With golf courses closed around the country, players and teaching pros are turning to their garages, basements and backyards to get their fill.

Sales of at-home products, from mats and nets all the way through $7,000 simulators, are booming as golfers face the reality of a lockdown that might last months. The surge is boosting a corner of the industry that usually slows significantly as the weather gets warmer.

Sales at SkyTrak, which sells ball-tracking technology and simulators, nearly tripled in March versus the same month last year. At The Net Return, which makes at-home mats and nets, the boost was more than 10-fold.

“Our business has been crazy,” said Paul Crawley, founder and owner of The Net Return. “Professional golfers, normal golfers, everyone is going stir-crazy. And they want to practice and play.”

Golf simulators had already been gaining popularity before the crisis, with sales to homeowners rising faster than those to pro shops and clubs. But now, the appeal of having a golf experience without leaving the confines of your home has never been more relevant. If you have room to swing a club, SkyTrak says, you have room for a simulator.

Social Appeal
There’s also a social appeal during the physical distancing required to fight Covid-19’s spread. In the same way that video-game services such as Twitch and Discord are helping some replace in-person interactions, simulator golf can fill that void for others.

“You can play by yourself, some programs let you play with a group, some have competitions you can enter, and some let you set an 8 a.m. tee time and log in to play the same course with friends in different places,” said Paul Calabrase, national sales manager for SkyTrak and SkyGolf, one of its parent companies.

Those who make and sell golf simulators say the product has changed dramatically in the past five years. What once cost upward of $50,000 and required a huge at-home space can now be set up in the corner of a large room for less than 10% of that cost. The shot-tracking technology has gotten more accurate as well.

As a result, simulation products are one of the few areas of the golf industry showing consistent growth, according to Crawley. That’s in stark contrast to participation in real golf, which has fallen in 13 of the past 14 years, according to the National Golf Foundation.

$2,700 to $6,600
SkyTrak is a collaboration between SportTrak and SkyGolf, two closely held companies. The venture’s offerings range from a simple setup that costs around $2,700 for a net, mat and the ball-tracking device, to a full at-home studio, compatible with a projector, that costs around $6,600.

First « 1 2 » Next