Simulator is a word thrown around a lot in games (Football Manager Simulator), Aviation (flight simulators), and other locales and vocations. Think of the four major sports in North America: Hockey, Baseball, Football, and Basketball. Now, you can think of “simulators” for each of these sports. Do they exist? Well, yes and no. You can simulate Basketball in small doses by playing on one of those “bar” basketball backboards that move around to challenge your shot. But again, you’re using a miniature basketball and shooting at a small backboard that moves around and is not at regulation height. We’ll not speak about the lack of a defender trying to block your shot.
How about Baseball? Sure, you can take turns in a batting cage to hit actual baseballs with an actual bat from a pitching machine. But, the simulation isn’t quite the same because an actual pitcher uses an array of different pitches to fool the batter into striking out. Football has moveable sleds that can somewhat mimic receivers at different distances, but these are not for public consumption as professional football teams use these devices. Hockey doesn’t have much in the way of simulation either and nothing in the public sector.
If there is a fifth major sport, then that sport has to be Golf as many people from all walks of life play it every day. There’s quite a different answer when the question of simulators crops up for Golf! A golf simulator exists in many places that the public can access: golf courses themselves, bars, restaurants, entertainment venues, and even in the home!
You have the accuracy of the backdrop screen and in some cases, the flight monitor which scans your golf ball after impact for additional accuracy. You use real actual golf clubs to simulate real golf conditions on the course. The only factor that isn’t available to this simulation is the weather and, in many cases, that’s a good thing! Any avid golfer can tell you a time or two where they had to cut a round short or postpone a trip to the course due to inclement weather.
A golf simulator brings all of the good things about the golfing experience together in one console unit. The gameplay and the accuracy of these console units are light years from where they were when the first golf simulators hit the market in the 1990s. You may miss the smell of freshly mown grass, but you can come close to that by mowing your own lawn outside and opening up the windows!