BYRON, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) –Technology has become so prevalent in every aspect of our lives…even on the golf course on a prairie. Prairieview golf club in Byron has the latest example of that.
“There’s not many of these facilities in the United States and actually this is probably one of the very few that are like this,” said Todd Tucker the executive director of the Byron Forest Preserve District which operates the Prairieview Golf Club.
The PrairieFire Golf & Grill sits behind and below the clubhouse at Prairieview. It opened two weeks ago. Inside it’s a bar and a grill. Outside it’s a driving range that offers everything serious golfers and beginning golfers could ask for. There are eight pods or stations that people can play from.
“One thing different from virtual golf is you’re actually hitting a live range ball down range, so we have real calloway balls, not chip balls like the Topgolf,” said Tucker. “You can do a plethora of different games. You can play different courses like Bethpage Black, TPC Sawgrass. You can play Pebble Beach. You can play closest to the pin. You can play approach challenges. You can play Long Drive.”
There’s also a Go Fish game for kids.
There are targets on the range for golfers to shoot at. Every shot is captured on camera, monitored and, thanks to Toptracer technology, replays and analytics information become instantly available on video monitors or on an app on your phone.
“You have clubhead speed, launch angle, distance.”
At night the targets on the range will light up with LED lights when balls hit them.
The pods are also heated overhead and on the concrete below so that the facility can be open inside and outside year round.
It cost the Byron Forest Preserve District three million dollars to construct this. The idea behind it was to find a way to generate more revenue at a time when golf revenue as a whole in this country is on the decline.
“It really brings us into the forefront of being a year-round facility,” said Tucker.
“It has a good mix of being fun and challenging,” said Ella Martin a customer who was playing one of the range games. “Everything popped up on the screen. It all registered.”
“It’s awesome! It’s really fun,” said another customer Breccan Berns. “It’s someting cool to have local, and they’ve got really nice food, so it’s a good time.”
“We really have had a lot of great feedback,” said Tucker.
To sign up to reserve a pod go to www.PrairieFiregolf.com.
The cost to rent a pod depends on when you want to play. It’s $25 an hour during weekdays, $35 dollars an hour weeknights and $45 an hour on weekends. You can bring as many people as you want to to play in your pod.