Golf groovers getting set to play the Ryder Cup course
As Ryder Cup fever builds, there was only one course a group of lady golfers could pick when they went to test out Wimbledon's new indoor golf experience - The Golf Groove.
So the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome - venue for the upcoming biennial Europe v USA match was an easy choice to make from more than 200 courses around the world available on 12 state-of-the-art golf simulators.
The Golf Groove opened up earlier this year, now occupying the top section of Centre Court shopping centre once home to its long-closed fast-food area.
For those who haven't ventured up the Centre Court escalator for some time, the entrance to the facility represents a total transformation with a stunning reception leading to a modern bar and rooftop terrace. With food and live TV sport on offer, it will appeal to golfers and non-golfers alike.
But eight lady members of Leatherhead Golf Club paid a visit to primarily test The Golf Groove's TrackMan simulators, quickly dividing into two groups to occupy two consecutive bays - and the challenge began!
Knowing we were to be supplied with Callaway clubs to use (lady lefties were accommodated too), we just turned up with our golf gloves, casual clothes and trainers. No stuffy clothing rules here.
While it took us just a few minutes to get to grips with the technology, there was always help on hand. As we navigated around the course, learning that the traditional yardage measure dropped to feet as we got closer to a hole caused us some hilarity as our balls zoomed past the holes!
But we soon mastered that aspect, and it actually didn't matter that we all messed up a few holes on the Ryder Cup course. For us - mostly twice-a-week golfers - this was about having fun.
The following day some of us had laughed so much that we realised we'd given ourselves a real abdomen workout. Not that our usual golf is always serious, but this was a refreshing change and made for a great group night out.
While neither of our four-balls managed to get near the 18th hole of the course in our two-hour session, I'm told that regular users can get round 18 holes inside two hours.
But the simulators have other options than playing as many holes as you can fit in during your time - including games that would be more fun for families, and practice sessions for those who want to analyse their shots in detail.
There were a group of men behind us who were simply trying to come up with the longest drive of the day. The different options available seemed to be almost endless.
There are also PGA professionals available for proper tuition and even a 'Zen Putting' experience to practice your skills with the flatstick.
Drinks available include cocktails, an extensive wine and Champagne list and the beer offering includes Wimbledon Pale Ale and Lager. The food menu ranges from small bites and sharing platters to burgers and pizzas.
The Golf Groove TrackMan bay pricing starts from £25 per hour for a single player in an off-peak session with off-peak bays for 2-6 players costing £40 an hour. For more information go to: www.thegolfgroove.com
September 11, 2023
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