New Indoor Golf Lounge Opens in Colorado Springs | Content reserved for subscribers
The thrill of hitting a golf ball into the horizon never fades.
Even when it’s virtual.
On a snowy, frozen March afternoon, amateur golfer Brandon Medeiros stands on artificial turf in a pod at Tribe Golf, a new indoor golf lounge tucked away in a mall off Garden of the Gods Road. Leighton Smith, PGA golf pro and longtime coach, stands nearby ready to check out Medeiros’ stats on TrackMan, a high-tech golf simulator that also features virtual putt putting, family games and the opportunity to play on courses around the world.
Medeiros takes a bunch of swings, sending his ball into a screen that blunts the ball’s trajectory and gently lays it on the ground, then turns to Smith for feedback. The hour-long session is meant to refine his game before he spends the summer competing in tournaments. Joining the show could be the next step for the competitor. That way he can come whenever he wants and use the technology to train.
“I don’t want to lose what I worked on today,” Medeiros said.
Smith spotted an opportunity in the booming Colorado Springs golf market. With only two city-owned golf courses open to the public and five or six country clubs or golf courses with long membership waiting lists and high fees, the time was right to open an indoor golf lounge. . The pandemic has also turned into an auspicious time for golf due to its outdoor nature. New golfers have entered the sport in droves over the past two years, Smith said.
The new business, with its four TrackMan simulators, comfy sofas and bar, opened on February 1 and already hosts a weekly league night, private parties, corporate events and wine and whiskey tastings. .
“I wanted a laid-back golf environment,” Smith said. “Golf has a lot of stereotypes, like it can be stuck up, but I wanted a smaller place where people can rely on technology or get a really good workout and hang out. If you want to pursue golf and your goals and your dreams, chase it.If you want to hang out and play with new people, this is also the place for you.
Gary Venable, his wife and two daughters have taken lessons from Smith for years and now visit Tribe Golf. Venable is thrilled with the way Smith coached his kids, who now both play college golf.
“It’s definitely unique to our community and something we missed,” Venable said. “Golf is more than just a game. Where else can you spend four hours with teenage girls and they want to spend it with you? For them, Smith is more than just a golf instructor. He’s someone they can talk to, and someone who guides them too.
swing for it
Smith arrived late to the game of golf. After a neighbor took him nine holes in high school, he quickly dropped football and lacrosse in his freshman year to join the Air Academy High School team. After graduating, he completed the PGA Golf Management Program at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and quit a PGA Pro. But he didn’t dream of becoming the next Tiger Woods or running a golf course. He wanted to teach.
“It’s important to do what you love,” Smith said. “My passion is to use golf to build people’s confidence to help them achieve their goals. Being outside, working on people’s games with cool technology – that’s where I want to be, versus competing or running a golf course.
After college, he worked at a golf academy in South Carolina, where he worked as a coach under Hank Haney, Woods’ coach at the time.
“What he taught me was how to earn the trust of a client or a student,” Smith said. “That and the management of competitive players.”
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Smith returned to the Springs to help start a chapter of First Tee, a nonprofit that helps kids learn life skills through golf. Five years later, he started his own business, Leighton Smith Golf, to teach competitive players. He still leads this business alongside the new golf show and was awarded the PGA of Colorado Player Development Award in 2017 and was named PGA of Colorado Teacher of the Year last year.
“Golf is something that’s up to you,” he said. “The Tribe vibe – if you want to compete all over the world and win great, we’ve got the coaching and facilities. If you just want to sip wine and learn about golf or bring some girlfriends and learn more about golf perfect this is for you I want people to say this was the highlight of my week after they left.
Contact the writer: 719-636-0270