The Plymouth, Mass. property opened the 2,400-sq. ft. building with 10 hitting bays, which can each accommodate a foursome, on August 1st, and it has proved to be so popular that as September began, owners installed lights so the Toptracer cameras could track balls at night and allow play into the evening. “People didn’t want to leave that quickly,” says owner Will Stearns, Jr. “I’ve seen some people stay for six hours.”
Golf course owners are always searching for ways to extend the season and attract more golfers, perhaps never more so than this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wicked Local reported. At Southers Marsh Golf Club in Plymouth, Mass. owners Will Stearns and Will Stearns, Jr. have hit upon a solution that has proved to be a big hit in a short time.
With the construction of “The Barn,” golfers can now play nine holes, albeit virtually, even if it’s raining or after the sun has gone down, Wicked Local reported. The open-air, 2,400-sq. ft. building has 10 hitting bays that can each accommodate a foursome.
From inside, golfers hit shots onto the driving range, while employing Toptracer Range, the same technology used on the PGA Tour to track the shots of the game’s best players, Wicked Local reported. Toptracer technology measures shot distance, height and accuracy, providing instant feedback on interactive game screens.
Although The Barn only opened for business on August 1, Wicked Local reported, it has proved to be so popular that as September began, the owners installed lights so the Toptracer cameras could track the golf ball at night and allow golfers to play into the evening.
“We weren’t sure how popular it would be, so we waited to install lights,” said Will Stearns, Jr. “But people have loved it. We’re looking forward to being able to extend the season a little bit.”
Eight of the bays must be reserved in advance for a minimum of two hours, with prices ranging from $25 to $40 per hour, depending on the time and day, Wicked Local reported. But that can be split among four players.
Initially, bays were reserved for only one hour, but Stearns said, “People didn’t want to leave that quickly. I’ve seen some people stay for six hours.”
Players can order food and drinks while competing against each other in up to 10 games available via Toptracer technology, including longest-drive and closest-to-the-pin contests, Wicked Local reported. They can also aim at the various flags on the driving range and the technology will award points to each player, depending on how close their shots land to the pin. Another valuable tool the technology offers is tracking the distance a player hits the ball with each club.
“You can hit 10 6-irons and the technology will tell you what distance you’re averaging with that club,” Stearns said.
Of course, golfers can also play nine or 18 holes virtually on the world’s greatest golf courses, such as St. Andrews, Augusta National and Pebble Beach, Wicked Local reported.
“Spring has been so terrible, so we’ve been trying to figure out a way to stay open and not be so weather-dependent,” Stearns said. “We’re still trying to figure out what people are comfortable with [regarding COVID-19], but we’re following the guidelines all the way.”
As long as the ground remains free of snow, Wicked Local reported, Stearns figures that The Barn can provide golfers with the opportunity to keep swinging and competing in a comfortable and cozy atmosphere long after the clubs would have normally been tucked away for the season.
Opened in 2001, Southers Marsh was built on upland around the Stearns’ family’s 100-year-0ld cranberry bogs, as a way to keep the space open and in the family when the cranberry industry collapsed in the late 1990s. It features an 18-hole, public, executive-style course that has been rated the number-one value of all public courses in Massachusetts by the New England Golfguide every year since 2005. The club also offers membership options through season passes, weekday passes, and associate and range memberships.
A video and more images and information about The Barn can be viewed at https://southersmarsh.com/barn/