The Launch Club – Ready For Liftoff

By Steve Manthis






Let’s face it, this winter has been unlike any other. While I have played golf in Minnesota in January (in 1998 my brother Ken reminds me), the mild temperatures are unprecedented and much warmer than the 1877-1878 “year without a winter” that historians like to reference. And even though a few courses have opened, most have not. So, if you’re like me and itching to break out the sticks, what’s a person to do? The answer, of course, is to try out a golf simulator. They have sprung up all over the Twin Cities and offer golfers a chance to play beyond the months when a golf course is traditionally open.

One such place is The Launch Club, a new golf facility located just south of 694 off highway 169. While there are many places that have golf simulators, The Launch Club provides a new kind of experience; instead of paying by the hour, the facility offers memberships. For $318 a month, members have 24-hour access to the simulators. You simply book your time and arrive up to 10 minutes beforehand where your phone gets you in the front door. Once you’re in, you can hit away on the state-of-the-art Trackman iO simulators. Want to play a round? Go for it. Want to work on your game and improve your swing speed or change your launch angle? The Trackman can help you with that too. Want to bring some guests and have a skins competition? Good for you – members can bring up to three guests for their session.

Owner Jason Gillis, a transplanted Californian, says the members can make it what they want it to be. “If you’re a grinder and want to look at data, then you can do that here. If you want to have some fun with your buddies and turn up the music while playing, that’s another option,” says Gillis. “It can also be a place to bring in the family if you’d like.” While there isn’t a restaurant on site, Gillis encourages members to bring food in with them. There’s a member’s area in the back with a fridge if you need to use it.

On a recent visit to The Launch Club, I asked one of the members what he liked about the place, and he said that it was the flexibility and the accuracy of the simulators. With a place that’s open 24 hours, it seems everyone can find a time that works for them. If you’re a night owl, The Launch Club has a special deal for you; for $127 a month, the club is open to you from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

As for the hitting areas themselves, they were very clean, and each of the two bays has a 20-foot-wide screen, a 4K projector, a television, a couch, and a coffee table. The two rooms are separated, but a door can be opened if you want to have a group larger than four people. The hitting strip for each simulator provides a reliable and realistic hitting experience. If you go, be sure to check out the Rolex clock in each room. Gillis says they come courtesy of a friend he called “Rolex Ryan.” Ask him if you’d like the full story.

Speaking of the owner, Gillis is proud to emphasize customer service, “Places don’t provide much customer service these days. For me, it’s about the member experience,” he says. “Members can contact me from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. if they have any issues or questions.” Gillis also has some other things in the works. He’s finalizing the details but hopes to have a PGA professional in place to provide clinics to interested members.

One big question is what to do with an indoor golf membership during the summer months. Each member can pause their membership for one month a year and still maintain their status. Additionally, the price drops to $150 from June through September. Memberships will be limited to just 55 people, so you don’t have to worry that all the times will be booked.

For more information or to join, check out the website: or call/text Jason at 612-759-1610. If you’d like to try it out first, the Launch Club does offer hourly walk-on times at $55/hour.

While there are other places that have golf simulators, The Launch Club offers a premium experience with unprecedented availability. Who knows what’s in store weather-wise these next few months – there’s always the mid-March snowstorm to worry about, right? It’ll be a while before the courses open, so head to The Launch Club to get your golf season started.