I was awakened by the snarl of a snow blower. It had been snowing for three days, and a robo-call from the village warned me not to park on snow routes. When I looked out at the blizzard, one thought immediately sprang to mind – what a great day to play golf!
I threw the clubs in the trunk and headed over to the Bushwood practice facility in Maywood.
For those of you pining for a day on the links, Bushwood just completed construction on a giant dome that was inflated Jan. 2. The official grand opening is this weekend and features a complimentary lunch provided by Byron’s Hot Dogs. The owners, Rick, Craig, and Raffiella Hanson prefer using local businesses.
The Hansons founded the Bushwood Golf Practice Center in 2003. Erecting a dome was part of their five-year plan, but twice the range was devastated by storms. On Father’s Day 2008, high winds snapped nine of the wooden poles holding up the netting, forcing them to close down for the summer. Bushwood’s nets, however, have risen again, supported by new steel poles sunk into concrete. Now, a four-story dome dominates the range.
Inside, hackers are changing from galoshes to golf shoes. There are 38 tees located on two levels, with bushels of balls just waiting to be smacked. Customers surrender an ID and are charged by the clock, with discount rates for seniors and students.
Behind the register is the Hanson’s 13-year-old daughter, Lauren. Besides waiting on customers, Lauren delights in driving the electric picker, scooping up balls while a firing range of golfers tries to nail her cart.
The blue, back wall of the dome is 95 yards from the tee line. This creates a wonderful illusion for golfers like me who believe their drives would have traveled 300 yards if they hadn’t been interrupted.
Besides providing snowbound golfers a warm place to practice, Bushwood offers lessons and sells equipment. They also host demo days, which allow the public to take free swings with equipment manufactured by Mizuno and Tour Edge. There are clinics for golfers of all ages, and golf teams from several local high schools practice there.
Lauren hopes to play on a high school team some day. In the meantime, she’s learning the family business. That’s why the Hansons founded Bushwood: it’s a place where their family can work while other families play. They plan to keep the dome up until May 1.
So if you wake up to the snowplow rumbling down our pockmarked streets, throw the clubs in the car and head to Bushwood. You’ll see a sign, posted in my honor, reminding golfers to pick up their ID.