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Indoor Golf Center/Bar

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
I am a new member who has really enjoyed this website. There seems to be plenty of golf addicts out there like myself. I was looking for some advice/comments/ideas on setting up an indoor golf business in the suburbs of a major city with winter lasting around 5 months. I would envision this facility having 5 aboutgolf simulators to use. Would offer beer, wine, and lite food.

I would assume most people would only come to play golf so I was thinking of only having a small bar( four chairs) and the rest of the facility being 5 sims and bathrooms small kitchen. Each bay would have its one simulator/seating for four/ and TV.

I have read about a lot of these places going under in the last 3 years and I think it is because they have too big of a facility, to many simulators, and are not located within 15 minutes of a dense population with high incomes.

How much would you pay weekday/ weekend to play 9 holes?
How much would you pay weekday/ weekend to play 18 holes?

How many times do you think you would use a facility like this during the winter months (Nov-mar) for practice?

How many times do you think you would use a facility like this during the winter months (Nov-mar) to play 9 or 18 holes?

what would be most important as customer to you in going to a place like this?

How many beers on average would you drink per 18 on a simulator with friends?

What would you pay for a domestic beer?
What would you pay for an import?

How long do you think a league should last? IE start one from nov-dec and another from jan-March?

Any thoughts, comments, advice would be very helpful. I do not want to go ahead with this business venture until I have more information. Have a family to think about and they come first.

Thanks
post #2 of 44

If the bar area is too small, there's no place for non-players (those waiting for their turn to golf) to sit/drink and as soon as the golfers are done, they're leaving your establishment to go elsewhere.  5 sims is only 20 patrons at any given time on the sims.  Don't give up that additional bar revenue.  That's where the money is!

 

I wouldn't pay any more for a beer there, than I would in any other sports bar.  I'd be likely to drink a little less, just like when I'm actually on the course, especially if I were seriously practicing.

 

Welcome to TST, regardless of your business venture, stick around!

 

:beer:

post #3 of 44

Interesting concept ...

 

I played on a simulator this weekend - 18 holes at St. Andres - Shot an 80 lol

 

The simulators in my area charge by time. Generally $40 per hour Monday thru Friday & $45 per hour on the weekends.

 

Leagues last 6 weeks

 

The place I played this weekend allows you to bring your own liquor/beer. Had I know that b4 I went I would have picked up a 6 pack lol

 

 

 

Good Luck

post #4 of 44

Hi @MickeyBlue !

 

Welcome to the Sandtrap. I recently discovered a golf bar nearby and think it's awesome. They don't seem to be very busy so I don't know how long they will last but hopefully they'll make it because I sure like having that option in the winter months!! This plays has leagues and tournaments and a full bar.

 

Here's a link so you can see what they have done: http://www.golfindorion.com/en/

 

They are charging $30 an hour for the bay, as many players as you want. My brother-in-law and I played 18 in about 2 hours sunday night so it was around $45 with drinks which is pretty reasonable.

 

If you decide to go for it keep us posted!

post #5 of 44

I have gone to almost every indoor golf facility around me since about 50% of my time being interested in golf has been while there is snow on the ground.

 

There is not enough space on this forum for me to go over all of the problems these places have.  Most of which are brought on by themselves.

 

Small upkeep like correctly patching holes in the hitting net if not replacing.  Switching tees regularly(the one closest to me has the adjustable orange tee that goes into the rubber insert in mat)  

 

The bar scene, only one of the places I have gone has a full bar, others are BYOB.  The one with a bar is losing out on huge revenue by not sending someone around to see if people want another drink.  My buddy, his brother and I went the other day and as soon as we got to the place they each got a beer, they finished and were empty for 5-10 minutes before my friend went up to get another round for them.  Unfortunately since we were playing kind of slow we had to hurry a bit and he never bothered walking over to the bar for another round.  When we left they went to another bar to get drinks,  I couldn't believe it.

