Golf simulator provides winter reprieve
January 19 – DANVILLE – Winter in Illinois is often a dull time for avid or novice golfers looking to improve their game.
With the golf courses closed for the season, more indoor golf facilities and golf simulators are available in the area to keep those golf skills sharp and ongoing.
Up & Down Golf Simulator, 110 N. Vermilion St. in downtown Danville, has been open for over a year now and continues to see new golfers.
Owner Dave Schmidt, of Danville, opened the business in October 2021.
Schmidt transformed the former law office into a putting green with a people’s lobby and three golf simulator bays.
Schmidt is a golfer and thought others would also like to have something nearby to enjoy golf all year round.
“I just saw a need for something,” Schmidt said of opening the business. “Danville has a huge population of golfers. We have four courses in the area. Those golfers have nowhere to go for six months of the year.”
He said the golf simulator provides a realistic golfing experience.
“A golf simulator is more like real golf than a video game,” Schmidt said. “So you’re using real equipment. You’re using a real ball. You’re swinging at full speed. The radar is accurate, to a yard or two. It’s more like playing on a course.”
There are divot mats that are flexible. They’re designed to feel like you’re hitting grass, so you can get under the ball and not feel like you’re hitting a solid surface, Schmidt said.
The game can be fun solo or competitive for couples and groups, with a maximum of four people in a bay. People can play scramble like golfers play on a course.
The company has three bays that can be rented by the hour. Schmidt said they recommend a certain time depending on how many holes someone is trying to play.
Some people may not want to play a round of golf. There are 16 more games considered Top Golf location games, family fun for everyone, Schmidt said.
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The courses are more for people who love golf, he added.
High-end simulators and software are used, and customers can choose from 106 courses including some of the most famous in the world such as Pinehurst, Pebble Beach Golf Links, Torrey Pines and Innisbrook Copperhead.
Schmidt said players can also virtually experience some of the golf courses that people often see on TV.
You can book times on the Up & Down website at www.upanddowngolfsimulator.com. You must be at least 16 years old to play alone, or younger children can play with their family.
The cost is $30 per hour for one bay. There is no charge per person. They recommend one hour per person if the goal is to play 18 holes.
It can cost around $30 per person, which is similar to regular golf costs, Schmidt said.
Up & Down has a set of golf clubs in the bays for people who are just starting out and don’t have their own. People can also bring their own.
Schmidt said birthday parties and other gatherings are regularly scheduled. He had two during a weekend earlier this month and another scheduled for another weekend.
They offer full facility rentals for $90 per hour. Those hosting a party can bring their own table and food. They have the lounge area to use.
The golf simulator is also used by regional groups.
The Oakwood High School golf team practices there once a week during its season, and the Vermilion County Bobcats hockey team also plays there.
Up & Down also offers adult golf leagues once a week. Schmidt said it was a team race and it was a point system.
“If you have a bad week, it doesn’t completely rule you out of the tournament,” he said. “It’s a ton of fun. It’s more just laid back…”
Schmidt said downtown Danville was his No. 1 choice for locating the golf simulator.
“Danville downtown, I think in my opinion, has come a long way. It’s a really good place to be right now. We have a lot of new businesses opening up and doing pretty well. and succeed,” he said.
He said the business is seasonal. During the summer, they don’t expect to be busy.
“A simulator will never outperform a course,” he said.
“The community responded in an incredible way the first year. We were basically booked our whole season,” Schmidt said.
Walk-in traffic also happens daily with inquiries and people wanting to check it out.
A recent walk-in was Bob Peavler Sr. of Danville who said he wanted to come over sometime and see how it was. He asked questions and said he was looking forward to coming back.
General hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. There are staff in the fall, winter and spring. From June to August there are staff just when someone books in advance and wants to play.
Schmidt says a high school student who works a few hours a week with him.
Most people are golfers who come there, but some are just looking for something fun to do on a Friday night, he added.