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What’s an Indoor Golf Simulator?


There have been many advances in the home gaming market over the last 40 years.  Some older fans of home gaming can remember all the way back to Nolan Bushnell’s Pong which set the stage for gaming development for the home market.  You have your early consoles of the first two generations such as the Atari 2600, Colecovision, Intellivision, and Atari 5200.   After many generations of technological advancements, you have your current crop of home consoles such as the Playstation 5. These advancements in technology were not only rooted in home consoles as arcade machines specifically, then sports consoles started hitting the market in the 1980s and 1990s.  These sports consoles ranged from miniature backboards to shoot mini basketballs to an Virtual golf simulator.  

History of Golfing on Consoles

Golf games have had a colorful history in both the arcades and on home consoles.  The home console market was better represented with games such as Atari 2600’s “Golf”, Nintendo’s “Golf”, Sega debuted their 16-bit Genesis console with “Arnold Palmer Golf”, and Electronic Arts hit a consumer home run with its “PGA Tour Golf” series which first debuted on the Genesis and Super Nintendo consoles and is still around today.

The arcades and bars have had a dual standoff between games such as “Golden Tee Golf” which used a large trackball to hit your shot versus golfing simulators with picture-perfect backdrops and an eye towards accuracy with using real golf clubs.  Although “Golden Tee” was quite popular for a time with entertainment establishments in the 1990s, indoor golf simulators have taken that mantle and raised the bar with improved graphics and better gameplay overall.

You can’t really beat taking an actual club and striking an actual golf ball in terms of realism and gameplay.  The early knocks on indoor golf simulators were due to the faulty contacts inside the screen that the display projects onto.  You may have hit the ball towards the flag on-screen, but then the next screen may show your ball landing in the water!  But with time and advances in technology, manufacturers have cleaned up these faulty contacts and diodes and made them quite accurate and with near-real-time reactions to your shot. 

So, the next time you hit the virtual links at Pebble Beach or Sawgrass with your next outing with your golfing buddies at home, you can think back to those long days of playing golfing games on your Sega or Nintendo console and smile in wonderment as to the incredible timeline of change in the gaming industry which has made indoor golf simulators possible.