(Indian Wells, Calif.) – NextLinks, one of the golf industry’s hottest trends in the effort to grow participation through fun-based accessibility at non-traditional venues, is pleased to announce its strategic involvement in the “Shot in the Dark” nighttime golf experience which recently broke ground at the award-winning Indian Wells Golf Resort (Indian Wells, Calif.).
The complete “Shot in the Dark” experience at Indian Wells-- which is on pace to debut with a soft opening in late April/early May -- will include music, a full-service outdoor bar, a chef-curated food truck operation and a driving range adorned with 20-ft inflatable, glow-in-the-dark targets that react with lights and sound effects when struck by glow-in-the-dark golf balls.
NextLinks announced its presence as a key player in the “alternate golf experience” arena by showcasing its groundbreaking indoor/outdoor golf technology and business concepts at the recent PGA Merchandise Show. The golf experience is driven by proprietary software that seamlessly blends golf simulator play with realistic short game shots and putting on expertly-designed artificial putting greens, as well as outdoor venues on real putting surfaces.
“The golf industry is about to see Indian Wells shatter the paradigm of how and when a golf operation can give its clientele a five-star experience,” says NextLinks president and CEO Dave Shultz. “When it’s too dark to play the two top-ranked golf courses at Indian Wells, the practice area comes alive. For non-golfers, it’s a party zone that presents the game in a fun and unintimidating way. For serious golfers, it’s a cool way to enjoy real golf in a setting that’s never existed before.”
Indian Wells general manager Steve Rosen is anxious to see what expanding the concept of “golfable hours” will do for the bottom line at the famed 36-hole golf property. “We expect this new ‘entertainment zone’ to become a major nighttime attraction for the resort and the entire Coachella Valley, not just golfers and guests at Indian Wells,” Rosen says.
Rosen also sees “Shot in the Dark” as a popular venue for group business. “Large golf groups who want to continue the competition among friends or corporate meetings looking for a fun way to promote team building, will find this nighttime golf entertainment spot a truly unique and one of a kind experience.”
The NextLinks golf experience is powered by its proprietary skill differentiated games and Pinpoint Spotlight Technology. The system simultaneously tracks multiple players’ places in various games while guiding them through play with colored lasers projected on to the green. “I always pictured the prototypical NextLinks venue indoors, but this Indian Wells project, using existing infrastructure at a world-renowned golf resort is an eye-opener,” Shultz says. “The combinations and variety of games we’ll offer is vast because we’ve electronically mapped the entire nine-hole putting course, which already had awesome design features. The games will play quite differently depending where you are on the putting course.”
Players will be able to choose to play NextLinks-powered games (by the hour) from a touch-screen menu then play them on the real-grass Putting Course.
Rosen approached the NextLinks team looking to create a “Top Golf-like attraction” at Indian Wells. “We’re serious about engaging younger people who can potentially become our next generation of golfers and traditional golf programming simply isn’t enough to attract them to the game,” Rosen says. “Shot in the Dark brings the energy of a sports bar or popular lounge right to the heart of our golf resort, which is surrounded by four hotel properties (with a total of 1,500 rooms).”
While Indian Wells is the first traditional golf course operation to use NextLinks technology, Shultz does not think it will be the last. “Golf courses everywhere are looking for ways to make their venues fun and to keep golfers engaged there for longer hours. Indian Wells is about to show them exactly how it’s done,” he says. “Not every “Grow the Game” initiative has to be a loss-leader. You can bring new people to the game while growing your core revenue streams with solutions that fit your budget. I think Shot in the Dark is going to prove that in a big way.”
For more information on this project, visit www.nextlinks.com and http://www.indianwellsgolfresort.com/.