Tannoy and Lab Gruppen help take the X-Golf virtual golf experience to the next level.
Story:/ Graeme Hague
Golf is one of those games that people either love or hate – and that’s just the folks who play it. Otherwise, non-golfers are often puzzled by this strange obsession to hit a ball into a small hole at the other end of a paddock. Why do it to yourself?
It is, of course, very big business and a fast-growing sector of the sport is golfing simulators, in particular at the latest X-Golf facility in Preston, Melbourne, where you get to experience all the joy of smashing golf balls down a fairway, but in the comfort of air conditioning, with a beer close to hand, and without all that inconvenient walking and the hazards of being in the open countryside.
Seriously, while computerised golfing has been around a long time in the shape of console games and in-store machines to analyse your wild, hacking swing, the accuracy and realism with which X-Golf offers a simulation is truly amazing. A variety of world-famous courses can be loaded into the system, and infra-red sensors and high-speed cameras will map your every stroke to the nth degree to replicate exactly what would happen if you were really there. Alongside the simulation, X-Golf venues provide organised team sports and leagues, entertainment, food and beverages, and access to big-screen sporting broadcasts. It’s a fun, social place to be even if you’ve never sliced a 3-iron in your life.
Darryl Byrne of NQAV was involved in installing the Townsville X-Golf facility with high-grade audio and video. At the time, Darryl was able to demonstrate the benefits of professional gear such as Lab Gruppen and Tannoy, and how these, when coupled with a well-considered network controller, would be far superior to any consumer products. Not just the management at Townsville X-Golf were satisfied with the end result, but a deposition from X-Golf Head Office was so impressed they asked Darryl to chuck his tools in his bag and replicate the system in multiple venues around the country, including Preston.
Despite the focus on playing golf, the X-Golf venues are versatile spaces. For example, if one of the five simulators isn’t being used, that section can instead display a televised sporting event on the high-resolution, large screen – and the accompanying audio is routed to just that area. Since you want to avoid spoiling that crucial putt in the next booth, precise control and zone segregation is a must. Also, in Preston the venue has a Hey Caddy mini-golf course. Not what you might think, Hey Caddy is a mix of mini-golf, family entertainment, and a singles pick-up bar. Once the kids have been tucked into bed, the staff of “caddies” at Hey Caddy can shake up a mean cocktail, cater finger-food and snacks, and the place can really rock – there’s that zoning again. By the way, the themed courses at Hey Caddy can vary between places, offering the streets of New York and even Mars – yes, the planet. Keep the cocktails coming.
Darryl went with a proven formula similar to what worked in Townsville. It helped that X-Golf venues try to stick with a common layout, and the simulator spaces are standardised across all the franchise outlets. Black Tannoy OCV8 pendant speakers gave him clear, defined sound, and they disappeared into the black ceiling above. Two Tannoy VSX115B subwoofers supply low end reinforcement. All are powered by a pair of Lab Gruppen PDX 3000 amplifiers and an E Series 8.2 amplifier – you’ll hear this venue before you see it! Full network control is through a Q-Sys Nano Core processor. The GUI is very simple and the wall-mounted touch screens are intuitive and straightforward for the staff.
Getting things done was made easy by the team at Australis Music ensuring that everything Darryl needed was promptly delivered on site beforehand, and naturally Australis was always on hand to help out further if needed. As Darryl explains, “It’s the kind of great support you can always expect from Australis Music, no matter where our project is located.” This was a new installation, so at least he didn’t have to cope with frustrated golfers hurling their golf clubs into any virtual lakes. However, the special flooring for the putting course was being installed and it required some skilled scissor-lift manoeuvring to work around that. High above the big-screen magic and illusion of golf courses and the brightly coloured décor of the Hey Caddy bar is an open, industrial-like ceiling space that allows for easy access. All in all, it took about a week to get everything up and running, and some of that was time lost in the usual logistics of any construction site.
HOLE IN ONE
With everything in place and working well, it’s the perfect solution for a business such as X-Golf in Melbourne.
Alex Makkreel, the General Manager of X-Golf, is very happy with the installations across all his outlets. “They’re really good. The system creates a great atmosphere throughout the venue, and the single touch panel control makes things very simple for the staff to operate.”
When things need to be loud and clear, the Tannoy and Lab Gruppen audio products certainly deliver that. At the same time, the zoning and audio discretion needed are available too. Whether it’s a respectful silence for that perfect drive past the bunkers, or it’s ‘par-tee’ time in Hey Caddy (yes, it’s a thing), Darryl Byrne at NQAV and Australis Music have put together a great system across many of X-Golf venues.
Why would you want to hit a small ball into a hole at the end of a paddock? It’s still a valid question. X-Golf in Preston is an excellent place to try and answer it.