Swing Away At Element Indoor Golf Club
By Rhett Arens
With our outdoor playing days officially shut-down for the season it’s comforting to know that we can keep those swing mechanics on-plane while still logging some quality time with the buddies. In fact, you can still keep those betting games on the table using the incredibly realistic simulators that have entered the market in recent years. Closest to the pin? Got it, that will be a $5 spot. Longest drive? Got it, that will be a $10er. Greenies? Flaggies? Skins? They are all still in play – even with three feet of snow on the ground. Just like the summer game, the winter game comes with a round of cold refreshments, some tasty nibbles and plenty of friendly smack-talk. Where do you find this kind of action? Element Indoors Golf Club in Vadnais Heights would be an excellent choice.
Stepping into the GOLFZON simulator experience is about as real as it gets. Of course, there’s no cart to jump out of, no ranger to tell you to pick-up the pace, no drizzle, no wind, no obnoxious four-some yelling bro-chants one green over (well maybe there is a bit of that). It’s just you, your club of choice, the target line and the scorecard. The GOLFZON Vision Plus technology is so immersive you may find yourself sinking into an alternate reality. At least that is co-owners Brad Wohlers and Laurie Bargers’ vision for your experience. They are the keepers of the flame for indoor golf ‘built by golfers… for golfers.’
The GOLFZON technology has a proven track record with over 30,000 installations globally, nearly 55 million rounds logged annually and over 30 tournaments played per day around the world. All played with the accuracy and realistic simulation that keeps customers coming back for more. As Brad is quick to point out, this customer base is a cornerstone of Elements’ business. All that praise seems to be justified given that Golf Digest Editors have awarded the GOLFZON system Best Golf Simulator every year since 2017. That’s a three-peat for those keeping track!
An additional benefit to all this virtual golf at Element Indoor is the GOLFZON phone App. They say data is king and this App wears the crown. Believe it or not, data is your friend. Tracking your exact measurements and running them through the App’s analytics package will help you customize your personal information package which in-turn, informs your mechanics. Combining the swing analytics with the input of your virtual caddie can provide guidance on what’s working and what’s not. With the $5 purchase of an EIGC membership you can start taking advantage of this, dare I say, artificial intelligence Golf Instructor. The big boys are using it, why not you?
Several other great attributes for the GOLFZON technology is the ability to record a video of your best swing and post it to your on-line profile. It’s always helpful to hold-up a mirror and have hard look at your own swing. It allows you to make changes. The other plus to this system is the ability to participate in global competitions. Golf can be either a solitary sport or a social one, so take advantage of the GOLFZON technology and enter tournaments around the world. The global networking allows you the chance to see other’s swing replay videos, track tournament scoreboards, shot data, individual statistics and keep those competitive juices flowing. It’s kind of like having pen pals half-way around the world for the game you love which speaks directly to Brad’s philosophy for Element Indoor… ‘it’s golf first here.’
The Element Indoor Golf Club is located conveniently in Vadnais Heights just off of I35E, 12 miles north of downtown St. Paul. The facility is housed in a spacious commercial park with plenty of parking and elbow room to hoist those clubs out of the trunk and roll them indoors for a winter beating. Making a tee time (reservation) can be done via the app, online, or by calling. The Element Team recommends four people per bay, but you can have a max of 6. It takes roughly 60 minutes per person to play 18 holes, very similar to a well-paced round outdoors. They also recommend first timers’ book an extra 30-minutes to become familiar with software and simulators – typically five minutes of your tee-time is reserved for setup and a brief orientation by the friendly EIGC staff. If you don’t have clubs or they are sitting at your condo in Palm Springs, Element has premium clubs available to rent. Both lefty and righty for men, women and juniors are available. They ask you respect the indoor terrain using clean tennis shoes or spike-less golf shoes, that kind of goes without saying. You will be using the GOLFZON balls so you can leave your favorite, personalized PROV’s in the bag.
Pricing is set-up with Peak and non-Peak rates. Non-Peak hours are Monday-Thursday all day and Friday until 3:00 pm. Peak hours are Friday after 3:00 pm and all weekend. The Non-Peak rate is $37/hour and the Peak rate is $50/hour (not per person). For a foursome this works out to a very reasonable round with all the creature comforts at your fingertips. Groups can also purchase bulk packages for 5, 10 and 20 hours for a little less than the hourly rates.
A stellar assortment of craft beers and the usual domestics are on-hand along with a great appetizer selection served right to your simulator bay from the newly remodeled kitchen.
I consider the practice area to be a real differentiator for Element Indoor Golf Club. The 2,400 foot space is spread-out to allow numerous customers putting and chipping opportunity simultaneously. The greens slope and undulations were designed with the serious golfer in mind. As they say, drive for show, putt for dough. Take advantage of it and arrive a little early to get those hands calibrated and that short-game dialed-in before taking on Pebble Beach or Bandon Dunes or St. Andrews or whatever world-class course you wish to play. The owners have smartly acquired additional square-footage in the complex for future build-out to add more practice area and private, group meeting spaces.
Adjust your reality meter, it’s suddenly mid-season, your pals are giving you a little smack-talk, the refreshments are flowing and the putts are on-line. Oh yeah, and it’s minus 20 degrees outside. Tee it up and swing away at Element Indoor Golf Club.