Winter Golf in Wetaskiwin
So many people love their golf. But Albertans know that every year the hot summer days of golf are followed by chilly fall days and not long after that winter and snow arrive. It’s January, 2014 and looking to the west, the Montgomery Glen Golf Course is deeply covered in snow. So are the Loons, Pipestone Creek, and Triple Creek golf courses. Christmas has passed and in some cases, so has the VISA limit so a ‘quick fix’ golf trip to Arizona is not in the plans.
But don’t go into a golf withdrawal. Soon Wetaskiwin golfers will be back in the full swing of things thanks to the vision of local businessman, Mr. Sam Moussa.
The old Theatre building on Main Street, Wetaskiwin is being converted into the new Wetaskiwin Golf Center and by the end of January the Center will be equipped with two state-of- the-art golf simulators, an equipment and clothing shop, putting and driving practice area, food and beverage lounge and ample free space for children to play.
Each of the 2 Korean X-Golf manufactured simulators cost $65K plus installation costs and remodelling of the Theatre. The simulators provide a golf experience that is as realistic as it gets without actually being on any of the 89 courses that can be featured with the 3D modelling. Mr. Moussa is proud of the quality. “This system is second-to-none. It is in the top group of simulators, if not the best. If you look at the screen you can see birds flying across the horizon, a duck swimming in the pond, leaves are rippling in the trees, and when a ball lands in the water it makes a splash and when it hits a tree it makes a crack. One of the most difficult shots to simulate is the short game. X-Golf provides one of the most realistic experiences in the short game.”
Each detail is reproduced with the 3D modelling; trees, grass, course, fairways, greens, water are accurately replicated on each of the courses. Hitting a tree or landing in a bunker, the ball reacts just as it would if you were on the actual course. John Wilson, head pro and manager of the Montgomery Glen Golf and Country Club, will be taking on the added responsibility of managing the Golf Center. Based on almost 20 years of golfing experience, he explains, “The simulator provides instant and accurate feedback about every shot. If my club is open the ball goes to the right. If it is closed, to the left and if I have a high club face the ball goes high and if I have a low club face, the ball goes low. There is no question that if people play golf on the simulator it will improve their game.”
Moussa describes the make-up of the new Golf Center. “This will be an extension of the golf course (Montgomery Glen Golf and Country Club located on the North West corner of Wetaskiwin) and will maintain peoples’ interest in golf year round. The Center will have a retail clothing and equipment store so people can purchase their clothing before going on a golf trip. They can also get properly fitted with top end golf clubs. We will be offering lessons and starting leagues; seniors, ladies, mens and juniors,”
using the simulator to improve fitting of clubs and giving lessons
“John (Wilson) hasn’t had the best tools possible to fit clubs directly suited to each golfer,” stated Moussa, “but with the simulator showing every aspect of your game, the Golf Center will offer that service.” Accurate fitting is possible by using information created by X-Golf. Using different trial clubs including the golfer’s current set and comparing the data collected by the simulator Wilson will be able to establish which shaft, weight and design of club is best for each individual.
The simulators will play an important role assisting Wilson when offering lessons as the sensors record and report the speed of the golfer’s club head, ball velocity, golf swing path, club face position at impact, strike point on the club face, and ball spin. Wilson explains, “X-Golf not only collects the data but allows the golfer to save it to track and monitor the progress of their swing enabling them to make adjustments to improve their performance. X-Golf will be a valuable tool for beginners to learn correct practises and experienced golfers to improve their game. Everyone enjoys the driving aspect of the game but this equipment provides realistic shots in the short game. Each chip shot or putt reacts to the virtual greens as it would in a real course. This feature is not available with all simulators and one of the main reasons we went to X-Golf.”
Moussa concludes by saying, “We are excited about the Golf Center. We feel the Center will offer the community another winter activity and help introduce young people to the game of golf. We are not hooked up yet but the technology will have the capacity to play with a friend on the same golf course anywhere in the world where there is similar equipment.” Each simulator system rents for $25 per hour until 5:00 pm and then rises to $40 per hour. A typical 18 hole game takes 1 hour for 1 golfer, 2 hours for 2 and so on up to 6 hours for 6 people.
Looking to work on your game or just looking to enjoy a little golf, the Golf Center will provide the most realistic golf experience possible including the addition of adverse weather conditions such as rain, snow or wind. Golfers will be astounded by the accuracy and quality of play on the simulated course.
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