CLEVELAND, Ohio — A trio of business owners plan to open the West Bank Golf Club at Cleveland’s Flats this month.
The scheduled opening date for the simulators and bar at 2111 Center St. is Friday, April 29th. Gabe Adams, Jay Graham and Jim Basar started making the idea a reality a year ago.
“We were talking about playing indoor golf around this time last year,” said Adams, who named the three popular golf simulator courses in the area. Several simulator sites are within an hour of downtown Cleveland.
“Why isn’t there one downtown?” Adams said he remembered saying it.
Adams is friends with Bobby George from Townhall. So the three owners – who knew each other from their days as students at Baldwin Wallace University – approached George, knowing he had some properties in the area.
“We walked in here and said, ‘Yeah, that’s it,'” Adams said.
They made progress and envisioned a vibrant multipurpose space. Six months ago it was an empty industrial hall with yellow walls and ceilings. Now the space — nearly 5,000 square feet — is about to open.
California-based Full Swing Simulators is the company behind the technology and user experiences for the three interactive bays. Each screen is 16 feet wide. Golfers stand ten feet away, with high peaks behind them, for people to watch, drink, relax and wait their turn.
Even golfers will not be bored with the same environment. More than 80 courses are available, as well as driving range practice, par 3 competitions and long driving competitions. About 20 variables show swing speed, ball speed and the dynamics of how the clubface hits the ball.
“It’s a very complicated experience to help your game,” Basar said.
Simulators, which should arrive this week, also offer other games – soccer, football, hockey, baseball and dodgeball.
The cost is $45 per hour Monday-Thursday and Friday before 3pm, then $55 per hour Friday after 3pm, and Saturday and Sunday.
The space offers more than just the three bays. A conference room and a party room are available. Businesses can hold casual meetings, they said. Poker nights and fantasy sports draft meetings are also possible. The space will have a pair of pool tables and TVs, as well as keno, touch tunes, and — across the board — sports betting kiosks. And simulator screens can be converted to projection screens for a big game or event.
Simulators work well for golfers of all skill levels, Adams said. Beginners don’t have to worry about losing a ball or slowing down the game.
The owners said the space – with a capacity of just under 100 people – will open at 8am, so they anticipate that there may be older, more serious golfers hitting a few shots in the morning before a more laid-back crowd later comes for a pint to drink. golf and switch off.
“It’s never going to be a nightclub,” Graham said, offering more of a “happy hour feel” instead.
The golf club has a lot going for it, starting with its location.
The company is housed within Tenk Machine & Tool Co., which was originally Eclipse Iron Works. Dating back to the 18th century, this company crafted architectural iron objects like sidewalk lights, railings, and more — although it would have been a happy accident if it had made golf clubs. The building later served as the longtime headquarters of Bruce-MacBeth Engine Co. and then Tenk, which closed years ago.
The owners describe the golf club as “the course meets the clubhouse”.
“There’s nowhere more clubhouse like to actually hang out and not just play golf. You can come in, have a drink or watch a game in a room large enough that you don’t interfere with the golf game,” Graham said.
“A lot of the (other simulator) locations we thought were great, but you wouldn’t hang out there,” Bazaar said. “You play golf and go. And we wanted our course to be a place to be, even if you’re not playing golf.”
The location is crucial. Off-street parking and an adjacent lot for the building are available — important because nobody wants to haul clubs across blocks or through slush in the winter.
Speaking to businesses in the region, Adams said: “We talked about how the West Bank is becoming what I think they wanted the East Bank to be, where a little bit older people would hang out, it was a thing you could do easy to get, lots of fun in one area. You know being able to play golf and see a show at Jacobs (Pavilion) or Music Box Supper Club and volleyball down the street and then paddle (tennis court).” Adams is referring to the Cleveland Platform courts Tennis Foundation, less than half a mile away.
The golf club is part of a seemingly organic development of an active lifestyle that is taking root in the area, which Bazaar calls “recreational sports activities”. Volleyball leagues, paddle tennis and other options are available. Pins Mechanical Co. – which offers foosball, pinball, duckpin bowling and bocce ball – is located near Ohio City. And The Foundry fosters the rowing community.
New apartment buildings nearby could also fuel a potential customer base, they said.
Bazaar added that golf’s popularity is exploding as a result of the pandemic.
Research from the National Golf Foundation supports this claim. In recent years, the sport has seen an increase in participation attributed to the coronavirus pandemic – golf is generally considered safer than other activities due to its natural social distancing. According to the organization, more women and minorities are also playing golf.
A full bar is available for those not wanting to play golf or have a drink. The owners kept the industrial look of the place, with the building’s old, heavy fire doors serving as the bar’s knee wall. Beer is offered in all cans, wine, beverages, spiked iced teas and hard seltzer are available.
Golf coolers with multiple beers are offered in lieu of beer buckets, and the offering card is printed on a scorecard. You could even play a shotgun start – a beer and a booze special.
“It’s a golf course with a twist,” said Graham.
The space doesn’t have a kitchen, though the owners plan to partner with Mulberry’s a few blocks away, as well as other locations. Townhall will also be able to provide “right off the bat,” Adams said.
There’s another plus to the room, the owners said: the ceiling. It’s about 40 feet tall. Many simulator sites have ceilings of around 12 feet.
“I think that’s the main thing that drew us to this place — the ceilings,” Graham said. “When you swing a racquet, no matter how many times you do it, you still have in mind that you’re going to hit something. You won’t feel it at all with this.”
Pins Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar and Arcade Opening Soon in Ohio City (Photos)
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I am online cleveland.com‘s life and culture team and cover topics related to food, beer, wine and sport. If you want to see my stories Here is a directory on cleveland.com. WTAM-1100’s Bill Wills and I usually talk about food and drink on Thursday mornings at 8:20 am. Twitter: @mbona30.
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