 

My advice to you is don't do it alone, each time I have gone to one of these places I feel like there owner/manager is doing all the work and just isn't able to see the full picture and make as big of an impact as possible. 

 

My friend and I have toyed with the idea of trying to open one of these and I think we would make a good team since we look at things differently, that is key when there is a high risk of going under.

 

 

And lastly, don't hire a bunch of high school kids.  They really couldn't care less if your customers are having a good time.  They won't care that your not maximizing profits.  Don't underestimate the fact that these are the people your rely on to get your customers to come back.

post #6 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post

If the bar area is too small, there's no place for non-players (those waiting for their turn to golf) to sit/drink and as soon as the golfers are done, they're leaving your establishment to go elsewhere.  5 sims is only 20 patrons at any given time on the sims.  Don't give up that additional bar revenue.  That's where the money is!

I wouldn't pay any more for a beer there, than I would in any other sports bar.  I'd be likely to drink a little less, just like when I'm actually on the course, especially if I were seriously practicing.

Welcome to TST, regardless of your business venture, stick around!

c2_beer.gif

I agree, there needs to be a place, at least a few tables near the small bar with a TV for people to sit before/after their round. My early revenue projections show the simulator business would cover my costs to run the place with some left over but the beer/ wine sales would drive 36% of my profits assuming I get 35 people on average in the door each day for 160 days and each person averages $9 profit from beer/wine/ food sales (ie pizza/light food).

I have been to some of these places in my area(35 min drive) and they seem to alway be pretty busy but I am not there enough to fully understand how many people they get daily. I never see people just hanging out drinking if not golfing though at this place. Because of this I do not want to have to large of a bar/ table area as space is money but some form of waiting area would need to be accounted for. I do not think non golfers would come in enough to justify a full fledge bar/dinning/ full kitchen.

If I had 5 simulators with an average of 14 hours a days of available rental time how many hours do you think it would be used? 5 simulators x 14 hours gives me 70 total hours of possible rental per day. If I can rent them 50% of the time each day that gives me 35 hours. If each hour was rented for an average of $25 it comes to $875. I am not sure if 50% is high or low.

If each of those 35 people averaged (understanding some would spend 0 and others 20+) $9 profit I would make $315 a day on bar/food. ( was thinking domestic beer for $3 and imports $4).

Totaled I would make $1,190 a day. Take that by 160 days and the estimated revenue would be $190,400. With these numbers my idea just doesn't seem to work very well as operating costs per year would be around 140-150k. Not to mention start up costs although loan for simulators factored into the operating costs per year. The startup would still take 50-70k for the bar/flooring/sign/accountant/lawyer/ sign/ etc.

Do people think I am under estimating utilization of 50% on the simulators?
Do you think I am under estimating my bar/food sales of $9 on average per person?

Thanks all. Any input will help. Sorry for the long posts.
post #7 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robi1026 View Post

Interesting concept ...

I played on a simulator this weekend - 18 holes at St. Andres - Shot an 80 lol

The simulators in my area charge by time. Generally $40 per hour Monday thru Friday & $45 per hour on the weekends.

Leagues last 6 weeks

The place I played this weekend allows you to bring your own liquor/beer. Had I know that b4 I went I would have picked up a 6 pack lol



Good Luck

Thanks for the input. I to recently played St. Andrews and shot 81. Love the simulators just not the putting and chipping. Gets me every time.
post #8 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernest Jones View Post

Hi @MickeyBlue
 !

Welcome to the Sandtrap. I recently discovered a golf bar nearby and think it's awesome. They don't seem to be very busy so I don't know how long they will last but hopefully they'll make it because I sure like having that option in the winter months!! This plays has leagues and tournaments and a full bar.

Here's a link so you can see what they have done: http://www.golfindorion.com/en/

They are charging $30 an hour for the bay, as many players as you want. My brother-in-law and I played 18 in about 2 hours sunday night so it was around $45 with drinks which is pretty reasonable.

If you decide to go for it keep us posted!

