The Bogey Room offers year- round, 24/7 virtual golf

By Ben Olson
Reader Staff

It’s a common complaint among golfers in the Pacific Northwest that the first few rounds of the already short season are usually spent knocking the rust off their swing from a long winter away from the links. With The Bogey Room in Ponderay, however, there is no off-season.

Featuring more than 300 courses offered in a member-only format, The Bogey Room has become a popular local hangout since opening last August.

Virtual golf makes a lot of sense in North Idaho, where the season lasts roughly half the year on average, but can be shorter depending on if it’s a wet spring or the snow flies early in the fall.

“We know it’s dark and gloomy in Sandpoint in winter,” said Ty Wilson, who co-owns the business with Ben Hammond. “We’re here to give the city something to do when it’s not great out.”

It’s always golfing weather at The Bogey Room. Courtesy photo.

Wilson and Hammond decided to take virtual golf and tweak it a bit, offering a members-only format that ensures the two golf bays remain available for tee times on a consistent basis, which are booked online or using a mobile app. Plus, Wilson said, if members swing by and notice nobody is playing, they can just walk on without booking in advance.

“You can log into the app and see all the available tee times for the day, and you can book them 24/7,” Wilson told the Reader.

Not only can golfers book times any hour of the day or night, the facility is operated using a mobile access on members’ phones, which allows them to play whenever it’s convenient — even at 3 a.m., if that’s the only time available to hit some balls.

“We have groups of people who play like 9 p.m. to midnight,” he said. “There are a lot that like to play in the 5-8 a.m. hours. … One of the more surprising things we realized when we flipped the switch and opened is how strong the golf scene is. It’s also not the demographic that you think it might be. There are teachers, everyday workers; everyone trying to find ways to play golf. This makes it feasible for them.”

Memberships are $150 per month, which gives members all the golf they can handle without restrictions, and there is an initiation fee of $200 for new members. Recognizing the fact that 10-20% of their membership falls off whenever the weather turns warmer, Wilson said there is no minimum period of membership. The fact that the facilities go unstaffed except for cleaning crews helps keep prices low, Wilson said. Currently, membership is capped at 60 to ensure everyone has the ability to play as much as possible.

The Bogey Room uses the Uneekor Simulator Technology virtual golf system, which uses GS Pro simulation software. Sensors are mounted overhead, as opposed to behind the golfer, which makes them versatile for right- or left-handed players. 

“We also went all out with our projectors using 4K on everything,” Wilson said. “You won’t find that on a lot of sims. It makes the images pop a little better.”

The golfer tees up on an artificial mat before a large projector screen, hits the ball into the screen where sensors read the trajectory, spin, direction and other data to project a virtual ball onto a virtual hole. Shot by shot, the golfer plays through 18 holes, or it can be used with a driving range background to keep up with swing maintenance through the off season.

“The feedback we’ve been getting from our members is that it doesn’t take so long at the beginning of the golf season to break off the rust,” Wilson said.

Putting is the only downfall to virtual golf. Players putt balls from the tee box into the screen and usually call anything within five feet a “gimmie.” The putting function can be — and has been — turned off, but members requested it to be turned on again.

“You’re not coming here to get better at putting,” Wilson said. “This facility is meant for someone who wants to elevate their game a little bit.”

Golfers can play any one of the more than 300 courses, from Pebble Beach to TPC Sawgrass to Augusta. Or, as Wilson noted, they can also play courses closer to home. 

“You’d think they’d want to all play Pebble Beach, but we see them playing the Coeur d’Alene Resort and other local spots a lot,” Wilson said.

Once per quarter The Bogey Room hosts tournaments, and they also have PGA pros who are available, like Jeff Gove from The Idaho Club. Wilson said The Bogey Room has even been utilized by the Sandpoint High School golf team when their own practice facility is unavailable.

“It’s meant to feel like a community here,” Wilson said. “Everyone knows each other. You feel like you’re at the barber shop. People feel comfortable leaving their clubs here and coming back the next day. That’s the feeling we wanted to have.”

To learn more about The Bogey Room, visit or call 928-205-7090. 

While we have you ...

... if you appreciate that access to the news, opinion, humor, entertainment and cultural reporting in the Sandpoint Reader is freely available in our print newspaper as well as here on our website, we have a favor to ask. The Reader is locally owned and free of the large corporate, big-money influence that affects so much of the media today. We're supported entirely by our valued advertisers and readers. We're committed to continued free access to our paper and our website here with NO PAYWALL - period. But of course, it does cost money to produce the Reader. If you're a reader who appreciates the value of an independent, local news source, we hope you'll consider a voluntary contribution. You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.

You can contribute at either Paypal or Patreon.

Contribute at Patreon Contribute at Paypal

You may also like...

Close [x]

Want to support independent local journalism?

The Sandpoint Reader is our town's local, independent weekly newspaper. "Independent" means that the Reader is locally owned, in a partnership between Publisher Ben Olson and Keokee Co. Publishing, the media company owned by Chris Bessler that also publishes Sandpoint Magazine and Sandpoint Online. Sandpoint Reader LLC is a completely independent business unit; no big newspaper group or corporate conglomerate or billionaire owner dictates our editorial policy. And we want the news, opinion and lifestyle stories we report to be freely available to all interested readers - so unlike many other newspapers and media websites, we have NO PAYWALL on our website. The Reader relies wholly on the support of our valued advertisers, as well as readers who voluntarily contribute. Want to ensure that local, independent journalism survives in our town? You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.