Golf simulator chain swings into Richland
Triple-digit weather. Frigid temperatures. Notorious Tri-City winds. Smoke-filled summer skies.
These will no longer be reasons to cancel tee time, thanks to the arrival of Divots Golf in Richland later this month.
The Walla Walla-based Divots Golf specializes in the growing sport of virtual golf, offering competitive virtual games to casual and experienced golfers alike. It uses simulator technology to capture the direction and speed of a golfer’s swing for a fully immersive experience.
Golfers can even use their own clubs, though rentals are available.
Players can “virtually” travel to 90 different courses from around the world without leaving the area.
“The Tri-Cities has a strong golfing community, and there’s nothing like what we’re doing there, nor the technology to literally work on their golf swing. We’re going to give them a place to golf year-round,” said co-owner Henderson Orchard.
The 21-and-older venue at 2450 N. Columbia Center Blvd. also will offer a selection of beer, wine and coffee.
“Everybody that golfs that isn’t playing for the PGA championship is going to enjoy beverages on the course with a snack cart and all that. We offer that and serve local wine and beer,” Orchard said.
Businesses also can rent the space and use the big screen that’s usually tuned to a sports game for presentations for meetings, followed by teambuilding sessions at the golf simulators.
Orchard has plans to buy the 5,800-square-foot Richland building across from Brutzman’s Office Solutions and next door to Zip’s Drive-In, but is currently leasing it.
The strip mall once was home to the Tri-City Bible Bookstore, which closed in December 2020.
The company expects to spend about $250,000 to renovate the space, Orchard said. Three to four people will be hired to work there.
Each simulator room is about 20-by-20 feet so people can feel comfortable in their own independent space, Orchard said.
The cost to play for an hour is $40 for up to six people, which is cheaper than playing on a real course, especially if six people split the cost, he said.
“It allows people of all different levels an opportunity to try golf,” Orchard said. “It’s a pretty affordable hour or two hours.
“You can get through 18 holes pretty good in an hour to an hour and a half. Typically, to play 18 holes outdoors, it can take about three hours. Two people can get through 18 holes and move along in an hour. They can easily do nine holes in 35 to 40 minutes.”
Orchard said experienced, serious golfers also will benefit from the simulators.
The owners received positive feedback from Walla Walla golfers who reportedly saw great improvement in their flexibility while using the simulators during the off season,
Divots offers the opportunity for league play, with the added benefit of golfing when it’s convenient, instead of at specific times.
Orchard and co-owner Monty Buell opened the first Divots Golf in Walla Walla in October 2020, then one in Moses Lake in April 2021.
“That one has since done tremendous. It gives these communities another option of entertainment,” Orchard said.
A Lewiston, Idaho, location will open a few weeks after Richland’s swings into position. Another will open in Anchorage, Alaska, by the end of September. Buell’s daughter and father live in Alaska.
Orchard is a serial entrepreneur and sports fan. He owns Hence Cellars in Walla Walla. His background includes real estate development and coaching fastpitch softball – both his daughters played at the collegiate level.
Buell is a retired Walla Walla University history and philosophy professor and golf enthusiast.
The partners also own and operate a 10,000-square-foot, fully-turfed indoor batting and practice facility, called
Ai Sports, in Walla Walla, and manage the competitive Ai Bandits Fastpitch organization.
The owners aim to have a soft opening in Richland at the end of August. Typically, they invite first responders in to try the simulators as an opportunity to thank them for their service.
“It also gives the staff an opportunity to figure out how it works,” Orchard said.
Divots doesn’t serve food, but it might in the future. Each Divots building includes a kitchen.
Until then, there’s some packaged snacks to nibble. Players also may order food from outside vendors to eat there.
Divots plans to launch an app in September to make it easier to reserve its simulators. A phone call and trip to its website also accomplishes the same task.
Hours are expected to be 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekends.
Divots Golf: 2450 N. Columbia Center Blvd., Richland; 509-578-5749; divotsindoorgolf.com.