While many golf courses display “closed for the season” signs in their windows due to snow on the links, Shadowood Golf Course is still taking tee times during the winter season.
Patrons from as far as Noblesville and Lousiville, Kentucky, are flocking to Shadowood daily to take on nine to 18 holes to play in a less-conventional manner.
In December of 2013, Shadowood purchased a Trugolf E6 indoor golf simulator — allowing golfers to work on their swing year round.
Story continues below gallery
The simulator is set up in the clubhouse at the course.
When playing, golfers use their own set of clubs and balls.
“There are several microphones in the hitting screen that the ball goes into and three sensors where the ball lays,” Shadowood co-owner Ryan Myers explained. “You use your clubs and real balls. The sensors pick up you club head speed and angle. There are 11 different ‘stats’ that the sensors pick up. When the ball hits the screen, it collects all the data and after you swing you watch where your ball lands.
“It’s the top of the line golf simulator that you can get. The No. 1 golfer in the world, Jordan Spieth, has one in his house — the exact one we have.”
Before hitting the virtual links, golfers can adjust the elements and choose from 85 different courses from around the world.
Right now, Shadowood is running a league of 12 teams with 24 golfers.
The league plays at least once a week, and follows the PGA Tour courses while keeping track of scores through the winter months.
Right now, golfers in the league are playing at Pebble Beach in California.
“Since it has been here, we’ve been playing,” golfer Rick Robinette, of Elizabethtown said. “It keeps you tuned up from the summer time. We just enjoy it. It makes a big difference in your game. My short game has gotten better than everything else. It keeps my swing fluid and tuned up. It’s pretty comparable to outside as far as distance and elevation.”
Seymour’s Travis Thompson said he has played over 150 rounds on the simulator.
“I’ve been a member for a long time,” Thompson said. “When they got it, I played it the first night and have been playing ever since. It keeps your swing going all year long.”
Myers said that the technology has provided a solid source of revenue in the offseason.
“It keeps us really busy,” he said. “For a normal golf course, when there’s snow on the ground, you’re pretty much closed. One of the main reasons we got it is because of how much it hurts your game when there’s snow on the ground.
“Your swing takes you at least a month, come spring, to get back into the groove. Now, you can literally play golf 365 days a year — and a lot of golfers love that.”
Since purchasing the equipment, Shadowood has seen a steady increase in business each year during the winter.
Myers predicted that the number of golfers coming to play in the winter has grown 20 percent in each of the past three years.
The simulator is open to the public, but be sure to call in advance for a tee time for a group of up to four.
Between 10 and 12 people are playing per day, and it takes about an hour per person for 18 holes.
The cost of playing is $20 per person for 18 holes and $15 for nine to the public.
Myers said that more than 3,000 holes have been played on the simulator.
Due to the growth in demand, Myers said that the course is looking at purchasing another simulator in the future.