City Golf in Sherman Oaks Takes Virtual Golf to a New Level

Smash factor.

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    Richard Lowe

Among the many joys of playing golf, close to the top has to be hitting the ball so purely that it inspires awe. From the sound of the club’s impact to the ball’s perfect arc, a shot like that is visceral. You feel it in your hands; it resonates in your soul. We weekend golfers hope for those vibes every time we play. Now Valley golfers have a new way to experience that bliss: The City Golf, which just opened in Sherman Oaks, is an indoor facility where you can hone your swing and receive more feedback than you’ve ever dreamed of.

The City Golf features nine simulators—two of which are Foresight systems, the same ones used by PGA pros—that track swing data. Factors that are obvious (carry, run, club head speed, ball speed, apex) as well as not so obvious (launch angle and smash factor) are displayed on screens, spreadsheet-style, to help you understand and hopefully improve your stroke. 

“Golf is very data-driven,” cofounder Brian Moon says. To Brian, golf is a game of millimeters—if you mishit by a little, the ball’s trajectory is affected exponentially. (Brian played baseball at Stanford, so he knows a thing or two about hitting a small ball with a long stick.) His prime example of data analytics is spin rate: Golfers often top out on their distances when the spin rate is too high. “When you hit a driver, you want something between 2,000 and 3,000 RPMs. People don’t realize how important this is.” 

Of course, the naked eye can’t see spin rate, which is why Brian and his business partner saw an opportunity in the Valley. While the Valley has plenty of private and public courses around where you can practice and play, The City Golf is the first local facility to offer this kind of approach.

“Golf is very data-driven. When you hit a driver, you want something between 2,000 and 3,000 RPMs.”

Brian is a self-taught golfer, so when he opened The City Golf, he based it on tech that he was looking for himself. In particular, he wanted to see his swing. That’s why the simulators are also equipped with video playback, allowing clients the ability to analyze their posture and mechanics and make corrections in real time. Brian believes seeing your swing is important. “A lot of people tell me once they use our system, ‘I didn’t know my swing looked like that. It’s so ugly,’” he says with a smile. The video technology also shows, in slow motion, where you make contact with the club face—information that is essential to improving your game.

Of course, the data is only helpful if you know what to do with it. Continuing with Brian’s spin rate scenario, how does one fix that? Well, that’s where their other services come in. The City Golf offers one-on-one coaching, where clients can get tips from a coach, hit the ball, and see the new data immediately. If the numbers are better, the adjustment worked. The proof is right there. The City Golf also offers club fittings to help refine one’s game even further. 

But The City Golf isn’t just about practice. The sims are also equipped with virtual courses, all of them 18 holes. If you want to just come by and play with friends, they’re happy to have you.

If you’re wondering about the accuracy of the sims, Brian has you covered. “People will say, ‘I hit it 170 on the range but here I’m hitting 185.’” He smiles with his response, “Well, you probably flushed it.” Looks like their data-driven approach is already paying dividends.