Golf nets are an absolute necessity if you want to practice enough to actually improve at golf. Sure, I know we have a full simulator bay here at Proof Golf and hitting golf balls on a regular basis is par for the course, but I’m not kidding when I say a few hundred bucks can legitimately make the difference in you staying at your current skill level and dropping multiple strokes off your handicap.
For me, getting into simulator golf first meant that I had a regular setup in the driveway with a good net, a mat, and a simple launch monitor. The SwingCaddie SC100 was my first taste of using a device to measure my shots in that setup, and things clearly escalated from there. It wasn’t long before I tried out the new-at-the-time Flightscope Mevo+ and eventually settled on the Skytrak as my launch monitor of choice.
For quite some time, however, one thing didn’t change: I was still hitting into a net in my driveway while watching my shots on a TV mounted near my mat setup. Because of this, I went on a hunt for the best net I could find that could not only stop my shots, but also provide a large enough area to make me and anyone I had over feel comfortable hitting outdoors while right in the middle of a neighborhood.
Keeping that in mind, the time did come not too long after that I was able to actually move my setup indoors at the office to deal with seasonal weather changes. For me, that meant it was time to move to a different type of net that was usable inside as my outdoor net was simply too large. Thus, I ended up at a spot where I found the ideal net for indoor use and the ideal one for outdoor: and they are quite different.
My favorite outdoor net: Net Playz 10×10 Golf Net
For the outdoor setup, as I said, I needed a net that was easily put up and torn down while still giving me the most possible hitting area. To be fair, me and the buddy I generally played golf with hit them pretty straight, but I didn’t want a net that couldn’t account for the occasional mishit or guest player who isn’t quite as accurate.
After trying a bunch of different options, the one I landed on and still use to this day is made by a lesser-known company called Net Playz. Their 10ft x 10ft net is one of the largest you can find, giving you both the width and height you need to catch just about any shot you can think of. And you only need to be about 6 feet from the net when hitting, so even without side nets, this beast can catch errant mishits with ease.
Additionally, setup is a complete breeze, and once you have it down, you’ll be putting up your net in under 5 minutes with ease. And breaking it down for storage is simple as well, making this easily the most versatile, largest net I could find that doesn’t cost a fortune. Right now, you can get one brand new for under $100, and for a net this great, that is an absolute steal.
My favorite indoor net: Spornia SPG-7 (or SPG-8)
For an indoor setup, you have to give up a bit of that net size for most rooms. With the Net Playz net, there’s a significant area you need for the back portion of the net’s support, and that combined with the 10-foot overall height makes it a tough fit for any room. Thankfully, there are some other more-compact options that are still stellar at being a solid practice net.
My absolute favorite I’ve found for indoor use is the Spornia SPG-7. This net is fairly easy to setup and tear down, though I’d argue it isn’t as quick as the Net Playz. Still, it pops up quickly and can be stored away in its bag with relative ease with just a bit of practice. The nice part about this one is the net hood for high shots and the built-in side nets that help catch left/right mishits. Oh, and on a flat surface, the bottom of this net is built to roll the ball right back to you for your next shot.
I have the SPG-7 (the 7×7 model), but there’s a newer, larger version called the SPG-8 that gives you an 8×8 hitting area if you have the room and want a bit more forgiveness. The SPG-7 is $289 and for that price, I think its a deal. The larger SPG-8 balloons up to $499, and I’m not sure if that extra size is worth such a price hike. Either of these nets can be outfitted with a white impact baffle that makes for a decent projector screen, so they can be used as a very basic golf simulator setup if you choose.
A quick note on that sort of setup before I get out of here. I’ve used the Spornia SPG-7 as our main simulator bay when we first set up indoors, and it is…decent. Compared with a true simulator bay and a more permanent setup, it pales in comparison, but if it’s the best you can do with your budget or space requirements, it’s a nice step up from simply hitting into a blank net. Beware, though, setting this net up with a projector is the first step on a path towards building out a full simulator, and once you start, it’s hard to stop.