' x 4'. Thoughts? (I will need to move it and lean it up against the wall when not using the garage as a simulator)
    -Screen: Undecided but would like the most immersive experience so leaning towards 16' x 9' size (I will need to roll it up with a kayak rope lift setup
    -Side curtains gonna do these with the track system: http://www.peaksonline.net/black_ind..._curtains.html
    -Projector: Undecided but taking suggestions
    -Computer or I-pad: Undecided

    I'm pretty handy so will figure out all the ceiling protection tiles and flooring around the mat and screen/curtains edges as finish out....

    Thanks for reading and providing any feedback you may have which could help me incorporate your lessons learned.






  • #2
    1. Software = Tgc2019.

    2. Mat = I'm not familiar with sigpro but no matter what you go with you may want to consider something smaller since you'll have to move it. A 9x4 will be heavy AF. Are you planning on using it parallel to the screen or perpendicular to use it for putting?

    3. Screen = If you can fit a 16x9, by all means go for it. Check out some of the threads about retractable screens. They aren't cheap, but it's a pretty cool way of doing it. Whatever you do, just make sure you can make the screen nice and smooth. The challenge with a non-permanent screen is having it nice and tight without any wrinkles.

    4. Projector = are you wanting 4k or 1080p? Do you have a budget in mind for a projector?

    5. PC. If you'll be using it to play courses and not just practice, you will want the additional graphics capabilities that a pc will offer.

    I would paint some lines on the floor for the position of the skytrak and mat to limit the amount of alignment work you'll have to do each time you set it up.

    Comment


    • #3
      Where in VA or you moving?

      Comment


      • #4
        1. Make sure you level your hitting surface.
        2. I have my SkyTrak on a camera slider and that has enabled micro adjustable leveling. I can also move my Laser for different hitting spots.
        3. Fiberbuilt has a few nice options. I have a good range mat (rawhide) but it beat me up a little. I have a FIberbuilt Flight Deck as a fix. I still need to figure out how I am cutting in a new Fiberbuilt strip or attaching it to the end as a strip in a home built wooden hitting frame. I also need to eventually move on to a more permanent floor leveling strategy. Pretty sure self leveling concrete will be used with a small frame to hold the hitting mat. Or shell out for a fancy FB or Divot Action system.
        4. Have a budget. It’s easy to go overboard. Many little aspects of your customizations.
        5. Bigger is better Yes on 16x9 Roll up screen with the peak tarps sides could be $.
        6. Not sure what your plan for ceiling protection is but Peaks Tarps can make roofing panels with safety valences / baffles. I am very happy with them. I had them make the sides and roof with Velcro to keep them together. They may be able to do something even if you use the slide track curtain system. You have to figure how to protect a bounce back off the crossbar of whatever you use to mount your screen. I used the unistrut SkyBridge from allsportssystems and an anchored rope with tarp clips to support the sides of my screen. I also have a few straps that I use to increase the side tension with the rear EMT piece and the screen tension rope. You might be able to use your garage door tracks somehow as side attachment points.
        Many layers to these cakes. Welcome to the club.
        Some have made hoist up frame systems that fold up too.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by 3on3putt View Post
          1. Software = Tgc2019.

          2. Mat = I'm not familiar with sigpro but no matter what you go with you may want to consider something smaller since you'll have to move it. A 9x4 will be heavy AF. Are you planning on using it parallel to the screen or perpendicular to use it for putting? Hadn't thought about putting, is that done on the simulator as well? I just assumed the simulator gave 2 putts. I have a birdie ball 16' putting mat I can unroll if a putting component is needed... not sure how the Skytrack would track the putt though. I need to learn more obviously on the putting front.
          moving the hitting mat around isn't a concern for me... everyone I know is right handed, but I'd hate to have a party or people over and have a lefty show up, ya know?...


          3. Screen = If you can fit a 16x9, by all means go for it. Check out some of the threads about retractable screens. They aren't cheap, but it's a pretty cool way of doing it. Whatever you do, just make sure you can make the screen nice and smooth. The challenge with a non-permanent screen is having it nice and tight without any wrinkles. I am hoping for 16x9... if that's not possible what's the next best size? I won't know for sure if 16 x 9 is possible until the garage is built.

