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Video game sharpens golf skills despite weather

Carroll Sharratt, golf club general manager, demonstrates the many functions of the golf simulator located at the Warren Golf Club on base Sept. 13. It’s a state-of-the-art machine with 18 different golf courses (Photo by Airman 1st Class Daryl Knee).

Carroll Sharratt, golf club general manager, demonstrates the many functions of the golf simulator located at the Warren Golf Club on base Sept. 13. It’s a state-of-the-art machine with 18 different golf courses (Photo by Airman 1st Class Daryl Knee).

F. E. Warren AFB, Wyo. -- The Warren Golf Club offers a unique way people can hone their golf skills over the colder months when temperature doesn't allow use of the golf course.

The Full Swing Golf Simulator at the club is an indoor multiplayer video game with golf courses from around the world.

"It's a state-of-the-art machine," said Carroll Sharratt, general manager of the golf club. "It's fully automated and perfect for just working on your aim and form."

The machine installation in December 2002 had an initial cost of $50,000 for all the software. The club built a special area to house the game, as lasers lined the floor and walls to correctly gauge the speed and velocity of the ball.

When struck, the ball flies over the sensors and generates a graphic representation on the screen. When the digital ball stops, the game shows how far the ball traveled, how fast it went and how much further it has to go until it reaches the green.

Different settings on the game allow the participants to experience many golfing situations.

The practice mode helps golfers by tracking and displaying the trajectory of the ball for every swing. This is to help enable golfers to perfect their swings.

Other options include situations such as the driving range mode, professional tournament mode and the closest to the green with one swing mode.

In the tournament mode, the user can choose from 18 real golf courses. Pebble Beach, Calif., and St. Andrews, Scotland, are two of the more popular courses. Each course has its own musical ambience to enhance the golfing experience. Depending on where the course is located, the golfers might hear crickets or seagulls.

"It's a nice game," Mr. Sharratt said. "When you play it, it's almost like you're there at the actual course. The putting is a little tricky, but other than that, it's as real as it can get."

The golf club charges $20 for an hour of play on the simulator for any amount of players.

"You can bring in [three] buddies and enjoy a nice four-hour game for only $20 a person," Mr. Sharratt said. "As far as golfing is concerned, if you've ever wanted to learn, this is one of the cheapest places to play."

The actual golf course at the club is available every day of the year. However, during times when snow is present, the use is limited. The club uses temporary greens during the five-month span when snow is prevalent. Temporary greens are mowed areas on the fairway.

"This will be the first time we've done temporary greens for this five-month span," Mr. Sharratt said. "If you want to work on your putting, you're welcome to come play on the simulator."

The Warren Golf Club is open on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to noon. For more information on what the club has to offer or to reserve a spot for the golf simulator, call 773-3556.