July 18th, 2018

A warm place for winter golfers

By Mo Cranker on December 26, 2017.

Rick Hilsenddager and Rob Pomreinke talk about their next moves during their game of virtual golf at Cottonwood Coulee Golf Course Thursday afternoon. The course opened the virtual course a few weeks ago and offers a wide range of courses from around the world. -- NEWS PHOTO MO CRANKER


For golfers in Medicine Hat, Christmas hit a few weeks ago.

At the beginning of the month Cottonwood Coulee Golf Course opened its virtual golf course, which allows golfers to play a wide range of courses no matter how much snow is on the ground.

“This is something that has been on my mind for a while,” said course general manager Mac Baker. “I’ve been here at the course now for six years and I came down here from Edmonton. Up there, they have these all over the place. For me, since we don’t have one that’s as accessible as this, I wanted to bring one here. For the last year or so I’ve been looking a lot and brought my plans to the owners here at the course and now we’re all set up here and running great.”

The indoor simulator currently has 10 courses from around the world ready to be played, and another three coming soon.

“We actually just ordered Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and the Links at Spanish Bay,” he said. “I think that will generate a lot of interest around the city, being able to see those courses here in the city. It costs about $500 to play at these courses, so the $35 we’re charging is a bit less than that.”

The course charges per-hour, not per-person, at a $35 per-hour rate during the day, and $40 at night. Baker says the technology is relatively new, and the course is the only one in the city.

“The technology has been around for a little while, ours is made by Foresight Sports out of San Diego and it’s actually one of the more responsive ones out there. It’s a very reliable and accurate launch monitor, which lets you play a more realistic game,” he said. “The monitor tracks ball speed, ball spin and the launch angle and it sends all that information through the computer, so there’s a little more to it than playing golf during the season, but it still offers a great experience.”

After opening on Dec. 2, Baker says there have been many familiar and unfamiliar faces at the course looking to play a quick 18 holes, and that he is excited to see all of the interest around the simulator.

“It’s been great so far,” he said. “With December being so busy with the holidays and what not, it’s been busier than I expected here. It’s been great to see some new faces coming out to try out the indoor golf here. There’s been a lot of interest and a lot of talk around town about the simulator and it’s exciting to see for us.”

Rob Pomrenke was one of the people using the simulator Thursday afternoon, and he says his first time with indoor golf has been fun and that he will likely be a return customer.

“It’s been great,” he said. “It lets you keep your swing up during the winter months. We’re not playing for money today, so it’s just about having fun. It’s good to get you off the couch and good to keep you in the game — the best part is that you can use mulligans.”

The club is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on the weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., but Baker says if the simulator is booked, people can play.

“If people call ahead and book — we’ll be here,” he said. “The bar is open, we’ve got some food to order, people have had some parties here — it’s been great.”

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