What is going on?
"Mostly, when Ukrainians hear the word 'golf,' they imagine some 80-year-old billionaire wearing gold and diamonds riding a golf cart, and this is such a slow, dying thing… Everything is not like that at all!" says Oleksandr Deniskin, professional golf coach, vice-president of the Professional Golf Association of Ukraine, founder, and head of the Lisnyky Golf & Villas golf club.
To destroy stereotypes that are far from reality and involve as many people as possible in the golf culture, Deniskin, with the support of investors of the Lisnyky Golf & Villas country golf club project, opens a high-tech golf cafe with a TrackMan simulator in the center of Kyiv. The project is planned to be launched soon.
Golf is a world sport with a 600-year history. Ukraine is just beginning to write its page of this history. 34-year-old Deniskin says that he classically started his career in golf: he carried the players' clubs, earning tips. Already in about five years, he began managing a golf club. Deniskin devoted a long time to coaching, and now he has taken up the popularization of the game.
Even before Russia launched the full-scale war, the culture of golf in Ukraine was at an initial stage, and with the start of hostilities, the development was put on pause, Deniskin states. The first golf courses in independent Ukraine were opened in 2007-2008 in Luhansk, Kharkiv, and Kyiv suburbs. Since then, this industry has slowly but steadily developed, but the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian war in 2014 significantly slowed down the process. Due to Russia's large-scale invasion in 2022, some golf courses were destroyed, and others can't function as before. However, Deniskin categorically disagrees with those who say there is no place for golf when there is a war in the country.
"When we win, what will we have? There is no business, no taxes, and pensioners without a pension. What next?" Deniskin continues. "Anyone currently building or opening something in Ukraine is cool and worthy of respect, regardless of the scale of these projects."
In Ukraine before the war, golf did not manage to become something particularly profitable. Despite everything, golf in Ukraine is about the efforts and projects of people who love this sport, know its advantages, cherish the golf culture, and want to involve more and more like-minded people in it.
A cafe with a golf simulator in the city's center is a solution to involve Kyivans in the golf culture. Someone will get acquainted with the game's attributes, take a stick, hit the ball once or twice, and eventually become a player who will make regular trips to the field.
What is the solution?
The Lisnyky Golf & Villas project had its golf simulator purchased for private use. BGV Group Management — free basement space in the company's central office building. MTI — restaurant equipment and technological devices. Deniskin — the idea of a special institution combining sports and recreation. This is how the collaboration was born, which is embodied in a new cultural point on the capital map.
What does the cafe look like?
- The basement has several exits, generators, and supply ventilation and is a cozy, clean, and safe space.
- Chingu Korean restaurant, where the chef uses a flexible approach, taking into account the customers' wishes.
- TrackMan golf simulator. This is a high-tech device that very accurately measures a person's actual club stroke on the actual ball. Only the golf course is virtual here, but this is a model of a completely real field anywhere in the world.
- Elements of golf in the interior of the room. Even without playing, you will see a club, a ball, and even a golf cart here!
The official opening of the institution is planned for the winter of 2023. Until then, the institution willingly accepts visitors' feedback and takes them into account to make it as client-oriented as possible.
What is the goal?
"The goal is simple. Imagine you are sitting in a cafe and drinking coffee. You see a golf club somewhere on the wall and a ball on another wall. Even if you come in just to drink coffee and have dessert, you will still touch the golf culture," says Deniskin. "Ukraine is developing very dynamically, and we are constantly looking for something. I want golf to be such a find too."
The restaurant has an option: while the client waits for the order, they can play golf for free. No other place in Ukraine can offer such a thing.
Golf coaches are on duty at the facility every day, ready to offer their services. All of them have international certificates and more than ten years of experience.
To make golf truly accessible to the general public, the experience of South Korea can be helpful for Ukraine, the initiator of the project is convinced.
South Korea is one of the top 10 countries in the world of golf. At the same time, it is almost the only one where indoor golf is more popular than golf on the field. Golf simulators are in high demand in South Korea, which is high-tech and lacks space for golf courses, leading to a whole culture of such golf. Its main advantages are accessibility and cheapness compared to golf courses.
It is planned to be the same in the Kyiv golf cafe.
