An indoor golf bar and lounge is coming to South Tampa soon.
Birdie Club will have three indoor golf simulators for guests to “practice in the comfort of air conditioning.” It’s set to open next month at 3409 S. Dale Mabry Highway, owner Adrian Martinez told the Tampa Bay Times.
“Topgolf is more of a casual social outing,” Martinez said. “You can get those that are not as into the game. They just want to go out have a good time, whereas this is a little bit more tailored for actual golfers.”
Martinez, a former sports marketing specialist at the University of Tampa and the Philadelphia Phillies’ spring training facility in Clearwater, said he launched Birdie Club after struggling to find accessible golf courses in South Tampa that wasn’t an exclusive country club or on the MacDill Air Force base.
“The only public course around here is Rocky Point by the airport. But it’s always full and still a little bit of a ways,” Martinez said. “It’s just kind of crazy that there’s no real option around here.”
But building another golf course in an urbanized region isn’t feasible anymore with the current prices. Going indoor is more economical, Martinez said.
And then there’s the heat.
Indoor golf simulations have been a growing trend in northern climates as avid golfers look for options to play during the winter season, Martinez said. He sees the same trend taking effect in the Sunshine State, but for the summer months.
“A lot of people actually don’t want to be outside here in Florida,” he said. “Especially once we get the five o’clock rain every day.”
He added that Birdie Club is also designed for people who don’t have time to be out for four to five hours on a golf course and just want a quick practice.
Inside the Birdie Club, there will be three Trackman golf simulators which guests can rent for an hour. Trackman uses radar technology to collect data calculating the power and momentum of a swing. Visitors can bring their own golf clubs or rent one out to practice and track its capabilities.
The simulators have a library with more than 200 courses to play on.
The indoor golf club will also have a bar inside serving beverages and alcoholic drinks like beer, seltzers and wine. Birdie Club is set to open by Aug. 1 but it could be delayed as many businesses have pushed back openings since the pandemic due to pent-up demand for construction.
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Florida has been a prime golfing destination for decades but consumer interests have ebbed due to the slow pace of the game and its high cost to participate. Many courses have struggled to stay open from University of South Florida’s public golf course The Claw which is closing in September to New Tampa’s former Pebble Creek Golf Club — both which were too expensive to keep up. Those sites are set to be redeveloped.
That doesn’t mean golf is completely disappearing in the state. But it is shifting.
Many more entertainment golf attractions are popping up across Florida and Tampa Bay offering activities for whole families to participate in and have a dining experience. That can be seen with recent openings such as Tiger Woods’ PopStroke center in Wesley Chapel and Topgolf in St. Petersburg.
Pricing at Birdie Club starts at $35 an hour during non-peak hours going from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and goes up to $50 up to 10 p.m. Guests can also buy a membership for $150 a month or $1,500 a year that offers five hour-long rentals each month and discounts for extra bay rentals.
“There’s not a lot of accessible places to play the game, especially close to home,” Martinez said. “So that’s why it was important for me to provide something here.”