The golf club goes high-tech for every season
Innisfail Golf Club invests $100,000 in a pair of state-of-the-art golf simulators
INNISFAIL – Imagine for a moment taking a powerful golf swing and within seconds you know not only how far you are from the pin, but also the precise ball and club speed.
Imagine still playing some of the top 60 golf courses in the world and doing it indoors in Innisfail any time of the year.
For recreational and professional golfers, as well as kids who just want to have fun, it’s all true. This is state-of-the-art technology that can collect and deliver all the essential data on every type of golf shot for every level of golfer. Even Tiger Woods is a huge fan.
“It just feels real,” Woods says in a golf summary article in 2018. “I use my simulator to practice all types of shots, from tee to green. Rain or shine, day or night, I can train.
And Mathew MacDonald, the head pro at Innisfail Golf Club, agreed. He persuaded the club in 2021 to invest $100,000 in two high-end golf simulation systems, the first launching during the holiday season and the second in February.
MacDonald said the reactions from pros and the public were ultimately positive.
“We had a lot of people who were initially very hesitant or very concerned about the cost of the investment. We changed a lot of people’s minds,” MacDonald said, noting that an open house over the holiday season drew dozens of local golf fans. “Yes, the reaction has been spectacular. Even some of the people I personally knew had a very negative opinion of it originally, but once they got to see it, try it out, and understand the power of the system and how well it worked, they were all smiling .
“We had a group of six here who were all, I would say over 60, and they said it was the most fun thing they had done all winter,” he said. he adds.
As for the pros? MacDonald notes that the simulation systems have been a great way for them to practice during the winter season, as the technology can solve any problem encountered on the routes.
The two new simulation systems, Foresight GC Quad and Foresight GC Hawk, feature industry-leading quadroscopic imaging to take over 200 photos of the clubface/ball interaction across the impact zone . This allows for precise determination of the exact speed, direction, spin rate and curvature of a golf ball and where it will pass in real time.
The end visual result is spectacular as both systems have state-of-the-art graphics depicting each user’s chosen golf course. The Quad unit is now installed in the clubhouse, with the Hawk system coming in February.
“From an instructional or club fitting perspective, this finally gives us at Innisfail Golf Club the ability to have full confidence in everything we teach,” MacDonald said. “There’s no more guessing. Everything is measured, whether it’s improvement over time, whether it’s on a specific golf shot. We can actually go through individual golf shots and show you exactly why he did what he did.
The new simulator initiative is part of the club’s plan to become a year-round attraction for locals and out-of-town guests. With the clubhouse doors now open and welcoming cross-country skiers and snowshoers to access the trails, the clubhouse catering service is open Thursday through Sunday.
The simulators are now available seven days a week. Hourly rates for adults are $50 and $40 for juniors.
For kids, the simulators also feature unique golf-related games, part of the system’s Foresight Fair Grounds, and what MacDonald describes as “essentially a carnival game where you hit golf balls.”
COVID-related restrictions are in place as part of the province’s Mandatory Restriction Waiver Program. The club requires an Alberta-issued COVID-19 vaccination record with a QR code. Masks must be worn at all times, except for table meals or playing golf simulators inside the demarcated areas.
“It’s one of those things that we think we can do safely,” MacDonald said. “Golf has done a fantastic job in my opinion over the past two years of proving it can be played safely, and we know it can continue to be played safely, even in an indoor environment, while allowing people to go out, play and have fun and have a bit of a social life too.