The facility is located within walking distance of the Klovska, Pecherska, and Arsenalna metro stations, making it easy to get to after work, unlike going to any golf club out of town.
"It will not be expensive. At the moment, I see that renting a simulator for an hour without a trainer will cost $16-21. For those who have just arrived, the first check in the restaurant is $5 for half an hour of training with a professional trainer," Deniskin explains.
All subsequent training for a beginner is supposed to cost much less than renting a simulator because the cafe sees its task as showing and teaching. Even if a person tries it once and doesn't like it, it's already a victory because they tried and got involved.
The cafe places great emphasis on children. They can come after school, play and go home without spending too much time. Everything is compact and convenient. The requests of the children's audience will be taken into account in the restaurant's kitchen.
The golf cafe can become a meeting place for the golf community. The bearers of golf culture will also be able to show their friends and partners who do not yet play what golf is all about.
The business goal of the project is to attract a new audience.
Deniskin offers to calculate. For any golf course in Kyiv to start making money, the city must have, for example, 20,000 players. One way to teach 20,000 players is to build golf courses. Without land plots, one such field is worth about €4 million. There can be a maximum of 500 players on one golf course — more will be uncomfortable. How many golf courses must be built to teach 20,000 players? Where to find so much land? The second way is much cheaper and more accessible — to install golf simulators. First, it will be possible to form a demand for golf courses and only then to open the fields themselves.
By the way, constructing a full-fledged golf course is underway at Lisnyky Golf & Villas in Lisnyky.
How does a golf simulator work?
TrackMan Indoor Simulator contains two radars and a high-precision camera that captures various parameters of the ball's flight — its direction, height, and rotation. The device displays these indicators with an accuracy of 99.9%.
There is another location with golf simulators in the capital, but the newly opened golf cafe has one of the best tools in the world regarding technology and the accuracy of the player's shot indicators. This technology is usually used only by the top 100 professional players in the world and is almost never used by the general public.
This is a huge advantage for learning to play golf.
"Any coach will say it is better to teach a player on this device than on the street," Deniskin says. It is easier to explain, operating with exact indicators. After all, the device records personal statistics. For example, at the beginning of the game, your club movement speed was one — at the end, it might be several kilometers per hour higher. Both the player and the coach see the actual result. There is trust and understanding of what the client paid for. Also, a person sees their problems and what they should work on.
Moreover, after completing each session or game in this simulator, all game statistics are automatically sent to the player's email.
The simulator can work in different modes:
- individual play;
- holding tournaments;
Several hundred golf courses are loaded into TrackMan. This is a complete representation of fields in different countries, giving the feeling of a full-fledged game. Being in the center of Kyiv, the client can play, for example, on the field in Miami.
There are different sets of clubs: for women, children, right- or left-handed to train anyone at any age and any level of training.
What does golf teach us?
"The most interesting thing," Deniskin smiles, "is that in golf, you have to learn to make the same shot. When you change the club, you change the distance of the ball. Clubs do not hit differently. You need to learn and do one simple movement. And this is the most difficult. This movement is actually very difficult to repeat. Golf makes you understand that you can't completely control your body."
Of course, golf develops coordination and the musculoskeletal system, especially the thoracic and sacral spine. During the game, you constantly turn sideways. Golf is also recommended for those with vision problems.
Golf is the only non-board game that is suitable for all ages. That is partially why the stereotype that only wealthy older men play it has developed. The truth is, you can play golf at the age of 10 or 80.
Golf is a game where your only opponent is the course. To win, you have to beat yourself, not your counterpart. That's why there are no losers in golf. You are only playing your own game.
In addition, players of very different levels can participate in the same tournament.
"Each hole has its own norm. For example, the norm for a professional of this hole is five strokes," says Deniskin. "For a beginner, a stroke handicap is added to each hole. The beginner's handicap on this hole is three strokes. You beat me if I play the hole in five strokes and you play in seven, so pensioners, children, professionals, and people with disabilities can play golf together, and no one will feel uncomfortable."
Golf is an Olympic sport. Ukraine already has players who participate and win in international competitions, but to have champions, Ukraine has to raise the culture of this sport to a completely different level.
"We understand how to develop golf culture, and we will gradually achieve our goal," Deniskin says.
Are you interested? Order a lesson or a table by calling +380 (50) 185 94 15.
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