Indoor Golf Design: Stimulating Simulators!
As soon as Brad Lefebvre started putting up golf simulators, he put his golf clubs down.
“That’s what people told me would happen,” who owns Indoor Golf Design with wife Beverly. “We’re both golfers but now that we’re in the golf business, we just don’t have the time to play as often.”
At their 9,000-plus-square-foot IGD facility near the Chandler Fashion Center and the interchange of Loops 101/202, the couple takes that time to individually show clients the many advantages of their custom golf, racing and other simulators for homes and offices.
Their numerous models include golf simulators as well as ones with multiple sports, including car racing, soccer, lacrosse, tennis, volleyball, discus, curling and even bandy, a hockey variant using a ball rather than a puck. Players use actual pucks, clubs, golf and soccer balls and Frisbees.
IGD also makes units that can be incorporated into existing home media centers as well as putting greens for the office or home. At the back of the IGD studio, the company also manufactures some of its products, including a new line of DIY units.
When he was 9, Brad started helping his father at the family’s general and mechanical contracting company. “His idea was that if you are going to manage a trade, you should learn the trade,” he says, noting that this hands-on experience has become invaluable owning IGD.
In 1989, Brad moved to the Valley from San Diego, did some consulting work and owned two golf bars in Chandler and Gilbert. About this time, he started golfing. “I couldn’t hit a good shot to save my life,” he recalls with a laugh.
Recognizing the future of custom simulators, he and Beverly opened IGD just after they married 16 years ago. “She does everything,” he says, with a smile, “and I do the rest.”
Indoors is Out of This World
Customers can select any car and options they want the custom simulator to represent; they can also choose different tracks throughout the world they’d like to navigate. For example, IGD’s La Ferrari racing simulator matches your contemporary or classic Prancing Stallion. “Some Ferrari owners come to us and say they’re scared to death to take their car out to the track,” Brad explains.
One client, for example, had the inside walls of his simulator customized to match his Shelby Cobra. Depending on the sophistication of the technology, each custom project requires eight weeks to three months, starting at about $45,000 to $100,000-plus.
Car lovers monitor their increasing performance: speed, cornering efficiency, lap times and more, providing data for enhanced confidence on an actual track. Soccer players can set the opposing goalie from patsy to spinach-powered Popeye. Similarly, golfers learn about driving distance, speed, shot dispersion and other data to improve their games.
In turn, golf pros and coaches use the simulators at IGD or at clients’ homes for training and intense professional analytics. “A single swing can provide all sorts of data,” says Beverly, a native of Parker, Arizona.
Time management is one of the numerous advantages of simulators. CPAs and attorneys, for example, can take breathers from income taxes and briefs and CEOs from demanding corporate schedules. “I can play a round of golf in less than 45 minutes with this technology,” she says. “An actual course can take a day.”
Some duffers love the simulators because, they tell the couple, “I’m new to golf and I don’t want to embarrass myself.” On their time, they’re ready to attack the first fairway.
People often tell them they want to prepare for a golf outing. “A couple came in and said they have three courses on their bucket list, including Pebble Beach, and they didn’t want to play them without knowing about them,” Beverly explained.
Other high-profile clients want to minimize public outings to avoid attention by well-meaning admirers, Brad explains. Similarly, more people are home-officing and reducing public time, so COVID-19 has helped stimulate IGD’s sales.
Still others are prevented from golfing regularly by the weather. “The simulator revolution started up north,” he says. “They couldn’t play nine months of the year.” In the Arizona desert, scorching summer afternoons can also be a deterrent. And, simulators are the only place to play a round at night.
IGD coordinates with area builders and interior designers to incorporate custom simulators into existing homes, such as media centers, or adding space for golf studios. Clients can further customize their units with company logos and wall-coverings, including leather, or matching flooring for a third-garage retrofit.
Their units are all custom. “You can walk into the big-box stores and buy simulators, but they are a set size and must fit in your room,” she explains, noting that the company works with businesses such as Bob Parsons’ PXG, his former Go Daddy and PGA Tour Super Stores to maintain IGD custom units sold at their locations.
In the near future, the couple expects intensified virtual experiences: more sensory data, specific-venue vignettes, wrap-around views, higher screen resolution and even better LED illumination.
For now, their clients have discovered the beauty of indoors, and future IGD clients are ardent wannabes. “If I had a simulator,” said one, “this pandemic wouldn’t be so bad.”
For more information, see www.indoorgolfdesign.com or call 602.888.4018, extension 101.