          4. Projector = are you wanting 4k or 1080p? Do you have a budget in mind for a projector? 4k would be great if I could get one under 2500. haven't shopped yet to know if this is possible...

          5. PC. If you'll be using it to play courses and not just practice, you will want the additional graphics capabilities that a pc will offer. So a PC ok cool.... I can have my buddy build one unless there's a recommendation for an OTS version that is proven reliable and works well.

          I would paint some lines on the floor for the position of the skytrak and mat to limit the amount of alignment work you'll have to do each time you set it up.
          great idea

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Gordon Parr View Post
            Where in VA or you moving?
            PWC area....

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Needsmoreeagles View Post
              1. Make sure you level your hitting surface.
              2. I have my SkyTrak on a camera slider and that has enabled micro adjustable leveling. I can also move my Laser for different hitting spots.
              3. Fiberbuilt has a few nice options. I have a good range mat (rawhide) but it beat me up a little. I have a FIberbuilt Flight Deck as a fix. I still need to figure out how I am cutting in a new Fiberbuilt strip or attaching it to the end as a strip in a home built wooden hitting frame. I also need to eventually move on to a more permanent floor leveling strategy. Pretty sure self leveling concrete will be used with a small frame to hold the hitting mat. Or shell out for a fancy FB or Divot Action system.
              4. Have a budget. It’s easy to go overboard. Many little aspects of your customizations.
              5. Bigger is better Yes on 16x9 Roll up screen with the peak tarps sides could be $.


              6. Not sure what your plan for ceiling protection is but Peaks Tarps can make roofing panels with safety valences / baffles. I am very happy with them. I had them make the sides and roof with Velcro to keep them together. They may be able to do something even if you use the slide track curtain system. You have to figure how to protect a bounce back off the crossbar of whatever you use to mount your screen. I used the unistrut SkyBridge from allsportssystems and an anchored rope with tarp clips to support the sides of my screen. I also have a few straps that I use to increase the side tension with the rear EMT piece and the screen tension rope. You might be able to use your garage door tracks somehow as side attachment points.
              Many layers to these cakes. Welcome to the club.
              Some have made hoist up frame systems that fold up too.
              Thanks for the feedback... the garage floor will have a slope (like hitting uphill slightly). is that a problem? I assumed it wouldn't be.... the garage entrance is 6" lower than the house wall where I plan to hang the impact screen... are you saying I need to make a platform so the hitting mat is perfectly level? I thought I could just set it on the concrete floor. hmmm....

              I may just leave the screen permanently installed to save money... I can do this 9" from the wall with some sound absorbing adhesive back foam installed on the wall behind the screen without fear of damaging the drywall I think.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by nuclearn8 View Post
                great idea
                Skytrak reads putts just like any other shot. You can auto-putt if you want but if you want to play in tournaments on TGC you have to putt for real. I find that putting is really enjoyable if you have a good setup for it. Having a smooth surface extending all the way from the hitting mat to the screen is key. Grab a putting mat to put down. Don't have to spend a fortune on those.

                If you can't go 16x9, just go as big as you can and get it as close to a 16:9 ratio as possible (15.5x8.7; 15x8.5; etc.) I would try for a 16:9 ratio first before considering a 4:3.

                For a PC, check out the recommended specs on the Skytrak website for e6 and TGC. And if you're going to shoot for 4k you'll need to factor that into the PC specs as well.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Skytrak uses a camera for launch tracking. If your Garage has slope the camera will pick up the wrong angle. You will need to level the hitting zone. This also means that you should level the standing zone too. This is where I have been spending much of my tinkering and considering a more permanent solution then my current card board box shim job under my mat.

                  Comment


                  • Fhacker
                    Fhacker commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Unless you are a tour pro, I don’t believe the floor level will have much if any effect, and doubtful they could tell the difference. The typical floor drain slope in modern construction for garages is about 1” every 6’-8’. That’s is about an 1/6-1/8 inch difference in the slope of your hitting surface in front of your skytrak. In real life most likely can’t even detect that slight slope. Playing real golf u would not adjust for such a slope. U would not club up r down.

