Nancy Edmonds Hanson
Don’t put those golf clubs away just yet. Though The Meadows and the Moorhead Country Club are closed for the season, golf enthusiasts now can tee up year-round at Moorhead’s brand-new destination for fans of the sport, The Clubhouse Indoor Golf Lounge.
You can thank the world of video gaming for the new golf lounge at 805 30th Ave. S. – along with Matt Gilbertson and Jason Ennen. The local chiropractor and real estate agent have carved out a new virtual course for those already longing for more days on the links. Equipped with five video simulation bays, the high-tech playground opens on Black Friday. Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
“While Mom shops for bargains, Dad and the kids can get out and have a great time,” Matt predicts. He foresees The Clubhouse, with its cozy lounge area and ability to accommodate a quintet of foursomes at a time, as a popular destination for not only the most avid golfers, but for date nights, corporate events, birthday parties and other casual gatherings.
The technology is not new to the area, however; Golf Addiction has been offering similar games for several years, and the Moorhead Country Club has one. But The Clubhouse is Moorhead’s first virtual golf center open to the public.
The golfer steps into a bay that’s 15 feet deep, facing a golf-course vista projected on a video screen 15 feet wide by 10 feet tall. He tees up his ball in front of a projected straight-on or fly-over view of the hole he’s playing as an overhead camera focuses on his swing. While the real ball soars and bounces off the screen, the video system shows it soaring in real time across the course, adjusting the landscape to the spot where it lands. Meanwhile, it calculates the ball’s speed and distance.
There’s no putting on this course. Instead, the landing spot determines the final score for each hole. “If it’s on the green, it’s an automatic two-putt,” Matt says. Inside six feet is a one-putt.”
Golfers can choose to play not only The Meadows or MCC, but any of 15,000 golf courses all around the world available on the software, Golf Club 2019. “And it’s 68 and overcast every day,” he points out. “Not just that – there’s no wind. If you’re playing The Meadows, that’s a big plus.”
The idea for The Clubhouse was born last April on the front nine at MCC, where Matt, Jason and their wives Kim and Amy were playing a round on a pleasant spring day. “We were tossing around business ideas, and he suggested this. I told him, ‘That’s a terrible idea’” Matt remembers. “But then we came up with offering memberships, and it didn’t look so bad after all.”
At $50 per month, membership offers certain benefits to regular golfers. The hourly rate to reserve a sim unit is $30, versus $45 for walk-ins. Members can also book dates 14 days in advance. Golf leagues are being planned., and Matt says they’ll offer lessons if they can find a PGA professional to teach them.
The lounge will serve beverages and basic snacks. For those hungrier for heartier fare, nearby Murphy’s Pub is developing a menu that can be delivered direct to the golf club.
Matt, who also serves on the City Council, expects the Eighth Street/30th Avenue intersection to soon be bustling again, with 100 apartment units being built across the street by the Enclave Companies and another slated for the former Days Inn site. “This is going to be a busy, busy place,” he predicts.
To reserve tee times, visit theclubhousemn.com or call (218) 477-3300.