When it rains, switch to simulators, play golf indoors

Today, indoor simulators have become a very viable solution to those who choose to remain in the metro but still crave a game.
Golfer playing a shot on the course chosen by him
Golfer playing a shot on the course chosen by him

CHENNAI: A few years ago, the onset of Northeast Monsoon in Chennai and the resultant temporary closure of the golf courses offered limited options for city golfers. Either one had to put away one’s golf clubs for a few weeks, or bag them and fly off to other golf courses where play was possible. Today, indoor simulators have become a very viable solution to those who choose to remain in the metro but still crave a game.

The badminton template

Many in the sporting fraternity are of the opinion that golf today is where badminton was a few years ago. Golf is at that nascent stage in the country, with quite a few stepping up to invest in popularising the sport – the equivalent of Gopichand’s Academy is the need of the hour and players here and there are stepping up with the indoor golf simulators. It is a versatile facility that meets many needs.

Progress report

The Bravo golf simulator is one such simulator, installed by S Raj Kumar, a habitual winner in many tournaments at the Madras Gymkhana Golf annexe. An architect by profession, Raj Kumar has installed two simulators, one a Korean and the other, a Chinese make. In the last week, his Golf Spot has been the destination for a number of amateur golfers till late evening and I decided to check it out.

I opted for the Rs 800 per hour slot (any number of players can play in that slot for that fee) and chose the driving range option, first. It analysed my swing, swing speed, club path, club face, spin, launch angle and so on. If you are the self-evaluating kind of golfer, the action replay mode gives you a very useful reality check.

Moving on to a round, I was perplexed by the sheer number of courses available: 80, including the Augusta, Pebble Beach, Sawgrass, Birch Hill, St. Andrews, Benest, Lakewood, Okinawa, Ocean Hills, Hirakawa and many more. The courses feature up and down terrain changes, strategic bunkers and challenging water bodies. I settled on the Benest Golf Course, S Korea, and matched up against my partner.

Iron out kings

Initially, one feels inhibited, going through with one’s full swing in an indoor environment. However, the playback report card makes you forget everything else and your mind is fully focused on golf, as it would, on the course. You do not miss your caddy or your range finder as the simulator displays all the information on the screen, including the flora, fauna, depth of the bunker, elevation required if one has landed in the roughs, etc. When a couple of my iron shots were unsatisfactory, I was invited to dip into their storage of clubs, for better results. Raj Kumar does not charge extra for the clubs.

While I was engrossed in that task, four Koreans walked in for an enquiry. When informed that the facility is open until 9 pm, they whooped in joy. “After office, we will come,” they said and skipped out, after taking a few practice shots. That’s another plus here – play hours extend into night, something very few golf courses offer in India.

The simulator affords many options to golfers at various stages. A beginner, who is yet to become a member of a club, can use the simulator to get the basic swing right. A regular golfer can use the facility to fine tune his swing and also experiment with his technique. Avid golfers keen on playing with their regular group can do so and engage in their familiar friendly rivalry. If weather or time is standing between you and golf, the indoor simulator will help you get your regular golf fix. There are other simulators available in the city though they are not set up the same way.

(The writer is the Lady Captain at Cosmo TNGF)

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