Golf simulator tempts new recruits to get in the swing

Hitting the greens in the UAE has been growing in popularity as events such as the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic usher in major stars such as Rory McIlroy and Martin Kaymer.

Travis Bundus wants to build on this rising interest by helping more women and children get their start in the game, thanks to technology that allows a golfer to be in control of their own lesson, reducing some of the cost and time needed to learn the sport.

He launched a high-tech indoor training centre at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City in November in the capital. Performance Golf UAE uses a system developed by HD Golf and similar to what airlines use to teach future pilots.

“The use of a golf simulator is the ultimate in golf innovation,” Mr Bundus says. “Not only does an indoor facility solve an issue with the extreme climate, it also addresses a more sustainable method to enjoying golf.”

He says that the technology behind the machine will overcome some of the limitations that have hampered the success of simulator golf in the past.

Performance Golf’s simulator uses high-speed digital imagery to break down a golf swing into eight separate parts and identify faults that a golfer can then focus on, allowing for quicker improvement.

“There is no system in the world with such in-depth analysis,” Mr Bundus says.

But what about the price?

“We hear that many people think that golf is a game for old rich guys, but we know this is simply not true and we’re doing a lot to promote the game of golf for all ages and cultures,” the founder says.

The cost for UAE residents to play a round on the greens in Abu Dhabi, renting equipment such as clubs and shoes, comes to about Dh920 from Thursday to Saturday, not including the price of lessons on the range beforehand from a club pro, according to Mr Bundus. The Golf Performance simulator, which does not require special equipment, is 45 per cent cheaper at Dh500.

Mr Bundus’ marketing approach has mainly been through social media. From the company’s inception, Golf Performance has received more than 20 enquiries from women. This interest led to a surprising opportunity.

“Once women realise that our approach to teaching and instruction is fun and easier than they thought, they naturally ask about children’s programmes,” Mr Bundus said.

“Within 10 minutes we can have anyone hitting a golf ball, and thus begins the love affair,” Mr Bundus said.

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