Tucked between the Mississippi River on one side and the Missouri and Big Sioux Rivers on the other, the Midwestern state of Iowa is an easily accessible, idyllic countryside paradise situated deep in the heart of the United States. It falls on the relatively low end of the spectrum when it comes to both total land area and population; this is perhaps part of the reason why it is recognized as one of the safest states to live in. The perfect spring break getaway, the Hawkeye State is a tourist haven for those looking to get away from all the hustle and bustle of big city life. With a string of noteworthy museums, libraries, state parks, art centers, and historic sites, the vibrant local culture only helps to attract more visitors to this already widely-coveted vacation destination.
Another alluring aspect of Iowa is its rich natural landscape. Here, residents and visitors alike can bask in the serenity of Mother Nature’s beauty which is on full display with the state’s diverse terrain. Comprised of fertile farmlands for over 92% of its area – a percentage second only to that of Nebraska – there are three distinct topographical regions: Young Drift Plains region, sweeping across the northern and central areas of the state, characterized by flat, wide-open grasslands accented by a number of swamps and lakes; the Driftless Area in northeastern Iowa, which is mainly made up of densely forested hills and rocky cliffs; and the Dissected Till Plains of the southern corner, with sparkling blue rivers and streams cutting across low-lying hills and rugged rock formations and bluffs.
Many visitors also come to the state for its prospering sports scene, particularly in terms of golf. With more than 170 golf courses to its name, Iowa is one of the best golf destinations in the country in terms of value as it provides many premium quality tracks and world-class amenities, often at very affordable rates. Its picture-perfect rural setting has inspired such Golden Age layouts as the Wakonda Club by William Langford and the C.H. Alison-designed Davenport Country Club. Other praise-worthy, more contemporary golf courses that are among the best in the state include Pete Dye’s handiwork at the Des Moines Country Club, the Tom Fazio showpiece at Oaks Country Club, the Donald Ross original at Cedar Rapids, and the Rees Jones masterpiece, Blue Top Ridge, at the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort.
Despite all these wonderful facets of the state, however, many tourists (especially golfers) are sometimes discouraged to visit Iowa due to its extremely varied humid continental climate. The sometimes unpredictable weather – which can range from scorching hot 100 °F (38 °C) daytime temperatures during the summer, to icy cold sub-zero temperatures during the winter – can make for un-ideal playing conditions on several occasions. Fortunately, players can rejoice as Iowa also features a number of excellent virtual/indoor golf facilities scattered all throughout the state to remedy such a situation. Now, the general golfing public can practice and play their favorite sport even during the off-season, or regardless of the weather, in the comfortable indoors.
Listed below are some of the most popular virtual/indoor golf facilities in Iowa.
Virtual Indoor Golf in Iowa
Location: 106 SW State St, Ankeny, IA 50023
Opening our list is the premier indoor golf facility of Ankeny City, Backspin Indoor Golf & Bar. With a laid-back sports bar-esque ambience and some of the most advanced virtual golf simulators in the industry today, Backspin Indoor Golf & Bar delivers on its promise to provide its patrons with “the ultimate indoor golf experience.”
It is equipped with five of the latest TruGolf model simulators and hitting bays, all programmed with the industry-leading, dual tracking technology that provides instantaneous feedback to break down every facet of your swing and help you improve with every stroke. Highly-accurate, user-friendly, and easy to understand, players are assessed and evaluated in terms of various critical data points such as your club path and clubface angle upon impact, perfectly captured by their multiple high-speed optical sensors and displayed for video-based practice on the Swing Analysis screen. Hitting bays also come with highly authentic golf mats that allow golfers to swing down and through for more realistic practice sessions. There are over 90 of the most coveted championship courses in the world to choose from, such as Pebble Beach, St. Andrews, PGA National, and a lot more.
Play together with friends at Backspin Indoor Golf & Bar, as each hitting bay can accommodate up to four players at a time. Enjoy some friendly competition among yourselves or against other teams when you join any of the various golf leagues regularly hosted here – all of which are 2-person best shot – for a chance to win prizes and gift checks.
Cap off your game with some refreshing drinks from their on-site bar, which serves a wide variety of tap beer, liquor, wine, as well as non-alcoholic beverages. Snacks are also available and guests are free to order outside and have their food delivered to them at the facility. With that said, Backspin Indoor Golf & Bar has all the makings of a great venue for your next social gathering or special occasion, as they offer event spaces that can be rented out for corporate outings, parties, or the like.
Still, for those days when you’re simply dreaming of a good game of golf during the off-season, you can’t go wrong playing a few rounds here.
Thu 2:00 - 10:00 pm
Fri 12:00 - 12:00 am
Sat 10:00 - 12:00 am
Sun 12:00 - 8:00 pm
Location: #100, 4800 Elmore Avenue, Davenport, IA 52807
Another world class indoor golf facility that’s among the state’s finest, The Clubhouse Indoor Golf & Lounge is a Davenport-based indoor country club - the first and only one of its kind in all of Iowa’s Quad Cities. Impressively furnished with four state-of-the-art About Golf simulators, The Clubhouse can transport its guests to over 70 of the greatest golf courses in the world (the largest selection available in the entire region).
