Did you know that almost 25 million people played on a golf course in 2020 and over 12 million more enjoyed off-course golf according to the National Golf Foundation? To answer this spike of interest, short courses have exploded into the mainstream. Resorts and parks are adding par-3 courses to their list of amenities and interactive VR golf centers are popping up around the country. NextLinks CEO, Dave Shultz, came up with the idea of delivering a competitive alternative to the game of golf utilizing infrastructure, technology and more than 150,000 lines of software code to bring games to life in an exceptionally entertaining way. This new type of recreation center is revolutionary as players are on an actual indoor golf course, some mirroring simulated world-famous venues, and having their entire experience without ever moving from their initial location. The play is enhanced by using a virtual reality screen for full swing shots and a real surface turf for short game play. By turning full swing “practice” into a game and placing the putting green in an entertainment style venue, players can enjoy 18 holes in less than two hours compared to five or six hours on a real course.

Powering the future of golf, these innovative recreation centers use “real feel” turf with underlayment padding, complex software, VR/AR simulators, and a system of light beams to gamify “zones” for putting entertainment and competition at any scale. One new location named Revelry in Mesa, AZ is a 60,000 square foot indoor and outdoor venue featuring 14 putting zones, an arcade, and a bar, with the capacity to host events like competitive league nights and tournament play. This venue has been featured at Golf.com and is the sweet spot for professionals and amateurs alike. Building this master level, real-life course indoors proved a challenge due to artificial reactions of common turf underlayment products. It was imperative to NextLinks and Brooks Co. Sports, the turf installer working on this project, that the underlayment padding provided the same ball response as chipping onto a real green. Several padding and filler products were tested during design and production, but most had unnatural ball reactions that interfered with shots, distance, or speed. Others like artificial polyurethane coated sand created dust as well as indoor air quality and silicosis concerns.

Owner and operator, Michael Brooks at Brooks Co. Sports, helped achieve this important course design requirement by using Armacell ArmaSport ® TU2 padding which replicates the ball bounce action of a natural green while using synthetic surfaces. “ArmaSport was spot on,” commented Brooks. “The padding allowed the ball to dead end as if on a natural green when chipped. There was no bounce. It worked with every undulation of the course and fit like a glove.”

Mastering the Experience
A synthetic course’s success starts under the turf. ArmaSport TU2 underlayment stabilizes and cushions playing surfaces providing consistent shock attenuation across the course. Designed for use as a golf mat for both indoor or outdoor environments, the closed-cell padding provides that “fairway” feel on putting greens, driving ranges, tee lines and golf simulators. It is supplied in 60” wide rolls and long lengths to help make installation fast and easy. ArmaSport TU2 has also been tested to FIFA 2 Star and ASTM F355 test methods. For more than 35 years, our closed cell foam has been the ideal turf underlayment pad for consistent playing conditions and greater longevity. What’s under your turf?