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INDOOR GOLF IS IN FULL SWING

For all those of you who were born in the 21st century, this may be very difficult to believe: There was a time, not so long ago, when smartphones, laptops, and high-tech video games did not exist.

Many of us born in the previous century remember a time when golf was strictly an outdoor sport. If you wanted to play or practice, you had a choice of a golf course or a driving range. Some of us would set up those hard-to-assemble net contraptions in our backyards … and- when the weather was uncooperative – a few of us were even desperate enough to attempt swinging our clubs in our living rooms or basements – with a trail of broken lamps to prove it.

Sure, golf simulators have been around for a while – but before the turn of the century, these simulators could only do so much. The graphics were, by today’s standards, flat and two-dimensional. It wasn’t easy to recognize the holes of championship courses projected on the screen. The flight of the ball was difficult to see, and the empirical data received by the golfer on his/ her swing was confined to the distance of the shot, and not much more than that. Compare all of that to what we can experience today. Indoor Golf has certainly come along way.

It was just 27 years ago that Floyd Arnold, founder of Full Swing Golf, had a vision. Little did he know that he would leave his mark, an ever-lasting impression as a true revolutionary, leading the way in indoor golf technology.

Floyd and his associates developed what the experts call a “true ball-flight measuring device,” the infrared tracking system that lies at the heart of the unit. The first of its kind, this unique technology does not infer ball flight statistics from the measurement of the club, the swing, or the golfer … it measures the ball in flight alone. Applied to each and every Full Swing Golf simulator, this remarkable technology could not be matched by anyone and Full Swing Golf quickly became a revolutionary contributor and instigator of indoor golf’s ever-growing popularity and acceptance throughout the golf industry.

Full Swing Golf is located in San Diego, California and manufactures and markets the leading indoor golf simulator to businesses and consumers worldwide. The diverse line of simulators and performance produces can be customized to fit the needs of various clientele, including golf professionals, retail businesses, residential communities, luxury resorts, teaching facilities, golf centers and homeowners.

The goal of Full Swing Golf simulators is to provide the best combination of realism, game-improvement, competition and entertainment- whether you’re practicing to lower your handicap, or playing 18 holes at Pebble Beach with your friends. There are a number of simulators to choose from with a variety of options, as well as golf course packages that include 80 championship courses. Among them – Pebble Beach, Oakmont, and The Old Course at St. Andrews. There is attention paid to every detail, with each tree, bunker, and patch of grass painstakingly placed bringing out the nuances that make each legendary course so unique.

As already mentioned, the graphics are superb. Full Swing Golf’s all-new E6 live motion software package is the most comprehensive and realistic motion graphics innovation in the golf simulation industry. Real-time ball flight data is derived from ball measurements to give the golfer complete control over every shot. Ball flight trajectory, weather and course conditions are all factors we face in the ‘real world; and each of these elements are precisely replicated by the Full Swing system. Caddie and elevation views provide all of the information needed, including distance to pin, layup yardages, elevation changes, wind speed and direction. In terms of game improvement and feedback, it may actually be BETTER than playing outside on an actual golf course.

Among the multitude of options: The Interactive Practice Facility, dedicated solely to practice, featuring driving, approach shots, uphill, downhill, bump and run, lob, over trouble, and many more. The Visual-Feedback system can precisely pinpoint your weaknesses and strengths.

Contest Capabilities. Each Full Swing Golf simulator is equipped with proprietary closest-to-the-pin software and Long Drive capabilities. Players can set up individual contests or add these features to a golf scramble or tournament, complete with leaderboards. The simulator offers 36 different modes of play, including skins, alternate shoe, Ryder Cup formats, and more.

As for the technology involved, Full Swing Golf’s infrared tracking system actually measures the golf ball’s speed, launch angle and direction instantly. The dedicated high-speed camera measures ball spin characteristics such as back spin, side spin, and spin axis. The camera also captures extensive club head data such as club speed, club path, and club face angle.

Among the latest innovations: The new MySwinguru training system, which combines full-body 3D visualization with simple and interactive feedback for golf swing analysis. MySwinguru operates using a single 3D depth-sensing camera.

You can find Full Swing Golf simulators in the private residences of Donald Trump and Wally Uihlein (CEO of the Acushnet golf company), in the halls of such distinctive institutions as Princeton University, Lam beau Field and the Queen Mary 2. Even the President of Kazakhstan, The King of Saudi Arabia, the Moscow City Golf Club, and Caesar’s Palace employ the Full Swing Golf simulator. In our neck of the woods, you can find Full Swing Golf simulators at Chelsea Piers in New York City, and at Eagle Golf in Bay Shore (see accompanying article on Eagle Golf).

