My outdoor launch monitor setup, and how playing SIM golf helped my REAL short game
03 May 2024
by Pete Wlodkowski of AmateurGolf.com

see also: Equipment Reviews

Just a month after getting a Foresight GC3, I’m seeing an early, unintended benefit to my “IRL” game. Shots in the 30-50 yard range are getting easier to hit cleanly, and I’m much less nervous about making good ball contact from tight lies.

Below I’ll describe my setup, and some of the ways I’m already started to see benefits on the course.

First off, my home setup is one that I initially hadn’t planned on. I was hoping to install a full simulator, with projector and hitting screen. But my 1929 home in San Diego doesn’t have the ceiling height to swing comfortably. What San Diego does have, that many locations don’t, is year round golf weather. Using a Net Return and a gaming computer (in addition to the GC3 and Fiberbuilt hitting matt) means I have to look sideways at a monitor in order to play SIM golf, but it’s still really fun and very effective.

I think you get a small, unintended benefit of having to visualize each shot a little more, as you can’t swivel your head to the target as you would in an indoor SIM or on the course. Where I’ve started to see the first benefits is in two areas. 

The first benefit is very obvious—the more “reps” you get in during the empty days between each round of golf, the better. Even one full 18-hole round of simulator golf is as good as or better than a trip to the driving range in terms of staying warmed up and ready.

But I didn’t anticipate that all the 30-50 yard shots in SIM golf would help me on the course until my first round at Torrey Pines South, just two days after playing 27 holes of SIM golf with Foresight’s FSX play software (Spyglass and 2024 Open Championship host Troon in case you’re interested.) 

I typically don’t hit any practice balls before playing Torrey Pines, especially with a 6:40 am tee time. So after my drive found the thick, wet round on the first hole, and my chop hybrid out wound up 30 yards short of the green in the fairway, I stepped up to survey the situation. The channel in my mind flipped back to all of the shots in FSX play, where I get the precise yardage, and even the amount up or downhill the shot is playing. 

In my first couple of solo SIM rounds, I found myself rushing the short shots, only to see one hit to hard bounce over a hill into a bunker, or roll down an unseen slope on the green. I typically play “auto-putt” to keep things moving, but the calculation used to determine how many putts you’re given (it’s fractional) doesn’t start until you actually HIT the green. So I’ve since slowed things down. I visualize and try to “feel” the distance, while also making sure to capture the good rhythm required to make nice ball contact. Off of a mat, finding the bottom at the right time is even more important – shots hit behind the ball can actually go farther.

So, as I took a nice breath and hit my third shot to a back-left pin on the South Course’s difficult first green, I was pleased with the result. Rhythm, ball contact, and spin were all pretty good, even off of a tight, sandy lie. That carried over to a few similar shots later in the round, and my confidence continued to improve from everything with a wedge or less. 

I knew getting a launch monitor would provide me the incentive I needed to practice more and stay loose between rounds. And I hope the unexpected benefits keep coming.


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