A golf impact screen serves as both a projection screen and as a surface to cushion the impact of your shots. You need to work out how to hang a golf impact screen in your simulator room.
I recommend hanging your impact screen to your golf simulator enclosure by using a combination of grommets, eyelets and bungee fixings. You can also use a retractable screen, or hang the screen from the ceiling. You need to consider screen size, bounceback, noise, picture quality and how it looks.
Try to hang your impact screen in such a way that finds a balanced screen tension on all sides and corners. This way you’ll find the sweet spot between an over taut screen with excess bounceback and noise, and an loose puckering screen with poorer image quality.
Think about the Functions of a Golf Impact Screen
A golf impact screen is an essential part of a full golf simulator set up. Your impact screen is your projection surface, where you view your beautiful sim graphics as well as absorbing the impact from your strokes so that they don’t damage the rest of your home.
Sure, you can have a simple golf hitting area without an impact screen, using just a net. I actually recommend this for anyone on a budget, better to get started early and hitting balls at home, than waiting forever for the dream of a full golf simulator with all the bells and whistles.
There are many different options for impact screens and it’s worth noting that some will absorb both the impact and the potential noise involved better than others will and there are also big differences in projection quality between the materials involved.
Why do the Functions of an Impact Screen Matter for How I Attach it to my Frame?
Most golf impact screens are made of some sort of plastic fiber mesh which is particularly impact resistant and they may consist of more than one layer of this mesh to add additional protection.
It’s worth noting that a golf ball can leave your driver’s face at speeds of over 180 miles per hour and that means even though the ball is relatively light, it carries a lot of force on impact. It would be easy to smash through a dry wall, your ceiling, your favorite ornament, or your TV if it was to leave the enclosure of your simulator.
Thus, the choice of an impact screen is more important than you might think at first glance.
Energy Absorbance and Bounceback
A golf impact screen must absorb the impact of the golf ball first and foremost. It must be able to do this thousands of times without breaking. Most of your shots over time will probably impact the screen in roughly the same area too, around the centre of the screen if you have a centred target line to aim at.
If you impact screen is hung to taut, with too much tension in the fixings then you’ll end up with shots firing back at you, as there isn’t enough give in the screen to absorb the energy.
How dangerous this is depends on how much length you have in your simulator room and how close your hitting position is to the screen. The closer you stand to a taut screen the more bounceback you’ll experience.
The material used for the impact screen matters a lot for bounceback too, with premium screens using multiple layers of fabric and even a cushioning layer to absorb extra energy. You can learn more about all of this in my dedicated post on impact screen bounceback.
As we explain above, an overly taut screen can lead to less energy being absorbed by the screen and a louder noise on each strike. This can a problem in particular for those who practice late at night, have children in bed or neighbours through thin walls.
There are other ways to reduce the noise in a golf simulator room, which we explain in this dedicated post below.
You’ll achieve the best image quality by having a well hug screen that’s even and not puckered on any side. You will ideally have covered up the fixings so no projector light catches off the metal parts. Increasing the tension in the fixings comes with the downside of increasing the bounceback and noise on each strike, as we explain above.
I cover puckering and fixing tension below, and you can find more information about how to maximise the image quality in your screen in this article. I recommend Carl’s Premium Impact Screen for the best picture quality around.
At the end of the day, most golfers just want a beautiful golf simulator setup that performs well and makes their friends jealous. How a golf simulator looks is important for the majority of those embarking on the journey to construct a hitting area in their homes.
Paying close attention to the borders of the screen, avoiding screen puckering and having a nice dark enclosure will all make your setup look more professional.
Avoiding Screen Puckering
Impact screen puckering is when the screen furls up and looks creased. This is because there is uneven tension in the fixings holding up the screen on each side and at each corner. This can reduce the quality of the image projected onto the screen.
To avoid impact screen puckering you need to perfectly balance the tension in your fixings. This emphasizes the importance of having adjustable fixings such as bungees and zip ties, as we explain below.
Your 7 Options For Hanging A Golf Impact Screen
Once you’ve chosen your impact screen then the next job is to hang it securely and this is an important task. If you don’t hang it correctly, you may shorten the life of the impact screen as well as all of the issues we looked at above.
