Colorado Springs’ virtual golf course plays like indoor country club

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Virtual reality used to be a concept that kids and teenagers experienced through goggles or futuristic helmets. Now, that perception has changed with the introduction of a local full-swing virtual reality golf simulator.

Pappy’s Golf Club, located in the Millennium Health and Fitness club at 4390 Arrows West Drive, caters to golfers over the age of 15. Golfers can choose from 21 nationally rated PGA-level golf courses without leaving the creature comforts of the indoors.

“It gives them everything they want and they can play all year around,” said owner Pappy Pappadakis.

Participants enter an enclosure that is 12 feet wide by 12 feet high and 16 feet deep. Computers project an image around and in front of the golfer, who hits the ball against the screen. No goggles are worn. Two computers calculate all aspects of the balls’ flight — including direction, speed, and spin. The screen displays its flight pattern while the golfer watches where the ball will land.

Golfers can play an 18-hole round as if they were on a real golf course. They can choose wind direction, speed of the wind and other weather conditions while using their own set of clubs.

Pappadakis and manager Tony Urban began construction on the 2,000-square-foot facility last fall and opened for business in mid-January. The cost to Millennium members is $28 an hour with non-members paying $35 per hour. Pappadakis paid $73,000 for the simulator and has received nothing but positive feedback.

“They love it,” he said. “Most people put their clubs away for the winter. Now, they have a place where they can get out of the weather. Come springtime, they’ll be playing just as well, if not better.”

Pappy’s Golf Club also offers two driving bays, a 12-foot by 24-foot putting green, a snack bar, a pro shop, and golf-swing analysis. In the golf business for nearly 40 years, Pappadakis said the simulator is “so close to being real,” that it’s like an indoor country club.

El Paso County Fair receives award

The El Paso County Fair rodeo in Calhan recently received the “Best New Rodeo in Colorado” award from the more than 500 cowboys associated with the Colorado Professional Rodeo Association. The award was based on four criteria — amount of purse, number of entries, how cowboys are treated at the fair, and arena conditions.

Pueblo West-based CPRA — a non-profit, independent organization not associated with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association — has been around 40 years and was incorporated about 25 years ago, said CPRA secretary Nell Richie. Approximately 400 members live in Colorado while the remaining 100 reside outside the state but participate in CPRA rodeos. The association caters to amateur cowboys and cowgirls, most of whom work full-time jobs and participate in the CPRA’s weekend rodeos.

The El Paso County Fair will celebrate its 96th anniversary this year with a nine-day extravaganza from July 21 through July 29. CPRA rejoined the fair’s activities last year after a 15-year hiatus, said Debbie Galle, the fair’s assistant manager and spokeswoman.

This year’s purse at the fair will be determined by the number of entrants, said Galle. Each entrant pays a fee of $40 and the county adds $400 to the coffer. Winners also receive a belt buckle.

Sports Corp. adds to staff

After months of intensive searching, the Colorado Springs Sports Corp. has chosen Rachel Isaacs as its new director of events and programs. In addition to managing events, Isaacs will serve as the company’s liaison for numerous youth sports programs in the Pikes Peak region.

“Rachel’s experience with event management, combined with her commitment to youth sports, makes this ideal for the Colorado Springs Sports Corp.,” said Sports Corp. president and CEO Dave Ogrean in a recent news release.

Isaacs comes from the U.S. Field Hockey Association, where she served as director of promotions for two years. Prior to that, she was the event service coordinator for the USA Triathlon since 1995.

Survive with Sports Council

The business of sports leaves an indelible financial mark on the Pikes Peak region. Because of this, the Sports Corp. recently created The Sports Council — a group of individuals from sporting and business communities who gather every three months to network, share ideas and exchange information.

The first meeting will be Tuesday, Feb. 20 in the Wigand Room at the Colorado Springs World Arena. It begins at 5:45 p.m., costs $10 and includes drinks, hors d’oeuvres and a ticket to the Colorado Gold Kings hockey game following the meeting ($5 without the hockey game).