When winter hits, southern Alberta golfers are usually forced to store away their clubs until the next season arrives. Or do they?
In October 2020, Lethbridge’s first-ever indoor golf course simulator opened, giving players the chance to continue swinging throughout the year.
Mike Mulroy, owner of Drop Zone Golf Centre, said the business opened after he saw the need for such a facility in the city.
Golfers bring their own clubs, and drive balls into a screen mounted on the wall.
Simulators have the ability to take users to one of a dozen courses from around the world and emulate different conditions such as altitude and wind.
“(It’s a) business born out of a passion for golf, realizing that Lethbridge needed to have another recreational activity that would satisfy the passion of southern Alberta golfers,” Mulroy said.
“If you haven’t considered picking up a club, this is a great way to do it.”
While the experience is for both new and seasoned golfers, Mulroy said simulators keeps the more dedicated players from getting rusty.
“It allows us to continue working on the things we’ve tried to do all summer long and not feel as though we have to start over again next spring,” he explained.
“The technology (can) very closely replicate your swing, your distance, your yardage, your shot shape.”
A couple months ago, some local golf courses also opened their own indoor simulation experiences.
Longtime golfer Jim Kellington has been using the simulator at Henderson Lake Golf Course and plans to attend two to three times per week.
“Any time it warms up in this country, I’m off to a driving range. But this keeps the shorter game,” he said. “It gives you feedback: Are you swinging right?
“(And it) just keeps your body in some form, as well.”
Jae Maegaard, head professional at Paradise Canyon Golf Resort, said opening an indoor facility had been discussed for a few years before they finally decided to pull the trigger to keep up with demand.
“It also gave us an opportunity to really enhance our teaching facility and our academy, which goes alongside with our custom shop as well,” Maegaard explained.
“It’s not only ‘Just come down and play some golf.’ It’s get fit, learn the game of golf, and play.”
Maegaard added using the indoor facility is cheaper than a round of outdoor golf and they plan to be open all year long.