30 per hour seems to be pretty standard unless you play in a downtown setting, New York, Chicago, etc. it hanks for the link. I hope they stay open as well for you. Great way to get out if the house with your buddy's and swing the club in the winter.
post #9 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by MickeyBlue View Post


Thanks for the input. I to recently played St. Andrews and shot 81. Love the simulators just not the putting and chipping. Gets me every time.

Lol, yeah the putting blows!!! I have a real hard time getting a feel for distance control on a sim. Anything under 14' is ok because the screen is around 14' away so I can get a feel for distance but 40 footers are really hard to gauge. I end up looking at a wall or table 40' away and making some practice swings with that as a target and then try to transfer the feel back to the screen. The obvious solution is to stick my wedges closer!

post #10 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TJ106 View Post

I have gone to almost every indoor golf facility around me since about 50% of my time being interested in golf has been while there is snow on the ground.

There is not enough space on this forum for me to go over all of the problems these places have.  Most of which are brought on by themselves.

Small upkeep like correctly patching holes in the hitting net if not replacing.  Switching tees regularly(the one closest to me has the adjustable orange tee that goes into the rubber insert in mat)  

The bar scene, only one of the places I have gone has a full bar, others are BYOB.  The one with a bar is losing out on huge revenue by not sending someone around to see if people want another drink.  My buddy, his brother and I went the other day and as soon as we got to the place they each got a beer, they finished and were empty for 5-10 minutes before my friend went up to get another round for them.  Unfortunately since we were playing kind of slow we had to hurry a bit and he never bothered walking over to the bar for another round.  When we left they went to another bar to get drinks,  I couldn't believe it.

My advice to you is don't do it alone, each time I have gone to one of these places I feel like there owner/manager is doing all the work and just isn't able to see the full picture and make as big of an impact as possible. 

My friend and I have toyed with the idea of trying to open one of these and I think we would make a good team since we look at things differently, that is key when there is a high risk of going under.


And lastly, don't hire a bunch of high school kids.  They really couldn't care less if your customers are having a good time.  They won't care that your not maximizing profits.  Don't underestimate the fact that these are the people your rely on to get your customers to come back.

I agree up keep is key. One of the places I played had a hole at the bottom of the screen where you putted. Very annoying. I would use adjustable tees for sure and would look into getting the best possible mat for the hitting area not the cheap kind most places seem to use.

I agree service needs to be on point and losing beer revenue is not a good thing. People want a beer offered to them when they are 2/3 done with their current beer. Certainly not 15mins + after finishing one.

I would be the sole owner but would hire someone I trusted to be the GM and split managing duties with me. I would also have extra staff for weekends or when business dictated it. No high school kids would work for me.

Good luck if you start one with your buddy. I would at least look into used simulators if I were you are the savings for a few year old equipment is over 50% of new. I have counted like 10 places that have gone under in the last three years which is good for used equipment but also gives you pause if you are to open one yourself.

Thanks for the input and advice.
post #11 of 44

Tough market for those here. Serious golfers are more into the heated and indoor ranges than the sims. Especially if they have video stalls. The sports bars with sims are huge family game center chains that offer more than golf. Just having sim golf and a bar wouldn't be much of a draw for those that frequent the bigger places and the golfers looking for a place to practice in the winter are going to keep going to the indoor practice facilities. There are two courses with heated bays that are open 7 days and one indoor range that stays open until 9PM within 15 minutes of me. In two years I've used the sim stall once.

post #12 of 44
I've never loved playing on simulators, so I may not be in your target market.

Actually, that may be another idea. If someone just wants to hit balls, maybe offer a discounted rate (or different rate - by the bucket rather than by the half hour) for golfers who just want to hit balls.

