If you're like thousands of other Northern Ontario residents at this time of year, you're just itching to see all that snow disappear so you can get out, stretch a bit and practise your golf swing.
And if you're in Sudbury, you can stop waiting and get yourself over to Alder Street to try out a new high-tech golf simulator.
Golf is easily one of the most popular outdoor pursuits in Northern Ontario. But when the weather doesn't cooperate, you can take it all indoors and enjoy it there.
Desjardins said the simulators take the interactive electronic gaming genre to a whole new level that will leave the golf player astonished at what they can see and do.
The simulator has the golfer line up at the tee-off, facing a 20-foot screen. Every movement is monitored, measured and fed back electronically to the player as they swing and hit the golf ball.
"So the cameras pinpoint you on the strike surface and they measure all the variables with your swing speed, and the spin of the ball and all that fun stuff," said Desjardin.
"So it tracks the ball in real time and the reaction time is quite impressive actually. It's pretty quick to pick up where the ball is going and how fast and how far you're going to hit it. So now, the technology is pretty cool."
Another aspect that experienced golfers will find attractive, Desjardins said, is that they can use their own clubs.
In fact, Desjardins recommended players bring their favourite clubs because that only enhances the simulator experience. He said there are some clubs available for the newbies who might want to learn more about golf, but the avid players can use their own.
“Bring your clubs, bring some indoor shoes — bring your whole set if you want to play a full round," said Desjardins.
He said the simulator is not merely an electronic driving range with fancy visuals. He said the simulator will allow golfers to play an entire round of golf. But the fun doesn't stop there, said Desjardins.
He said the golf community is aware that HD Golf provides an experience that is beyond what most people expect or imagine.
"Let's say you want to work on your approach to the green, or your par-three tees; you can pick a hole or pick a couple of holes that you specifically want to work on and just whack some balls at it right and work on those clubs,"he said.
For golfers who are really serious about their game, Desjardins said they can also use different clubs on the same hole, just for comparison purposes.
"That dials in the distance that you can get on different clubs and that gives you a more realistic idea."
Desjardin said it's the instant feedback and measurements that customers will like because it will help them understand how well they're doing and what they might want to do to up their game.
On the interactive level, if a local golfer wants to play a round of golf with another player in another city, that too can be done. Desjardins said players also can select their favourite golf course and enjoy what the professionals enjoy.
"You're on the coast of California where you’ve got the ocean waves and the sun beating down. It almost feels like you're there with the sound of the waves and birds chirping so that one's probably the most popular. It is definitely one of the nicest courses that I've ever played on the simulator."
Desjardins said Muskoka Bay is another popular course as are the famous courses in the Scottish highlands.
Desjardins said while Northern Ontario has lots of things for people to do in winter, Be The Ball offers a unique indoor experience for the whole family.
"There are lots of families that want to take their kids golfing, but [this is] a little bit easier environment to learn how to golf,” Desjardins said. “You don't feel the pressure of people playing behind you. You're in an enclosed environment where the ball can't hit or hurt anyone."
He said the golf lounge also features food and beverages and several other forms of video entertainment.
Len Gillis is a reporter at Sudbury.com. Bold is made possible by our Community Leaders Program.