Golf and much more at Chip Shot Simulators

Photos by Curt Nettinga/Plainsman Above: proprieter Lori Johnson prepares to hit a tee shot on the new Chip Shot Simulator golf game now in use at the Lincoln Avenue Mall. Below 1) Johnson guns down some ducks in a hunting game on the system. 2) A shot of only a few of the course choices available on the simulator.

HURON — For those avid golfers in the Huron area, who grudgingly have to put those clubs away in the fall until spring comes – or until your trip to Arizona comes around – there is another option to keep your swing grooved until the local courses reopen.

It’s called Chip Shot Simulators and is the newest endeavor of Lori and Eric Johnson, the owners of the Lincoln Avenue mini-mall in Huron. Chip Shot Simulators exists in the space that formerly was home to The Colony Store, and while golf is the more popular game, there are a myriad of other competition and entertainment options available.

“We wanted to bring a new option to Huron and our daughter Bailey and son-in-law Carter were the main instigators,” Lori Johnson said earlier this week. “They had seen simulators before and were able to try one out when they were in Deadwood.”

Johnson said that the decision to move on from The Colony Store was difficult, but bringing in Chip Shot Simulators was included in an expansion of their casino next door, along with the addition of a new bar in the back. More on that later.

Chip Shot Simulators allows the players a full realm of golf experiences, from hitting the driving range to hone your swing, to working on your short game and putting, doing comparison on different clubs or golf balls right on up to teeing it up at one of the 41 different championship golf courses offered in the game.

Want to play Pebble Beach with your buddy, but airfare to California, green fees and cart rental aren’t in this months budget? Johnson has the solution.

Two screens are available at Chip Shot Simulators, one of which is dedicated solely to golf, while the other offers multiple options for play. Your swing and contact with the ball are measured by a camera in the ceiling, along with where the ball you just struck made contact with the screen. Club head speed, distance and accuracy are all projected on the screen instantly.

“We have clubs here to use,” Johnson said, “or people can bring their own. The balls are regular golf balls, but the camera reads better if there is a stripe added to the ball to measure velocity and spin.”

You can play a practice round, compete with friends and there are some off-shoot golf games as well, like tic-tac-toe where you try to hit the spot with a ball, or poker, where you attempt to hit the card to fill that inside straight.

There are kids’ games as well, and Johnson said that the unit is capable of having a teaching pro give lessons as well.

Cost is based on time, not the number of people. For instance, screens can be reserved for a half-hour or an hour, with pricing depending on which screen you choose and when in the week you want to play. Weekends cost slightly more – similar to outdoor golf courses. Different types of memberships are available as well.

“We plan to have leagues as we go forward,” Johnson said. “We’d like to have a men’s league, a women’s league and a couple’s league. The nice thing about the simulator is that you can play anytime. You aren’t committed to a specific time. You can make it fit your schedule.”

Up to four people per screen can play at a time and down the road national and even international golf tournaments may take place, via the live internet hookup that keeps the games updated from the parent company, HD Golf.

If golf isn’t your thing, perhaps you may want to try one of the several shooting games. Try your hand at bagging pheasants or a flock of ducks.

Shoot wild pigs or help thwart an alien invasion. Trap shooting and target shooting are also available in the game.

Additional offerings that are on their way is a horseshoe module and bean bag toss, popular group games for larger groups. Leagues are also being planned for the shooting games, as well as horseshoes and bean bag toss.

Now, back to the expansion.

“When we put the simulator screens up, we have some movable partitions that we can put up to separate them from the main casino,” Johnson said. “When we do that, the space becomes a great place to have like an office party, or a Christmas get together, with many things for people to do.” A well-stocked shelf holds a variety of board games for groups to play as well.

Johnson said that groups can bring in their own food, water or soda, with a bar available on site.

Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, from 9 a.m. to midnight and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., although Johnson said those hours are subject to change. The phone number is 605-461-0210 for more information, or players can go online and reserve a time at chipshotsimulators.com for any of the games – remember, you pay according to how long you wish to play.

You could start playing golf and decide to hunt pheasants instead. It’s your call.

Johnson said that additional expansion at the site is in the planning stages and may begin as early as next summer.

“Huron has been good to us,” Johnson said, “and we wanted to bring a quality product for people to enjoy."

Photos by Curt Nettinga/Plainsman Above: proprieter Lori Johnson prepares to hit a tee shot on the new Chip Shot Simulator golf game now in use at the Lincoln Avenue Mall. Below 1) Johnson guns down some ducks in a hunting game on the system. 2) A shot of only a few of the course choices available on the simulator.

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