Albatross Indoor Golf Club offers players refuge from endless winter – Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS – Andrew Krauseneck, owner of the Albatross Indoor Golf Club in Grand Forks, is perhaps one of the only people in the area with good things to say about the long winter months of late 2021 and the early 2022.

“We haven’t had such a long winter since I opened,” Krauseneck said. “I opened at the end of 2012, so this spring of 2013, I know we’ve had good business even until May 1st, or the first week of May. But it is certainly the longest winter since then.

More snow meant more business for Albatross as the cold weather persisted until the last days of April. Krauseneck said last year that the Albatros had closed a month earlier. In 2020, COVID-19 closures forced the golf club to close.

The long winter has allowed Albatross to continue to host high school teams as they train for the upcoming season, which has been delayed due to snow. Krauseneck hoped when he started Albatross to build a place to attract competitive players, groups, teams, and casual players, and North Dakota winters cause many high school and college teams to come swinging.

“When they start practices they can hit in some of the nets and their gyms, or in the hallways, or I even spoke to one of the schools, they hit in their curtain in the theater on stage, but it allows them go out and get feedback.

A culmination of factors – including freezing temperatures – combined to create a perfect storm for Albatross Indoor Golf Club. Another ingredient that Krauseneck attributes to the golf club’s recent success is the growing popularity of the sport. He said the golf club had benefited from a cultural shift. Golf is getting “cool”.

“Oh, absolutely,” Krauseneck said. “I think any golf-related business has reaped those benefits. Indoor golf, golf courses, golf retailers, I think indoor golf in particular has also really helped to get more people into golf nationally. It’s just a more comfortable environment for someone who is learning. They don’t worry about someone waiting for them, waiting behind them on the golf course, or a group of people watching them. They can also have it more as a social environment where larger groups are together.

Krauseneck also credits the COVID-19 pandemic for increasing golf’s popularity. A Golf Digest article suggests the sport’s popularity has grown, with the viewership increase in 2020 being the “highest in 17 years”.

A sport he once said was “suffocating” and openly indicative of a white-collar vibe has become more accessible to teenagers, children and those without substantial means.

“I think things like indoor golf, simulation golf, Top Golf and things like that have brought more people into golf that wouldn’t have… It’s very inclusive,” Krauseneck said.

Albatross Indoor Golf Club moved to Columbia Mall in 2021 and reopened in October. The new location has brought the golf club to enough size to grow from four golf simulators to six with plans to add two more simulators in the future.

Krauseneck said the old space, while serving its purpose well for years, left the company constrained and “exploited” on four simulators. The new location at Columbia Mall has allowed the company to grow with the sport it caters to in real time.

Also on the menu for future expansions is a shooting simulator where customers can practice shooting and gun safety without using real guns.

“The military and law enforcement use them for training,” Krauseneck said. “If you go to bigger cities, where they have a live shooting range, they can also have one of these shooting simulators. It’s kind of like the golf simulators. They’re super accurate, so it’s It’s great for training, but it’s also a great way for people who aren’t comfortable shooting a gun, they can do it. It’s a much safer way to do it.

Albatross Golf held fundraisers for golf tournaments at its previous location for non-profit groups, and Krauseneck wants to meet with school administrators and team coaches to schedule tournaments to raise funds for local teams, as well as to use for time with golf simulators, equipment, travel. expenses or other needs.

The old site closed completely in the summer once the golf season started. Krauseneck told Columbia Mall, Albatross will host summer events for groups, as well as company outings, parties and more.

“We’re not going to have regular hours over the summer,” Krauseneck said. “It’s not going to be day to day this summer. Hopefully by next summer we will have a little more regular schedule all year round by next summer, but this summer we will be available for reservations.

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