Golf Zone – The In’s And Out’s Of Winter Golf
By E. Nolan
On the off chance we actually get snow this winter, there’s a good chance you’ll want a place that you can still play some golf. Surprising as it is to those of us in the local golf promotion business, there aren’t a whole lot of great indoor golf options in Minnesota (golf obsessed state that we are), decidedly the reason why so many golfers migrate south whenever the flakes and temps start to fall. South to Chaska that is. South to Golf Zone.
Chaska’s Golf Zone was established in 1998, (originally as “Rain, Snow or Shine Golf”) a masterful and creative use of an expansive 90-acre woodland plot. The visionaries behind this particular ball-launching project understood the hardcore golfer. Big Bear, a beautiful 18-hole miniature golf course INSIDE (high ceilings, well-lit, well done), added a bar (with pizza and drink specials) and 40 HEATED golf stalls (with TVs) from which avid, recreational and new golfers can fire away at new targets out in the can’t miss fairway. (Unlike at some indoor golf centers, at Golf Zone the “big dog” is not only welcomed, but enthusiastically encouraged! Bombs away!)
Everyone can be successful here. Everyone can stay warm, well fed, entertained and educated in a hot spot that hosts plenty of parties and events throughout our two-to-seven month cold season. The vibrant atmosphere encourages young and old to celebrate the game at its various stages, all within an easy commute of everywhere in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Owner/Manager Jeff Helstrom has celebrated such great success at this location that he’s expanding his golf offerings a bit north (up to Waconia) in the early 2018 opening of the simulator-infused Golf Shed. “Any way we can get more people into the game, and more people to love the game, that’s what we’re about. You don’t have to be great at golf to love Golf Zone and what we offer. And you don’t have to worry about the elements when you come out to play. (Winter Hours: Monday 11-8 / Tuesday-Friday 9-8 / Saturday-Sunday 8-8.)
Full Disclosure: While they DO claim they occasionally have to close due to inclement weather, I’ve been in Golf Zone on a sub-zero day. I’ve seen youth birthday parties going on at the same time as bachelor parties. I’ve seen class reunions hosted in their large, private Party Room, and school golf teams practicing on the range. (Thinking of bringing a group of 10+? Email JessicaGlidden@icloud.com.) I’ve seen every facet of the operation running at peak, and can attest that IT ALL WORKS. They try to stay open as much as humanly possible and they have plenty of space for everyone. There’s something about bombing a ball out into the distant snow banks… something about firing at targets that seem (for all intents and purposes) to be mocking you. There’s something about hearing that metal clang of a well-struck target and picking up a stack of bills from the table beside you after winning your (bet-I-can-hit-that) wager against friends. There’s something about eagerly heading over the river and through the woods mid-winter to a place where laughter decks the halls even after Christmas. (It’s a 45-minute drive for me, that I’d gladly make weekly.)
Due to their winter popularity, Golf Zone operates on a “Stall Time” concept instead of “By the Bucket.” You pay for the time you’re actually swinging at balls, and can hit as many balls as you would like to in your allotted time. That encourages more people to play together… it encourages more fun and competition. Plus, through January 15th it’s only $9.94-$10.90 per half hour (for as many balls as you can hit). It’s also worth mentioning that they have Memberships. The “Warm-Up” Card ($99) gives you $275 transferable minutes on the winter range. The “Tour” Card ($199) gives you 600 minutes! There’s also a “VIP Family and Friend Membership” ($299) that allows for 1,300 weekday minutes and 200 weekend minutes (with pizza and drink discounts).
Their new project, The Golf Shed, will be available for group reservations by appointment only (Call Jeff at 612-723-4862 with questions), the Golf Shed is a 2,200 Party Space with a unique (diverse) HD Golf Simulator that is so high-tech it offers shooting/target practice as an entertainment/group-building option with a program that is literally used to train law enforcement officers. Did I mention golf? The HD Golf Simulator is packed with bucket list courses from all over the world, has incredible resolution for golf, and an entirely new level of Golf Zone fun.