Like many avid golfers who call Northeast Ohio home, Robert McMahon does not look forward to the vacuum that exists between fall and spring. To fill the void, McMahon and folks like him can take trips to Florida and other warmer climes, or, increasingly, book time at the local golf simulator.
“I’m a golfer and the game has been a big part of my life since I was little kid,” says McMahon. “But between November and April you can’t do anything in this area with golf.”
McMahon and his wife Meghan are currently working to change that. By late summer, they will open ProXimity Golf Lounge in Cleveland Heights. The multifaceted venture will take up residence in the grand second-floor hall at the Heights Rockefeller Building, a 5,000-square-foot space built in the French Norman style. Over the years, the space has been the site of countless private events as well as Rockefeller’s Restaurant, run for five years by chef Jill Vedaa.
There will be five golf bays utilizing top-of-the-line simulators that are 12- to 16-feet wide.
“The technology is so good now that top pros have this technology and use it,” he explains. “These are the best golf simulators in the industry, the same units that Tiger Woods, Jason Day and Justin Rose have in their houses. The graphics are so good, and these courses have been reproduced with such detail, that it’s kind of like you are standing at the 7th hole at Pebble Beach, but without paying $5,000 to do it.”
The five Full Swing Pro 2 Series simulators will be rentable by the hour for singles, doubles and groups. On offer will be 84 of the best golf courses in the world, faithfully reproduced down to the tree, bunker and patch of grass. Golfers can compete against the friends they came with or against far-flung foes in real-time leagues, scrambles and tournaments.
Those same technologies are used for a dozen different sports and games, such as Home Run Derby, Field Goal Kick, Basketball Shootout and QB Challenge, all of which employ real sporting equipment (yours or theirs).
To keep you busy while your mates swing, there will be a full bar and some basic pub grub.
Asked about his chances for success in what might be considered an off-the-beaten-path locale, McMahon says that his concept is sound because of its flexibility.
“I think it will work because we’re merging a couple concepts together – not just food and beverage, but also entertainment,” he says. “My wife and I have two kids and when we do go out, we pick a place where we can have a few beers or cocktails and socialize. The unique thing about ProXimity Golf Lounge is that you actually have something to do while you do those things.”
Sign up for Scene's weekly newsletters to get the latest on Cleveland news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.