Virtual golf at The Clubhouse, Edinburgh Quay

The Clubhouse at Edinburgh Quay is home to 6 golf simulators, which offer the chance to play a virtual round of golf at many of the world’s top courses. Drink and food is also available at The Clubhouse. The simulated golf experience doesn’t seem to be targeted at any particular type of person as The Clubhouse attracts stag parties, serious golfers and first time golfers alike. While my visit to The Clubhouse was somewhat enjoyable, it didn’t come close to providing the realism or enjoyment of a real round of golf. While it’s an experience I am glad to have tried, simulated golf is not something I would rush back to try again.

Virtual golf at the Clubhouse, Edinburgh (2).jpg Virtual golf at The Clubhouse, Edinburgh (1).jpg

We arrived at The Clubhouse on a Sunday morning, after booking a simulator in advance. We had opted for two hours on the virtual fairways or, in our case, virtual rough. The price is £20 per hour Sunday - Thursday and £30 per hour Friday and Saturday. After buying a few drinks (e.g. pints of Fosters) it’s not the cheapest few hours you will ever spend: expensive infact. As you might expect private hire/corporate events are a large part of The Clubhouse’s business plan.

The Clubhouse’s bar and restaurant area is downstairs, along with a few simulators. We were upstairs on the mezzanine level, where you could hear golf balls smashing into the canvas from all of the fully occupied golf simulators. A wall mounted touch screen monitor allows selection of course and match type e.g. stroke play, match play or many others. Disappointingly the simulator did not have Sawgrass or Augusta courses, so initially we opted to play Pebble Beach. The simulator automatically lines up your shots, but you can change the aim using the touch screen monitor. A set of golf clubs is provided inside, although you can bring your own.

The player’s eye view is projected onto a huge canvas screen. This canvas screen absorbs the energy in your shot and attempts to kill the ball, although a few of my shots did rebound out of the simulator. Two sensors along the floor in front of the screen detect the pace, trajectory and direction of your shot. Shots off the tee and fairway are the most realistic, making The Clubhouse’s golf simulation a good alternative to a driving range.

The computer states if your shot is in rough or sand. If so the ball must be placed on the appropriate simulated surface, which is a neat idea but comes nowhere near simulating the difficulties of a real bunker or deep rough. I found the short play to be very poor, especially putting. Disappointingly this seemed to be more about acquiring the skill to match what the computer expected, rather than accurately simulating golf. Also some shots were not registered properly by the simulator e.g. flop shots weren’t picked up well. All shots are taken facing forward and on a flat surface, which further emphasises the limitations of the golf simulator as opposed to a real golf course. We finished playing a few holes at St Andrews, but the novelty was wearing thin toward the end of our two hours.

I can see the attraction of The Clubhouse for a work’s night out or for a stag party to visit during the day, although computer games like Tiger Woods from EA Sports seem to offer more interaction e.g. recording who has hit the longest drive of the day, longest putt, etc. Also, the computer graphics of the golf courses at The Clubhouse aren’t as impressive as they could be.

The Clubhouse is an interesting venue, which is probably most useful to avid golfers during harsh Scottish Winters. Lessons, club fitting and competitions are among the extra services offered by The Clubhouse. But, as said previously there really is no way of successfully simulating a real round of golf. At £20-£30 per hour for the simulator I can’t see why anyone would choose virtual golf over the plethora of enjoyable and accessible courses on Edinburgh’s doorstep.

The Clubhouse can be contacted on 0131 228 3894.
The Clubhouse is located at Edinburgh Quay, 133 Fountainbridge.

6 Responses to “Virtual golf at The Clubhouse, Edinburgh Quay”

  1. John Macpherson on May 28th, 2008 at 10:43 am

    I’m surprised at the negative tone of the last post. I have been to The Clubhouse 3 times - twice around Christmas with work type events, and once recently with three friends for a night out.

    On each occasion I thoroughly enjoyed the golf experience. As a 5 handicapper I would vouch for the accuracy of the simulators. I was interested enough to check out the Simulator producer’s website, and found that the simulators as used in The Clubhouse, are endorsed by the US PGA’s director of instruction, so accurate are they. The owner told me that the US PGA have Full Swing Golf simulators in use at their training school, in Florida USA. That was good enough for me, but then to be told that Hank Haney also endorses this particular simulator was incredible. He coaches a pretty good player -

    Tiger Woods.

    I think the previous poster needs to work on his short game. Our shots were accurately read on the screen. We successfully pitched it low with backspin, flopped high shots, chipped and ran, all with success. Draw and fade shots (as well as slice and hooks!) were all too accurate. Putting is tough, but when is it not! On my first visit we played the Old Course, and some putts were 110 feet given the double greens. We were just happy to be playing the most famous course in the world.

    The service was a standout. In a sea of mediocrity in Edinburgh, where management don’t seem to want people to be relaxed and enjoy themselves, we were cared for by the people at The Clubhouse.

    I think the previous poster is right in one sense - there is no substiute for standing on the first tee, on a sunny day, spanking the ball down the fairway. The Clubhouse doesn’t, can’t, compete with that - I think instead it enhances the options for golfers, who can now carry on their gaming well into the evening, or catch up after work for a few holes and a couple of beers. And let’s face it, the weather in Scotland is atrocious most of the time. It’s well worth the money, the environment is fantastic, service is great. As for the comment about EA Sports and Tiger Woods - don’t be absurd. This is REAL shot reading, with REAl clubs and REAL balls - not flicking some joystick.

    A very welcome addition to Edinburgh’s golf scene. For your information, I saw a well known professional there, on my last visit. He was working on his short game. ‘Nuff said.

  2. Stuart Anderson on June 4th, 2008 at 11:50 am

    I went with my work for a night out - it was great fun considering I’ve never played golf before! The golfers in the group were very impressed. My brother is now going there for his stag do. I agree with the above poster about service - very attentive, and food was brill!
    Stuart

  3. Phil McDonald on July 20th, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    we go there for lunch on average twice a month - good food, great service. We had our christmas outing there in ‘07, and we’ll be going back this year - all 14 solicitors of us - including the 5 women who don’t play - they love it.

  4. The Clubhouse food is the best at Edinburgh Quay - I work round the corner and it easily beats Embark and especially Cargo (yuk) into second place - it’s properly made food, not fied muck knocked up by some dodgy “not - chef”.

    Recommend the pasta, the home made burgers (MMMMMMMMM) and the chicken soup is really delicious.
    Good service and clean, welcoming environment. Well done boys!

  5. Darren Fermoyle on November 8th, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    I visited the clubhouse earlier this year for a stag do and enjoyed it very much.I play a little golf but mainly with friends for a little fun, my friends and i approached the idea of using a simulator with an open mind but everybody was impressed by the whole set up.
    the staff are extremely helpful, dont get me wrong the food and drink is slightly over priced but isnt everything in edinburgh.
    i`d reccomend this to any 1 no matter what level you play at, or even if you`ve never played before.
    I enjoyed it so much that im planning my best friends stag do to edinburgh and intend on visiting the clubhouse as one of our activities

  6. These guys did a cut and run on sunday. Clubhouse golf is no more - for those that had already paid deposits to them for the future - you might be in a wee spot of trouble.

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