                  • Fhacker
                    Fhacker commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Camera will not pick up wrong angle, skytrak has no idea what your floor slope is

                • #10
                  Originally posted by 3on3putt View Post

                  Skytrak reads putts just like any other shot. You can auto-putt if you want but if you want to play in tournaments on TGC you have to putt for real. I find that putting is really enjoyable if you have a good setup for it. Having a smooth surface extending all the way from the hitting mat to the screen is key. Grab a putting mat to put down. Don't have to spend a fortune on those.

                  If you can't go 16x9, just go as big as you can and get it as close to a 16:9 ratio as possible (15.5x8.7; 15x8.5; etc.) I would try for a 16:9 ratio first before considering a 4:3.

                  For a PC, check out the recommended specs on the Skytrak website for e6 and TGC. And if you're going to shoot for 4k you'll need to factor that into the PC specs as well.
                  does it matter how wide the putting mat is or does skytrack just measure speed and initial line based on impact? I have a birdie ball matt I could set down in front of the hitting mat and roll it onto that into the screen. I'm guess each putt needs to be hit from the same spot since that's where the Skytrack is measuring it from, just like any other shot.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by Needsmoreeagles View Post
                    Skytrak uses a camera for launch tracking. If your Garage has slope the camera will pick up the wrong angle. You will need to level the hitting zone. This also means that you should level the standing zone too. This is where I have been spending much of my tinkering and considering a more permanent solution then my current card board box shim job under my mat.
                    Got it, so it's going to be a bit more complicated than I initially thought for it to work correctly, got it... I may make a wooden frame and and pour a mat size concrete pad that is level so I can just plop the mat on that when I want to use the simulator. When not in use, the car will have no issue driving over top of it... Have to think about this one a bit more from a temporary or permanent solution standpoint. thanks again.

                    learning a lot here...

                    Comment


                    • Fhacker
                      Fhacker commented
                      Editing a comment
                      See my comment above. Unless u have a very steeped sloped garage floor don’t worry about it

                    • nuclearn8
                      nuclearn8 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Fhacker thank you. The garage floor is sloped 6" over 20' so for a 4' wide mat that means about 1.25" difference in height between the back edge of the mat (garage entrance side) will be lower than the front (house side). The only way the ST would care is if it had a gyroscope it in to know it's absolute orientation to determine initial launch angle... It's good news this isn't the case and it measures based on relative arrangement so slope doesn't matter so long as the feet ball and ST are all on the same relative slope or grade.

                  • #12
                    Originally posted by nuclearn8 View Post

                    does it matter how wide the putting mat is or does skytrack just measure speed and initial line based on impact? I have a birdie ball matt I could set down in front of the hitting mat and roll it onto that into the screen. I'm guess each putt needs to be hit from the same spot since that's where the Skytrack is measuring it from, just like any other shot.
                    The width of the putting mat doesn't matter. The one I use is I think 18 inches wide. When you putt with a Skytrak, place the ball about 6 inches behind the red dot ("behind" meaning away from the target) and then just roll it right over the dot. Skytrak camera picks it up from there just like a regular shot.

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      We've been in the house now for almost 3 months and I'm making slow and steady progress on this convertible conversion...
                      Fair warning this is a garage finish out and simulator install (I don't need to do a lot of the finish out work to have functional simulator I realize but I'd rather do it once and have it done than have to go back later and complete the garage around the simulator)

                      I've completed what I consider the first phase of the conversion by switching to a wall mount garage door opener which frees up the full height of the 10.5' ceiling for swinging and I've also replaced the bulb lights by wiring in some outdoor rated flush mount LED's. The center LED is on a switch by itself, the left and and right side are switched together. I may add a dimmer to the LED lights at the very end depending on what it feels like from a lighting perspective standing over the ball. I'm planning to use the plug for old ceiling mounted garage door opener for the projector power.

                      Next on the conversion list is to finish off the drywall and paint the garage interior. I will do this in the late spring early summer after the solar roof gets installed (as they'll be installing some more crap and cutting drywall around our power panel to mount a subpanel and inverter as part of that project). I plan to paint the ceiling an eggshell black color and the walls a light gray color. After the ceiling and walls are painted, I'll epoxy the floor (not sure if I will do it or hire someone yet) and then finish out the garage storage and workbench areas (it's more than just a simulator for us, it also has to park at least one of our vehicle full time and do all the other things a garage does like store stuff and have a workbench etc... ).

