A PAIR of members of Rhos-on-Sea Golf Club have set up a new business venture that they hope is going to prove a big hit right across North Wales and beyond.
Adam Jones and Darren Langshaw have teamed up as Virtual Golf UK and have already installed what they hope will be the first of six indoor golf simulators across the region.
The flagship facility, in the former snooker room at Prestatyn Golf Club, opened with a soft launch early last month.
The duo are using ProTee technology in the facility that they constructed themselves in just three weeks. Four handicapper Adam explained: “We tried lots of different systems but ProTee was the best as it has 120 courses all over the world that you can play, including the two most popular – Augusta and St Andrews.
“It’s incredibly realistic, you can even pick what the weather conditions are like.
“There are also some fantasy courses you can play and there is even an option to create your own course.
“We feature a different par three hole every month and run a nearest-the-pin competition. It costs £1 to enter and the winner gets some Pro V1 balls. It’s just a bit of fun but has proven really popular in the first month.
“For April we’ve picked the famous 12th at Augusta to tie in with this month’s US Masters.”
The pair also have a secondary software system. “We have the ability to offer up to 42,000 courses and the graphics are even better.
“You can play against other people all over the world,” added Adam, who lives in Rhos-on-Sea.
Darren first came up with the idea two years ago when he found a unit available in the Wirral area but the local council refused to give permission for change of usage and eventually they started looking in the North Wales area.
“There are so many golfers in North Wales and not too many of these simulators around so it seemed like a good place to start,” said Darren, a 16-handicapper.
“Prestatyn actually approached me to say that the snooker room would be available if we were interested in leasing it. It’s great for us to be at such a well-known and well-used club, but it’s also great for the club itself too due to the extra revenue that now comes in for food and drink at the bar.”
Not happy to rest on their laurels, the duo are already planning for the future. “We are looking to develop and have four or five other facilities elsewhere. There were almost 100 at the launch night and many more have been coming to have a look since then. We even had Dennis Taylor, Stan Boardman and Mike England pop in to see the facility when they were here for a game last month,” added Darren, from Abergele.
The specially designed mats have 100 sensors and a separate putting sensor. Players can play right or left-handed.
The launch monitor gives all the stats necessary for coaching such as clubhead speed, ball flight, launch angle etc.
“Essentially there are two sides to the facility – entertainment and learning,” said Adam, who also runs a management and training consultancy business. “As well as having fun playing the different courses it’s also great for teaching on.
“We are able to set-up the machine to a driving range setting. Members have been coming in and hitting balls to warm up before they go out to play on the real course.
“Ladies have been using it on a Friday too. You learn a lot more about your ball flight than when you just hit balls in a normal golf net.”
Darren added: “The feedback from Prestatyn has been great and we are actively looking for other clubs in which to set up similar rooms.
“It doesn’t need a vast amount of space but the height of the ceiling does need to be three metres.
“Players can bring their own clubs or use the ones we have here. Opening times are flexible and it’s ideal for anyone whether they’re keen golfer or someone just wanting to give the game go.”
For more details call 07514 985451, email email@example.com or visit www.virtualgolfuk.com.