In a country where people are tempted to hibernate during the winter months, Full Swing golf simulators are the perfect solution to keep Norwegians swinging instead of slumbering during their long, dark winters.
“Norwegians are active, athletic and spend a great deal of time outdoors most of the year, but when the days become short during the winter, they’ve got to find something fun to do when they finish work,” says Darren Webster-Clarke, who operates the Innesvingen Golf Center, just north of Oslo, Norway. “Playing indoor golf is a fun and active pastime that can be enjoyed during the dark of the Norwegian winter.”
Webster-Clarke’s desire to stay fit and keep his golf game sharp year-round led him to Full Swing Golf to build a successful indoor golf business. He grew up in Sheffield, England working at the same club where Lee Westwood was a junior golfer, and now he coaches European Tour pro Richard Green, currently 96th in the Official World Golf Rankings. Green, who won the Portugal Masters last fall, uses the Full Swing Golf simulators at the Innesvingen Golf Center during the winter to improve his mental game.
“The simulator helps me to visualize my golf shots more effectively,” says Green. To make a shot on the simulator I have to focus on hitting a specific target on the screen. I pick a spot that’s literally in a window, maybe about three meters away, and I’ve got to hit that spot.” So, playing golf on a simulator actually changed how he visualizes shots. “I find there are a number of benefits in terms of game improvement that I derive from playing golf on the simulators at the Innesvingen Golf Center.”
The 12 Full Swing simulators enable Webster-Clarke’s clients to escape from the darkness and coldness of the Norwegian night and play golf on a sunny day at scores of championship golf courses. He has built his indoor golf business clientele by offering lessons and hosting local golf leagues in the winter. “When people come to Innesvingen Golf Center they feel like they are playing golf somewhere warm, it’s amazing the change you see in people’s faces,” he says.
Darren also arranges master classes as a team building retreat for local businesses. “We had a group of 6 people from a local business who were not excited about indoor golf and almost didn’t show up for their first session. They were convinced to give it a shot and participated in the master class. Everyone had a lot of fun and a week later they booked another session with 15 people. The master class became so popular that there were another ten people at the office on the waiting list. One of the people in this master’s class was a brand new golfer, and following the class he booked a golfing holiday. You can apply the golf skills you learn playing indoors on a Full Swing Golf simulator to golf outdoors, which is fun and exciting for all golfers.”
Friday morning breakfasts, featuring waffles and gourmet coffees are a popular offering of The Innesvingen Golf Center. This brings people to the center early in the day to play golf and the food and beverage sales create additional revenues. “Another one of the key benefits of playing golf indoors on a golf simulator,” adds Webster-Clarke, “is that a foursome of golfers can play 18 holes in a couple hours. Our business growth is based largely on positive word of mouth referrals. So we make sure our guests have a really great time whenever they come to The Innesvingen Golf Center.