Green Haven GC in Anoka, Minn. added a pair of HD Golf simulators and is offering league play over the winter. The on-site restaurant, the Tavern at Green Haven, is developing a new menu of more portable options to cater to simulator users, and the club will utilize the technology to enhance its club-fitting capabilities.
Pat Murray is a regular at Green Haven Golf Course in Anoka, Minn. during the summer, ABC Newspapers reported. This winter Murray will continue making weekly trips to the Anoka course, thanks to two golf simulators that began operating at the end of October. He was so impressed by the simulators he signed up for a league.
“It’s very realistic,” Murray said.
That’s exactly what Larry Norland, Golf Manager at Green Haven, likes to hear. Although he’s had his eye on golf simulators for years, he wasn’t ready to invest until recently, ABC Newspapers reported.
“I’ve watched the technology change and morph and get better and better,” he said. “I was not
comfortable with where the technology was six or seven years ago. It seemed more like a big video game than it did actually playing golf.”
With the simulators Green Haven purchased, Norland told ABC Newspapers, it feels like real golf.
“I know kind of how I hit shots,” he said. “I know what my ball flight looks like, and it’s pretty much dead on.”
Golfers use their own clubs to hit a ball against a screen in one of two simulator bays, which are available for rent by the hour, ABC Newspapers reported. The entire room can also be rented for parties, and the on-site restaurant, the Tavern at Green Haven, is developing a new menu of more portable options to cater to simulator users.
“We saw it as a way to not only support the restaurant but make a little more revenue for the golf side of things and give our players that play here all summer long a way to continue their golf addiction during the winter,” Norland said.
From a business perspective, it made sense, ABC Newspapers reported.
“One of the fastest-growing segments of the golf industry is nontraditional golf,” Norland said.
Bunker Hills Golf Club in Coon Rapids, Minn. has had golf simulators since 2011, and Top Golf opened its golf entertainment center in Brooklyn Center, Minn. last year, ABC Newspapers reported. Other golf simulators have also been popping up around the metro, and X Golf is scheduled to open simulators in the Northtown Mall and Champlin this year.
Norland said the brand of simulator he chose, HD Golf, stands out from the pack because the courses aren’t computer-generated, ABC Newspapers reported. Instead, they’re based on thousands of high-definition photographs; there may be fewer courses to play, but they look more realistic, he said.
The simulators offer golfers a way to keep up their game during the cold months without jetting to a warmer destination, ABC Newspapers reported.
“In Minnesota it’s always been you’re always playing about the best right when the golf course closes,” Norland said. “And then you kind of slip back a little bit. And you always start the year one or two steps back from where you ended, and you spend a lot of the year getting back to where you were before you can improve.”
With the simulators “you don’t necessarily have to take that step backwards,” he said.
Norland said the 2,800-sq.-ft. simulator loft also makes for great parties and will enhance the golf course’s teaching program and club fitting options, ABC Newspapers reported.
Using the simulator provides better data for club fitting than an outdoor driving range, Norland said, and he’s excited to offer the service, ABC Newspapers reported. With a club fitting, many players could increase the distance of their drives over the winter instead of seeing them drop.
The Green Haven simulators are open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. until the last tee time. Rates are $32 to $40 an hour depending on the time and day of the week.