World’s best golf courses virtually packed into Vancouver’s downtown.
Soon to open bar-restaurant will feature six golf simulators.
Golf will be a major part of the menu at a restaurant and bar opening early this fall in downtown Vancouver.
You’ll be able to sip on a Scotch while you tour St. Andrews or pound a Pilsner while playing Pebble Beach at what is being called One Under, Urban Golf Club.
The 5,000-square-foot facility is located at the corner of Granville and Pender, right under Dunn’s Tailors. Partners Jay Young and Ryan Hawk hope to have it open in early October.
Young says One Under should not be mistaken for an indoor driving range. The plan is to combine golf with a bar-restaurant that he says will have a decidedly upscale feel to it.
It will feature six state-of-the-art golf simulators purchased from Ontario-based High Definition Golf that will allow patrons to “play” a variety of the world’s top courses.
“My partner and I flew out to test them and they are really awesome systems,” Young says. “They have about 22 golf courses currently. Pebble Beach, St. Andrews, a lot of the typical high-end Golf Digest Top 100 golf courses, and they continue to add new ones. It’s really an incredible process. They GPS map each course and take 20,000 high-def photos.”
Golf simulators have come a long way from their early days. It’s kind of like comparing those old persimmon drivers to today’s offerings from the likes of Callaway and TaylorMade. For starters, high definition makes the visuals so much better and the systems of today are much more accurate in terms of tracking your shots.
“The technology has changed,” Young says. “I remember using them in the 1990s and the realism and accuracy was just really poor. I have played on these quite a bit and I also golf quite a bit. If I am hitting my 8-iron 125 yards on the course, I go onto this and I hit the exact same shot to the exact same yardage. The technology has really improved the last few years.”
The simulators will cost $50 an hour to rent per group, not per person. Clubs are provided as part of the package.
“There are places that have popped up in Toronto and I think there’s one in the Valley where people are bringing their clubs in, they may serve food but it’s low end, they don’t have a liquor licence, it is not a nicely designed space,” Young says. “It is sort of bare bones so you can play golf in the winter. Our strategy here is to be much higher end. We are going to be competing on a design esthetic of a Joey’s, Cactus Club or Blackbird while also having the golf aspect, big screen TVs, great service staff and really cool art in the space.
“Each (simulator) bay is about 14 feet wide by 20 feet deep. The back will have a high-top bar and table where you would sit. You come in with your group and you sort of rotate through kind of like you are bowling.”
There will be one larger VIP area for things like corporate events and bachelor parties.
Young and Hawk have hired Reuben Major, who served as the concept chef at Earl’s for 10 years and is now with the Belgard Kitchen and Vancouver Urban Winery, to design their menu and help create the right vibe.
The current downturn in the golf market doesn’t concern Young. He thinks some of the challenges facing the golf industry, most notably time and cost, could in fact benefit his business.
“I have seen a lot of the doom and gloom,” he says. “I actually see that as a real positive for us because I agree with the sentiment that golf has gotten too expensive and it takes much too long to play. I am 34 and have a two-year-old daughter and telling my wife that I am going to play University for five hours on a Saturday morning is just not happening … Our attitude is let’s make it cheaper, let’s make it more approachable and less time-consuming. We see ourselves as the solution to this problem.
“I know a lot of friends of mine don’t golf. And to go out to a local club can be very intimidating to get out there and get in front of a lot of other people. If they can come into our place — hit a few balls, feel comfortable, have a drink — it’s culturally a way to introduce people to the game so they get more comfortable and can go out and enjoy the outdoors as well.”
By Brad Ziemer, Vancouver Sun August 29, 2014