A question I often came face to face with once I began hitting shot after shot in my basement golf simulator was whether I ought to wear golf shoes or not. Well, brother, let me tell you, this question is not as simple as it may appear at first sight.
No sir. Its answer is complicated, if not profound. For one thing, the answer varies from individual to individual since each person has his or her own comfort zone and idiosyncrasies.
How you play the game, how you swing that club, and what you feel comfortable with all enter into the equation. A pair of golf shoes and the surface of the turf where you will be putting away both determine what is right for you and wrong for someone else.
Definition of a Golf Simulator
But first things first. What exactly is a golf simulator? Basically, it happens to be a high-tech system of combined radars, cameras, lasers, and complex equipment that allow you to play golf VR-style in the confines of your home, basement, or garage (take a look at the write-up: How do Golf Simulators Work?). The really good thing about a golf simulator is that you can improve your game without the need to face the messy reality that is a real-life golf course (see my article: Does a Golf Simulator Improve your Game?). Simulators have gathered enough popularity to become the “in” thing since the recent pandemic. Also, they allow the golfer to practice without the hassles of rain, sleet, snow, wind or storm. You get to maintain proper balance while your golf swing gets better and better every day in every way (peruse the written material labelled: Accuracy of a Golf Simulator). What more could you ask for?
To Wear Golf Shoes while Putting
It is common knowledge that while you stand all poised in your pose on a golf simulator turf, the golf shoes ought to provide traction and grip and have soles with tread marks and ridges on them. That would be ideal. In other words, golf shoes in a simulator matter indeed.
While sneakers or training shoes are just fine, shoes with soft spikes are not out of the question. Yet hard steel spikes will damage the floorboard.
Also, a pair of stilettos for the females or working boots for the males would be inappropriate for obvious reasons.
It would be best to use your golf shoes provided they are sparkling clean, and thus wear regular footwear while practicing on the simulator.
Brand and Range of Footwear for a Golf Simulator
Like polo shirts and Capri pants, and even blue jeans for that matter, are fine when it comes to clothes you ought to wear while at a simulator; similarly, the shoes ought to match the occasion. As the saying goes: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” There is naturally a difference between proper golf shoes for indoor simulated golf and a pair of shoes for the foot that ventures on the golf greens in the Great Outdoors. The former ought to be spikeless, and the experience of comfort is important for the golfer. Athletic footwear is just the best for indoor golf. The twin problem with spikes is that they not only damage the artificial turf but also are a personal safety hazard just waiting to happen. If they get stuck in the turf, the wearer may lose his balance and fall. The same goes for high heels, which, while increasing the attractiveness of the ladies, is hell on the turf and potentially unsafe to boot.
Advantages of Wearing Golf Shoes in Indoors Golf
These are the pros of wearing golf shoes in an indoor VR environment:
They offer real advantages such as balance and weight transfer. They can be tennis shoes, provided that there is no dirt on them. The main thing is you ought to feel light in them. Similarly, check to see and ensure that they are the proper fit and that you stand upright and hang tough in them.
Preference ought to be given to trainers since they offer excellent grip and don’t slide or skid while on the Astroturf.
Don’t change golf shoes in the midst of shifting from indoor golf to outdoor golf since this will confuse you regarding your golf skills and may lead to disaster at one or the other venue. Golf shoes should be of the optimal sole height since you don’t want to lose your balance.
As you hold yourself steady on the indoor mat, make sure that with each dive you make with the club, the ball goes and hits the screen with precision.
For this to be a reality, the shoes have to be of a magical fit. Certainty of the proper softness inside the shoe and the right grip on the ground is the type of factor you must learn to include in your checklist.
Disadvantages of Wearing Golf Shoes
The following are the cons of wearing golf shoes:
The fact of the matter is that you don’t have to impress anyone else. Get up at 3:00 AM in the morning and walk into the simulator room in your home in your sleeping suit and put away while in your most casual shoes. You might not be perfect in your execution of each shot, but if you don’t plan to beat the likes of Tiger Woods at this game, then by all means, enjoy hitting that dimpled ball in your basement without golf shoes.
There is another problem with golf shoes, and that is the amount of caked grass and mud sticking to their bottom sides. This is truly gross, and you wouldn’t want to sully your indoor simulator equipment with these yucky boots that were made for the outer world.
Golf Shoes vs The Alternatives
While golf shoes can withstand any condition and weather, if you were to visit your local shoe store, you may be surprised to find many an alternative to these simulator-suitable shoes.
Many slip-and-slide shoes and Adidas, Sketchers, and Nike brands will wow you with their beauty and durability.
To play a round in one of these would be sheer bliss. So get ready for some fun. Make a survey and search high and low in the local footwear store for a discounted older pair of loafers or cool moccasins to wear in front of your simulator at home.
The impact on the indoor environment of these alternatives will obviously be different from the actual course.
All you really want is a certain kind of good grip, and the rest of the details are unimportant. You don’t need an elite-class pair of shoes that cost you an arm and a leg.
Go for a shoe with a reasonable rate so that you won’t be left scratching your head wondering where all your money disappeared.
Trail shoes are not a bad choice.
Also, running shoes are a cool alternative to regular golf shoes. Remember, it all depends on the grip the shoe makes with the artificial turf.
That is the actual and factual point you need to consider before you empty your wallet of the required number of greenbacks.
A Parting Shot that is Anything but Unimportant
Having listed the pros and cons and given a few alternatives, we would like to inform the reader of this article that while being too formal is not recommended, neither is an extremely casual attitude.
To wear sandals or flip-flops may not be every golfer’s idea of training at home. You might as well go barefoot, which would once again be unsuitable.
Like I mentioned previously, there should be a minimal level of grip and traction for the golf play to be smooth as silk.
Comfort matters, but so do structure and style. With that, we would like to say “Adios Amigos” to you, the basement golfer in search of a decent pair of shoes.
Good luck finding the right matching rubber soles!