Going the rounds at Bob’s Indoor Golf

Published online: Oct 11, 2020 Articles Steve Smede
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Eastern Idaho’s fair-weather hot list includes everything from camping to fishing, boating to biking and backcountry adventures to backyard barbecues. For many of us, that list also includes summer rounds of golf at any of our three excellent municipal golf courses.

When the weather cools around early October, however, it’s Game Over for most of us. Out go the clubs and carts; in come the skis and sleds. Or at least that’s what we’ve become accustomed to.

If you’re looking to extend your fall golf season, get a jump on next spring or maybe just enjoy a virtual round in the thralls of winter with family and friends, Bob’s Indoor Golf is here to serve.

According to Bob Gretz, who started up “B.I.G.” last November at Centennial Plaza (2249 East 17th Street), the reasoning behind the idea was pretty simple: “Five months of winter here is just unacceptable.”

B.I.G.’s main attraction is a lineup of top-tier professional golf simulators, where players can opt for a round on any one of 84 world-renowned golf courses. These are the same type of simulators as the ones used by the Golf Channel and the sports analysts on NBC. 

“It was important that we could get the best machines possible if we are going to coax people to come inside” for a virtual golf experience, Gretz told us. “They track the ball right down to the nth degree. The feedback is amazing. It’s not just a hokey game. It’s the real thing, as far as how the golf ball flies.”

Compared to outdoor golf, the virtual experience definitely feels a different, but Gretz has confidence that players can get in tune with it pretty quickly. 

“It’s a fun thing to do, and not only with your golf buddies,” he said. “It’s great for families. Great for kids.”

Most individual players can finish a round in less than an hour, which translates to about 3 1/2 hours for a foursome. Clubs are available to rent, but players are also welcome to bring their own clubs and balls. “We just ask that the clubs are clean,” Gretz said. “Dirt is the enemy of these machines.”

Like most startups in the era of COVID-19, Gretz’s venture has had its challenges. “It’s been tough on us,” he said. “In the spring, we had kids’ camps planned, plus junior golf and intermediate golf. Then the virus happened, and we knew we had to retool.” 

Some of the more popular promotions now include Ladies’ Night, Competition Night and Date Night. 

“Date Night so far has been the most popular,” Gertz said. “You and your date come here and get a simulator for an hour and a half. We give you dinner, dessert and a drink – all for 50 bucks per couple.”

Ladies’ Night is officially known as “Wine & Wedges,” which is directed at women who have never played golf before. Specifically, it is laser-focused on ladies who want to learn the game without their husbands there to be their teacher, and without grumpy old men behind them out on the golf course, telling them to hurry up. “It’s relaxing, they enjoy it and they get better very quickly,” Gertz added.

And what if golf is not really your thing? The B.I.G. experience actually offers more than golf simulations. The machines are set up for 11 different sports, including lacrosse, soccer, football, baseball and basketball.

In another departure from simulated “pasture pool,” the East Idaho Corn Hole League meets at B.I.G every Thursday night. It started out with about 10 people, and has since grown to 30-40. All you have to do is show up (referred to as “show-and-throw” in corn-hole circles). There is a $10 fee for a round-robin tournament, which lasts about 2 1/2 hours.

Thanks to the property’s spacious 8,000 square-foot interior, social distancing is easy.

“Of course, golfing outside is better, especially in a place like this where winter lasts so long,” Gertz said. “But it is a great substitute, because it’s a place where you can still work on your game. And the statistics that these machines can pull out – it’s like having a pro right there beside you. Or if nothing else, it’s just you and your buddies getting together, having a few beers and playing Pebble Beach together after work.”

Along with the simulators, corn-hole section and four putting greens, the layout includes a conference room for team meetings and parties. B.I.G.’s snack and beverage offerings include chicken tenders, nachos, fries, wings and pizza. Beer and wine are also available in a separate section.

In addition to a general $5 admission fee, B.I.G’s simulator rates start at $30 per hour. For more details on the simulators, putting greens, corn hole stations and other offerings, visit www.bobsindoorgolf.com. To book a tee time, call 208-419-0250. 


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