Play 18 holes of golf at Pebble Beach or spend the afternoon embroiled in zombie dodgeball. SIMPLAY is a newly opened multisport simulator facility in Hauppauge where participants can interactively play a variety of sports games in front of a 12-by-16-foot screen.
This is not like playing Nintendo Wii at home.
“There’s no joystick. You are physically kicking a real soccer ball or driving an actual golf ball into a screen,” co-owner Chris Wyllie says. “You are exerting yourself like you would if you were outside. It gets your heart rate up.”
While there’s a video game element to the simulators due to the screen graphics, the technology, designed by Visual Sports from Canada, is better than home gaming units.
“When you hit a golf ball, it translates to the screen instantly and you watch the ball travel on the course,” co-owner Chuck Merritt says. “After each shot you get statistics like ball flight, trajectory and swing speed. That’s not something you can do in your living room.”
EAT, DRINK, PLAY
Six simulators are nestled inside open bays, which players rent by the hour. Each station is backed by a counter with high stools where snacks like sliders, wings and pizza can be ordered as well as cocktails and draft beers.
Players who come for golf can bring their own set of clubs or use SIMPLAY’s — some go as far as practicing on the venue’s real 3-hole putting green before games begin as music plays over the sound system.
“This is a great hangout. You get both the activity and the camaraderie,” says Frank Cio, 33, of Smithtown, an avid golfer trying the simulator for the first time. “This is something a little different.”
Golf is the main focus at SIMPLAY offering more than 80 courses to choose from, and the simulators even have overhead cameras that can capture your swing.
“You can see if you are hitting the ball in the sweet spot or not,” says Anthony Pomilla, 50, of Farmingville, who was getting his golf game in tune for the spring on a recent night. “I’ve used simulators before, but these are far better.”
Beyond golf, players can use the touch-screen terminals to toggle among other sports such as baseball home-run derby, a football field-goal challenge and beat-the-goalie in ice hockey. In each case, players swing real bats, kick actual footballs and swat a hockey puck with a stick.
“Kids love to play zombie dodgeball where you are chased by the undead and peg them for points,” Wyllie says.
Two VIP rooms give players a private space with its own simulator as well as a dry bar, flat-screen TV, cocktail tables and an intercom for ordering food and bottle service to the room.
Up front, there’s a full bar and lounge area where patrons congregate for happy hour or stick around to watch live sports on several TVs. There’s live music on Thursday nights and even a signature drink: the Kentucky mule — bourbon mixed with ginger beer and fresh mint served in a copper mug ($12).
“We are geared for the corporate person looking for something to do right after work, friends having a night out as well as families seeking a weekend activity,” Merritt says. “We want everyone to have fun.”