‘Fore’ward design

Pity the poor golfers. You’ve seen them out on our local links all winter, bravely pretending it’s not 40 degrees (if you’re lucky), the ball ricocheting off or surrendering to frozen sod. And that’s if you can get on a course.

Ajay Gautam, Ajit Padda and Purnendu Kagtada didn’t want to be among them. The three golfing amigos, Trumbull techies, “were frustrated that courses close at the end of October,” says Paul Wilson. “They saw an opportunity in Fairfield.”

In 2018, the three founded Golf Lounge 18, which enables players of all ages and skill sets to golf virtually indoors. “With great community support in Fairfield, they saw an opportunity to expand,” says Wilson, the company’s relationship manager. Another location opened last year in Orange, Connecticut. Last month, they added Westchester County — specifically, The Westchester in White Plains — to the mix. From these locations, you can hit balls on a driving range or play any of 55 internationally recognized courses, including the PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; Royal Portrush Golf Club in County Antrim, Northern Ireland; and, of course, St. Andrews Links in St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, the birthplace of golf. How’s it possible? Golf Lounge uses TrackMan software, which is what the pros on the PGA tour use when they practice, Wilson says. Each of the participating courses has been mapped via drones. When you hit a ball in one of Golf Lounge’s five bays, Wilson says, “TrackMan analyzes the data, then shows you where the ball is going on the real course or range.

“It’s the most accurate way to simulate the golf experience, the most realistic simulator on the market.”

Best of all, you can do this in a relaxed, social environment, he says. “If you’re a novice, a golf course can be intimidating.” Here, golfers of every caliber can hang with their buds or hone their skills with a PGA-certified pro instructor. John Humphries, who won the 100th Louisiana Amateur Championship last July, is head of instruction. 

As with country clubs, there are memberships, leagues and tournaments. Or you can rent a bay by the hour. (Best to sign up online as tee times fill up fast.) No need to buy or bring your clubs as Golf Lounge can provide you with a set to use on the premises. (If you want to bring your own to The Westchester, Wilson suggests parking in P5 Green, which puts you just feet from the lounge.)

GolfLounge serves local craft beers, wine and soft drinks, and also caters parties. It also partners with First Tee, a nonprofit that introduces underserved kids in the metro area to the game.

Already, Golf Lounge is looking at other locations. “We have an aggressive expansion plan.”

And we’re ready to tee off.

For more, visit golflounge18.com.

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