Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Making Golf a Year-round Thing | Bob Gretz, Bob's Indoor Golf

Bob Gretz and his children enjoying
a nice day in eastern Idaho.
When Bob Gretz's wife informed him that they were moving from Washington, D.C., to Idaho Falls to be closer to family, he immediately investigated what eastern Idaho would offer him in the way of golfing.

Learning that there were only about seven months of the year in which golfing was feasible he started to panic, wondering what he'd do without his daily golfing “fix.” This led to him to investigate the availability of indoor golf facilities, and he found the area lacking.

“One of the reasons it's so cool is because of this market. I started looking at some numbers and there are 6,000 regular golfers in Idaho Falls, and the number of rounds they put in the seven-month season is really big. I figured there had to be a need to put in an indoor golf facility,” he said.

Gretz's prior career was in corporate America, in the waste management business. He admits he didn't see himself doing this at this point in his life. “It's fun,” he said. “I have really gotten more people who are saying thanks for doing this instead of 'Why are you doing this?' The people are fun,” he said.

The facility is for anyone, novice to expert. “The worst part about public golf is the constant feeling of someone behind you, staring you down. It's stressful,” he said. "This facility allows new learners to practice and get comfortable with the game before getting on the real course. It also allows experts to come and perfect their game."

Opening the business was a leap of faith, he said. Although he didn't have financing secured he went ahead and signed a lease on the space. He was able to find a bank that supported his vision. “Sink or swim,” he said.

Gretz is grateful that he has had a lot of family and friends who have pitched in and helped, from his wife painting the wall murals to his daughter taking care of the books and his son-in-law coming from Colorado to put together the putting green.

“The first winter was better than we anticipated," he said. By mid-February we were seven days a week, pushing 12 hours. And then COVID hit,” he said. “We are doing a day at a time things right now.”

He believes that that the pandemic has really pushed people to buy local. He's seen individuals really supporting local business.

The facility not only houses golf. The East Idaho Cornhole Association uses the space for cornhole practice and events. It is also a place where you can bring your business associates and do team building events with the simulators or putting practice. There is a conference room available, too.

There were unanticipated challenges starting the business. Gretz said there were unanticipated price points he bumped up against, as well as challenges with his beer and wine license. The advantage of it just being him running the business means he's been able to make adjustments quickly.

Gretz has also faced physical challenges. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease 10 years ago. “I don't let it be a barrier," he said. "When the end of the day comes around I'm pretty worn out. I have to pace myself. Everyone here knows it and understands it. This is one of the most unbiased populations I've ever lived in. They watch out for me. It's nice. It's a pain in the butt dealing with any kind of handicap, but it gives you a look into how other people have to live. There are people worse off than you.”

Although the corporate world is steady, Bob wishes he would have left it long ago and started a business. He believes in being involved in the business and being present for the customers to see him. His vision for the business is to continue to grow his clientele and be here for those starved for golf all year round. 


For more information on Bob's Indoor Golf go to their website at https://www.bobsindoorgolf.com/ or their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/bobsindoorgolf/.