When Preston Davis told me he'd charge more than $400 a person to hit golf balls in a steel building in winter, I thought it unique but a little nuts.
Who'd shell out that kind of money in winter to swing a club? After all, a season pass to a place like Hobble Creek would cost about the same coin.
Well, behold, I ran into a blue-collar type worker the other day and the conversation turned to golf. He told me he'd purchased a membership in an indoor golf practice facility in Utah County.
"Heard of it?"
Yeah, I had. I'd talked to Davis, back in late October. I even visited the place, took a tour and hit some balls. But I was skeptical whether people would invest what would exceed the price of a gym membership for offseason golf.
"Well," said my friend. "I bought a membership. I paid the fee. I like it; it's fun."
On Friday, I called Davis to learn the numbers.
"We have about 75 members," he said. "About 20 are on trade. We have about as many members as I expected at this time. However, with a more normal winter, I think we would have about 30 more members. We are growing steadily and meeting all expectations.
So wet cold winter settles in and you've got the itch to keep the muscle memory and timing tuned up for your golf game?
The Lindon Indoor Golf Club may be the answer.
Located west of Geneva Road in Lindon, the 5,200-square-foot facility includes a "True Golf" simulator that features many of the world's famous courses, a Backyard Greens-brand putting green that measures 1,000 square feet, chipping green, sand bunker, driving range and laser-level-straight putting practice alley and launch monitor.
It is the only full indoor golf practice facility south of Point of the Mountain and Davis hopes the "fresh" and "clean" design will become a center for skill development and enhancement of the part of the game that is quickest in shaving strokes off your card — the short game.
The club offers corporate and individual memberships. There is a distribution of exclusive electronic entry keys and it stands as a self-operating, member-oriented administration and operation. There are security monitors on a monthly loop to ensure compliance to rules.
The facility can incorporate the iPhone app for instant video viewing in a "living room" area with TV, plus comfortable restroom facilities for men and women.
It's a hideout. A getaway. Or a serious practice site for those bent on getting a number of shots played on a regular basis.
I asked a golf pro if this idea is feasible.
"I think the Lindon Indoor Golf club is awesome and much needed for Utah County," said Gina Higbee, former director of golf at Cedar Hills and a teaching professional who works in American Fork.
"There seems to be more people who want to work on their golf through the winter and really try to maintain a good golf swing for more than just a few months of the year. This club offers working on all aspects of the game from full swing to putting, chipping and bunker shots."
Memberships go for $450 for individuals and $2,000 for a corporation with a 20-person roster, four-at-a-time use.
A membership in a club like this brings consistency, according to Higbee.
Davis hopes the facility will provide a home for junior golfers, general public instruction and private lessons and it has interest from local high school and college golf teams.
Davis moved to Utah after an LDS mission, started several small businesses, got his college degree with double majors in English and music and another degree in finance.
"If you still want to hit golf balls when it's cold and snowy outside, or just really want to work on your swing, even at night, this is an answer," said Davis.
"I think a lot of golfers in Utah have had this idea, but one day, as a commercial real estate broker, one of my clients had this property and I came in last winter and just gutted it. We put in baseboards, crown molding, new paint, and carpet. I rented a scissor lift for a week and cleaned the trusses by hand. I took out all the interrogator lights and put in new lights that are easier on the eye."
Davis put in artificial surfaces so golfers could hit any club they want. The chipping area includes several surface types and lies and the target area includes holes to shoot at. The straight putt area is a perfectly level 20-foot putt surface to allow work on clubface alignment, fore spin, speed, setup and other fundamentals.
The putting green features "breaks" that requires reads, in addition to regular putt areas that simulate a real green.
Hitting balls in a steel building in January?
Folks are paying to do it.
For more information, call 801-787-5661.