No secrets here.
I’m a confessed golf junkie, the type of guy who invested in a condo adjacent to the No. 3 tee at Twin Lakes Village — even though I was still in rehab from fairly serious back surgery.
That spinal fusion is now healing a bit, and I’ve been taking a few swings at nothing.
Just to feel a club in my hands.
The problem now is that after a year on the sidelines, I’m stymied by Mother Nature.
Courses are covered with snow.
Well, not all of them …
I’ve never tried virtual golf, the tech invention that allows you to play indoors for real — on famous courses — in a space no larger than your average kitchen.
But an addict can wait only so long.
So this week I rolled into Caddyshack, the homey bar and grill at 1100 W. Prairie Ave.
The place has decent food and drinks — I can already vouch for the onion rings. What I came to see, though, was the virtual golf set-up.
There are a few bays on which a projector shows you every look and shot on some well-known courses. Pebble Beach is available, if you want to picture yourself as Tom Watson or Tiger Woods winning the U.S. Open.
If you hit a decent drive, taking your full outdoor hack, you see the ball headed down the fairway — and enjoy almost the same thrill as nailing one on a real golf course.
Numbers come up for the length of your tee ball, yardage to the green and a split-screen look at what you’d see in real life — plus an overview of the entire hole.
“There are a few things that don’t feel exactly right,” said Sam Sheldon of Coeur d’Alene, who was playing virtual Banff Springs with his brother, Austin, and Jo Rolletto. “In the middle of winter, though, you do get to take some swings and enjoy the feel of it.
“The putting is a little weird and doesn’t feel too accurate, but the long shots … well, you get what you hit.”
THE PRICE to step in and fire away is $20 per hour, which isn’t bad when it’s split three or four ways.
That cost is also exactly half as much as the $40 per hour tariff at Scarlett’s Golf Experience in the Spokane Valley Mall.
“There are places around that probably have newer technology and upgrades, that sort of thing,” said Bret Dirks, a Coeur d’Alene neurosurgeon who is considered one of the big-time stars at Caddyshack.
“But we come here for the atmosphere, because everyone knows everybody else, we’re in leagues and it’s just a great time.”
The feel of the place comes from D.J. Lundblad, who has owned Caddyshack “just about forever,” as he put it.
Actually, Lundblad opened the place 20 years ago. Since then, plenty of golfers with an off-season itch have found it — and created something of a party atmosphere.
After watching the action at Caddyshack, I think it’s time to test my back.
At least there may be a doctor in the house.
Steve Cameron is a columnist for The Press.