Indoor golf, a shorter ball, obscene money and more

The wonderful world of indoor golf

Over the years, I’ve been to a number of fittings where I’ve hit balls against a screen, usually with some famous golf hole being projected. Oddly though, I had never actually played 18 holes on a golf simulator. So, this past week I decided it was time to do something about that and booked a tee time at the Orillia location of Tee2Green. Unlike some of the more upscale facilities in the region that feature lounges, bars and foodservice, Tee2Green is pretty basic, with two hitting bays on the edge of a busy retail golf operation. Once I was planted in front of the big screen though, everything outside was forgotten.

I chose to play Pebble Beach (Hole #7 pictured above) because I know the holes and thought that might give me an edge. (Note to self: just cuz you know where the trouble is doesn’t mean you can avoid it.) My game is pretty rusty this time of year, despite a handful of rounds in Florida last month and it certainly showed on screen.

My drives and iron shots were pretty much what I’m used to seeing on a real course, but I really struggled with chip shots under 50 yards, bunker shots and putting. Not sure if it was me or the simulator but when I tried to hit any kind of finesse shot, I usually ended up airmailing my target. It was the same with putting. What I thought was required to get a 40-foot putt to the hole was usually too much, never more so than when I putted off the 7th green into the Pacific Ocean.

Overall, it was a terrific experience and I’m hooked. I’m already planning my next few rounds and look forward to seeing different makes of simulators and different courses.

Note: I’m also working on an article about indoor golf so if anyone has any input, I’d love to hear from you either by email or in the Comments section below.

Changes coming to Nottawasaga Resort

I had a note in my Inbox this morning from Jamie Sheppard, Director of Golf at Nottawasaga Resort in Alliston. It seems they’re about to switch some golf holes to improve the flow and allow the staff to work from a single pro shop. The Resort formerly had 45 holes but as of May will feature two 18-hole routings:

We’ve taken the best holes of the Ridge and Briar Hill Course with their varied elevations and combined them into a challenging 18-hole course that will test the skill levels of many a seasoned golfer. The Ridge Course name remains the same. The second 18-hole course, the Valley, will be a combination of the existing Valley and Green Briar holes and will continue to test your accuracy as you negotiate your way along the winding banks of the Nottawasaga River and the water features that dot the landscape.

Just say NO to bifurcation

The biggest news this week was the announcement by the USGA and R&A that they’ve initiated a Model Local Rule (MLR) that will give tournament organizers the option of using a special ball for professional and elite amateur competitions that will travel shorter distances than current balls.

The Rule is not scheduled to go into effect until January 1, 2026, and invites player feedback until August 14 of this year. It appears that we won’t have to wait until August for comments. Feedback was swift and almost universally negative. Most professionals were emphatic that distance is a skill and something fans want to see and any attempt to curtail it would be harmful to the Tours. Several players challenged the notion that the USGA and R&A should have any say in what happens on pro Tours, conveniently forgetting that those organizations also manage the U.S. Open and Open Championship respectively.

Manufacturers were more diplomatic in their reaction, vowing to study the MLR, but it’s unlikely they’ll be too excited about making a ball that nobody will buy. Then there’s the whole issue of needing different clubs to hit the new balls and it starts to sound like a major headache.

Modern distance has rendered a few historic courses obsolete but only for a few thousand golfers worldwide. The rest of us will always struggle to get more distance. Maybe Justin Thomas put it best when he said, “This sounds like they’re trying to create a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist.”

One of the most inspirational things about golf is that the worst duffers play the same equipment as the best players and in their mind, they can imagine doing the same things as the pros. Any attempt to bifurcate the equipment specs robs players of that element.

For the record, I’ve always been opposed to bifurcation in any form and will continue to be.

What channel is that on?

This week I received an email alerting me to the fact that an Australian investor and golf enthusiast had just ‘tipped’ $1.2 million into a ‘web3’ golf company to help it launch a ‘world-first golf metaverse.’ The new entity will be able to ‘livestream’ the NSW Golf Championship, making it the first time globally that a major sporting event will be streamed inside a metaverse. This is all on top of the ‘golf NFT marketplace’ and ‘consumer digital wallet’ integrated into a golf scoring app that the company had already developed. This golf metaverse is also a world-first use of web3 technology to connect the physical game of golf with digital wallets and an ‘immersive online community experience.’

Sounds complicated. I’m guessing that’s not part of my Rogers cable package.

Out of control

Despite claims about growing the game internationally and spending more time with their families, players jumped to LIV Golf for more money, lots and lots of it. Naturally the PGA Tour responded by creating designated events with larger purses and magically finding tens of millions more for their silly PIP program. This at the same time as the NFL is into their free agency period where quarterbacks are signing for hundreds of millions and even linemen are getting four-year deals worth $75-80 million. Seems obscene to me. Makes the Champions Tour seem quaint, even dignified, where first prize is often a paltry $300,000.

Sorry, wrong address

Right after the Players Championship concluded last Sunday night, I received an email stating that I could walk in Scottie Scheffler’s footsteps on the pristine conditions of TPC Sawgrass with a round of golf, one night stay at the Resort and breakfast in the Clubhouse, all for just $904 per person. ($1,240 in beaver pelts.) That would be wonderful I thought, but not even remotely in the budget. Maybe I should forward the offer to one of those NFL lineman who will be making $20 million this season.

Peter Mumford
Peter Mumford is the Editor of Fairways Magazine. He's played over 500 different courses in 21 countries and met some fascinating people along the way. He's also a long-suffering Toronto Maple Leafs fan.

2 thoughts on “Indoor golf, a shorter ball, obscene money and more

  1. Always entertaining to read Peter. Check the PGA of Ontario Winter Series League if looking to plug more for indoor golf.

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