Three reasons not to golf include bad weather, a struggling golf game and time constraints, but all of those challenges are scratched away with the newly installed Newport Golf Simulator at the HCM Wellness Center’s PGA-recognized indoor Golf Studio, overseen by PGA Instructor Edwin Dickens.
Precision graphics and state-of-the-art technology simulate courses like Pebble Beach Resort in California, Bethpage Black in New York and 88 other golf courses—all in the comfort of the HCM Wellness Center.
The golf simulator has its own tee box and large screen, and a golfer can swing, chip or putt just as they would on the course. The real ball drops when it hits the screen, and a series of 16 sensors and sonic tracking calculate the authentic flight and placement of a simulated ball on the course. The big screen also shows a picturesque vantage point from wherever the ball lands.
Dickens said the simulator calculates the ball flight and club head information. "So, it not only accurately places the ball," he said, "It can tell you exactly why the ball went where it did. From a golf instruction standpoint, this is a huge benefit as it allows the student to see what the instructor sees." After the swing, the simulator shows 10 different variables including the club path, club face, launch angle, ball and club speed and smash factor.
The simulator offers a variety of tournament play formats. They include: stroke play, scramble, skins, closest to the pin and longest drive competitions. "We plan to have a number of tournaments for all skill levels," Dickens said. "We will offer events for men, ladies and juniors. One of the really neat options we will have is to be able to offer a tournament here that is simultaneously being played on the PGA Tour. I think it will be great fun to play courses like Torrey Pines or Cog Hill the same week that the PGA Tour has their tournament at those venues."
Other golf courses on the simulator include: St. Andrews, Oakmont, Royal Melbourne, Harbour Town, Firestone, The Belfry, Spyglass Hill, Oakland Hills and Pinehurst #2.
"It’s not always fun to play or learn outside when temperatures are too low, too high or it’s raining," Dickens said. "This is a great opportunity to play regardless of the weather. Course conditions such as wind, clouds, sunrise and sunset can be created by the simulator. So you can create a variety of playing conditions, or a nice sunset on the Maui coast as you play Kapalua."
Dickens said that it takes most golfers about an hour to play 18 holes.
To schedule a round or golf lesson using the Newport Golf Simulator, call the HCM Wellness Center at (830) 997-1355.