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Downtown Toronto gets a quality golf experience

If you start with a great product and treat your customers with respect and then follow that up with focused marketing, success is assured. Success is just around the corner for Inner Golf.

There’s a new game in town. That’s downtown. In amongst the warehouses in the King West village is a low slung building that will soon become the mecca for golfers craving a mid-week game without the guilt of skipping out of work.

Mark Walker and his parnters are set to open Inner Golf at 99 Sudbury St. The concept is simple – load six hi-tech golf simulators into a warehouse and design the space to look like an exclusive club with over-sized comfortable furniture and a mega sized TV playing golf programming.

Although the space is not yet complete (the official opening is this Thursday), the potential is clear and it seems like they have a strong marketing plan to back it up. Inner Golf will appeal to the rabid golfer thanks to it’s realistic play while novices are bound to enjoy it just as much for the chance to climb inside a real video game (think Wii on steroids).

As frequent readers know, I am a big fan of golf simulators. Playing one system or another introduces nuances that must be mastered – not unlike coming to a new (real) golf.

Inner Golf runs the AboutGolf system and, after ahving played Pebble Beach as my first round, I admit to be a devotee. The graphics are 3-D. You travel with the ball down the fairway and get to watch it roll, naturally, down the fairway, into the rough or into a bunker. The blades of grass move as they would in real life. If you end up in the fescue you can hear each blades that the ball must cut through to get out. Slice the ball out of bounds and you’ll watch it, and hear it click off rocks or branches. You might not like the result of your shot but you’ll only have yourself to blame.

The options on the system are remarkable. You can do a flyby on each hole before you play it in order to see the layout more clearly including any elevation changes. You can set almost any weather condition for yourself. The range mode allows you to choose the option of hitting only short game shots if that’s what suits you. As with other systems, there is immediate feedback available after each shot. It’s just that the information is a lot more specific.

I found the putting a little difficult to wrap my head around. But that’s more my problem than the system’s. The greens have a slight color grade to them with red being high and blue being low that helps plan your putt. I finally figured out that, like real golf, it’s best to pick your putting line and set up to it rather than always looking dead straight and adjusting the club head fpr whatever break you imagine.

Inner Golf has alot of sound plans on the boards (including a shuttle service from the downtown core, and a ladder league and pros are available with less than an hour’s notice for lessons) that will make this a sure-fire hit. This is not a commerical, it is an endorsement. If you have an hour to spare, throw your clubs in the trunk and head over to Inner Golf before it gets too busy. Check them out at www.innergolf.ca

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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