24 Apr 2024 | Clubs and Facilities |

Adelaide's indoor golf boom

by Martin Blake

SA simulator image
At P1 Entertainment near the city, people are flocking to indoor golf.

Adelaide is embracing the indoor golf revolution.

The South Australian capital now has five simulator facilities, with four of them opened in the past year.

They are all different, as well, ranging from coaching facilities to the new simulators at P1 Entertainment just outside the CBD, which started out as a go-kart complex but has added golf to the mix.

P1 owner Roger Han said his organisation’s desire to be somewhat different drove the addition of four simulator bays for golfers to add to a complex that already includes go karting, bars, music and food.

“We know go-karting,” said Han. “We were looking for something that was popular and we could see that golf simulators were doing well especially in Victoria and New South Wales, and there were only three in Adelaide at the time.

“What we’re about is not just doing the same thing as everyone else, but trying to do it better.”

At P1 it’s not unusual for work parties to come along and experience go-karting and golf all in the one day, and there is a golf league in operation. And the complex is collaborating with nearby The Grange Golf Club in the Adelaide sandbelt, offering members free golf this month to coincide with the LIV Golf tournament at that venue.

At Drummond Golf’s Big Swing Golf facility on the city-edge, they are bracing for a flood of players during the week of LIV just as they saw in 2023.

Venue manager Ben Litchfield said the boom was real.

Big Swing has five bays – three open during the day, and all five at nights.

It has Ambrose competitions every night in the simulator bays.

PGA Professional Tamie Durdin does lessons and has women’s clinics on the radar in the near future.

“It’s only going to get bigger and bigger,” said Litchfield. “Golf’s becoming so popular now and even at places like Glenelg and The Grange, it’s hard to get tee times.

“We’re going to be open a lot longer than a course is, we have no issue with weather, and the cold drinks are no more than two metres away from the simulator.”

Big Swing opened little more than a year ago.

“We get quite a few new golfers coming, people who are getting into golf. “Tamie our coach is about to start some women’s clinics for women getting into golf and we expect them to fill up quickly.”

There are two X Golf facilities in Adelaide – one at Marion and one at West Lakes run by the South Australian National Football League.

The SANFL owns Football Park at West Lakes which is being redeveloped for housing, but also the adjacent Mosaic Hotel. The hotel had an upstairs function floor of 1000 square metres, and when the league looked at what to do with the property, simulator golf was the choice.

X Golf West Lakes has six simulators as well as an 18-hole mini-golf facility, and it is thriving according to manager James Bayer.

“We get a range of people in here,” he said. “If you compare that with the traditional golfer, I think golf has opened up a whole new market for itself. We get a lot of new golfers and the beauty of it is, you might have a group of two new players and four regular golfers, and they all play together.

“We don’t shy away from the entertainment element of it. We’re competing for people’s precious time, and we think that we’ve got a unique opportunity to do it.”

Private coaching in a simulator is also booming and the Adelaide Golf Studio, opened in September, last year, is another option for keen golfers. That facility is owned an operated by PGA Professional Sarah King purely as a teaching and practice venue.

Sally Peers, Acting State Manager for Golf Australia, said the development of a broad range of facilities was ideal for the future of the sport.

“First of all we love it that there are options for people who want to play golf but who for whatever reason, can’t get to a golf course,” said Peers.

“Indoor golf is incredibly popular in the modern environment, it’s accessible, cheap, it’s fun, it’s social and it’s not weather-impacted. We’re also seeing everyone love using the technology and data it provides.

“A lot of new golfers are starting in the simulators. It also is a good way to improve your skills and quite a lot of traditional on course golfers use it for practice. So it’s encouraging in an era when we use the term all golf is golf that these facilities have popped up in Adelaide and we only see them growing the game.”

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