Canadians have embraced golf as a pandemic-friendly activity over the past two years. But now, with winter creeping up, forcing golfers to reluctantly put away their gear for the season, a plethora of indoor golf facilities can tide them over until they can get back out on the course.
Target Indoor Golf, at 91 Doncaster Ave. in Thornhill is one their facilities where you can play golf indoors.
“Golf has had tremendous growth since the pandemic,” said Ashvin Anandarajah , a customer service specialist at Target Indoor Golf. “Golf, in general, has become very popular over the last two years.”
While golf has historically had a reputation of being an expensive sport enjoyed by the affluent, the nature of the game provides unique opportunities according to Adam Stanley, a sports journalist who covers golf extensively at many publications including the Globe and Mail and PGA.com.
“While you’re correct in saying that golf has more barriers to entry, it’s much safer than many other sports and it’s a sport for all ages,” Stanley said.
“Do you ever see 90-year-old and 9-year-old playing soccer together? No, but it happens all the time in golf.”
Golf is sport which is great at retention and has many older players relative to other sports, which allows for multiple generations of families to enjoy the sport together.
Target Indoor Golf is open year-round but they are busiest in the winter when golfers have less access to outdoor courts.
“We do see more business in the colder months,” Anandarajah said. “Obviously due to courses being closed. However, our simulators do provide data and insight which players use on the course.”
Usama Mohammed went from a casual golfer to someone who plays weekly both indoors or outdoors over the pandemic. He is relieved that he won’t have to find a new hobby for the winter.
“I dabbled in golf for years, but the pandemic changed that,” Mohammed said. “Switching to golf as the primary sport I play was a big adjustment. Having to find a new activity for the winter would’ve been too much of a hassle, I’m lucky I don’t have to.”
Another member of the outdoor course he attends recommended indoor golf as an alternative last winter, and Mohammed has been going to Target Indoor Golf ever since. He tries to go once a week.
According to Anandarajah, the equipment and unique playing conditions at Target Indoor Golf have a lot to do with why many players find golfing virtually so helpful in improving their games
“Our system provides data like club path, club face, backspin, ball speed, swing speed and many more. However, practicing indoors is not the same [as outdoors]. With hitting the ball off of a hard surface it has more bounce therefore making it more forgiving indoors.”
Golfers see the results of their swings right away allowing them to adjust their swings much more quickly than if they were on an outdoor course. According to Anandarajah, the speed of information and adjustments means golfing indoors is more fast-paced and strenuous than golfing outdoors.
“Indoor golf is not necessarily an easier alternative for elderly or injured players when compared to playing outside,” Anandarajah said. “Players are taking shot after shot with less time in between, as a result, it may be an endurance challenge for some players. Overall the sport is generally looked at as easy, whereas outdoor and indoor golf are both challenging.”
Mohammed agrees with Anandarajah’s assessment as he spends more time locating and getting to his ball on an outdoor course.
“[When I’m] indoors, it’s swing after swing, Mohammed said. “It’s great for practice but it’s much worse on my body and my palms specifically. I can get away not wearing gloves outdoors, but my hands would be bloody if I tried that indoors.”
For the many Torontonians that picked up golf during the pandemic and fell in love with the game, it is a relief that they will be able continue to play during the winter.
Here are some other locations where you can play golf indoors during this winter: