Down here in Florida, the sport of golf is something people of all ages enjoy playing. However, while many people choose to go to some of the many beautiful golf courses Florida boasts, some just don’t have the time. Or, some may be like me (a never-held-a-golf-club-in-my-life beginner) and too scared to head to the golf course before getting some practice in before hand.  So, when Ryan heard about Golfer’s Grail, an indoor golfing place located in Carrollwood off of Dale Mabry, I just knew I had to tag along. We all decided that a Friday night would probably be best, so Ryan went ahead and made us a reservation for a 7pm tee time. Friday night was here before we knew it. I was surprised I had never noticed Golfer’s Grail before. Located in a strip mall with the big words INDOOR GOLF & TAP in big green letters, it was hard to miss! We walked on in and I immediately took notice of the 4 huge floor to ceiling screens with golf course simulations on them. Each screen accompanied by what I like to call a “motherboard” which operates the simulator, along with golf clubs, and buckets of golf balls. At this point, we were all eager to start hitting some balls!

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We got set up in front of one of the simulators, and Jeff Soates, who owns the location with his wife, Brenda, showed us the ropes. First things first, we got set up with some clubs. You are able to use your own, or they have some to use on site. Next, he explained that the simulators offer different options, depending on your skill level and what you were there to accomplish. You are able to play 18 holes on actual courses,  get in some time at the driving range, and even play mini golf. We were there to have some fun and throw back a few cold beers, so we decided to start off with the challenge mode.  While one of the boys was up first in our “closest to the pin” challenge, Allison and I headed towards “the 19th hole” to grab us all a few drinks. Conveniently, the bar was located right behind our simulator (they knew right where to put us) and was equipped with 8 beers on tap ranging from Michelob Ultra to Magic Hat #9 and a nice wine selection, if that’s more your thing. And, while they don’t serve food themselves, they offer a few restaurants in the area, such as Tijuana Flats, Carmel Cafe, chinese and pizza that you can order in from after you work up an appetite golfing. We grabbed our beers and sat down at the bar top behind our simulator and waited for our turn to take a stab at it.

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Each simulator typically will have an instructor in order to guide you if you are a beginner, or just to help you out along the way. Our instructor, Brad, had his hands full. Between Nick and I continually missing the ball, Ryan hitting the ball so hard that his tee went flying, and competitive Allison trying (and achieving) to be the best, it definitely made for an interesting night.  We even got to break some windows while we were there! No, no real windows were harmed during this game. But, the simulator offers a demolition golf option that involved some window breaking, which I could definitely see being a big stress reliever for those who have had a long day at work.

Looking around at how open the area is, I have to say I was intimated at first glance. Considering I am not the next Tiger Woods by any means, I was embarrassed that all the other, far more experienced golfers would see me and think, “What the heck is she doing here?” However, that was not the case AT ALL. This space is perfect for socializing, and after a while, everyone just blends together and has a good time. They even offer beginner classes for those who are looking to up their game, as well as leagues where you can pair up and play in scramble or best ball formats. With 4 bar tops behind each simulator, as well as round tables throughout, this place is well equipped to handle a big crowd.

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As we each took our turns, we also got to chat with Brenda, and she filled us in on some events that they have hosted. Team building events, client appreciation events, fundraisers, networking events, or even just birthday parties have all taken place at Golfer’s Grail. They can even provide catering for the events from restaurants they have partnered with in the area, which makes it all the more appealing. What better way to mix work and pleasure than by watching a business presentation on the simulator screen, and following that up with a few rounds of golf and pitchers of beer? Sounds like the type of meeting I would love to be a part of! Knowing that presentations could be played on the big screens, we asked if the televisions are hooked up to be displayed on there as well. The answer was a resounding yes!! I mean, what better way to watch a big game then on a floor-to-ceiling screen, you’ll feel like you’re right there in the action! The first big game that came to our minds was the SUPER BOWL. If you and your friends wanted to rent out Golfer’s Grail and throw the Super Bowl party of a lifetime, it is only $200/hr for the entire place! Not a bad deal for a big group of people if you ask me.

Around 10pm I looked down at my phone and could not believe we had been there that long. Time just flew by; we were really enjoying the game and really got sucked in to the competition and good company.

So, next time it’s too hot, too cold, too rainy, or you just don’t have the time to drive out to a real golf course, consider Golfer’s Grail your go to place. For only $35 ($30 on Weekdays before 5pm!) per simulator hour, and each simulator allows 4 people, this place is totally worth it. No more dealing with the hot sun, warm beer, or aching pain of having to carry your clubs around to each hole!

Happy Golfing, Stephanie

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