Image of Indoor Golf Simulator Bay

With the uprising of non-traditional golf technology over the last decade, you have probably noticed that they are becoming increasingly popular. With numerous driving range facilities being built across the country, Americans are starting to get into golf in new ways that have never been seen before. Breaking out of certain stigmas associated with traditional golf, these facilities are enabling fun and light-hearted activity for participants of all ages, all without breaking the bank.

In this post, we will be going over the differences between an experience at one of these facilities in comparison to visiting a traditional golf course. One type of new golf facility that is emerging into the consumer and entertainment space is the indoor golf simulator, such as Ugly Putters. These facilities provide the clubs, bays, courses, and of course, drinks to have an awesome outing! Read on to learn more about these key differences and decide for yourself if you should try visiting one of these locations.


One of the most noticeable differences between a traditional golf course and an indoor golf simulator is the environment in which you’re playing in. Obviously, a traditional golf course is outside. There are many factors that affect the flight of your ball, the mechanics of your swing, and even the enjoyment you have while out on the course. For instance, if you are trying to hit a shot 100 Yards into a 20 MPH headwind, you have to compensate for many factors that are considered to be a part of an advanced technique. Without extensive prior golf knowledge, this is just too demanding of a task. This leads novice golfers to get frustrated because they thought they knew how to properly hit a ball, and then when these conditions hit their technique, and the overall swing, goes down the drain.

With an indoor golf simulator, however, you will never have to worry about strong winds or rain or the potential lightning hazards that come with regular golf courses. This allows you to just focus and practice your basic mechanics. The other added benefit to not having potentially dangerous weather affecting your play is that you are ensured your safety when swinging your club. Because golf clubs are basically “moving lightning rods,” traditional courses evacuate all golfers from play once a storm is within a certain distance from the players. If you are with your family, or there are children playing with you, you will not have to worry about compromising their health in order to “make the most out of your money.”


Potentially the largest noticeable difference for anyone that has played golf on a regular course is that the feel of the entire process is altered significantly between a traditional course and an indoor golf simulator. If you are completely confused as to what this means, don’t worry; we will try our best to explain it. Feel in golf essentially means the overall knowledge of how to hit particular shots, which can only be achieved through repetitive play. Here’s a scenario:

Let’s say that you hit your drive off the tee box, and you’re in the rough with a slight uphill to the hole that is about 150 yards away from the putting green. Do you know how you would approach this situation? That’s feel. We can break it down into steps that help you grasp this overall concept.

You’re in the rough: the rough is a patch of grass that is thicker, longer, and harder to generate the same power that is felt from the more forgiving ground of the fairway. To compensate for this, you would want to hit one club higher (for further distance) to compensate for the lack of contact that will be made with the ball.

You’re hitting uphill: hitting uphill requires you to club up even higher, as you want to be able to cover the extra distance to the hole without having the ball land and roll back down towards you.

You’re 150 yards out: if you don’t have prior knowledge of which club you should be hitting when 150 yards away, then choosing which club to hit will essentially be a guessing game. Couple that with the compensations you have to make from the previously mentioned factors, and you’re in some big trouble as to how to approach this shot without entirely ruining your score.

Having a feel for the course and how to play it takes tons of training and practice, which is just unreasonable for people who are not considered to be “avid golfers.” With indoor golf simulators, however, these factors never have to be taken into account. You are repeatedly hitting from the same mat, with the same amount of flatness, with zero chance for rough. As a novice golfer, this is a great way to practice your mechanics without having to worry about adjusting any element of your mechanics.

On the flip side, if you are an avid golfer who is using an indoor simulator to stay on top of your mechanics, it is important to be aware that this is a simulator, and while practicing your various shots and distances is beneficial, it will not completely replace the feel and knowledge you will need on the real course.

Putting and Chipping

Going along with the overall “feel” difference between a traditional golf course and an indoor simulator, the act of putting and chipping, in general, are drastically different. When chipping and putting at a regular golf course, you can visualize not only the line you are working with, but the factors that affect your path from A to B. This includes the grass texture and slopes you are working with, and all other factors that impact the “short game.”

In contrast, chipping and putting at a golf simulator really limits the visual perception that you have, which in turn impacts the way you might approach that shot. While it is still good to practice your short game whenever possible, nothing quite substitutes chipping and putting in a real environment.

Time Required

One major advantage that is seen at a golf simulator in comparison to a traditional course is the time required to play. There is no waiting for slow groups before you, no delay in walking to your ball between shots, no tee times, and no searching for your ball after a bad shot. If you are by yourself, you could easily play 18 holes in an hour. If that is not for you, you can play as little or as much as you want without worrying about finding your way back to the clubhouse.

Shot Data

From a practicing perspective, playing at an indoor simulator brings big advantages when it comes to analyzing what you might be doing wrong or simple areas of improvement. If you fully understand the terminology and factors that go into golf shots, then you will be able to comprehend why you had an errant previous shot, along with ways to fix it for the future.

When You Can Play

With a traditional golf course, all of the factors such as the weather, time of day, and season of the year will impact when you can go out for a round of golf. If you have a career or you live in an occasionally frigid region (such as Minnesota), your time to play is limited in the traditional manner.

With simulators, however, playing at night or during a snowstorm is completely acceptable, and even highly encouraged. For those golfers that want to try and stay on their A-game year-round, practicing at an indoor facility is a great way to feel polished by the time summer rolls around.

Ugly Putters: For Any Type of Golfer

If you are considering getting started in golf, or you are looking to stay “in shape” on the course, an indoor golf facility is a flexible and practical way to achieve either result. For Minnesota residents, Ugly Putters can be the perfect indoor simulator for you. With several bays available, we can host individuals, groups of players, and corporate or personal events to provide each member of your party the same opportunities to have a great and memorable time! If you are considering exploring an indoor golf simulator, consider choosing us. Contact Ugly Putters today to reserve a Golfzon bay, and we hope to see that pretty (ugly) swing soon!