SOUTHINGTON — The new owner of Golf Quest said he’s offering a new generation of golfing with a Toptracer system, an expanded pro shop and club fitting space and renovated grounds and driving range.
Chris Cote has been running Golf Quest’s retail shop for years and last week bought the property from the former owners. Cote has a golf shop in Portland, his home town, where he’s also adding a driving range.
Golf Quest off Interstate 84 on Jude Lane opened in 1997. Cote said it offered traditional driving range amenities but needed updating as well as more appeal for younger golfers.
“It’s a total makeover,” Cote said Wednesday. “We’re modernizing and putting our own touch on it.”
Gofl Quest is the first location in town with Toptracer, a computerized system of cameras that tracks golf shots. It’s used to play virtual golf courses, compete with other players for longest shot and track performance over time.
Cote had 66 bays outfitted with the Toptracer system which includes cameras that track a ball’s direction and speed. A screen near the bay allows a golfer to choose different modes of play as well as watch the ball’s trajectory and landing distance from the pin.
Brandon Cole, assistant manager, demonstrated the system Wednesday. After choosing the 98-yard pin, the screen pulled up the third hole from the Pebble Beach golf course. Cole took a few shots, the Toptracer system computing the location, overlaying it onto the golf course fairway.
The Toptracer program shows golf ball trajectory on a monitor for customers at Golf Quest, 125 Jude Ln. in Southington, Wed., Nov. 20, 2019. Dave Zajac, Record-Journal
A group of golfers on Sunday played through an entire course this way, Cole said.
“They love this,” he said.
Phil Salvia, a golfer from Watertown, visited Golf Quest on Wednesday and said he’d used the Toptracer system elsewhere.
“It helps you figure out your swing,” he said.
The system and touch screen appeal to younger golfers, Cote said, some of whom prefer to play virtual golf at the driving range to an actual 18 hole-course.
“The industry has changed a lot. The younger golfers love all the new tech,” he said.
Ready for resurgence
In addition to high-tech additions, Cote has also put money into basics such as outdoor heaters for the driving range and 50,000 new range balls that were delivered in five pallets Wednesday.
Chris Cote is the new owner of Golf Quest, 125 Jude Ln. in Southington, Wed., Nov. 20, 2019. Dave Zajac, Record-Journal
While the golf industry has shrunk recently, Cote said the losses are leveling out and that the sport is ready for a resurgence, in part helped by new technology.
Cote bought the driving range and the clubhouse. The front part of Golf Quest, including the bumper boats, batting cages and mini golf wasn’t included in the sale.
Tom Brown, one of the former Golf Quest owners, said he’s not sure about the future of the front portion of the property which he still owns. It’s not on the market and it may reopen next year.
“We’ll see. It’s difficult to do a standalone operation,” Brown said.
He was optimistic about Cote’s takeover of Golf Quest.
“I think he’s going to do great. He’s got a lot of energy,” Brown said.