SHERIDAN — Weather in the region hasn’t lent itself to golf on a consistent basis. The Powder Horn opened its course a week and a half ago for the first time this year but has since shut down for stretches as more snow fell.
The Powder Horn, however, has something to cure the golf itch when the weather doesn’t cooperate. Just a couple months ago, the club purchased a state-of-the-art golf simulator that club members and their guests can enjoy as the snow trickles down outside.
“I felt there was need for it,” said Robert Kearney, The Powder Horn general manager. “This time of year, especially because we just finished up with The Masters, everybody starts thinking about golf. … People were chomping at the bit to play, and to be able to have this has been great.”
The Powder Horn elected to purchase and install a simulator as a way to best utilize space within its clubhouse. The simulator is situated in an awkwardly shaped room where yoga classes used to take place. Now, instead of working out muscle kinks, the room is utilized for golfers of all ages to hone their game, have fun and enjoy the company of others.
“It’s a great asset to the club,” said Powder Horn member Dan Overton.
The simulator can accommodate all skill levels. The program encompasses games in which kids can see how many windows they can knock out of a high rise. There’s a driving and chipping range to help people who have never played get started.
The highlight of the machine, however, revolves around the 32 virtual courses that accurately depict well-known and historic courses from around the world. Members can take a trip to the West Coast to play Pebble Beach, to the East Coast to play Harbour Town — where the PGA Tour just got done hosting an event — or across the pond to the iconic international course of St. Andrews.
Kearney indicated that the simulator is spot-on accurate, down to the yard, when it comes to hitting the driver, while there’s about a five-yard window of accuracy when striking irons.
The simulator also cuts down on the time it takes to play a typical round of golf. Where the average round outside will eat up four or five hours, the simulator will get the average threesome done inside of two hours.
Kearny believes that time reduction represents the greatest perk of the simulator.
“People don’t have five hours a day to dedicate to a round of golf,” he said. “… So if people want to come in here for two hours with their buddies on a Saturday, and not play a full 18 holes, they can do that.”
The simulator costs $7.50/hour and includes all the golf that can get squeezed into that time frame. The club schedules tee times every two hours.
The simulator also lends a helping hand outside of the world of golf. During the month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a percentage of the revenue the club makes from the simulator goes toward the Susan G. Komen fund.
“It’s great. I can see myself, even in the summer if we have rains, coming in — and we have large group — on Saturdays and I can see us just sort of gobbling up time down there,” Overton said. “To be able play for a couple hours will be good in the summer, and it’s great in the winter when some of us are sort of hunkered in here.”
Golfers hunkered down for quite some time this past winter and early spring. But The Powder Horn’s new attraction may help golfers of all ages cure that golf itch when the sun isn’t shining.