Not only that, each simulator can be configured to a host of different practice venues to accommodate players’ every need. The advanced software programmed into every simulator also allows golfers the freedom to create and customize the challenges on any of their available courses for any number of players, delivering a truly unique and personalized virtual golf course perfectly tailored to their particular preferences. As an additional treat, the simulators at The Clubhouse also offer three different miniature golf courses, as well as a skee ball putting game for junior golfers to enjoy.
More than just a good time, players will also be given a detailed swing analysis that breaks down their every stroke according to launch angle, direction, back spin, side spin, and ball speed to fine-tune their skills and further improve their game. Tee boxes, ranges, and other course settings can be adjusted to suit a wide variety of player proficiencies and background, so golfers can learn and progress at their own comfortable pace. Best of all, every warm-up session on the driving range is recorded and can be accessed through the About Golf Tour Card, so players can monitor their own progress and do video-based practice.
They also have several indoor golf leagues you can sign up for; event spaces that can be rented out to host private occasions and social gatherings; a full-service repair shop that also offers personalized club fitting; private lessons with a certified teaching professional available by appointment, offered to golfers of all ages and skill levels; and an on-site bar that serves beer, wine, cocktails, and more, with a brand new patio space that flaunts two 55-inch flat screen, high-definition TVs. All in all, it’s easy to see why The Clubhouse – Indoor Golf & Lounge is considered as one of the finest indoor golf facilities in all of Iowa.
Mon-Thu 2:00 - 10:00 pm
Fri 2:00 - 12:00 am
Sat 12:00 - 12:00 am
Sun 12:00 - 10:00 pm
Location: 11865 Hickman Rd, Urbandale, IA 50323
Strategically situated in the heart of one of Iowa’s major cities, Des Moines, is the Range Grill and Golf. A unique entry on this list, it is a casual dining restaurant with a custom indoor golf center, promising its guests with a one of a kind experience that provides world-class cuisine to be enjoyed along with its excellent entertainment feature.
The indoor golf studio at Range Grill and Golf is located in a secluded area of the establishment and is home to over 6 top-class, PGA endorsed golf simulators – the very same model vouched for by the Golf Channel. These TruGolf simulators are the latest models and offer players the most authentic virtual golf experience yet, as its state-of-the-art technology perfectly mimics the feel of an actual outdoor course from the first drive to the last putt. Another noteworthy feature is their accuracy in capturing every golfer’s swing, providing very detailed yet easy to understand data points to help improve their technique, skill, and overall game.
If that doesn’t satisfy you, there are also certified PGA instructors on staff who provide private lessons and professional instruction for the more serious golfers looking to advance their skill level even during the off-season. In the mood for some friendly competition? There are also a number of golf leagues regularly hosted here that you can sign up for, as they accommodate men, women, and kids no matter their proficiency or background. Among their other amenities are club rentals for those who forgot to pack up theirs, though it’s highly encouraged for golfers to bring their own.
As for the restaurant, Range Golf and Grill impresses its customers with its sophisticated yet laidback ambience and refined dining experience, as they offer some of the finest in American cuisine. Everything from steaks to seafood and burgers to salads and flatbreads are all on the menu, with seating available by reservation or by walk-in. The Range is open from brunch to dinner.
There’s also a full-service sports bar for patrons to indulge in, which offers an exquisite assortment of wine, spirits, cocktails, and up to 24 different craft beers on tap. It boasts of indoor seating and its very own well-lit, screened-in patio, perfect for capping off the night. There’s also a large, flat-screen TV for guests to livestream all their anticipated games and major sporting events for free.
Mon-Fri 11:00-11:00 pm
Sat-Sun 10:00-10:00 pm
Location: 803 Central Ave, Fort Dodge, IA 50501
More than just another golf shop, Fort Dodge’s very own Golf Central is the premier indoor golf facility in the city. Home to Hanson’s Custom Golf, Golf Central not only offers the avid golfers of Iowa with top-quality equipment and leading-brand sports products, but also the opportunity to maximize their game and reach their ultimate potential as golfers with the cutting edge technology available at their indoor golf training studio.
Open all year round no matter the weather, the facilities at Golf Central feature only the finest in About Golf simulators which faithfully replicate the look and feel of nearly 40 of the most distinguished, most popular championship courses all over the world. Practice and play where the most seasoned veterans of the sport have, without the hassle of travel or lavish expenses. Not only that, the simulator settings can be configured to every player’s personal preferences – be it, desired level of difficulty, style of play, or time frame – and allow them to create their own event or golf league.
