Golf simulator a ‘game changer’ for college program

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse women’s golf team converted an old racquetball court into an indoor golf simulator and it has been a “game-changer”.

It has only been a short time since the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse women’s golf team installed a simulator on campus, but so far it’s been a “game-changer” for the squad, head coach Dave Taebel said.

The Eagles never had a permanent spot on campus to practice golf - they’d either have to head off-campus to their home course when the weather was nice enough, or use a pop-up hitting net on campus … if they could find an open spot. But now they have a home, a racquetball court transformed into an indoor golf simulator and putting/chipping area that allows them to practice whenever they feel they need. 

“For a long time, we had practice areas where we had to be portable and were moving around,” Taebel said. “Once they identified this room as a place for us to call a more permanent home, we knew that a golf simulator and a launch monitor and hitting bay would be able to take our practices to a whole other level as far as what we could get done, and the kind of data and improvements we could make.”

Before they found a permanent spot for an indoor golf simulator, the squad started with a SkyTrak launch monitor. They added a Bushnell Launch Pro not long after as both it and the SkyTrak are portable.

Once the racquetball court was offered as an option, Taebel knew he wanted an indoor golf simulator on campus. The opportunity for a more permanent solution to hit balls into had presented itself. That’s where Carl came into the picture.

“I had bought an impact screen from [Carl’s Place] for my personal use a long time ago and the thing is still ticking. It’s unbelievably high quality,” Taebel said. “I knew about the company from back then. When I reached out to them, it started with a simple chat on the website and Zach answered all our questions, got back to us right away. They were able to work with us to build a customized option that fit our space.”

“The customer service has been top notch. The quality of the product has been exceptional. We’re really pleased with where we ended up.”

UW-La Crosse College Golf Team

The college golf team installed a customized Pro Golf Enclosure and Premium Impact Screen that is about 9.5 feet high, 9.5 feet wide and just over 6 feet deep. They could have gone with a much larger enclosure, or maybe even added a second, but Taebel wanted to keep a decent amount of space for chipping and putting practice. 

“We didn’t want something that was so huge that it was going to eat up too much space, but we wanted something big enough so that it was functional for us,” Taebel said. “We’ve been super pleased with what we ended up with and it’s been a great addition to our practice space.”

“They can get real data on their shots. They can learn about what their ball is doing with accurate input. In the past, our indoor time has been great and we can make it effective, but this takes it to a whole other level. Being able to see what their ball is doing, work on different aspects of their game, the different types of shots you can hit on there is super helpful.”

Recruiting Golfers to the University with a Golf Simulator

Along with the boosts to recruiting and keeping up with the facilities of some conference rivals, having the indoor practice space and golf simulator has also allowed Taebel and the team to host camps and clinics for younger players.

“We love being able to give back and help grow the game in this area,” Taebel said. “That has been a great development for our team and women’s golf program here at UWL. It’s another huge benefit of this kind of facility.”

UW-La Crosse College Indoor Golf Room

Taebel added that having their own indoor golf space on campus has given his student-athletes a sense of pride and a place they can call their own.

“You can’t measure how important that is,” Taebel said. “If you have the space, which I know is often a premium on college campuses, but if you’re considering it, it’s been a great addition for our team. The things that you can do with it and the flexibility it gives you, the place for your athletes to go to practice or relieve stress or whatever it is they want to do, it’s an amazing addition to a college golf program. Having a tool like this that you can use to practice or deal with stress or whatever, it’s just something I cannot recommend enough.”

“Carl’s Place has been great to work with. The customer service, the quality of their product, the attentiveness to questions or the suggestions they’re able to make across the board when it comes to indoor golf solutions is the best that I’ve dealt with.”

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