Simulators help golf businesses stay relevant in winter

Don't let cold weather and snow scare you into hibernation. A golf simulator can keep your golf business rake in money all year. 

Golf Simulator RenderingShown here is a rendering of a pair of golf simulator setups Carl's Place designed for a local driving range in Wisconsin.

A few years ago, The 1912 Club in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, was struggling - membership was way down and finances were troublesome.

Thanks to the ideas of a new owner and golf professional, the course has since tripled its dwindling membership to 270 members and doesn’t anticipate shrinking anytime soon. 

So how did the club flip its fortunes?

“We completely changed everything,” said John Allen, who was hired as the PGA Professional in July 2021. “We’ve taken a lot of trees down, redid some holes and added a driving range, which is a huge asset for the club.

“In general, we just completely turned the club in a different direction.”

Next upgrade: adding a golf simulator or two to the clubhouse. The 1912 Club recently purchased a Carl’s Place Pro Enclosure and Trackman launch monitor, and also has plans to use a “blow-up studio” as a second indoor golf area. 

“I started looking into what I could add (for the winter) to keep the members engaged and so forth, and that’s what led me to Carl’s Place,” Allen said.

It wasn’t too difficult for Allen to find a space for the club’s indoor golf area. Since the club already has a few other private party areas, they plan on using a private dining hall off the main bar for their indoor golf simulator setup. 

“This gives us an opportunity to give the members a place to still come to the club, still socialize with fellow members (in winter) and so forth,” Allen said. 

Allen, who has been a PGA Pro for more than 35 years, plans to place the blow-up studio with an older FlightScope launch monitor in the main ballroom area. That way, they have multiple options for their members.

“I can keep one exclusively for lessons and practice time and so forth. If you only have one unit, then when people are playing courses, you can’t do lessons, so this way it will give us the opportunity to continue to teach all winter, which is great money,” Allen said. “In the winter time you can teach as much as you want or as little as you want. When you get into February and March, that’s when people want to start working on their game and get ready for spring. If we get a typical Northeast winter, then it’s impossible to do that. 

“If they’re going to go somewhere (to practice), they might as well come here.”

Allen said he believes having golf simulators is a great selling point for the club.

“When members are coming to look at the facility, they look and say, ‘Shoot, you have a winter practice area. I go on an annual trip to Pebble Beach with all my buddies. I can play Pebble Beach now before I get there," Allen said.

I don’t have to put my game to bed for four months.

Allen had success previously with using a golf simulator at a golf course. He said at one of his former clubs, he set up a similar blow-up simulator and did club fittings for a weekend and made $10,000 each day with a couple vendors in February.

“So I looked at that and said, “Shoot, I can pay off the units in one weekend basically if I do it right,’” Allen said. “It’s like having a bowling alley or whatever. It’s just another asset that when people look for memberships, it might (make their decision easier).”

Allen also spoke highly of the Carl’s Place customer service team through his purchasing process, saying his experience was “spectacular.”

“I ordered the stuff two weeks ago and it just came in, so it was delivered (in a timely manner). The young lady I worked with, Ashley, seemed very knowledgeable. She walked me through what I needed and so forth.”

Carl’s Place offers several great options for golf courses to keep their business running year-round or on inclement weather days. We have customizable enclosure options and impact screens; launch monitors; hitting mats; software; and projectors.

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