You’ve likely seen one of Joe’s more than 1,500 simulator installs at a PGA TOUR Superstore, Dick’s Sporting Goods or Five Iron Golf location, to name a few. Ace Indoor Golf sets the standard in durability, safety and design optimization. He and his team have “written the book” on best practices in this field and are excited to share their expertise with DIY clients, new business and residential consumers all over the country.
Ace Indoor Golf is the most prolific and expert builders/designers/installer of indoor simulator rooms for the industry’s leading retailers, entertainment venues and teaching and fitting locations. The company’s consumer and DIY part of the business, GIMME SIMULATORS is a turnkey sales, consulting, fulfillment and service business helping residential clients and businesses everywhere find the right simulator products, design and installation process that best fits their needs. Anyone can now work directly with the game’s foremost simulator installers from the consultation and point-of-sale stages, all the way through the critical installation and build-out of their dream simulator experience. For more information on their business, visit https://www.aceindoorgolf.com/
How did Ace Indoor Golf get started, and how did the company grow and evolve once you started doing work for major simulator brands, golf retailers and entertainment venues?
My partner Tom Dewire and I worked at AboutGolf — I started there in 2005. They went through some changes and we left in July of 2012 and formed Ace Indoor Golf. I started off as an installer at AboutGolf and learned the business from the ground up. I started off doing installations in houses. That’s where I learned the business. And then I became a production manager — learning how to fabricate everything, how everything fits together, and the design of the golf simulator. I then became their director of operations and then left to start Ace. So we had a great foundation, and had made a ton of relationships that we’ve built over the years and just really built it up big time. Over the last two years, we’ve quadrupled business.
What was the first big entertainment venue that you went into?
Five Iron Golf is probably our largest entertainment venue client at this point. Their facilities have anywhere from eight to 12 simulators, and are in big cities. We do all of their screen systems, and help them with the interior of all their bays.
What does the trust of clients like PGA Tour Superstore and Five Iron Golf say to you about your best practices and the level of your credibility across the industry?
It says a ton. PGA Tour Superstore is the largest and probably most well-known golf retailer in the United States. Everybody would want to be the person taking care of their golf simulators because each store has anywhere from four to six simulators and now they’re doing their practice space for people to come in and pay to just use the launch monitors for practice time. It’s kind of like an indoor driving range. But we’ve redesigned their practice space, to make it more commercial to last longer. We actually hand-made the first one earlier this summer and installed it in one of their stores and it passed the test. Now they’re redoing it in all their stores.
Why would I not go straight to a simulator manufacturer instead of coming to you? What do you guys bring to the table?
Even some of these companies refer their customers to us. Our designers, staff and installers are better trained. And because we make the screens to allow the other customized items, they just get cheaper. It cuts out the middleman. So that’s why. Our level of attention to detail is unsurpassed anywhere in this industry.
What are common pitfalls and mistakes people make when installing a simulator?
Not understanding their room. If you have a lower-height ceiling, you can’t do an overhead camera system. If your room is too narrow, you can’t do a center strike system. It’s how everything is put together. If you have a 160-inch-width image, you need to figure out is it 16:10 or 4:3 aspect ratio? Where am I mounting? Are you considering safety issues when installing the projector? We bring all of those understandings to the table.
You guys put a lot of thought into it before you just start installing.
We go through a full design — providing prints, side elevation views showing how the projector is mounted 13 or 18 feet away from the screen, how high it’s mounted in the ceiling to prevent incidents. We have a six-foot person that we use as an example standing 12 feet away from the screen. We cone the projector onto the screen to make sure that there’s no shadow on the screen at all. We put in a lot of thought, and work with architects and construction guys to determine where the conduits and electrical need to be. We tell the clients here’s how you run the technology to the computer and bury the wires inside the walls. All of that thought goes into each one of our designs.
What’s the consultation-to-sale-to-installation process like when someone works with you?
Normally they call us, we go through an initial design, and find out if they’re looking for more entertainment or practice. We get pictures of the room from multiple angles, and get dimensions. We’ll give them an initial drawing once they sign off. If they have any construction of the room to do, we usually talk with the homeowner or construction person and make sure the room is designed properly. Once the room is built, we figure out exact dimensions and then put the screen through our production process, get everything ordered, shipped to site, and then our installers go to the site and install everything. And then we train the customer on how to use the system.
What are home installation customers typically looking for?
They just want a complete system. You have your DIY crowd that have looked up enough YouTube videos to understand it. But mainly the ones who just want it done right and don’t understand it approach us and say ‘you’re the professional, please design me a system.’ Once they approve it, we come install it and train them. They really don’t want to do the hands-on work, they want somebody who’s professional to come in and do it right.
What sets Gimme Simulators apart from other dealers/sellers of simulators and launch monitors?
Everybody sells the same technology. But we’ve been doing custom simulator installations for 15 years. When we make a screen from scratch, it’s purpose-built for a golf simulator. We know where to add Velcro in certain spots to fill the gaps, we add larger size grommets to get cable ties and buttons through, we put a cable pocket at the bottom. So it’s just the knowledge behind it. We make it so it’s designed to be installed properly and safely, so that it protects any wood, beams or piping it’s getting attached to. That’s what sets us apart.
What’s the most elaborate setup you’ve ever done inside someone’s home?
In the last year, we had a gentleman who’s a social media influencer. He works with a bunch of different manufacturers, so he gets sent all these products to test and give his opinions o. We did his system with a curved screen. We took what he had, which was atrocious. In addition to the curved screen, we installed Uneekor, AboutGolf, Trackman, Flightscope, and a Foresight Quad — along with a video analysis system. So we integrated all five technologies and the video analysis system on one computer in the same space. It was by far the most complex job I’ve ever seen. He loves it.
What about your work gives you the most satisfaction?
The end of the job. I’ve been doing this long enough and done enough installs — more than 1,000 — to attract CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies and pretty influential people as customers. But at the end of the day when it’s installed, they’re just happy. That first swing they make once we get everything up and running and calibrated — that’s the moment I enjoy the most.
Where would you like the company to go?
Ace Indoor Golf is how we started — we do screen production, we make the enclosure part, and do a lot of custom stuff. So the DIY crowd, over the last couple of years, has gotten so huge. Hence the demand for the Gimme Simulators side of the business. We want to take our knowledge that we’ve learned over the last 15 years in the custom world and help the DIY people. Even though it’s DIY, they still need help. So we bring our expertise from the custom side into the DIY world.