Why is the indoor golf concept luring entrepreneurs?

By: April 13, 2016

Unsurprisingly, one of the main reasons why people don’t want to play or give up playing golf is their time constraints (the other is the overall cost). This perception is also supported by Syngenta‘s Growing Golf in the UK research. This phenomenon didn’t discourage some entrepreneurs to come up with indoor golf solutions to tackle the challenge.

The concept of indoor golf is not really a novel idea. Here I am not talking about the indoor golf simulators, but rather the indoor golf complexes (I would not list TopGolf here). Many years ago (in 2009-10??) my friend Jon S. Standing from the Netherlands presented his indoor golf complex solution the Indoor Golf Arena that will be built right next to the Schiphol International Airport.

What does the Dutch indoor golf complex solution look like?

It has a 12,000m2 undulating synthetic grass practice facilities, designed by Nicklaus Design and installed by Southwest GreensWe can play either on Foresight Sports golf simulators or on an unconventional driving range (I have not got information about the pricing: on hourly basis vs. played holes.). It is not clear whether we can get help from golf professionals, but this will be the training center of the PGAs of Europe.

The location is quite promising since it is close to one of Europe’s busiest international airport. The international golf travelers can definitely be a potential source of customers in addition to the local golfers (golf is the 3rd most popular sports in the Netherlands: cca. 387,429 registered golfers). Unlike the American indoor golf complex solution (see below the details), this indoor golf complex has a 200 room 4-star hotel and a conference center as well.

At first, we might not think about the weather aspect of an indoor golf complex development project, but in this is not negligible (especially if you are in a rainy country like Holland). If you would like to build such complex in a country where there are more sunny months than rainy or snowy ones, then it might not be as attractive as it could be.

What does the REALiTEE Golf indoor golf complex solution look like?

The REALiTEE Golf indoor golf complex solution has debuted not so long time ago at the Golf Industry Show in San Diego, in February 2016. Unlike in the Indoor Golf Arena, here golfers can play authentic short game play. Robert Trent Jones II will work on the golf course design of the live area. What they promise is that we will be able to finish our game within 2 hours. It is still unknown where will be built the first REALiTEE indoor golf complex.

Just like in the case of the Indoor Golf Arena, here golfers will play on real-feel artificial grass with hazards, slopes, and greens .

What is really interesting and forward thinking is that golfers will wear REALiTEE smart watches, acting as high-tech scorecards and guiding through the experience. It will also provide playing options and help golfers to socialize and manage their food and drink orders. An interesting aspect of smart watch usage (Apple Watch despite the hopes is not as popular as it should be) how will the owners utilize the personal data to provide customized services. The personalized offers and services are a must have in 2016.

The future indoor golf complex will be built on less than 2 acresMore than 120 players can be accommodated at any one time in the typical REALiTEE venue, with up to twelve unique golf simulators and 18 flagsticks.

2 pricing options will be for sure: hourly play and long-term membership. The venues can also be booked out for large group events which can run late into the evening.

As we can see the projects have many similar features and services. However, the Indoor Golf Arena shows better business potentials for many reasons:

  • is not relying 100% on golf —>hotel, conference center,
  • location,
  • hosting the PGAs of Europe Training Center.

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