Last updated on September 12th, 2022 at 03:36 pm
On Sept. 16, the Milwaukee Brewers will open their new, year-round X-Golf America facility on the club level of American Family Field. Located in the former Stadium Club restaurant overlooking left field, the 11,000-square-foot space features seven indoor golf simulator bays, two full bars, food service, lounge seating, Brewers-themed golf apparel for purchase, a licensed PGA professional on staff, and prime views of the field below.
The Brewers teamed up with local X-Golf franchisees Shawn DeMain and Luke Larson to transform what was a “tired, underutilized” dining space into an “exciting new destination” for a broader audience, said Rick Schlesinger, president of business operations, during a recent preview event for employees and the media.
“Over time, the tastes of our fans have changed. People want an experience that’s not just sitting down, having a buffet on white table cloths and watching the game from behind glass,” said Schlesinger.
With the success of DeMain and Larson’s existing X-Golf locations, in Brookfield, Mequon and Appleton – and a fan base that enjoys both baseball and golf – the Brewers saw potential for synergy. Plans for the venue – the “first of its kind” in a Major League Baseball ballpark and first-ever X-Golf location in a sports stadium – were announced in March. Since franchising the company in 2016, Los Angeles-based X-Golf America has grown to more than 60 locations in 23 states.
X-Golf at Am Fam Field will operate on game days and non-game days alike, which, of course, includes the long stretch of the year that can make baseball games and rounds of golf feel like distant memories. Based on the popularity of virtual and indoor golf during the cold winter months (at least here in the Midwest), Schlesinger expects X-Golf at Am Fam Field to be no different.
“The busiest time for the space will be the off-season, … when people in Wisconsin cannot take advantage of outdoor golf,” he said, also noting the convenience of the ballpark’s central, well-known location and ample parking.
X-Golf is just one way the Brewers are working to draw people into the stadium when the Brewers are not in season, in addition to year-round business hours at the Brewers Team Store and Restaurant to be Named Later. Schlesinger said it’s the first of a “series” of new off-season initiatives coming down the pike over the next year.
With the space available to rent for private and semi-private events – from corporate gatherings to bachelor parties – the new facility also provides the Brewers an opportunity to bolster its existing group business. Like the two other X-Golf locations in the Milwaukee area, events will likely make up a good chunk of overall sales, said Schlesinger.
“We’ve had awesome events where you can get 60, 70, 80, 100 people together and you can talk and socialize and be in the mix while playing golf,” said franchisee Shawn DeMain. “Our feedback from our first events (coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic) has been absolutely incredible and we’re continuing to look forward to those coming back full force.”
On non-game days year round, X-Golf at Am Fam Field will run tournaments and golf leagues, such as ladies night – which has proved to be a hit among local customers.
“Our ladies nights fills up faster than anything else, so what that shows us is there’s people that have never been exposed (to golf) that are curious, and I’m so thankful to create a space where people can do that,” said DeMain.
During game days, six of the seven golf bays will be available for ticket holders to reserve in advance, starting 90 minutes prior to the first pitch. One bay will remain available on a first-come-first-serve basis, free of charge, for those who want to check out the space and “take a few swings,” Schlesinger said. He pointed to the unique experience of playing a simulation of one of the world-famous golf courses available on the X-Golf platform while also watching a Brewers game live.
“To have a view of the ballpark, of the field, to be able to hit balls and then when you’re taking a break to be able to watch a game – or even on a day with no game – if you look out at the green grass, it’s a cool venue, cool experience,” he said.
X-Golf is not the only golf entertainment concept to enter the local market in recent years. Topgolf has Swing Suite locations at 3rd Street Market Hall in downtown Milwaukee, Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee, Titletown Tech in Green Bay, and Kohler Swing Studio & Golf Shop at The Shops at Woodlake in Kohler. Luxe Golf Bays opened in August at the Ballpark Commons project at The Rock Sports Complex in Franklin.