By Rob Kiser
Think golf was over in this area until March 1 — when most local courses open again.
Well, think again.
If you don’t want to schedule a golf trip with your buddies, head down to Z’s in Piqua and experience 18 holes of golf in a perfect climate — regardless of the weather outside.
That’s right — the sports bar has a room with a golf simulator in it, where you can play numerous top level golf courses.
“This is our second year with the golf simulator,” Z’s manager Jody Sanders said. “It is really popular in the winter, when you can’t go to the golf courses because of the weather.”
Last week, my buddy Mike and I decided to give Torrey Pines a try — while the temperature hovered near zero (so if Tim “the Legend” Tyler thought I had lost my mine if he spotted me carrying my clubs down Ash Street, now he knows I am no crazier than he already thought I was).
We found the experience to be similar to playing the actual golf course — although Mike’s 260-yard drive may have been pushing it a little.
After your shot, you will see your speed and distance on the screen, as well as your distance for next shot and if you are in the fairway, rough, sand or (heaven forbid) the water.
The only thing that takes a little experience is gauging distance on chip shots — Mike and I would advise if you are 20 yards or closer, your best bet is to go ahead and putt.
Another plus is the time savings.
While an 18-hole round outside may take four-plus hours, Mike and I played Torrey Pines in two hours. There are more than 25 PGA Tour golf courses to choose from to play.
“If you want to come down and play 18 holes in a couple hours, you can do that,” Sanders said. “While it is really popular in the winter, if you want to get out of the heat in the summer, you can come in here, drink a beer and play a round of golf and stay cool.”
If you are wondering about putting, there are spots marked to putt from, based on how close you are to hole.
There is a league that runs several days a week and open golf.
But if you want to play, you should call 773-9190 in advance to set up a tee time.
“We are pretty busy in the winter,” Sanders said. “So, you should make a tee time. There is open golf before leagues (until 3 p.m.). The leagues are two or three days a week. We don’t allow any golf on Fridays and Saturdays after 9 p.m.).
The cost is $24 for 18 holes (or $22 if you are a league member).
If you pay for three 18 holes rounds up front, you get a fourth one free.
Only have time for nine holes — well you can do that for $15 (or $13 if you are a league member).
You can also practices for 30 minutes for $10.
“If you want to come in the summer and just hit balls — instead of going to the driving range, you can do that,” Sanders said.
If you are like me, your scores won’t drop to where you can compete with Brian Deal, Ben Gover or Bubba Robbins (it looks like you will be giving me 14 shots a hole next spring Mike, based on last week’s results).
But, you will have a blast playing golf — regardless of the temperature outside.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.