Quail Meadows in East Peoria has a unique way for golfers to keep the winter blues at bay, an indoor golf simulator.
“This will be our fourth season,” manager Chris Keefe said. “The first year we bought one simulator, and that did remarkably well, so the second year we went ahead and got another one. That did great that year, too, so last year we went ahead and got the third one. They all stay pretty busy.”
The center features three “About Golf” simulators with 1,800 square feet of practice area, including a chipping and putting range.
“We have a lot of repeat business,” Keefe said. “It’s very accurate on what your ball does in the air as far as slicing or hooking. Distance, some people say it is off a club, and other people will swear by it and other people just can’t keep happy. I try and tell people, when I am going over everything, that it is a video game and you have to treat it like one.
“It’ll never be exactly like outside, but it’s pretty damn close.”
“About Golf” is a Professional Golfer’s Association tour approved indoor golf simulator that tries to provide the most realistic golfing experience possible in a simulator.
“If you have four people it usually takes three-and-a-half to four hours to do an 18-hole course,” Keefe said. “It just depends how good you are and what course you play.
“They offer 36 different courses and about five or six different driving ranges. They are a real good tool to work on your game with.”
The indoor golf center is open from Oct. 15 through March 18 and gives players a chance to experience different courses, both famous and fictitious.
“There are a couple fictitious courses but almost all of them are real,” Keefe said. “The screen will tell you what hole, par, distance and elevation of the whole. It tells you everything.”
The simulators run on technology that tries to be accurate and informative to the golfer.
“This all works off high-speed cameras,” Keefe said. “As soon as your club impacts the ball, it reads the impact zone and tells you what the spin, launch angle and everything is. The screen is just something you are looking at, you don’t even have to hit it when you’re putting.
“From the tee to the screen is 16 feet so if you have a 10-foot put, you wouldn’t even have to hit the screen.”
Players can purchase an Indoor Players card for $50, which is valid from Nov. 15 through March 15 and gives players 20 percent off the simulator rate for the card holder per hour. The player also can use the practice area for $1 per visit.
The practice area costs $5 per visit without a card.
The simulator runs $30 per hour or $20 per half hour.
The center, located at 2215 Centennial Drive, is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. through 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 8 a.m. through 9 p.m. Sunday.
Reservations for tee times are recommended and are taken up to 14 days in advance.
“It’s something that’s kind of neat,” Keefe said. “When it’s snowing and 5 degrees out, you can come over here and play golf. We have a snack bar with pizza and snacks. We serve beer, pop and Gatorade. We have a lot of guys come in, drink some beer, play some golf and have a good time."