                      I plan to do retractable screens from the ceiling for the impact screen as well as the side curtains so that it's all up and out of the way when being used as a garage. I'll keep the hitting and putting mat on the house wall so they're easy to pull out and set down.

                      My wife is due in late January so the simulator isn't first priority right now however it is a priority. My wife is an avid golfer too so we both want it complete by next fall/winter timeframe so we can play thru the winter months and as the baby boy is growing up (to teach him as well) because it's not likely we'll get over the course as often as we'd like to play for several years.

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        We are moving to a new house (NY/NJ/CT Tristate area) and looking at a convertible setup in the garage. The garage has 10 foot plus ceilings with the garage door openers moved to the side. We will need to use the garage for our cars (and EV charging which needs to be added) when not playing.

                        Our current set up in a rental house basement is Skytrak/TGC 2019 into a Carl's style EMT cage with a Cimarron Sports archery baffle and net. Video goes to a large TV on the side as installing a projector in the rental house was not practical. The mat is a Fibrebuilt 4 by 7. We have exercise mats covered by Home Depot putting turf as a landing area. This whole current setup was DIY.

                        For the new house, I'm not sure about the choices and the right mix of professional support / DIY. The current set up is at the limit of my DIY skills. Even ceiling mounting a projector is probably too much. We're not necessarily on a tight budget but don't want to go crazy either. Here are some initial thoughts / questions:

                        1. Direction. Is side to side more typical than back to front or front to back in order to get to 16 by 9? By the way, we assume the garage is flat but will need to doublecheck.

                        2. Mat. The 4 by 7 is great but it is also heavy and not practical to move around. Presumably, you can't drive onto it either. Do people use something mobile like the Fibrebuilt Flightdeck Practice station https://fiberbuiltgolf.com/collectio...actice-station? Do you fold down or roll out the hitting mat?

                        3. Landing Area. I suppose you could use the exercise mats for the landing area (without a putting surface) and not worry too about dirt with parking the cars. Are there better ideas?

                        4. Screens/side nets. We will need a retractable screen plus side nets and roof protection. What options are there for retractable screens that people like? Have you used third party installers?

                        5. Connection/computer. The garage has good wifi but based on my current experience, we plan to add ethernet since the gaming computer will be elsewhere. That way we can access the desktop via a KVM switch and add a gaming controller, floor box or Voice Attack setup. We could add a separate gaming laptop or desktop in the garage but would like to avoid it.

                        6. Audio/Video. Unlike the current set up, we would have a projector and possibly also a TV near the KVM switch as a second screen / entertainment source. I'm not sure what people do with audio but we might mount speakers on the wall too. Do all projectors hold up in a garage environment? The garage is unheated but we could add a space heater for use during play.

                        7. Launch monitor. The Skytrak is fine for my needs in our current set up. I don't mind aligning with chip shots for 3 to 5 minutes at the start of every session. The space needs for a photo system are obviously reduced vs. a radar setup. The Skytrak is also at a price point that replacing it in 3 to 5 years with a new and improved launch monitor (e.g., a future $3,000 GC3 mark 2 or Skytrak mark 2) seems reasonable. That said, should we be considering something different than a Skytrak now? Do people like roof mounted systems in a garage?

                        8. Professional design/install support. Any recommendations for people to work with on design? Would it be better to work with a golf sim pro for both design and installation of the convertible screen/nets or have people had success with design support by phone / internet and DIY (or in my case, a local "handyman" type) doing the actual install work?

                        It would be great to get any input on these points. I searched the forum for recent threads on this but could have missed them so if this has already been addressed, please redirect.
                        Last edited by MadMax2021; 01-08-2022, 02:13 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          Just throwing out a suggestion for the Optoma gt1090hdr projector. $1400, bright and I’m very happy with it. I doubt I’d be able to get better than 1080p resolution on the impact screen I use (west coast pr40) so 4k wasn’t worth it to me.

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