PGA Tour Champion Ian Poulter is one of many pros who has made the Full Swing Golf simulator a part of his game. “Life is busy,” says Ian. “It’s tough to juggle a multifaceted career with a family and still find time to practice golf. That’s why I built a golf studio in my new home in Orlando, which I thought I’d only use when it rains, or at night, or when I’m short on time. My simulator is so good and so convenient that I actually practice more INDOORS than I thought I would, regardless of what’s going on outside.”

Whether it be for your business or your home, golf is now truly 24/7 as a new age has dawned in golf simulation. Full Swing Golf simulators has transformed and energized the game for players of all skill levels.

He’s the man who brought high-tech, indoor simulated golf to downtown Bay Shore.

Bob Schlageter can tell you what everyone who has experienced Eagle Golf already knows: The excitement and thrills of his Full Swing Golf simulators are incredible. For serious golfers, casual players, or beginners, this is something that can be enjoyed year-round, rain, snow or shine.

Golfing Magazine spent some time with Bob Schlageter to get his story, and the story of Eagle Golf.

Golfing Magazine: Take us back to how this new and exciting venture began for you.

Bob Schlageter: For 30 years I had my own company in Manhattan- a small business finance company. About four years ago, someone approached me about buying the company. We had roughly a year of negotiating before the sale, which gave me time to think about what was next. In my early 60s at the time, I wasn’t ready to do nothing.

Years earlier, I had seen the concept of golf simulators, and found it intriguing that on a snowy February morning, golfers were playing Bethpage Black in a simulator- which happened to a Full Swing Golf simulator. I filed that away in the back of my brain … and then, when thinking about the ‘2nd act’ of my life, the golf simulator idea came back.

GM: And how did this lead you to Main Street in Bay Shore?

Bob: Well, my first idea was to put golf simulators in airports to provide travelers with something to do during all that time WAITING for flights. But when the TSA rejected that proposal, I checked out other golf simulator locations – many were located in warehouse settings. I had the idea of a downtown location with a ‘country club’ atmosphere that provided access to families to enjoy golf as recreational entertainment, with parties, leagues, and special events.

I wanted a cohesive downtown area, and in driving through Bay Shore, I saw a vacancy on Main Street that had the footage I needed for the simulators and everything else we wanted inside. I hammered out a deal with the landlord quickly, and in May of 2012, we moved in.

GM: What has been the reaction of people who walk in to Eagle Golf for the first time?

Bob: I can literally see this word form on their lips – WOW! They are struck by the fact it does have a country club feel. And when they use the Full Swing Golf simulators, they are immediately in awe of the graphics. For those who have used golf simulators years ago, or who have golf video games at home, this is a different world. It is the experience of playing golf indoors, with all kinds of feedback on the screen of what you’re doing.

We have multi-generational families here, from grandparents to their grandkids. Golfers of all abilities, including couples playing a best-ball format so that beginners can play alongside more accomplished players.

GM: What about special events and larger gatherings?

Bob: Eagle Golf has hosted everything from birthday parties for youngsters to corporate events. Many local non-profits hold their golf committee meetings here, which is a great alternative to sitting in a room just talking for an hour. As for private parties, we’ve had as many as 60 people here … In once case, about 18 of those 60 guests played a championship course, with others using our 2nd simulator for golf contests, and some enjoying the 700-square foot chipping and putting area at Eagle Golf.

The leagues are also very popular. Last winter, I set up 2-player teams where you get to play a different 9-hole course every week. This was done to accommodate everyone’s busy schedule. You and your partner could even play your 9 holes on different days. With natural rivalries in business, I’m reaching out to local car dealerships to develop a league, as well as police precincts and fi rehouses. Our leagues were very popular last winter, and we expect even more success this winter. It’s fun and a great way to keep your game sharp during the winter season.

GM: Last, but not least, just how much has Eagle Golf helped YOUR game?

Bob: There’s a real opportunity with the simulators to work on every aspect of your game. I’ve spent much of this year working on my short game. Any shot from 60 yards on in has become a fairly reliable shot for me outdoors because of all the work I’ve done indoors. Not bad for someone who only played about 15 times total until about 2 years ago – and that’s when the golf bug gave me a bite!

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Eagle Golf Bay Shore’s Bob Schlageter on Full Swing Golf Simulators.

“Not being a golfer as I started this venture, I asked several local golf pros who went to the PGA Golf Shows to evaluate and assess the different simulators and equipment for me. I was already leaning toward Full Swing Golf after playing their simulators and those from other companies.

“The pros told me Full Swing was the ‘top of the industry.’ I don’t like starting new ventures with anything but the best – and so the choice was clear to go with Full Swing Golf simulators.

“I’ve been very happy with them in terms of the choices I had, and the service and support has been tremendous. All those who have visited Eagle Golf Bay Shore are thrilled with the simulators and the many options they have to enjoy the golf on so many levels.”