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Paul Rudovsky

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IMPACT OF TOP GOLF AND SIMULATORS
« on: December 02, 2023, 01:40:23 AM »
How many would have bet on an article like this:


https://www.wsj.com/business/for-the-first-time-most-golfers-play-off-course-6359917d?mod=hp_lead_pos11


appearing in The Wall Street Journal?  This could shake out and lead in a number of directions.  For example, for the last few months I have wondered about the future of practice ranges vs. hitting bays/simulators and private clubs, etc.  Land keeps getting more and more expensive, simulators better and less expensive (and providing more precise feedback to those who understand the "physics" involved), etc.


Obviously the golf industry is not protected from change.  I remember some 50 or so years ago, Titleist golf ball packaging included the phrase "Sold only through green grass professionals" (or something to that effect).  Try telling that to Dick's Spring Goods stores...or PGA Superstores for that matter.


Thoughts regarding golf's expansion off of green grass and related issues?

Michael Moore

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Re: IMPACT OF TOP GOLF AND SIMULATORS
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2023, 02:33:00 AM »
I hardly ever make predictions, but it seems obvious that Top Golf is going to make significant inroads and change what it means to play the game. As someone who has railed against golf carts (whose emphasis on sitting and drinking alcohol laid the groundwork for these emerging variants) in every possible forum, played with persimmon gear well into this century, and edited this loving remembrance of things past, Im at peace with that.


Michael Moore - Feature Interview, May 2017
Metaphor is social and shares the table with the objects it intertwines and the attitudes it reconciles. Opinion, like the Michelin inspector, dines alone. - Adam Gopnik, The Table Comes First

Edward Glidewell

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Re: IMPACT OF TOP GOLF AND SIMULATORS
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2023, 01:38:25 PM »
I'm not sure what kind of effect it will actually have. TopGolf is popular, but I don't get the impression that it's all that popular with people who enjoy playing regular golf. I certainly haven't met anyone who considers it a replacement for actual golf, and the people I know who love going to TopGolf still don't have much interest in going out to a course.


Of course that's anecdotal, but in my experience TopGolf is closer to a bowling alley than anything related to standard golf.

Wayne_Kozun

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Re: IMPACT OF TOP GOLF AND SIMULATORS
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2023, 02:56:36 PM »
Top Golf is having zero effect in most parts of the world as they are primarily only in the US. They started in the UK but only have a handful of locations in the UK, and none in many countries where golf is very popular like Ireland,Canada, Japan, South Korea, South Africa, etc.

Craig Sweet

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: IMPACT OF TOP GOLF AND SIMULATORS
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2023, 04:56:13 PM »
Top golf?  It's the bowling alley of golf.  It's party time and no one is seriously thinking its golf.
LOCK HIM UP!!!

John Handley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: IMPACT OF TOP GOLF AND SIMULATORS
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2023, 05:26:38 PM »
I don't go to Top Golf but we have an indoor facility near me with 5 bays with Trackman.  It's busy and a great thing.  I use it for practice and instant feedback and video.   I live in Austin so our weather is pretty good year round.  I love it. Sometimes I go warm up there and then head over to my club 5 min away and head straight to the tee. 


I think more and more these simulators are going to be popular.  I can go play a course in about an hour.  It would never replace real golf for me though.
2024 Line Up: Spanish Oaks GC, Cal Club, Cherokee Plantation, Huntercombe, West Sussex, Hankley Common, Royal St. Georges, Sunningdale New & Old, CC of the Rockies, Royal Lytham, Royal Birkdale, Formby, Royal Liverpool, Swinley Forest, St. George's Hill, Berkshire Red, Walton Heath Old, Austin GC,

Craig Sweet

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: IMPACT OF TOP GOLF AND SIMULATORS
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2023, 06:29:18 PM »
I spent an hour yesterday hitting long irons in the simulator. It's perfect on a cold Montana day and there's no one slowing you down!
LOCK HIM UP!!!

Cal Carlisle

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: IMPACT OF TOP GOLF AND SIMULATORS
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2023, 06:52:22 PM »
I agree with the others about Top Golf - entertainment not sport.


I have a Skytrak and love it. I haven't gone to the driving range since I got it in 2020. Living in Cleveland, OH it's a good way to stay in practice during the winter. You're not using range balls, the feedback is great, and I can hit balls at night.

Tony Ristola

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: IMPACT OF TOP GOLF AND SIMULATORS
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2023, 11:38:34 AM »
How many would have bet on an article like this:


https://www.wsj.com/business/for-the-first-time-most-golfers-play-off-course-6359917d?mod=hp_lead_pos11


appearing in The Wall Street Journal?  This could shake out and lead in a number of directions.  For example, for the last few months I have wondered about the future of practice ranges vs. hitting bays/simulators and private clubs, etc.  Land keeps getting more and more expensive, simulators better and less expensive (and providing more precise feedback to those who understand the "physics" involved), etc.