Grommets, Eyelets, Bungees & Zip Ties
I recommend using an approach consisting of these three components. Essentially they make up a hole attached to the peripheries of an impact screen, and adjustable ties that can be attached to your enclosure frame.
Hang a Golf Impact Screen by using Grommets and Eyelets
Grommets, or sometimes eyelets, are one of the most popular ways to hang a golf impact screen and many pre-packaged impact screens (such as those supplied by Carl’s) will come with these eyelets already provided.
If you need to attach eyelets yourself, then you would need to attach a fabric overlay to the screen and place the eyelets in the overlay. This is probably a job for a professional fabric technician or someone very confident with a sewing machine and not your average golfer!
The good news is that buying your screen with grommets already available is pretty straightforward.
You may find it hard to get the tension you want in the screen exactly right when using grommets, especially if you use a method of fixing the grommet to the frame that can’t be adjusted (for example using string knots). You need to be able to adjust the tension in the fixing to sort out issues with screen puckering, noise and bounceback. This is where bungees come in.
Hang a Golf Impact Screen with Bungees
Grommets tend to be used in conjunction with bungee attachments. These are ball bungee cords which allow you to create an easy and slightly loose attachment between the impact screen and any enclosure frame that you’re using.
You thread the bungee cord through the grommet and then thread it through itself so that as you pull it tighter the ball forms a seal. Then loop the end of the cord over the ball to secure the grommet to the enclosure. You can do a further loop to increase tension. However they’re not perfectly adjustable, the additions of tension come in steps.
Bungees are great. The idea is that you can alter the tension on the attachment whenever you need, which is a tactic used against screen puckering to improve your image quality.
Check out these cheaply available but excellent bungees for sale at Carl’s.
I’ve heard of some people trying to replace these bungees with hooks and we can see why this might appeal, certainly hooks will feel more permanent the bungees but I suspect they’d put more pressure on the grommet over time and thus increase the chances of tearing on the screen.
Hang a Golf Impact Screen with Zip Ties
Zip ties give you the option of adding tension to a section of your impact screen which would not be achievable with your normal bungees. Zip ties are extremely cheap, sturdy, and adjustable (in one direction). They’re often used for the corners of a screen. As they’re so cheap if you overtighten a zip tie you could just cut it and reapply another.
If that all sounds like too much hard work for your liking, one way to get around it is simply to buy a retractable screen. These are remarkably like the projector screens that you see in colleges or workplaces.
They can be rolled down out of their housing when they’re needed and then at the click of a button they retract when you don’t need them. They tend to be supplied with their own mounting kit and instructions and we’ve found that most of them will use a standard ceiling mount.
You need to be a little careful when installing anything on a ceiling, so following the manufacturer’s instructions is vital for this. However, it’s a fairly simple job to carry out.
Can you Hang a Golf Impact Screen with Simple String
An ultra cheap option is to use simple string as opposed to bungees or other fixings. The string can fit through the grommets/eyelets on your screen and then be tied around your enclosure. You can string being used crudely in this image below. The disadvantage of string is that each knot would have to be untied or cut in order to adjust the tension.
It looks so much neater to use bungees or to cover the fixings up altogether!
Can you Hang a Golf Impact Screen with Velcro Straps
Some impact screens use adjustable velcro straps which feed around the enclosure frame, rather than bungees. You have to ensure your screen and enclosure are fairly similar in size for this to work but it can be a good option.
I only recommend metal enclosures rather than PVC piping which is shown on some pictures of velcro strapped screens if you google search it. PVC piping enclosures are liable to smash with one direct hit from a golf ball.
Screens Directly Hung From The Ceiling Or Wall
If you want to hang any other kind of impact screen from a ceiling or even from a protruding wall ledge, you just need to make sure that you attach the housing to the studs of the ceiling or wall. If you don’t the weight of the screen is likely to tear it quickly out of the ceiling or wall.
Many impact screen manufacturers will provide a mounting kit to make this job easier.
