Family run business starts competition league
By Stan Schwartz
If you’re looking for a little tee time—and that’s TEE not tea, with your pinky in the air while sipping out of a ceramic mug—then the Fairchild family has you covered.
This is the place where you use real golf clubs and real golf balls. In a garage-like building behind the Goosehead Insurance office off of Bus. Hwy. 61 in Bowling Green, Aaron Fairchild turned his passion for golf into a business where he could improve his game, as well as the games of his sons and anyone else in the community who enjoys the sport.
Aaron said he’d wanted a high-end golf simulator for a long time, but his wife didn’t want it to take up space in their garage at home. He sold his older golf simulator and bought a Uneekor Eye XO GSPRO. He applied for a business license and opened Tee Time Golf LLC earlier this year.
This indoor golf simulator can be programmed with several different world-class golf courses, he said. It can also simulate weather conditions for the ball, while the player could remain unscathed, unless you’re golfing with some “friends” who liberally “critique” your game.
“You can change the weather conditions,” Aaron said. “You can have calm wind, no wind, a breezy wind. You can put rain in it. If you hit it out of the rough or the sand you have to adjust for that, too.”
With league play, each player pays in a one-time fee for the season, he explained.
“That’s going to help with the payout at the end,” he said, about the league playing for prizes. Aaron added that every other week they pick a different course. “Two people, who are partners, would play nine holes each week. And it should take anywhere from 30- to 45-minutes.”
So far, he’s signed up 20 teams with three more on a waiting list. One week they play the front half of the course and the next week they play the back nine holes.
On the list of courses is the one in Branson, Mo. He noted that golfers would have to make that drive, and play about $500 to play the course. Or, they could stop in his place and pay $40 an hour to play. No caddies or golf carts needed. With the flip of a switch, the players are moved from on hole to the next.
The simulator uses radar to track the speed and angle of the ball once it’s hit, Aaron said. Once the ball hits the screen the computer tracks the ball as it flies down the fairway. Up on the screen, the player can see how far the ball goes.
“For people who are really into data,” he said, while pointing to a computer screen off to one side, players can learn a lot about their swing.
“We have Jared Henderson doing golf lessons in here,” Aaron said. With this type of simulator, players could do club fittings. “We don’t offer that yet,” he added.
Golfers bring their own clubs, but Aaron said, Tee Time provides the golf balls. That is so they can keep the screen clean. Dirt can transfer to screen from a dirty ball.
Aaron said they inspect the balls every day and remove the ones that are not good. And it’s easier to find the balls, although, he noted that one day he hit one up into the rafters and they haven’t been able to find it.
He’s been a manager at True Manufacturing for 24 years, but his passion is golf. That passion has been passed down to his two sons, Xavier and Zander.
“I thought this would be a good winter job for him,” Aaron said. Come summer, when Xavier does landscaping jobs, his younger brother would take over running the operation.
“I would try to be here as much as I can on Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” he said.
He said he thought the simulator would go over well in the Bowling Green area. But he is still keeping an eye on customer stats—how many people by date and time to adjust the business hours.
For golf simulators, he noted, the busiest times should be fall and winter when outdoor courses are subject to freezing temperatures and snow.
He just has the one simulator for now.
Aaron said he wants to get through this part of the winter and the summer before he re-evaluates what the business needs. There’s room for a second simulator, and if he gets enough business, Aarons said, he would invest in another one. That way he could increase the number of teams in the league.
So far, Aaron said, he’s received a lot of good feedback from his customers. And he has a lot of repeat customers.
“That’s how you know you’re doing well,” he explained, “when the customers keep coming back.”
He picked January to start the business, he said, because once it’s past the New Year, people get the itch to get outside and golf.
With the golf simulator, he noted, players can keep their skill level sharp through the winter and then enjoy a great spring and summer of golfing. Even in the summertime the simulator is good to have, he added. There are some people who would not want to be outside in 100-degree heat playing golf.
Aaron said he believes using the simulator has improved his short game. He noted that he’s always been a competitive person. And as he got older, golf would be a game that he could continue being competitive.
He’s hoping the simulator would get more local people interested in the sport.
Right now, the business is open Monday – Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. and on Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. But call ahead just in case. If no one is coming in late in the day, they might close early. Tee Time can be reached at 573-591-6699.