Many of the best golf simulators include a swing analyzer that registers the velocity and direction of your swing to determine where the ball would land after each shot.
Some of the most-realistic golf simulators include a large mat to stand on and a theater-size screen on which you view your progress on the golf course. Less-sophisticated simulators plug into a TV.
There are simulators that require you to retrieve the ball after each shot or devices that come with a ball tethered to a string.
The biggest golf simulators feature a playing mat that is at least 10 feet by 10 feet and a large screen that is as large as 5 by 10.
The assumption that these simulators can help you improve in each area of your game is not accurate. Golf simulators are not effective at simulating play in the sand or in the rough.