Obviously the golf industry is not protected from change.  I remember some 50 or so years ago, Titleist golf ball packaging included the phrase "Sold only through green grass professionals" (or something to that effect).  Try telling that to Dick's Spring Goods stores...or PGA Superstores for that matter.


Thoughts regarding golf's expansion off of green grass and related issues?
I'd done some work for a club near Reykjavik that had their driving range confiscated by the local government in order to build an indoor soccer field (two under one roof). As compensation, the club got a new clubhouse, and downstairs they have 25 Trackman's. It's a bit like a bowling alley setup. That's the club's range. The side benefit; the clubhouse and restaurant are very active during the winter months.


They also have a traditional net with a series of mats outside to warmup.


With today's technology, you can get incredible ball flight info, so for older clubs pressed for acreage and cannot extend their range, this is a great solution/alternative. The only drawback is hitting from mats when using irons.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2023, 11:41:03 AM by Tony Ristola »

Joe_Tucholski

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: IMPACT OF TOP GOLF AND SIMULATORS
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2023, 11:58:44 AM »
Put me in the camp that thinks it's going to be the future. 


I've said on here before that my time in Korea almost 10 years was eye opening.  Screen golf was quite popular there as golf is costly.  I don't know why TopGolf isn't there because driving ranges are increddibly popular and walking by them ofen sounded like machine guns going off with constant sounds of balls being struck. 


Screen golf seems to have spread to the US in the last couple of years and I see screen golf businesses popping up all over the place.  They're basically like bars where people hit golf balls instead of throwing darts.  I never went in Korea despite regular invitations from non-golfers.  It's certainly a much less intimidating way to pick up a club, but don't really think a high percantage ever transition to a real course (costs and time being the biggest differences)


Korea also had professional screen golf that was on TV and figure the Tiger Woods/Rory indoor thing is like a step in that direction.  As it is right now I've watched youtube videos of pros playing practice rounds a tons of them play courses with the GCquads giving the data after every shot.  The seem to trust the data as much or more than where the ball ends up.


I don't like the trend as one of the big draws to golf for me is walking.  I don't hit balls on the range and dislike hitting off mats but I can't deny the forces pushing golf in that direction and have built out quite the simulator room in my house. 


I have enjoyed the process of playing courses I won't ever see and building out courses myself.  You don't quite get the same feels watching balls roll across the screen as you do in real life and can't always appreciate the movement of the ground but it's pretty good.

V_Halyard

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: IMPACT OF TOP GOLF AND SIMULATORS
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2023, 03:09:29 PM »
How many would have bet on an article like this:


https://www.wsj.com/business/for-the-first-time-most-golfers-play-off-course-6359917d?mod=hp_lead_pos11


appearing in The Wall Street Journal?  This could shake out and lead in a number of directions.  For example, for the last few months I have wondered about the future of practice ranges vs. hitting bays/simulators and private clubs, etc.  Land keeps getting more and more expensive, simulators better and less expensive (and providing more precise feedback to those who understand the "physics" involved), etc.


Obviously the golf industry is not protected from change.  I remember some 50 or so years ago, Titleist golf ball packaging included the phrase "Sold only through green grass professionals" (or something to that effect).  Try telling that to Dick's Spring Goods stores...or PGA Superstores for that matter.

Thoughts regarding golf's expansion off of green grass and related issues?
Have become a big fan as I have taken newbie friends and family and converted 45% to the outdoor game using Top Golf and a couple of other advanced tech driving ranges as "Gateway Drugs".
For me, I have found a repeatable process and a script:

1: Most importantly you have to make sure you take them with the proper mindset of having fun, serve alcohol and play the games. 
2: Make sure you have a couple "real clubs" that might work for them shaft/offset/Game Improvement etc.  After they play the rental club for a while and get sort of comfortable, slip in a "Try hitting this one". Never fails
3: Then invariably, the question will arise, "Is real golf this fun"
Don't over sell it, The right answer is "Yes but different, let's get you some lessons and come try it."
One recent convert was a full on "I hate Golf and Golfers" person and now they are a range rat.
Go out and make sure they feel the architecture as they learn. Like visiting parade of homes.
So, yes, I am a fan and have seen it bring folks in if the experience is properly curated.
Also, owner of an entry level Skytrak. It was priceless during COVID and Sub Zero Windchill.

Real Estate is getting harder to secure near populated areas so incorporation of this tech is inevitable.
That said, good gca is also surging so detente is a logical path.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2023, 03:19:15 PM by V_Halyard »
"It's a tiny little ball that doesn't even move... how hard could it be?"  I will walk and carry 'til I can't... or look (really) stupid.

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