However, I don’t recommend mounting your screen directly onto or from a ceiling. You will probably experience screen puckering with a deterioration in the image, and you will still need enclosure sides to avoid any poor shots striking the side walls of your room.
One option is to use a long curtain rail, with hooks in each grommet, however something would need to pull the sides taut to avoid puckering and I am doubtful that these would produce the most aesthetically pleasing setup. I am happy to be proved wrong so anyone with this setup please send me a picture!
Screens with no attached grommets
Again, screens with no grommets are more difficult. You’re working with just the raw material and will have to find a solution that gives you the ability to add some sort of fixings to the screen. If I found myself in this position I’d take the screen to a professional who works with fabric, and have grommets added.
Another option is adding a significant quantity of velcro to the sides of your screen and mounting it this way. There would be the possibility the velcro wouldn’t hold the weight of the screen but it might work! I don’t recommend cutting holes in your screen material yourself.
The No Impact Screen Option
If you’re just starting out in your golf simulator journey, consider just using a net, enclosure, and mat. Anything to get you going! You can add screen and projector and even launch monitor later!
The Relationship Between The Golf Impact Screen And The Enclosure
The size of your overall enclosure matters and to some extent, it will dictate the size of the screen, you will need to consider this carefully before you decide to order the material for your impact screen.
What I like about the website at Carl’s Place is that you can check the sizes of the entire impact screen and the screen area without the grommets. You can also choose a screen with a specific size that works with a specific aspect ratio. They have tables of sizes and ratios to help you, as well as a guide on what to look for.
We’ve talked at length about the aspect ratio and how it affects the size of your impact screen here.
Check out our dedicated article on where to mount your golf simulator projector too. The relationship between screen and projector is so important for a golf simulator build.
What Types of Golf Simulator Enclosure Are There?
For your golf simulator enclosure, I recommend a standalone, sturdy cage made of metal pipe (some use aluminum pipes and some use electrical conduit pipe).
You can buy one pre-made, like the cage in the image below from Carl’s Place, or you could make your own.
You need to order lengths of metal pipe from a local electrical store or hardware store and then cut them to lengths. You’ll also need corner fixings which are also available at Carl’s.
The advantage of a frame like this is that you have a sturdy outer frame on which to mount your impact screen, blackout panels, netting, safety baffles, foam padding and everything else you’d need. You can also sit the whole thing 1ft from the back wall to minimize bounceback problems.
Uneekor launch monitors can be mounted to the upper poles as can your projector.
Simple Wood Frame
Some golf simulator setups I’ve seen use a wooden frame though this is harder to protect against direct strikes from golf balls. If you constructed a cuboid frame like the metal cage structure above, out of wood, it could work as long as you protected it properly (eg with foam panels).
Netting or Fabric for the Walls?
You’ll need to decide whether to use netting or fabric for the walls of your enclosure. You may end up using both. Many golf simulators use netting like this image above and this is fine, as long as you have something that you like and that works!
The Space Behind Your Screen Matters
One thing that probably doesn’t get enough attention in most setups is the space behind your impact screen.
You need some space behind, I recommend at least 1ft, to avoid serious problems with bounceback. The ball will ricochet off the wall behind, given the screen has not had enough room to deform and absorb the energy. These ricochet events can lead to the ball firing straight back at you at speed.
I also recommend considering a secondary piece of materiall just behind the impact screen, which will absorb even more of the kinetic and sound energy from the ball and collision.
Here are some suggestions for materials that you might want to consider for this purpose:
- Archery net (otherwise known as “baffle”). You can buy heavy duty netting from suppliers like Cimarron for a very reasonable price. It’s meant to boost the cushioning effect of the impact screen and it ought to help improve the lifespan of the screen too. It’s very easy to install directly behind your screen.
- Memory foam mattress toppers. You might not have thought of dragging bits of bedding into your simulator room even if you live and breathe golf, you probably don’t want to sleep next to it but a lot of golfers swear by this stuff. You would need to experiment with fixing methods, eg suspending them from the ceiling.
