Yardstick Golf recently completed a survey of indoor golfers to understand their preferences and with respect to the most desired features of indoor golf simulators. We wanted to find out what drove both purchases of systems like OptiShot and what features would have the best changes to get people to play at an indoor golf center. The survey was completed by nearly 200 golfers with a range of skills from scratch golfer to infrequent hacker. Over 90% of the survey respondents were male.
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Top Golf Simulator Features
Starting with a simple ranking of features at a high level, the two most important considerations in the selection of an indoor golf simulator were realistic graphics and accuracy of ball flight performance. On a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important, realistic graphics scored an average of 4.25 across the survey and flight accuracy scored a 4.2. Simulators with photo realistic graphics we often called out as the favorites. That makes sense as a lot of golfers are seeking a more realistic experience, not a video game that doesn’t correlate to their real game.
Ease of Use/Setup
The next two most important features were ease of use / setup and speed of play. Golfers wanted a system that didn’t require an advanced engineering degree to set up and use. Ease of use scored a 3.9 out of 5. Coming in right behind that at a score of 3.85 was load speed of the game and regeneration of the simulated course. In the verbatim responses, long load times were one of the most frequent complaints by folks who’ve played on a simulator. The general theme of feedback boiled down to “I’d play more if the speed was quicker”.
Price came in at number five on the simulator feature rankings at a score of 3.7. Initially we found this to be a bit of a surprise as we figured it would be higher in the rankings. After spending some time looking at individual responses, this was the most important aspect for some golfers and not a big consideration for others. That resulted in it being important overall, but not one of the top things the majority considered as it wasn’t universally important. That said, there are folks within the study where price was a major factor to them.
The number of courses, types of games and other features were in the next group in terms of importance. These were all basically in the 3.5-3.6 range in terms of score on the survey. All else being equal, folks wanted simulators with more courses, famous golf courses, options for stroke play, match play and a driving range. Interestingly, higher handicap golfers rated taking a mulligan as being an important feature for them.
Beyond that, most of the other golf simulator features we asked about didn’t seem to have universal support for being important. We asked about things like the number of players, being able to hit from different tees, saving player profiles and scores, environmental sounds, diagnostics and data. For example a small group of folks, typically lower handicap players, really liked swing diagnostics and data, but most folks really just wanted to play.
Let’s hear from you – we’d love to get your opinions on indoor golf simulators. Comment on what you think is important that we missed?