May 20, 2022
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Golfers don’t need to worry about losing momentum during the colder months at Art of Flight Golf.

The new facility at Bethlehem Golf Club, 400 Illick’s Mill Road in Bethlehem, allows them to hone their skills and improve swings through indoor golf simulation. The 3,500 square foot hall with five simulators opened on December 28 and a grand opening is planned for February. The facility offers hourly rates as well as membership options.

Hanover Township, Northampton County co-owner Chris Carullo, who also owns Liven Up Fitness in Bethlehem, said many gym patrons have asked him about a better indoor golf practice. Golfers needed a place to keep playing when the fairways became dormant and the greens began to freeze.

There was a need in the region for something that would offer golfers a legitimate alternative to real golf, said Carullo, who is also a Titleist Performance Institute-certified trainer.

Carullo then met with business partners Vince Manganiello and Tom Schray, both from Hanover Township, Northampton County, and the trio came up with the idea for Bethlehem Golf. They got the green light last summer to renovate what had previously been a cart storage facility, and construction took about six months, Carullo said.

“The technology has been around for quite some time, but in the last two to three years it’s really excelled,” Carullo told lehighvalleylive.com.

This is how it works: The guests place a ball in the designated hitting area and swing it. The simulator then works by analyzing a large amount of data obtained from the golf swing. Criteria include ball speed, spin and launch angle, among others. The simulator then determines where the ball will go and simulates the shot on a screen, allowing the golfer to see the ball’s entire flight – from start to finish in real time.

At Art of Flight, guests also take part in golf-specific fitness training, which focuses on improving movement quality, strength, mobility, power and injury prevention. Features include the following:

  • State-of-the-art TrackMan technology that delivers pinpoint club and ball data for game improvement.
  • Opportunity to play legendary golf courses from around the world including locations like Pebble Beach in California; Valderrama in Spain; Royal Birkdale in England; and St Andrews in Scotland.
  • Golf-specific fitness training.

Golf simulators can even provide benefits that real golf cannot. Instead of hitting a net or not swinging at all, golf simulators allow players to see the performance of every shot with instant data feedback. It also requires significantly less time, as most rounds can be completed in under an hour, and there is no obligation to play all 18 holes.

A new patron looking to compete in a Pro-Am tournament in Mexico this winter was able to practice virtually on the same world-class golf course before even setting foot, Carullo said.

Bays can be rented for $49-$59 an hour, or for two hours with a $99 monthly membership. The entire facility can also be rented for private parties and other events by arrangement.

One to four people per bay is recommended, but simulators accommodate up to eight players. Golfers are asked to wear clean shoes – no spikes – and to bring their own equipment, as Art of Flight does not offer equipment rental. All clubs must be clean and golf balls must be new and unmarked. However, new balls can be purchased.

Guests can also order food and beverages from the club’s restaurant, The Clubhouse Grille. Other amenities available at Bethlehem Golf Club during the warmer months include the 18-hole monocacy course, 9-hole course and driving range.

Carullo, Manganiello and Schray have plans for the future to add “club fitting” to the mix. The right racquet can optimize a player’s performance, feel and consistency, Carullo said.

Art of Flight is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 9pm; 9am to 9pm Saturday; and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Members can play with keychains from 5am to 12pm, seven days a week.

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Pamela Sroka-Holzmann can be reached at [email protected]

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