I recently spent the afternoon playing the back nine at Augusta National, skipping over the pond to play Troon in Scotland, and then back to finish with an easy birdie at Muirfield Village's 18th hole (in Ohio).
Most of you have already guessed that I was playing on a golf simulator. And you're right, I was using the state-of-the-art equipment at City Golf in San Diego.
The City Golf Club & Academy (the operation's full name), was founded by partners Amanda Lai and Eric Liu, who met at one of San Diego's several golf industry colleges. And much to the pleasant surprise of amateurgolf.com sponsor True Temper, they built their 23,000 square foot facility in a Sorrento Valley business park just steps away from True Temper's West Coast engineering and distribution center.
"I love going over and playing Pebble Beach at lunch," said True Temper Product Manager Don Brown. "I can set the simulator on "auto-putt" and get in 18 holes in 30 minutes.
After getting a VIP tour around the gorgeous facility by Ms. Lai, I was able to finally play Augusta's back nine, and was awed by the realism, particularly of the long shots. The short shots lack a bit in the feel department, but that's a small price to pay for an almost perfect tee-to-green experience -- trees, rough, and hazards included. For example, I slightly pulled my tee shot on No. 16 at Augusta and it rolled from the edge of the bunker back into the water. Didn't see that coming!
City Golf founders Eric Liu and Amanda Lai
(with Torrey Pines South, Hole No. 1 in the background)
I really enjoyed watching the flight path of each shot on the screen, particularly when I pulled off the shot I wanted, like a hard draw off the 13th tee at Augusta. I've always wanted to hit that shot, it's a right-to-left player's dream.
Beyond the four simulators available to members, there are teaching bays powered by video teaching software company JC Golf, an indoor range, practice bunker, 18 hole practice green, exercise area, conference room, food and beverage, and more. An attentive staff and front desk concierge area round out City Golf's experience.
My first reaction when I walked around with Ms. Lai was "I want to live here!" to which she replied "I practically do."
Without a doubt, the hard work will continue to payoff in such a golf crazy area as San Diego. City Golf has already attracted 300 members in less than a year of operation.
You might be wondering -- why an indoor facility in a city with "America's finest climate?" It's all about improving. Lessons are available as part of the program and if you haven't experienced the leaps and bounds in video-based teaching technology you owe yourself the chance to give it a try. I was also impressed that even on the "open" range, each shot was tracked for distance, ball flight, etc. which has the potential to make a normally mundane practice session interesting.
Memberships start at just $150 a month with a $400 initiation fee. Each membership includes one video lesson per month, just about paying for the entire monthly dues.
Contact City Golf at: