Golf simulator provides more swings

Trevor Monk, Staff Writer

Although the Wellness Center staff has faced problems with the golf simulator being “out of commission until further notice”, last week. UPJ’s golf team has been keeping the clubs swinging in their offseason in a New Age way.

Golf team follows a dual season schedule, playing half of their games in the fall and the second half in the spring.

Cold winter weather leaves the team with few opportunities to prepare for the second half of the season. But, some players and students have been hitting the links in UPJ’s Wellness Center via a Newport True Life Golf Simulator.

Wellness Center Director Katrin Wolfe said the simulator was accessible to all UPJ students, and gave students and golf team members a way to practice their golf game throughout winter.

The simulator allowed students to use their golf clubs and golf balls and practice hitting into a net with a projected backdrop.

The projector simulates full-length golf courses and individual holes throughout the U.S. and other countries, or a simulated driving range.

The simulator’s software can support up to eight players and offers 36 different modes of scoring styles, and players can customize preferences down to the time of day and weather conditions.

The sensors collect data from each swing, showing essential data such as distance and whether the ball would have gone straight or off-course.

Wolfe said the Wellness Center has several men’s, women’s and left-handed clubs that students can use.

“There are a few students who use it but it hasn’t been advertised because it is tucked away from most of the activity.”

Junior golf team member Kevin McDonald said he was part of the team that chose the Newport model for UPJ, but, unfortunately, he is not able to use it because his height prohibits him from completing a swing within the boundaries of the simulator.

McDonald said it is a way to keep limber in the offseason and is grateful the team has the opportunity to use this type of equipment.

UPJ’s golf team also practices in the winter at the Greer Golf Academy in Windber. The facility is owned and operated by their coach Patrick Greer.

Greer said in the offseason, if the weather is above 30 degrees, he likes to get the team out to his driving range twice a week.

“Hitting balls in the cold toughens them up.”

Greer said while there is no formal work-out routine in the offseason, the simulator is another avenue to keep the team constantly swinging a club in preparation for the second half of the season.

Sophomore player Michael Macionsky said he used the simulator at least once a week, but the weather this year has permitted the team to practice at Windber Country Club and attained the driving range more than usual.

Macionsky said golf simulator practice was helpful in keeping confidence in his game, and the ability to swing the club on any given day keeps the timing and rhythm of his swing consistent.

“The first time I got on Windber Country Club’s course this year I wasn’t second guessing my swing because of the extra practice.”

Sophomore Zachary McQueen said he and Macionsky practiced together with the simulator and both felt the data collected on each swing is somewhat accurate, except on the short chips and putts.

However, he liked that he could keep practicing in the offseason.

“The team swings didn’t have the chance to rust this year,” he said.