If you’ve been tasked with evaluating and installing a golf simulator at your club, you’ll want to ensure you make the right choice. You don’t want to end up like some clubs with a simulator sitting empty in the basement, being used to store old chairs. The good news is I’m going to help you with some of the key factors to look out for, which will ensure you keep the boss happy. If you take into consideration what’s really important, you may find yourself struggling to get him (the boss) off the simulator to allow your members to play! 15 years in the business has taught me some of the things to watch out for, as well as what’s not really that important.
Don’t let yourself get caught up by the myriad of information and terminology that’s out there. We’re going to make one assumption from the beginning - money is not an issue. Good value is.
Step1: Clearly define your Target Audience
This might sound silly or obvious. From the outset, ensure you are laser focussed on your target audience. You are going to need to ensure they love the simulator. Once you determine this, you can move on to the next step.
So important. If your simulator is not accurate, you can be sure it’s going to sit around unused, and talked about. So read some of the reviews available from independent and well regarded reports. Technology has moved fast in the last decade with a lot of new products on the global market. For the most part accuracy has improved dramatically and you’ll see some names such as Trackman, GC2 and Full Swing Golf appear.
I can not stress this enough - I don’t see any reviews covering these issues, as most reviews are for HOME SIMULATORS or by people promoting one brand over another. By reliability, I mean how robust is the simulator when it’s being used for 8 hours every day for years on end? How often do you encounter problems and need to shut it down or call in help? You will need to ensure there is as little (if any) downtime. The more moving parts there are, the more difficulty you may experience. Once again read the literature available and ask some hard questions:
Downtime leads to unhappy customers, which leads to unhappy boss!
This may sound silly but as a premium facility you really want to ensure your simulator looks incredible. Always. That means the screen should look great (no wrinkles), the tee box looks fantastic (no holes/wear) and the clubs/golf balls you use are arranged nicely and clean. (dirty cracked golf balls can tear/dirty the screen). Just like outdoors, keep your indoors looking good. Don’t let customers use their own balls from outdoors. In a home environment it may be nice to have no walls, but in a commercial/heavy use environment you need to consider safety and privacy.
Step5: Ensure You Can Have Fun
Golfers will only hang around if they are having fun. So you need to ensure the simulator is easy to use (from turning it on to setting it up), and that you can play golf games (various formats & competitions) in small groups. Creating a fun environment does not happen automatically. An individual may come in and practice for 30 minutes, but a group of 2-6 people can spend 4 hours playing games.
Last but not least, it probably makes sense to ask other clubs and owners about their experience. If you cover these 5 steps you can be sure that you are on your way to making a much better decision. Remember we want to keep the boss happy.
If you’d like to know more about how to choose a simulator or create a successful environment, I’ll be happy to help you. Over the years we have run hundreds of golf events indoors. If you’d like to know more about them, or the simulators we used at Urban Fairways and why we chose them please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget to check out our last post What is a Golf Simulator
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