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Which to Invest In: SmartGreen, Simulator or Both?

On April 28, 2020
SmartGreen Pro2x with Swing Simulator integration

With the demonstrable success golf entertainment complexes have had using golf attractions to drive modern, cross-demographic dining and entertainment on a huge scale (70+ locations globally), it’s easy to see why interest is growing among forward-thinking investors. Leveraging the excitement of socially driven golf games in a dining, nightlife or entertainment space clearly translates to profits and a strategic foothold in a given market. But, as an entrepreneur or developer, how do you take advantage and decide how to dive in?

Let’s evaluate two proven investments that can help transform a standard “entertainment” establishment into a lucrative hot spot that draws fun seekers of all ages. If you’re wanting to transform an area of your business into a golf-centric profit center, you may be wondering whether to invest in one of the many golf simulators on the market, which have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years, or something more group-driven, like a SmartGreen by NextLinks. Let’s also look at the possibility that investing in both could set your property apart in your market and make your business top-of-mind among area restaurants, bars and entertainment complexes.

What is the SmartGreen Pro 2X by NextLinks?

Emblematic of today’s wave of tech-driven, gamified golf attractions, the SmartGreen Pro 2X by NextLinks is a putting green that functions dynamically as a self-contained, 1,000 to 1,500-square-foot gaming zone. NextLinks’ proprietary software and hardware system projects colored spotlight images onto the green to act as tee boxes, targets, game boards and scoring zones while also acting as a traffic control system that enables an optimal number of players to use the green at the same time. Gamified putting on a SmartGreen Pro 2X makes fun and engaging golf play accessible for any age or skill level.

The standard-model SmartGreen Pro starts at $80,000 for a single system that is 36’ x 16’. The larger Pro 2X brings two systems forward either side by side (36’ x 32’) or end to end (72’ x 16’) for $149,995. All SmartGreen products come with the SmartGreen gaming zone manager application. A gaming zone is made up of the SmartGreen gaming system itself which includes a seating area and table, a 55- to 100-inch television and audio system that allows for spacious entertainment for special events or to watch the Big Game with friends and family.

Who Should Invest in a SmartGreen Pro 2X by NextLinks?

Businesses interested in utilizing the unique game play and revenue potential of a SmartGreen Pro 2X should assess a particular set of space considerations and business objectives to determine if it is the ideal fit:

For starters, your business will need 1,500 to 2,000 square feet in an indoor or covered outdoor area for the SmartGreen, which has the ability to accommodate groups of up to 15 to 20 people at a time.

Businesses looking to drive revenue during different parts of the day and during inclement weather with both realistic and entertaining putting games will like the SmartGreen’s ability to engage the masses, social groups and families alike. All SmartGreen gaming systems come with a gaming zone manager application that provides seamless booking and guest check-in and also integrates with most Point of Sales systems, maintaining all data and transactions in one place for easy operational use.

Having a SmartGreen Pro 2X provides businesses an amenity that helps facilitate Premium Paid Rental and recurring revenue through dynamic gamified entertainment and instruction.

Golf instructors can easily measure students’ results and quantify individual improvement using NextLinks’ golf skill-level settings.

Businesses looking to enhance their property’s overall atmosphere by providing spacious entertainment should consider the SmartGreen Pro 2X. A putting-only golf attraction has the enormous benefit of limited sound projection compared to full-swing golf activities.

Which Businesses Should Invest in a Golf Simulator?

The past decade has seen a significant rise in the popularity of indoor golf simulators for commercial, entertainment and home use. Golf retail stores, expert club fitters and instructors have used simulators paired with high-tech launch monitors to revolutionize traditional golfing experiences, whether that’s a custom lesson, finely-detailed club fitting or standard game play on realistic virtual golf courses.

Golf simulators are fun and trendy, and an expanding array of gaming and training applications have made them an integral component to many golf and entertainment businesses. Is a simulator installation key to increasing your revenues? Let’s assess:

Simulators require a dedicated space of about 500 square feet to accommodate patrons swinging golf clubs. At your discretion, you might prefer to add additional lounge/social/viewing space to this number.

Simulator bays are designed to entertain about six people utilizing a time-based rental approach. One benefit of the simulator experience is that its compartmentalized space lends to a private, somewhat closed-off entertaining space. When patrons are playing simulator golf on renditions of their favorite courses, that ability to focus and be somewhat separated from the rest of the entertainment venue can appeal to serious golfers.

Installation of a professional golf simulator will typically cost $50,000 to $60,000 and projections on ROI show a simulator can pay for itself in roughly five or six years.

Which Businesses Should Invest in a Both a Golf Simulator AND the SmartGreen Pro 2X by NextLinks?

One of the unique features of the SmartGreen Pro 2X is that its software can be coded in a way that pairs with a simulator’s programming, solving one of golf simulators’ biggest game-play issues: the short game. While the visual realism and variety of golf courses are strengths of the simulators, the short game and putting interface is universally underwhelming. With the SmartGreen, the realism soars and groups discover the unique ability to play a realistic round of golf indoors. In this environment, chipping and putting become a strength and arguably the most exciting aspect of the game play.

Additionally, this dynamic combination enables golf instructors to provide indoor lessons in multiple parts of day.

The Verdict

Both golf simulators and the SmartGreen Pro 2X provide advantages for entertainment venues, golf courses, hotels and resorts, and the hospitality industry to be utilized as a stand-alone amenity or as a game rental. In summary, golf entertainment systems in general are designed to entertain the masses and generate new revenue streams that would not otherwise exist. 

The key considerations?

  • Cost. While simulators provide a lower initial investment, the return on investment could take five to six years given space constraints due in part, to the time it takes to play a round of simulated golf and a broader appeal to existing golfers versus non-golfers. With only 8% of the population considered to be “golfers”, the broader appeal of putting to The Masses should be a significant consideration. The SmartGreen Pro 2X can accommodate groups of 20 paying by the hour, so ROI on the $149,995 can be recouped well inside of a three year operating window.
  • Space. The standard-size NextLinks SmartGreen measures 36’ x 16’. The larger Pro 2X brings two systems forward either side by side (36’ x 32’) or end to end (72’ x 16’). A golf simulator can typically fit into a dedicated 500-square-foot space.
  • Preference. Simulator companies have made tremendous inroads and helped drive traffic to a variety of venues and, given the venue, fit neatly into any number of floorplans. In more expansive or open indoor-outdoor locations, a SmartGreen Pro 2X can function as a less-claustrophobic party zone and open up the client base to all ages and skill levels.

For more information, check out NextLinks’ array of SmartGreen options:

Click Here to view SmartGreen.

And these top simulator companies:

Trackman –
Foresight Sports –
High Definition Golf –
Full Swing Golf –
GolfZon –
SkyTrak –