The Wilds Golf Club – Simulated Golf, Real Fun

By E. Nolan

I’m a little late to the party here – the party at The Wilds Golf Club, that is. Took me three full years to realize they had the incredible golf experience they do. I’m not talking about the great course outside, the fabulous (and very popular) tournament host they are, or their mind-blowing Sunday brunch. I knew all of that already. I’d experienced all of that already. What I didn’t know was that when mother nature locks us golfers indoors, the Wilds is still throwing a party every day… still booking tee times and still making the sweetest lemonade out of winter’s most bitter lemons.

You learn a lot talking to Scott Reuter, the Head Golf Professional at The Wilds, which is great because I had plenty of questions before my own visit. (As you might as well.)

The Wilds offers two spacious HD Golf Simulator studios (High-definition with high-resolution 3D photography) – two bays that offer you the opportunity to do a LOT more than just hitting golf balls. If you’re unfamiliar with HD Golf, then you probably don’t know that this technology is absurdly advanced and that there’s a flip side to the simulator coin that lets you do a different kind of shooting (the kind with guns) in what they call Laser Shot Games – 30 different games involving all kinds of drills, hunting, skill tests, etc. The quality is so great, and the accuracy so legitimate, that law enforcement and the military use these systems for their own training. That’s significant when you’re talking about life and death scenarios. But it’s just as significant when you’re talking about golf – a game with a broad spectrum of scores determined by mere inches. You want your golf simulator to be as accurate as possible. You want a golf system like THIS.

If you’ve played simulator golf before you know the quality of the technology matters as much as the quality of the environment. The Wilds simulator studios are on the lower level of the building with plenty of space for groups of golfers, tables and chairs for chilling, TV’s for entertainment and they’ve even set up a miniature Golf Shop for you. Need balls, gloves or even want to try out new clubs? They’re ready for you. In fact, that’s one of the facets of greatest value in their program. “We get so many people coming in to try out new clubs,” Scott says, “to test their distances and to find out what they really want before they buy it… before the outdoor golf season starts. This is the perfect environment for that.”

How about a little more on that “perfect environment?” If this wasn’t already an open enough invitation for you to check it out, consider this: The cost to play is only $35 per hour, and that’s per simulator… NOT per person. (A steal.) With 20+ “bucket list” courses and permanently perfect weather (no wind, rain, sleet or snow). The availability (hour-wise) is better than most golf clubs offer: Monday and Tuesday (9-5), Wednesday thru Saturday (9-9) and Sunday (9-2). You can’t Stay & Play at the Wilds, but on Sundays you sure can Play & Buffet! (One of the Twin Cities very best brunches!) And the other six days of the week, The Wilds offers a basic “turn menu” for players until 4:00 PM (and then the full restaurant menu), accompanied always by a FULL bar. That’s right, a full bar… not just beer and soft drinks.

I mentioned all the non-golf games you can play, but Scott talked at length about the golf-games beyond the courses that these simulators offer, and how many groups love to hit golf balls through field goal posts and break windows (without lawsuits), among other activities. THAT sounds like my kind of golf! These simulators afford us golfers the opportunity to do what we love when we otherwise couldn’t, in a warm and fun environment, with food, drinks and sports on TV around us. You can bring your own clubs or rent them, play games or get golf lessons and (just when you thought it couldn’t get any better) if you’re a morning person you can play for only $20/hour (instead of $35) Monday-Friday until noon.

Count me in! (How about you?)