Tee off at Pebble Beach in new virtual reality golf bar

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Pebble Beach. Augusta. St. Andrews.

Historic Triangle residents now only have to travel to the Shops at High Street to play some of the most legendary golf courses in the world.

Revolution Golf and Grille opened Memorial Day weekend. The bar and grill hosts six golf simulators produced by HD Golf, a Toronto-based tech company. The room-sized simulators allow golfers to swing their way through digital representations of more than 25 famous 18-hole golf courses from around the world.

“From a realism standpoint, it’s as real as you can get — short of getting a tee time at Pebble Beach,” said Joe Murphy, Marketing Director for HD Golf.

Murphy added the company visits courses and creates the digital models by using geophysical data and high-resolution digital images from drones and satellite fly-bys.

“When we offer a course, it looks and feels real because we capture that course in person,” said Murphy.  “It’s a geophysical scan. You essentially are recreating the course in 100 percent accurate detail.”

The course is then projected onto a large screen spanning one wall of the room. The player’s swing is then measured by four cameras around the room, which determine the ball’s flight path.

Murphy said the cameras also determine club head speed, swing angle, launch angle, swing path and club contact. The computer processes this information and the projector displays the path of the ball as it travels over the 3D model of the course.

Come out swinging 

John Holt takes professional golf lessons in his free time. He stepped in one of Revolution Golf and Grille's HD Golf Simulators to practice his swing. (Andrew Harris/WYDaily)
John Holt takes professional golf lessons in his free time. He stepped in one of Revolution Golf and Grille’s HD Golf Simulators to practice his swing. (Andrew Harris/WYDaily)

Players can expect to use a full set of golf clubs in the simulator, as HD Golf allows golfers to drive from the tee, chip shots from sand traps or putt on the green.

The cameras also provide feedback after each swing — a trait which Revolution’s Director of Marketing and Sales Jacquelyn Liebler said means the high-tech simulators appeal to avid and novice golfers alike.

“If you don’t play golf very well you can come here and practice…It breaks down what you need to do with your form,” Leibler said. “A lot of PGA pros have them and in the off-season they use them to fine-tune their technique.”

The ball’s flight data is displayed on the screen, as is swing analysis. Players can also see a frame-by-frame replay of their swing and even see their swing overlaid a professional golfer’s swing.

‘When you’re actually taking the swing and seeing yourself doing it you’re adding a whole new dimension to the lesson.  ‘Eureka, I get it!’” Murphy said.  “A golf swing happens very quickly. Being able to slow it down and take it apart makes improvements faster…This gives you the metrics to actually improve your game.”

Revolution Golf and Grille in the Shops at High Street. (Andrew Harris/WYDaily)
Revolution Golf and Grille in the Shops at High Street. (Andrew Harris/WYDaily)

The simulators also offer mini-games, where the objective is the break a building’s window or hit a moving golf cart at the driving range.

Murphy said HD Golf employs roughly 50 people who all work under one roof. The imaging team creates course models, the production team constructs the simulator equipment, and engineers work on software updates and supporting customers with their products.

HD Golf’s engineers and remote diagnostic technology allow the simulators to run 99 percent of the time, according to Murphy.  Engineers log in remotely to diagnose and fix any problems faced by customers.

While businesses are popular destinations for HD Golf simulators, Murphy said 70 percent of their clients are homeowners. Models range from $30,000 to $75,000, depending on which features are included.

Players can create accounts and sign in every time they visit Revolution or any other HD Golf Simulator.  Their golf lessons can even be stored on the cloud for future review.

System links will also allow players to compete in tournaments against players from around the world.

“This is not a videogame, it’s actually a fully immersive sim,” Murphy said. “While we make a golf product we’re actually a tech company that makes a golf product vs a golf company that makes a tech product.”

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