The other day I drove past a large inflatable dome on the side of the highway. I thought to myself, “Gee, I didn’t realize that they had built a golf dome there.” As I thought some more, it may actually have been an indoor soccer venue or tennis facility. Golf domes seem to be going away as more driving ranges build shelters and install heaters. Also, simulators are big business and take up a lot less room.
All this got me thinking about the indoor golf course they built in Michigan back in the early 1980’s. It made quite a splash in the metro Detroit golf community, golf in the middle of winter. Eventually three golf buddies and I decided to check it out. I do not recall the cost but it must have been under $25. I can’t imagine me being willing to pay much more than that.
The course was a glorified nine-hole par 3 set-up. Netting separated each hole from its neighbors to prevent mayhem and maiming. The tees & “fairways” were carpets but the greens were actually real turf with grass. The grass in many places had been pounded down into dirt. Where the grass still hung on, it was quite long and pasted down on the turf, like a guy slicking down his comb-over hair style. The putting quality was worse than any green I had ever played upon.
There were some sand bunkers but no water that I can recall. I don’t remember anything related to our “round” of golf. I am sure we tried playing shots off the nets for fun. No one was going to mistake this place for a golf course with the dome, nets, artificial lighting and golfing hordes slowly working their way from one net draped area to another.
Everyone quickly figured out this was a gimmick. If this venture made it into a second year of operation, I would be amazed. It does not exist now. I wish I had taken some photos as it was a pretty unique experience.