- Blankets. Blankets are pretty much always the fallback position when it comes to muffling sounds or impact and the same is true here. They tend to be less aesthetically pleasing as part of a simulator setup than they might be as part of a bedroom suite but choose some large, heavy blankets and hang them behind your screen and they will soon be keeping noise to a minimum and we’d imagine that they’d have a similar effect on the longevity of your screen as the archery netting does, though we haven’t got any data to support that.
You can see blankets in use in this YouTube video from Garage Golf:
Tips To Avoid Common Problems
- This is an obvious thing really but it’s a good idea to read the manual that comes with your impact screen before opting for a method of hanging the screen. While the vast majority will allow you to be entirely flexible in your approach to the choice of screen hanging, some will not. They will specify strict requirements for setting up all the equipment that they supply.
- When you place bungees, or grommets, they should be evenly spaced not just from each other but also from the back wall. The impact screen should, ideally, not be placed on an angle as this will ensure that the ball behaves properly after impact.
- You should try to follow the simulator manufacturer’s recommendations on placing the impact screen at a certain distance in front of where you will tee off from. These distances might seem arbitrary and flexible (‘ahh it’ll be fine’) but they’re there to firstly ensure the accuracy of any data collected and secondly as a safety measure – when you’re golfing too close to the impact screen, you’re risking shot bounceback.
- If your screen is starting to wear out, especially the area where your shots tend to group, consider taking it down and flipping it over top to bottom, or left to right (or even back to front if the screen is the same on both sides). This will mean you use the maximium area of your screen before you need to even consider buying a new one.
What Should You Do with the Edges of Your Impact Screen?
What to Do with the Bottom of Your Impact Screen?
Have you worked out whether your impact screen will hang low enough to touch the floor?
The advantage of letting the impact screen strike the floor is increased immersion as the ground on the screen will be more level with the floor of your simulator. The disadvantage is that you’ll have screen touching the ground and increasing the chance of puckering and image distortion.
Whether you have an impact screen bordering the floor or not, you’ll probably want to cover up the bottom set of grommets and fixings with a nice black border.
Carl’s Place produce these excellent foam panels for any side of your impact screen. They can be purchased as part of the Pro Golf Enclosure, or you could contact Carl’s Place about an individual order.
What to Do with the Top of Your Impact Screen?
I recommend Carl’s foam panels for all sides of your golf simulator impact screen, however the top and sides of the screen are places you need extra protection. Those with metal frames risk striking the frame dead on, this can lead to dangerous ricochets and potential injury.
The top of the screen is vulnerable to strikes from any wedge shot and requires protection by either a foam panel like this in the picture above, or some foam pipe insulation or similar.
What to Do with the Sides of Your Impact Screen?
The sides of the screen are similar to the top and bottom and should be protected with either foam panels like those in the picture or foam insulation covered with some black fabric for aesthetics.
Think About The Package Deal (Enclosure + Screen)
OK, now that we’ve got all the technical details out of the way, let’s look at the easiest way to get set up with your impact screen and to be sure of almost no hassle whatsoever during the setup.
While it’s not the cheapest method of getting set up, I;m pretty certain that a large number of golfers would be happy to pay a little extra for some peace of mind on this project – particularly those who find DIY a little challenging. Can you picture yourself cutting metal pipe with a saw?
I recommend checking out Carl’s Place and their Pro Golf Enclosure, which features everything you’ll need to get set up. You can buy the setup with metal pipes included (a freight delivery) or without.
That means a complete package that is all tailored to work together, the impact screen, the netting, the framework, blackout curtains, and possibly even the projector mount, all in one easy to put together box.
Check out this video showing the Carl’s Place Pro Golf Enclosure and Impact Screen being installed. Even if you have your own screen and enclosure, this video is really helpful for showing how to put everything together.
To Sum Up – How Should you Hang Your Impact Screen?
I hope this guide detailing 5 ways to Hang a golf impact screen has helped you to narrow down how you intend to attach your screen to your simulator. This is an important choice and hanging your impact screen in the right way can really help you get the most out of your golf simulator.
Check out Carl’s Place for excellent premium impact screens and enclosures that are simple to build (compared to most other options). You’ll be up and running in no time.