The Modern Golf store that’s close to completion in Mic Mac Mall expects to be the rare golf-related business that’s busiest in the winter or when it’s raining.
The Dartmouth location is Modern Golf’s seventh in the country, with 4,500 square feet divided equally between retail and instructional space.
Three teaching professionals will work there: Ryan O’Connell, formerly of Oakfield; Neal Ryan, late of Brunello; and Ed Hanczaryk (if Howard Cosell was introducing this lineup, he’d call Hanczaryk “the venerable one!”), who has 40 years of instructional experience.
O’Connell said they’ll be able to follow in the footsteps of their colleagues elsewhere who have convinced golfers that getting coaching indoors is the way to go.
“For us, being an indoor facility, we rely on Trackman as our launch monitor,” he said.
“That’s the choice for PGA Tour players, club fitters, it’s kind of the gold standard for trusting information. For a client, they want to put an end to uncertainty about how far the ball is going. … That’s kind of step 1 for us, having equipment you can trust.”
On a driving range, a golfer and his coach can see the flight of a ball and estimate how far it goes. Using a Trackman takes out guesswork.
“It’s a question we get a lot: Can I trust the simulator?” said O’Connell.
“Having all the data, for us as professionals and instructors, being able to communicate that in a way you understand (is most important).”
Having grown up in an RCMP family, the itinerant life of a golf pro was not much of an adjustment for O’Connell, who has also worked at Algonquin, Antigonish and several courses in Alberta and Ontario, though he considers Cape Breton his home base.
His first look at Modern Golf, which was founded in 2012, came while he was working in Alberta.
“A friend of mine, who I’d worked with, started the store in Calgary,” he said.
“That gave me a chance to see the inner workings and what was different than what was being offered in a local golf shop. There are always doubts when you make a change, but for me it’s a great opportunity to offer a new service to this area, and it is a little bit different.”
The Dartmouth location is the first in a mall setting for Modern Golf, and the plan is to benefit from foot traffic to get people in the door.
“Having these simulator rooms, I think of them as being like a small barbecue attracting people,” O’Connell said.
“You hear the sound of a golf ball hitting a screen and wonder what’s going on. That’s where we can pull people in.”
O’Connell said all three of the pros working there have already had clients from last year call to set up appointments on the simulators. He anticipates having to add staff and plans to rent bays to golfers who want to practise during inclement weather.
“There’s more demand for people to do instruction through the winter.”
Modern Golf is in the final phase of construction and expects to be open in a couple of weeks.
This content was originally published here.