Chip & Putt Center Of Golden Valley
By E. Nolan
When the men’s and women’s golf teams from the University of Minnesota use your facility for their practice and instruction, you know you’ve got the makings of a successful business. Add in the local high schools that have already started to call and schedule for Fall and Winter sessions and you’ve got it made.
It usually takes a while to grow the way Chip & Putt has, but word of mouth is a powerful tool. So what is it that makes this place so special? Trust me, if you can pinpoint it to just a single thing or two, then you’ve only seen one of the rooms here.
Owner Jon Liss stresses the comfortable environment, for whichever group or individual is there practicing. “We have high schools, colleges, golf professionals and juniors practicing here every week through the Fall and Winter. There’s a schedule on our website I always encourage people to check, that I update regularly. For only our second year it’s nice to know so many people know about us and keep coming back. We’re just around the corner from Brookview Golf Club and they are wonderful about sending people over to check us out.”
Chip & Putt offers a unique 3,000 square foot platform on which to putt upon, with rollers that can adjust the green speeds dramatically anywhere from a 8-14 on the Stimp meter. The surface itself has ample straight, and flat areas, mixed with casual and wild slopes. Add in several different rough situations and multiple elevation changes provided around its perimeter, as well as the many fringe length mats scattered throughout, and there are few greenside shots you can’t practice. “The low (10 foot) ceilings offer an additional challenge,” Jon volunteers. “Lob shots are difficult to pull off, but the main objective is to work on the chip and run aspect of the game as well as putting. It’s an important part of the game and most of our regulars see a pretty quick improvement in their chipping.”
But perhaps the best aspect, of the incredible variety you get here, is what I would refer to as the “360 Effect.” You can begin in one place, pick a hole and chip at it, then gradually move around clockwise or counterclockwise, and either stick with the same hole or choose another… every instance requiring a different shot. Jon says it’s common for golf teams to come in, divide up into stations, and work around the room practicing each of the different shot types in a single session. “Uphill lies, downhill lies, back spin, they practice it all here.”
Many of the instructors or coaches will record the individual and/or group sessions and then, in the back couch-filled lounge (which also serve as a NFL hangout on Sundays), display the lessons or video recordings on the provided big screens. There are also two hitting bays for full swings, and a snack area.
“You don’t have to bring your own clubs. We have a variety of putters and wedges to use for free. But most golfers bring their own clubs. They are just more comfortable with what they know. Some people bring in their whole bag.” Jon says. “It doesn’t matter. Many people just use the ones I have provided here. We have plenty of balls available, but if people want to bring in their ProV1’s, they can do that too. I know it sounds redundant but it is the golfer’s comfort that is most important to me here. I love the game, and I love being able to provide an environment where others can work on their game, relax and watch TV, then work on their game some more.” At $10 an hour, how would you not love that?
In their second full year of operation, Chip & Putt has become quite the hot spot inside when it cools off outside. Surrounded by a variety of restaurants (you can pick up a bite to eat and bring it along to eat to go along with their free coffee) just off Highway 55, you’d never imagine there’s this incredible “short game workshop” just by passing by. You’ve got to at least stop in once. When you do stop in (because I know you will) you’ll find a warm environment with Mark King golf art covering the walls and super friendly “rangers” to help you out.
Check the website, www.chipandputtgv.com out for hours, events and group schedules. Jon is always making adjustments and always flexible to what the local golfer wants. He’d love to meet you, and knows that your first impression, of all that Chip & Putt offers, will bring you back in for more.