South Broadway Country Club owner Kelly Huff saw the writing on the simulator wall five years ago when he opened his first indoor golf facility and bar in Denver.
“I just kind of knew golf was modernizing,” Huff said of his business idea then. “It wasn’t the old, stuffy country clubs, the take your hat off and tuck your shirt in when you walk in the door.”
After more than a decade working as a golf professional, Huff moved from Atlanta to Denver thinking that the future of golf instruction would be indoors.
His plan was to open a golf facility that would take itself less seriously than its predecessors. He even gave it a tongue-in-cheek name to nod to his past and then hopefully surprise avid players and newcomers alike when they walked in.
“‘Non-members only’ is going to be our motto forever,” Huff explained. His model combines professional golf instruction and simulator bay games with casual drinks at the bar.
Now the “Country Club” has two locations in Denver, plus a new whiskey bar, The Crow’s Nest, opening above its Tennyson Street outpost early next year. Huff’s third SBCC will open in Fort Collins by winter or spring. And these days, when it comes to indoor golfing options, his South Broadway Country Clubs aren’t alone.
Two more indoor golf clubs have opened in the past year alone, while another handful are expected to debut sometime in the next 12 months.
They range from modern mini golf destinations to full restaurants with virtual bays. Huff welcomes the competition. He says, “it’s awesome for the game of golf,” especially if new players feel comfortable trying it out.
“Strangely enough, and I hate to say it, but one of the good things that came out of the pandemic is it created a lot of new golfers,” he added.
For all of the new and old players out there, here are seven more golf clubs, bars and bays to watch for around town.
This latest international sensation from the founders of Topgolf will debut sometime next fall in Denver. It looks like a nightclub, or maybe a pinball game that’s life-size. Think live DJ sets, a bumping bar area and the black-lit mini-golf course with Trackaball (Topgolf’s own) technology that keeps the score for you. Watch for signature holes like the “Beer Pong” and “Ring of Fire.”
28th Avenue and Blake Street (at Lot 28), puttshack.com
For the true golfers, there’s Optimum. The business has two Denver locations — one in North Park Hill and another in RiNo. And rather than including a bar on-site, Optimum focuses solely on golf, with simulator bays, a putting green, retail area and private coaching sessions.
5059 E. 38th Ave. and 3565 Walnut St., theoptimumgolf.com
The GC Lounge
This golf and dining destination plans to open as soon as next week, pending inspections. It’s run by a local team with a background in fine dining, so the food and service could be as much of a draw as the Trackman simulators. Expect crab cakes, Nicoise salads, club sandwiches, steak frites and more clubhouse options.
1210 E. 17th Ave., thegclounge.com
The Local Drive
Move over craft breweries, the River North Art District is about to turn into one giant golf simulator. The Local Drive should open early next year on Brighton Boulevard with a full bar, clubhouse area and a handful of simulator bays all designed around communal lounge seating. Two longtime friends and recent Colorado transplants decided to bring their love of golf to a year-round setting, with a side of local beer, wine and spirits.
3503 Brighton Blvd., thelocaldrivedenver.com
Stick & Feather
Five bays, a bar and a lounge area round out this golf destination coming to York Street Yards in the spring. Unlike most other Denver golf bars, which use Trackman simulators, Stick & Feather levels up with two Foresight GCQuad sensors (used by professionals looking for accurate club head data), as well as three Uneekor EYE XO monitors. If that means nothing to you, know that there will also be ample space for sitting and sipping Cohesion brews, wine and cocktails.
3851 Steele St., stickandfeather.com
Tom’s Watch Bar
Three new Swing Suites are the draw here for enthusiasts who want to try their hands at golf, baseball, hockey and more virtual games. The proprietary Topgolf simulators are surrounded by lounge seating and come with food and beverage service. Players also get the added bonus of the Watch Bar, which boasts around 100 TV screens as well as an AC Golden Tank Room that serves beers directly from the brewhouse.
1601 19th St., tomswatchbar.com
RiNo Country Club
A nine-hole “putt putt party bar” coming soon to RiNo, this is the latest local addition to the mini-golf fad that Topgolf and others have bet on. “Caddyshack” comes to mind for this bar and grill that will play up the golf theme via its bartenders’ uniforms, its “Masters-themed” menu and its $5 John Dalys, or spiked Arnold Palmers. See also throwback decor and Golden Tee consoles.
3763 Wynkoop St., instagram.com/rino.countryclub
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