According to local business owners, the increased demand for indoor golf simulators can be attributed to several factors including:
- Lack of available entertainment options during the pandemic
- Improvements in technology that make the simulator experience more authentic
- Increased convenience and affordability for both the golfer and the business owner
Indoor golf simulators allow the golfer to play casually or seek help fine-tuning their skills—all under one roof, faster than an outdoor golf course.
“You can complete 18 holes within an hour late at night if you want,” Ocean’s Golfer Owner Sunny Sunggeun Park said.
Robert Erwood—assistant general manager of Spare Birdie—agreed, adding that the accuracy of the game does not suffer from the faster game time, and it is more cost-effective as a variety of options from hourly to annual are available.
Dr. Golf Studio General Manager Sukjoon SJ Yoon said during the pandemic, indoor golfing began to skyrocket.
“It was basically all you could do,” said Ed Amadis, owner of Pin Seeker’s Golf Lounge. “Golf courses could only take so many people, and there’s a lot of intimidation going to a golf course, especially for a new golfer.”
What are the options?
Businesses such as Dr. Golf Studio, Pin Seeker’s Golf Lounge, Ocean’s Golfer and Spare Birdie offer simulators in open bays and/or private rooms for players of all skill levels, with various options that allow the golfer to adjust gameplay—from changing the course topography to using infrared technology to analyze swing data and ball tracking, and more.
“Our customers range from 3 years old to 76 years old, so it doesn't matter if you are a beginner, amateur or professional,” Park said.
A study published by Straits Research projects the golf simulator market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of more than 10% to reach $3.3 billion by 2030.
“I also read that 2023 was the first year where more rounds were played on indoor golf simulators than on outdoor golf courses,” Amadis said, referring to an article published in December by The Wall Street Journal.
Thanks to ever-evolving technology, combined with increased accessibility and affordability, the future of indoor golf simulators does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon, Yoon said.
Locally, Erwood and Park said they plan to offer more indoor golf tournaments in 2024 and beyond. Amadis said he is starting a league in 2024, as well as charity tournaments, while Yoon said he will continue to stay up to date on the latest technology available in the market to continue to enhance his customers’ experiences.
“Continued growth is evident,” Yoon said. “Golf simulators have transformed from niche facilities in basements and garages to what it is today, and will become even more popular in the future.”