I’ve had a fair bit of experience with golf simulators over the last 15 years, having successfully started and run Urban Fairways Indoor Golf Club in Singapore. During this time, we received inquiries from private clubs (golf and social), schools, tertiary education providers, condominium complexes and individuals, about golf simulators. Questions about what they are, what they do, how do they differ and is it worth getting one.
In this first post I’ll focus on what may be important for General Managers of private clubs and golf resorts to consider. I’ll clarify some of the technology available, give some examples of how you might use the different products and provide three great ideas to ensure it’s a success.
A golf simulator allows golf to be played on a graphically simulated driving range or golf course, usually indoors. It is a technical or computer system used by some golfers to continue their sport regardless of weather and time of day. Simulators have been available since the early 1970s, and range in cost from under $500 to $100,000.
Not all golf simulators are created equal. Neither are they for the same purpose.
They use various technologies - cameras, video, radar, infra-red sensors - to provide various outputs - swing path, plane, angle of attack, ball spin, club head speed, ball speed, launch angle, launch direction - with various degrees of accuracy, speed of registering the ball flight (and hence player experience) and for different purposes. Hence the end result can vary significantly.
The benefit to your golfing community, and therefore the utilisation of your golf simulator will depend on what you want to achieve, and, what your audience wants. Not everyone needs/wants to know the angle of attack and swing speed on every shot. If ever! It could be that they only want to know the distance their ball carried using a 7 iron, they may only want to know their swing path, or maybe they just want to play St Andrews before an upcoming trip and have some fun. There is one key element you MUST ensure - accuracy. Without it, the whole experience will not be fun or worthwhile.
Engagement Idea: run a 9 hole monthly medal with prizes and keep a leaderboard running.
Engagement Idea: set aside some time to run a short game clinic with your pro, to demonstrate how to use a simulator to sharpen up your game from within 50 metres
Engagement Idea: run a monthly nearest the pin competition. Charge a nominal entry fee which goes to a charity. Give away some nice prizes to the top 3 results on the leaderboard.
If you are running a club or a golf resort, having the right golf simulator can dramatically enhance your offering. It may be the difference between choosing your club over another, it can keep your members engaged and consuming in your clubhouse, it can provide your pro with a wonderful aide, and in the case of bad weather or bad light, it can provide a place to run a fun competition during a corporate event.
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 email@example.com and I’ll be more than happy to help you out.
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