I imagine that it's a tough market. The place I go to is a big soccer dome (four open soccer fields, one boarded one, two basketball courts, a workout gym) that puts down a few mats during the slow periods (weekdays midday). The driving range for them costs very little - they're just using a field that would otherwise be open, so they don't charge much. There's a strictly indoor range a bit farther away that charges almost twice as much - I assume - because golf is their only revenue stream.
post #13 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by MickeyBlue View Post


I agree, there needs to be a place, at least a few tables near the small bar with a TV for people to sit before/after their round. My early revenue projections show the simulator business would cover my costs to run the place with some left over but the beer/ wine sales would drive 36% of my profits assuming I get 35 people on average in the door each day for 160 days and each person averages $9 profit from beer/wine/ food sales (ie pizza/light food).

I have been to some of these places in my area(35 min drive) and they seem to alway be pretty busy but I am not there enough to fully understand how many people they get daily. I never see people just hanging out drinking if not golfing though at this place. Because of this I do not want to have to large of a bar/ table area as space is money but some form of waiting area would need to be accounted for. I do not think non golfers would come in enough to justify a full fledge bar/dinning/ full kitchen.

If I had 5 simulators with an average of 14 hours a days of available rental time how many hours do you think it would be used? 5 simulators x 14 hours gives me 70 total hours of possible rental per day. If I can rent them 50% of the time each day that gives me 35 hours. If each hour was rented for an average of $25 it comes to $875. I am not sure if 50% is high or low.

If each of those 35 people averaged (understanding some would spend 0 and others 20+) $9 profit I would make $315 a day on bar/food. ( was thinking domestic beer for $3 and imports $4).

Totaled I would make $1,190 a day. Take that by 160 days and the estimated revenue would be $190,400. With these numbers my idea just doesn't seem to work very well as operating costs per year would be around 140-150k. Not to mention start up costs although loan for simulators factored into the operating costs per year. The startup would still take 50-70k for the bar/flooring/sign/accountant/lawyer/ sign/ etc.

Do people think I am under estimating utilization of 50% on the simulators?
Do you think I am under estimating my bar/food sales of $9 on average per person?

Thanks all. Any input will help. Sorry for the long posts.

 

I think you're over-estimating utilization.

 

Mon-Fri I probably wouldn't forecast much play at all before 5pm.  If I were building assumptions for the business plan, I would plan those hours at zero play, to be conservative.  I'd also do the same for 9pm to midnight for every day except Friday and Saturday.

 

Are you planning to shut down the other 200 days of the year?  Do you own space?  I can't imagine anyone is going to do a short term business lease which means you're on the hook for that monthly nut whether you're open or not.

 

Right now you're just guessing though.  You need to find at least 3 or 4 establishments that are running a similar business model and get with the owners and break open the books.  As long as you're not competing with them, most small business owners will be happy to sit down and talk real world numbers with you.  That won't give you all the answers, but it will give you a base starting point for developing your forecasts and assumptions that you can apply to your specific location and demographics.

 

Good luck, and keep us up to date!

post #14 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by MickeyBlue View Post

I am a new member who has really enjoyed this website. There seems to be plenty of golf addicts out there like myself. I was looking for some advice/comments/ideas on setting up an indoor golf business in the suburbs of a major city with winter lasting around 5 months. I would envision this facility having 5 aboutgolf simulators to use. Would offer beer, wine, and lite food.

I would assume most people would only come to play golf so I was thinking of only having a small bar( four chairs) and the rest of the facility being 5 sims and bathrooms small kitchen. Each bay would have its one simulator/seating for four/ and TV.

I have read about a lot of these places going under in the last 3 years and I think it is because they have too big of a facility, to many simulators, and are not located within 15 minutes of a dense population with high incomes.

How much would you pay weekday/ weekend to play 9 holes?
How much would you pay weekday/ weekend to play 18 holes?

How many times do you think you would use a facility like this during the winter months (Nov-mar) for practice?

How many times do you think you would use a facility like this during the winter months (Nov-mar) to play 9 or 18 holes?

what would be most important as customer to you in going to a place like this?

How many beers on average would you drink per 18 on a simulator with friends?

What would you pay for a domestic beer?
What would you pay for an import?

How long do you think a league should last? IE start one from nov-dec and another from jan-March?

