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Indoor golf keeps the swing on par throughout the year

Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 7:37 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - ‘Short’ is one way to describe the outdoor golf season in Fairbanks, Alaska. However, for nearly 20 years Play It Again Sports has offered indoor golf to keep your swing on par throughout the year. Behind technology from TruGolf Simulators’ E6 Connect Software, golfers in Fairbanks can get the 18-hole experience all year round without having to lose the white golf ball in the white snow, or fight the frigid temperatures. Play It Again Sports, off the Old Steese Highway, has multiple indoor golf simulators assembled, with the first arrival in 2001.

“The demand has always been great, since the day we opened the door,” said Play It Again Sports Owner Toby Dougherty. “Winter months, everybody is coming in, trying to get their swing right, ready to go to Hawaii or someplace nice and warm, so this is the place to do it.”

A pair of golfers were there when I visited Play It Again Sports Wednesday, one from out-of-state who was working on his short game. Playing golf in Alaska in December does not sound right, but I had to try it out.

Teeing off, I sliced a ball 248 yards directly into a body of water, just how I would on a real golf course. Rather than blaming my shot on malfunctioning software, Dougherty explained to me the technology behind the simulator. There are three rows of sensors, with the initial sensor on the ceiling directly above where one would hit the ball.

“The camera up above will actually read the club head itself, as well as your club head speed.”

The other two sensors, one of which is directly in front of the screen where the ball is hit into, reads the angle and speed of which the ball was struck.

“When it hits the screen, it bounces back, goes over these sensors and actually tells you whether you had a slice, fade, draw, whatever mistake you may have made.”

The simulator offers dozens of actual golf courses, including the Old Course at St. Andrews, which is considered one of the oldest golf courses in the world. After knocking the ball around into every crevice of the course, it showed why an indoor golf set up is necessary in Fairbanks with its long, cold winters.

“Golf is one of those rare sports where you are always going to have to be practicing, you’re always going to have to be playing in order to keep you’re game where it’s at,” said Dougherty. “The more you can play, the more you can swing year-round, the better your golf game is going to be in the summer.”

Contact information and store hours for Play It Again Sports can be found on their website.

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