By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — Though the calendar says it’s already spring, area golf enthusiasts aren’t any closer to dusting off the clubs thanks to a decidedly wintry March thus far.
But for those looking to scratch the itch, there’s a new option.
The Grill at the Dome’s new high-tech simulated gaming systems, which feature everything from golf to zombie volleyball, are now ready for action.
“We’re up and running,” Josh Edholm, who owns the restaurant with his father, John Edholm Sr. and his brother, John Edholm Jr., said. “We’ve already had a lot of parties, and everyone seems to be enjoying it.”
The popular restaurant and bar, located inside the Paddock Golf Dome on Brompton Road in the town, took over the former pro shop’s space, totaling 1,477 square feet, in November.
After a few months of construction, the Edholms have converted the area into two banquet rooms that are separated by an accordion wall that can be moved to create one large room. Surrounding the banquet space are seven game stations, one of which is in a connected private room.
The game stations are composed of projection equipment, high-speed cameras and sensors on the ground. The sensors pick up on a golfer’s club speed and direction, making a player’s shot extremely accurate.
Golfers can play 18 holes on their choice of 77 courses, including Pebble Beach, Spyglass and the Robert Trent Jones courses.
“We’re also going to digitize the Brighton and Sheridan courses at some point, too,” Edholm said.
But golfers can also practice on a simulated driving range, play par threes, play a course without putting — and a variety of other golf games, like Bingo Bango Bongo.
“They are goofy games that guys play out on the course, and now they can play them here when the weather’s not so good,” Edholm said.
On the simulated driving range, golfers can see a variety of statistics, like their speed, distance by shot and their average, allowing players to compare different clubs. Players are then able to print out the statistics.
“It has a great ability to be a teaching tool, too,” Edholm said.
Golfers playing on the simulated courses this week said they were enjoying the new technology.
“It’s better than hitting on the range, and gets us ready for the tour,” Jim Morrill, of Hamburg, joked.
But golf isn’t the only option, as players can choose from a variety of games, including hockey, soccer, baseball, carnival games and zombie dodgeball — which Edholm says has been very popular with the kids.
The Edholms, who have lived in the town all their lives, took over the grill in 2000 with no previous restaurant experience, but have seen a lot of growth since in the past 13 years.
Edholm’s brother-in-law, Erik Lugris, a software developer, has joined the team by helping with the gaming systems. He, too, has high hopes for the new business.
“The technology is great and very affordable, and we’ve had great support from the town,” he said.
The current price during testing of the product is $20 per hour per station, which, going forward, will increase to between $30 and $40.Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150