Any thoughts, comments, advice would be very helpful. I do not want to go ahead with this business venture until I have more information. Have a family to think about and they come first.

Thanks

im in south jersey and i play on a sim every once in a while in center city it costs me $40 for the hour on week days plus parking and bridge tolls. the owner of the place is a nice guy if you want in box me and i can give you the name of the place and his number maybe he can help you. he is also a cert. stack and tilt pro. and cert club fitter for callaway so he use is facility for more than just playing golf    

post #15 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave2512 View Post

Tough market for those here. Serious golfers are more into the heated and indoor ranges than the sims. Especially if they have video stalls. The sports bars with sims are huge family game center chains that offer more than golf. Just having sim golf and a bar wouldn't be much of a draw for those that frequent the bigger places and the golfers looking for a place to practice in the winter are going to keep going to the indoor practice facilities. There are two courses with heated bays that are open 7 days and one indoor range that stays open until 9PM within 15 minutes of me. In two years I've used the sim stall once.

I could see more serious golfers using heated ranges. I do know plenty of good golfers as well that like going to the indoor golf center 35 mins away from us. We all agree the outing and chipping sucks but we feel the irons and drives are pretty accurate. I do think we go more for time out with the guys as a social night as well though. Thanks for your input.
post #16 of 44

What it takes for a simulator to pay for itself (and hopefully some profit) is an interesting question. Some friends and I were speculating about that just last week without any real numbers to back up any of our thoughts.

 

None of us even knew anything about initial cost, expected or unexpected upkeep costs, or eventual replacement costs. With those numbers we might have had a better chance of carrying on a more intelligent conversation and could figure how many people would have to play and what the price would have to be.

 

Keep us updated on what you find out.

post #17 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by MickeyBlue View Post


I could see more serious golfers using heated ranges. I do know plenty of good golfers as well that like going to the indoor golf center 35 mins away from us. We all agree the outing and chipping sucks but we feel the irons and drives are pretty accurate. I do think we go more for time out with the guys as a social night as well though. Thanks for your input.

I prefer a sim to a heated range provided the sim is one of the newer, more accurate models with decent graphics. It gets you out of machine gun mode. You also have the option of using the driving range setting if you just want to work on mechanics. I really like the fact that I get a reading on club face and path. I don't find the chipping/pitching too bad but the putting definitely sucks ass.

post #18 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post

I think you're over-estimating utilization.

Mon-Fri I probably wouldn't forecast much play at all before 5pm.  If I were building assumptions for the business plan, I would plan those hours at zero play, to be conservative.  I'd also do the same for 9pm to midnight for every day except Friday and Saturday.

Are you planning to shut down the other 200 days of the year?  Do you own space?  I can't imagine anyone is going to do a short term business lease which means you're on the hook for that monthly nut whether you're open or not.

Right now you're just guessing though.  You need to find at least 3 or 4 establishments that are running a similar business model and get with the owners and break open the books.  As long as you're not competing with them, most small business owners will be happy to sit down and talk real world numbers with you.  That won't give you all the answers, but it will give you a base starting point for developing your forecasts and assumptions that you can apply to your specific location and demographics.

Good luck, and keep us up to date!

I agree days would be harder to fill than nights. Would need to tap into the retired crowd and college crowd while home on winter break.

I would plan on being open from sept-April. Figured sept would be more of a weekend thing with guys coming in to play and watch college/nfl football with their friends. I was not going to count this in my revenue forecast however as I would not bank on it. I figure for my area mid October thru march is going to be the time I make the bulk of my money with jan, Feb, and march being the most busy.

I do not own a space so my lease would be 12 months a year. This is factored in on my yearly operating costs.

I agree I need to get more concert budget numbers from current owners. I think I will reach out to some places not in my area and see if they could provide me with basic information. IE. average number of visitors per week. Average weekly gross on beer/food sales from golfing customers/ would they recommend/ any advice, etc.

Thanks agin for your insight. I will keep people posted on any developments if I get to the point of going ahead with this. Thinking next year or the year after if ever.
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