Tee up the Technology: Golf Simulators add more than just novelty to a man cave

On an ideal spring day, you may find Dr. Peter Chapman on the green at Great Waters, his favorite local course. Any other day, he’s playing St. Andrews in the room above his garage.

With his in-home golf simulator, Chapman is able to travel the world and play more than 60 different courses without ever checking his golf clubs.

During construction of his home in Reynolds Lake Oconee in 2009, Chapman had the bonus room above the garage customized to house a fairly large-scale golf simulator.

“I’d always wanted one,” says Chapman, “so as soon as DreamBuilt said it would fit, I had one picked out.”

The room was designed to accommodate the approximately 16’ wide and 15’ deep simulator system, installed by TruGolf, based out of Salt Lake City, Utah. Chapman selected a system with an extended enclosure to keep his swings from feeling cramped. Likewise, the seating in the room is sufficiently spaced to prevent anyone getting close to the clubs.

“You don’t realize how much room you need to swing indoors,” he says, explaining that this was a drawback to many of the simulators he’d seen in model homes. For Chapman, close seating areas or bar areas relegated the simulator to more of a novelty in a man cave. He wanted to use his simulator more as a training tool than entertainment.

With the advanced technology of the computer system off to the side of the room, he is able to track speed, angle, distance, and shot direction. This provides an instant analysis of his game, which he loves to see on the screen.

“You should see the technology they have now,” says Chapman of his 2009 system. “One of the newest things out is the TrackMan launch monitor which is what they use in their instruction at The Kingdom at Reynolds. It measures everything about the ball, particularly spin. Mine can’t measure spin.”

Chapman says today there are many more options than he had when he built his home, and the overall price of the systems has come down a bit since his purchase. But Chapman says his “sports car,” as he puts it, has been worth every penny.

“I hit balls here almost every day,” says Chapman. “I don’t always use all the features, but it’s nice to see the data it provides. Plus, there are days here that are cold, rainy, wet, so I like being able to come up here and get some shots in.”

Along with the high-tech computer system, Chapman also utilizes training aids to perfect his swing, often, ingenious handmade contraptions involving PVC pipe or pool noodles. Two closets on either side of the simulator provide storage for the training aids and other equipment.

“It’s fun to be able to work on anything you want with the training aids,” says Chapman. “If you love golf and like to piddle around with your game, then having a simulator in your home is perfect.”

His wife, Pattie, agrees that it’s been a nice addition to the home. “He wanted a bathroom up here,” she says, “but I said, ‘No way!’ I’d never see him.”

Pattie says they enjoy using the space while entertaining. During their Super Bowl parties, there’s always a “closest to the pin” competition going on upstairs. “We love having people over and the simulator has been really fun,” says Pattie. “I’m always surprised at how much people enjoy it, even people who don’t play golf.”

Sometimes Pattie says she escapes upstairs to decompress with some practice swings. The best part, she admits, is being able to walk over to the computer screen and delete any exceptionally bad shots from your statistics. “If only you could do that in real life,” she laughs.

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