Every simulator at Golf Central is updated with the latest in Flightoscope software, the industry’s leading expert, which displays all the necessary information about a golfer’s swing and ball flight on their many diagnostic screens and launch monitors. It comes with high-speed motion capture cameras that measure the angle of attack, ball trajectory, carry and total distance, ball spin, horizontal and vertical launch angles, and over 23 more essential data points.
Other amenities include club fitting and club repair services, such as equipment evaluations, performance check-ups, re-shafting, and re-adjusting – all done by the capable hands of well-trained, certified staffers. All in all, what once started out as a simple garage repair shop in 2007 has since gone on to become one of the best indoor and virtual golf facilities in all of Iowa, and certainly merits a visit from golfers looking to keep their game sharp all year round.
Location: 53 NE Carefree Ln, Waukee, IA 50263
Similar to a previous entry on this list, Broheim’s Indoor Golf and Pub fuses both virtual golf entertainment and casual dining and drinking into one memorable indoor experience. Its indoor golf facilities are the first in all of Waukee City to feature cutting-edge About Golf simulators, capable of transporting its players to over 65 of the most picturesque and most formidable championship courses all around the globe. Examples include Pebble Beach and St. Andrews, as well as exclusive access to The Players Championship courses at TPC Sawgrass, TPC Scottsdale, and TPC Louisiana – courses you won’t find anywhere else in the state.
Here at Broheim’s virtual golf center, golfers will be treated to photo-realistic visuals and 3D graphics that are so lifelike, you might soon forget that you’re actually indoors. Enjoy a few rounds with all of your closest friends, as each hitting bay can accommodate up to 8 players per simulator. Other games offered include skee-ball and virtual miniature golf, while simulators can also be used as large screen TVs or projectors for the patrons’ viewing pleasure.
Of course, it would be hard to talk about Broheim’s Indoor Golf and Pub without mentioning its full-service sports bar. Serving a wide selection of the finest craft beers and liquors, it’s the perfect place to cap off a good game of golf. With such great and continuously improving facilities and amenities, welcoming players of all ages and skill levels to enjoy their favorite sport in a fun and relaxed atmosphere, Broheim’s Indoor Golf and Pub is not only one of the best indoor golf facilities in the state, it is also among the best entertainment venues in all of Iowa.
Mon-Fri 12:00 - 2:00 am
Sat-Sun 10:00 - 2:00 am
Location: 53 NE Carefree Ln, Waukee, IA 50263
Finally, concluding our list on a high note is St. Andrews Golf Club. Best known for its 18-hole parkland style layout and water features, among the extensive list of off-the-course amenities at St. Andrews Golf Club is an indoor golf simulator center.
Open all year round even when the outdoor course is not, the virtual golf studio at St. Andrews Golf Club flaunts four ultramodern, state of the art Full Swing simulators that allow golfers to practice and play on over 40 premium quality championship tracks from all over the world. Among its most popular choices are timeless classics such as St. Andrews, Pebble Beach, Harbour Town, Glen Eagles, Old Palm, Konopiste, the Venetian, the Straits, and many more.
Not only that, the advanced software programmed into the simulators at St. Andrews Golf Club allows for a host of different modes of play to accommodate a wide spectrum of golfer needs; from regular course play, to practice mode, to skills challenge contests. There are also a number of indoor golf leagues hosted at St. Andrews from the months of October to March for those who may be interested in joining. Individual and group lessons can be scheduled by appointment with any of their two certified PGA Professionals on staff. Everything you could ever need to keep your form sharp and your game strong, even through the off-season, is delivered right at your fingertips.
Other amenities include an outdoor driving range with practice greens, a well-stocked pro shop that also offers club repair services, and a clubhouse with its very own kitchen and bar that serves an assortment of sandwiches, pizza, snacks, and beverages. Event spaces can also be rented out, along with the simulators and generous seating, for private occasions, corporate outings, or birthday parties.
A bustling tourist haven with a beautifully-diverse landscape that flaunts many nationally-recognized, expertly-crafted championship courses to its name, the state of Iowa has all the potential to become one of the greatest golf destinations in the country. Famous for its serene ambience and immersive nature, as well as its sophisticated local culture, Iowa has always been a must-visit state. Among its impressive assortment of courses are iconic showpieces like the Wakonda Club and Davenport Country Club, as well as several modern designs like the Des Moines Country Club, Cedar Rapids, and Blue Top Ridge.
Though the fickle, humid continental weather of Iowa might make it hard to spend a few hours out on the course during some days – be it the scorching hot summer days or the biting cold of wintertime – Iowa also offers several first-rate indoor golf facilities, training studios, and virtual golf centers for avid players to turn to.
More than that, the names featured above show the healthy and creative elements of indoor golf in the state, as all of them are also either sports bars, entertainment venues, casual dining restaurants, or golf shops. With that said, this is by no means an extensive list of all the indoor/virtual golf facilities in Iowa, but rather, an easy guide to start you off on the right track towards discovering all the state has to offer.