MERIDEN — While the weather may not be warm enough yet to tee off outside, golf season is in full swing thanks to a new simulator inside the Meriden YMCA.
“We had the vision to try to expose kids to something they really don’t see because of the winter,” said Wallie Feliciano, sponsor of the golf simulator. “So now we have a place inside the YMCA to help facilitate that.”
Located near the basketball courts inside a room that used to be storage, the simulator features a small tee set up in front of a large screen and projector. The simulator was constructed in the last few months by maintenance and staff of the YMCA.
Members and non-members can bring their clubs and practice their swings using a computer application called SkyTrak that projects how fast the ball is hit at the screen onto a simulated green.
“It’s another program we can offer to the youth in town and older members who want to improve their game,” said Justin Ferreira, sport director at the Meriden YMCA.
Before the system opened to the public this week, Feliciano, an avid golfer, and Ferreira tested out some swings.
“With every shot the SkyTrak will read,” Ferreira said. “So the ball carried 137 yards, that means after the ball landed it rolled 15 yards to get to that 152 (total) yards.”
When the ball hits the screen the program simulates the arch of the ball flying through the air.
The numbers are projected on the side and bottom of the screen with a computerized green in the middle. The program also calculates the launch and side angle of the ball, back and side spins, ball speed and club speed.
Golf simulators have become popular recently with TopGolf, a national company that creates a simulated golfing experience, which opened last month at Foxwoods Casino and Resort as well as the new MGM Springfield Casino and Resort in Massachusetts last year.
Golf stores like Golfers’ Warehouse in Hartford also offer an indoor simulated golf experience.
“We have some avid golfers that are members and we really felt like we had the space,” said John Benigni, CEO of the Meriden YMCA.
“We live in Connecticut so we wanted to be able to have an option for them to play year round.”
He said the emphasis is on the youth programs and incorporating the simulator into the camps and and other activities.
More information can be found by calling 203-235-6386