Bunker Hills Simulator Lounge
By E. Nolan
I’ve never been to Bunker Hills Golf Club before. Don’t ask me how that’s possible. Given how highly the other people on this staff regard the place, (especially their famed Sunday Brunch) you’d think I’d have driven up there in the last three years. Well, there’s no time like the present… as winter knocks on our door.
If that seems like an awkward, almost inappropriate, time to begin a relationship with a golf course, then you haven’t been to Bunker Hills either. Operated by the City of Coon Rapids, this facility offers one of only two Green Grass, year-round, GolfTec Instruction facilities in the entire country (the other is in Las Vegas). From November to April one of their incredible meeting rooms is converted into a golf stadium, with four simulators (each with 25 courses you can play; including Pebble Beach, Spyglass and the Links at Spanish Bay) and hourly tee times available.
Assistant Golf Professional, Dan Sainio, cautions, “Make sure you call in to schedule a tee time, because when the snow falls, we fill… especially evenings.” He’s not kidding. The tee sheet is already filling up for the next few weeks and the phone rang several times while we were standing there as well. It makes sense though. Their adjacent full service bar and restaurant caters to the leagues and foursomes that come in every night. They take tee times from 8 am to 10 pm and Dan insists he’s never out of there before 10 pm. It’s a hot spot in an otherwise frigid state. (More on that later.)
Perhaps that combination of exceptional food and spacious entertainment is their best asset. The Harvest Grill offers killer menu options throughout the day, as well as that incredible 10:30-2:00 Sunday Brunch. They offer “Food & Golf” related specials, and Bunker Hills even hosts “simulator events” like their Mayor’s Cup in February (a 2 person best ball tournament) that always fills up. (Never too early to sign up.)
“It’s typical to have two leagues in here simultaneously most nights,” Dan adds. “We’ll have as many as 8 people on each screen, laughing, talking and doing their best to golf. It’s fun for us as a staff, and twice as much fun for them. At $32 an hour per machine (NOT per person) imagine all the golf you can get in for impressively little.” (There’s even a Simulator Season Pass if you’re interested.)
The GolfTec facility is just outside the clubhouse and instruction is provided there on their monitors and in their dual bays. Teaching Director, Lance West, is in charge of the operations there and always busy fixing swings that, if they’re anything like mine, are desperately in need of it. They do clubfitting there as well. Remember, there are only two of these in the country. It’s an in-demand place.
It’s worth noting, to those of you who have yet to discover this site’s greatness, that they also host the Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame, in house, as well as the MN PGA Section. You can walk the halls and read the names and accomplishments of those you were “almost as good, but not as lucky as” or explore further into the building the expansive banquet and wedding facilities available. (Crazy segway from golf to weddings, I know but many of us are more married to the game than we are to our spouses, so it works.)
The bottom line at Bunker Hills has got to be a good one, given their many excesses and incredible amenities. It is a genuine year-round golf facility, has must-visit dining, and an entertainment hub. The bottom line of this article is hopefully as compelling.
Bunker Hills Golf Club is nothing less than amazing. Every staff member was notably friendly (I was told the grumpy ones are sent home) and the conditions from the halls to the tables to the mats would meet the high standards of even the most discernible eye. Ultimately they do a great job of keeping their clientele satisfied. They live here throughout the summer, stay here through the winter, and (if they do happen to go away for a vacation) they bring all that warmth and sunshine back to Bunker Hills. (Which explains why the 25-degree day there last week felt like 60.)
It’s a cool hot spot. Yes, that’s possible. Come see for yourself.