Watch our man Mike play the 18th hole at Carnoustie - from Suffolk!
As an amateur golfer, it's not every day of the week you can test your skills on courses like Carnoustie, Royal Troon, or Wentworth.
OK, so you may be one of the lucky ones to have played these courses for real.
But if you haven’t, or you want to have another go – but in a virtual golfing world – at Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa, you can play the courses as though you are really there, on the Club’s new £40,000 golf simulator.
And it’s very life like!
A large screen, the latest graphics allow you to play courses on current weather patterns of the day, or change the weather yourself to rain or snow if you so desire.
No waterproofs, umbrellas, sun cream or heavy clubs to carry.
Just an air-conditioned room, with adequate space to enjoy a drink and snacks from the adjacent clubhouse bar.
I couldn’t resist heading over to try it out.
And while my drive was adequate as I ‘strode down’ the 18th at Carnoustie (a course I have actually played for real), my putting left a bit to be desired as Josh Day, a professional golfer at Stoke, set me up to tackle a hole Tiger Woods and the rest of the Open field were playing recently.
The simulator is certainly an added addition to a Stoke by Nayland Golf Club that already boasts two fine outdoor 18-hole Championship courses.
“We decided to invest in something that would offer our members, hotel guests and casual visitors an opportunity to play golf without being at the mercy of the weather,” said Tamara Unwin, one of the family owners of the Hotel, Golf Club & Spa.
“This is an activity you can enjoy at any time of the day, or into the evening, even when it is dark or pouring with rain outside.
“It’s ideal for charity evenings and groups of friends who haven’t got time to play a full round outside all day, but just want an hour or so having a bit of fun playing a famous course in another part of the world. We have also set up food and drink packages to accompany the player experience.
“The simulator is surprisingly affordable and there are so many clever play options.”
There most certainly are, and while golf simulators are not new, Stoke’s is one of the latest on the market, with its unique selling point being it is open to members of the public – although I would suggest you know how to play golf a bit – or it could be a long round!
Josh Day talked me through the simulator’s make-up.
“You can book an hour for up to four people for £30, or four hours - even more if you wish,” he said.
“Set it on play mode, compete mode, improve mode. We currently have 10 courses available around the world, including Carnoustie, Wentworth West, Dubai and Royal Troon.
“You can play just on the driving range or play a set hole over and over again.
“Recently we had a golf day where everyone played nearest the pin on the simulator, before they went out to play – and then longest drive after their round.”
In today’s frenetic world we live in, finding time to commit to fit in a round of golf isn’t easy.
And while this is not the real thing... Graphic-wise at least, it’s not far off. But more’s the point, it’s great fun.
A welcome indoor attraction to encourage more people out on the golf course for real.
To book the simulator and find out more about prices and packages, call the pro shop at Stoke by Nayland on 01206 265812 or 265823 between 7am and 7pm Monday to Sunday, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and visit www.stokebynayland.com/golf-simulator