Learn golf Faster Indoors
Why Simulators are the future of game Improvement
Written by David Leadbetter
Simulator golf, although it has been around for a while, is now becoming very common around the world. Our partners, Golfzon, are the biggest simulator company in the world with a demanding market share in Asia, and are continuing to see rapid growth throughout the world. Simulator golf has been considered somewhat of a joke in the past, but now it is a serious business even to the point where LPGA and PGA tournaments are held indoors in Korea. It is incredible how realistic simulator golf is now, to the point where Golfzon, in particular, has the ability to change lies where in the past it was hitting balls off a mat. Now it is the case where you can play a golf course and simulate uphill, downhill, and sidehill lies, which is tremendous. It is a great way to be able to play golf in a short space of time. As we know, time is a very big issue in this day and age, so people have the ability now to be able to play within an hour with friends. It has definitely become a very social thing as well, where people can go after work and play with their friends. Golf’s popularity is continuing to surge and with certain times of the year when people can’t play golf or if they live in a city where golf courses aren’t easily available, simulator golf is the next best thing.
Can people truly learn the game indoors? As a coach, I think simulator golf is a wonderful way to play and learn the game. One of the biggest deterrents in playing golf is a poor technique, which is certainly something that we work on at all of our academies all over the world, but, needless to say, people usually take up golf with advice from their friends, husband, wife or whoever, and really start off on the wrong foot. Certainly, the art of hitting a good golf shot takes a certain amount of skill level and the beginner golfer in particular, who feels that it looks quite easy and may be able to hit one or two good shots but unfortunately, they are creating bad habits. If I had it my way, people wouldn’t be able to actually hit a golf ball for three months when they start to learn because you want to learn the movement patterns, understand how the body actually works understand how the club swings without the repercussions of hitting a bad shot. Because unfortunately, human nature rules the roost here from the standpoint of we want to get the golf ball airborne and we want to go from point A to B and if that doesn’t happen then we query why that doesn’t happen, and then we make an extra effort to try to accomplish that. Golf is much like learning to dance where you’re learning the individual steps and then you put it together in a chorographical approach, all of a sudden you have a fluid, flowing dance. Well, it’s the same in golf, if you can develop the actual motion and flow and ultimately put the ball in the way, that probably is the ideal way to learn. We know that most people aren’t going to do that because they want to see results, but it is far less consequential playing indoors than outdoors. Outdoors you need to walk from A to B, you’ve got to look for golf balls, you lose golf balls, and there’s a lot more pressure put on an individual to try and play good golf. We know through experience that if people do have success, they’ll keep playing, and ultimately that is the Golfzon Leadbetter goal, which is to bring more people into the game, grow the game, and really from the grassroots level.
Indoor is a wonderful place to learn, certainly during the poor times of the year, like winter or rainy seasons. The winters lend themselves to actually going to an indoor facility and learning to play. It is what we like to call “golf literacy”, where you essentially you’re understanding a little bit about how the game is played and the technique. This is all something you can learn indoors. I think it is a fascinating way and an ideal way to teach someone how to play. From a teacher’s standpoint, you can teach a lot more indoors without the repercussions of hitting a bad ball. It is a fun way to learn how to play and if you have fun, you’re likely to progress much faster.
Simulator golf is here to stay. It is growing leaps and bounds. According to the latest statistics, in Korea, they are playing more golf indoors than outdoors. I can see this growing all over the world. It is entertainment, absolutely, but you can actually learn how to play golf and it will make that next step much easier to transition outdoors. You will begin to have good technique, start seeing some results, and eliminate the fear of losing balls or holding people up. There are a lot of factors in golf that deter people from continuing, embarrassment being one of the leading factors.
All in all, I am really excited about the future of the game with simulator golf, I think it will bring accessibility to more people. Certainly, I think for beginners this is the way to learn. Initially, we probably wouldn’t even have a target out there. Essentially you are working on technique, developing the swing, and that’s key because there is no more technical sport than golf. If you can get your technique down to a certain level, you can play good golf. And interestingly enough, this applies to the short game as well, chipping putting and even bunker play which they are now able to utilize indoors as well. It is a good all-around learning atmosphere and I think it adds a whole new dimension to the type of people we can bring into the game and foster the growth of the game in the future.