Golf is moving indoors. The newest gizmo pushes the game several links beyond the driving range that's in front of a screen projection. It's called simulator golf, and it lets golfers play an entire game driving, chipping and putting all in front of a screen projection.
"Indoor golf facilities such as this are rare," said Dan Muzzey, owner of Player's Club Golf on Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica, "not just uncommon, but rare. But it's one of the fastest growing businesses in Korea."
So it's probably no surprise that another such facility opened in Koreatown earlier this month. It's named Pebble Beach on 6th, and the world's most famous courses are simulated.
"The current 42 top courses can be played," said John Park, co-owner of the facility. A player can shoot, say, Augusta National or any other famous course, including those in Asia.
Particularly appealing to some: A customer can play tournaments via the Internet. A golfer at Pebble Beach on 6th, for example, can play with a friend in Seoul, South Korea.
In fact, Muzzey organized a Rider Cup tournament at Player's Club against golfers in the United Kingdom.
Muzzey bought two simulators for $65,000 each and leases a third.
"The barrier to entry is expense," said Muzzey, who opened Player's Club in early 2008. He has 2,500 square feet at the moment, but is finalizing plans to build a 28,000-square-foot facility that will feature more simulators and other country club amenities, such as a gym, saunas and card rooms.
Pebble Beach on 6th has seven simulators.
"It's practically the same as being on the greens with the ball's travel distance or trajectory," said Bob Jang, who was playing at Pebble Beach on 6th recently. "It came as a shock to me that I could play a round like this indoors on any course of my choosing."
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