New golf course simulators to be showcased

by Peter Bodley
Managing Editor

A new amenity for golfers at the city of Coon Rapids’ Bunker Hills Golf Course will be showcased during the 2012 Coon Rapids Snowflake Days celebration.

The PGA Tour widescreen golf simulator is made by aboutGolf of Ohio. There are four of these simulators set up in the new Bunker Hills Golf Course Clubhouse. Photo from the aboutGolf website

When the new Bunker Hills Golf Course clubhouse opened for business in June 2011, it came with a “state of the art” golf simulator center with four aboutGolf PGA widescreen tour simulators, which are open to the general public.

And this year’s Snowflake Days will feature the inaugural Mayor’s Cup Simulator Golf Tournament Friday, Jan. 27 and Saturday, Jan. 28.

According to Tim Anderson, Bunker Hills golf director, the idea for the tournament came from Coon Rapids Mayor Tim Howe.

The mayor wanted to do something to promote Snowflake Days while highlighting Bunker Hills’ new golf simulator center, Anderson said.

“This is an exciting new event that brings together a phenomenal winter golf experience and the new Bunker Hills Clubhouse,” said Diane Buszta, Coon Rapids Snowflake Association president.

The field is limited to 24 two-person teams and late last week, two weeks before the tournament, there were already 12 teams registered to play, according to Anderson.

The format is an 18-hole scramble with an entry fee of $25 per player.

First round matches will be played Friday, Jan. 27, 5:30 p.m., and Saturday, Jan. 28, 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The top eight teams based on the 18-hole scores qualify for the finals at 5 p.m., which will be nine holes.

The lowest two scores from the first round will play for the championship, with third and fourth place competing, fifth versus sixth and seventh versus eighth places.

In the event of a tiebreaker, there will be a chipoff from a predetermined location.

Prizes will include Bunker Hills gift cards, merchandise and rounds of golf as well as gift cards from the Harvest Grill restaurant, which is also located at the Bunker Hills Clubhouse.

“The event is open to anyone and everyone,” Anderson said.

To play the simulator, golfers use their usual equipment – clubs, shoes and gloves – but the ball is supplied by the Bunker Hills Pro Shop because it is a special ball designed specifically for simulator use, according to Anderson.

In terms of a round of golf, “the simulator is very accurate technology,” he said.

But it also provides an added social experience that is not necessarily found on the golf course itself “because you don’t have to walk or ride a cart constantly,” Anderson said.

Golf simulators are not new at Bunker Hills. But there was only one in the old clubhouse.

And with four simulators, Bunker Hills has more than any other golf course in the Twin Cities area, Anderson said.

“The use has exceeded our expectations,” he said. “They are being used a lot.”

“It’s just like a regular round of golf, except that you are aiming at a virtual hole.”

Reservations to play the simulator can be made online one week in advance at bunkerhillsgolf.com or by phone.

For one or two golfers the cost is $16 per player per hour for the public, $14 for senior/junior and patron members, while for three to five golfers, the cost is $8 each player per hour for the public and $7 each for senior/junior and patron.

For a league, the rate is $28 per player for a four-hour block.

According to its website, aboutGolf, the Ohio-based company, from which Bunker Hills purchased the simulators, it is a world leader in golf simulators and golf performance technology.

The simulators offer more than 50 famous courses plus multiple driving ranges that “provide game improvement and hours of entertainment,” the website states.

To reserve a spot in the Mayor’s Cup Simulator Golf Tournament, call Anderson at 763-421-4141.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com


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