A simulated golf setup that offers patrons the opportunity to test their skills on some of the world’s top courses has taken over a prized spot at American Family Field where fans once flocked for fine dining.
Located in what had been the Stadium Club on the Club Level at the Milwaukee Brewers ballpark, the new X-Golf layout features seven cutting-edge, indoor golf simulator bays over two floors – with three bays that offer expansive and stunning views of the playing field.
X-Golf will breathe new life into the space, which had run its course as a restaurant, Brewers President of Business Operations Rick Schlesigner said.
“We had the restaurant here for many years and over time the tastes of our fans have changed,” Schlesinger said. “People want an experience that’s not about having a buffet on white tablecloths while watching a game from behind glass.”
The desire to provide a different offering for fans led to conversations between the Brewers and Shawn DeMain and Luke Larson, owners of X-Golf locations in Brookfield, Mequon and Appleton, about creating a golf simulator venue to American Family Field was born.
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Together, they developed a vision of “taking a space that was sort of tired, underutilized and maybe past its prime into an exciting new destination,” Schlesinger said.
The 11,000-square-foot facility will be the first-of-its-kind entertainment venue in a major league baseball stadium. Designed with traditional country club and mid-century modern décor, the space also features two full bars and unique seating areas with views of the field.
The facility also will have an outdoor patio so that patrons have an opportunity to catch the game while waiting for their tee time. Delaware North, the official concessionaire of American Family Field, will create a menu of specialty drinks and pub fare that will be available for fans year-round, including all Brewers’ home games.
The venue at American Family Field will be owned and operated by DeMain and Larson, in partnership with the Brewers.
“We’ve worked really hard in our first locations to create a really great and positive experience as it relates to golf, making it very easy and open to people that maybe have never golfed before but also have it be very engaging for very serious golfers,” DeMain said.
X-Golf incorporates leading-edge indoor golf technology and virtual reality using a combination of cameras, infrared lasers, impact sensors and advanced gaming software.
DeMain smiled as he looked around the X-Golf space earlier this week, which was crowded with Milwaukee Brewers employees got the first crack at testing out the simulators.
“I’m so happy,” DeMain said. “I had a moment here on Monday when I was in here by myself and I thought ‘holy cow, this thing is real.’”
DeMain and Larson have been friends since high school and lived on the same street. Baseball and golf have always been a connection for them, DeMain said.
“After high school, we all went our separate ways and the first thing we did when we reconnected was come to a Brewers game,” he said. “A couple months later, we came to another Brewers game and we came up with the idea of having an indoor golf place. We built them and now we are back opening one here. It’s so incredibly surreal.”
DeMain said he thought Larson was joking when he told him that the Brewers had reached out to express an interest in discussing an X-Golf location at American Family Field.
“He had an internal contact with the Brewers who said that the space wasn’t doing what it used to,” DeMain said. “That person had frequented our location in Brookfield and had fallen in love with it. That’s how the conversation started. It’s been about a year and a half what seems like a million meetings. That’s the genesis.”
A public grand-opening of X-Golf at American Family Field is set for Sept. 16. The Brewers will face the New York Yankees on the field that night.
X-Golf space is part of an overall effort to make the ballpark an attraction beyond game days, Schlesinger said.
“This ballpark is principally for baseball,” he said. “We have a restaurant where we are going to be looking to do some things and we’ve got the team store. We want to bring people in here on non-game days and during the off-season. Principally, the draw is going to be the simulators during a baseball game but the busiest time for this space will be in the off-season when people in Wisconsin can’t take advantage of outdoor golf.”
Adding X-Golf could also get some patrons interested in the Brewers who may not have an affinity for baseball or the team, Schlesinger said.
“They’ll sample the golf experience and maybe enjoy the Brewers game and become fans of both golf and the Brewers,” he said.
Reservations can be made in advance for both game days and non-game days and are strongly encouraged. On game days, there will be at least one bay open for walk-ins. The facility will also have a licensed PGA Professional on staff who will be involved in golf lessons and club fittings. Reservations can be made here.
Here’s what you should know:
- Reservations are made in 90-minute increments, with the first time slot available when gates open, 90-minutes before first pitch.
- Reservations are $90 per time slot for up to six people per bay.
- Guests will be provided rental clubs, free of charge.
- Brewers game tickets are required for game-day reservations.
- Reservations are 1-hour minimum with additional time booked in 30-minute increments.
- Reservations are $40 per hour on weekdays and $60 per hour on weekends, for up to six people per bay.
- Guests are welcome to bring personal clubs into the ballpark or rent clubs onsite.
With the X-Golf venue set to open, the Brewers also announced this week that major renovation plans are underway at Restaurant to Be Named Later at American Family Field. The establishment overlooking the field is set to undergo extensive changes in the off-season that require initial work to begin this month.
To allow for initial prep work, the restaurant will be closed except on home game days and be shut down throughout the off-season for renovations. For the remainder of the 2022 season, the restaurant will open on home game days 90 minutes before first pitch to ticketed fans.
“We are looking forward to unveiling the amazing plans we have for this space,” Schlesinger said. “This initiative involves a complete reimagination of the facility with a new concept that will be a great fit for the space and fan expectations.” Additional details on the new concept and timeline for grand opening will be announced later.