I've been an avid golfer my whole life. Some of my fondest memories are being on the course with my grandma, and working at the Long Prairie Country Club. My happy place is a tee box, and I haven't been on one since last fall.

This has been such a long winter. Cabin fever completely took over my body a week ago and I NEEDED to go golfing.

I had two options: grab a putter and putt in my living room, or actually work on my game at one of the new golf simulators at Sta-Fit in Sartell. I went with the second option and I am so glad I did!

When I arrived, the front desk worker helped me get the simulator set up to play 18 holes on the Medinah course and took the time to show me how to use the machine. I really appreciated that since this was my first golf simulator experience ever.

After the first hole, I was hooked. I couldn't believe how accurate it was! I have a pretty good grasp as to how far my 7 iron hits a ball, and this was SPOT ON right down to the usual slice I have. When I was done with my round, I was sore in the best way possible.

Here are 5 ways Sta-Fit's golf simulators can help your game before you hit the course this summer!

1. Assess Your Game

You can gauge how far your clubs are going with practice at two different driving ranges, and play rounds to see what you are scoring on actual courses. I found that I'm scoring exactly where I was last year at the start of the season, which is a good place to be.

2. Learn New Skills

I haven't had a formal golf lesson since I was on my high school golf team. These simulators are helping me re-learn skills I totally forgot about. The biggest one is reading greens. There are grids with arrows indicating how the green lays out and it has helped me tremendously with my green reading and putting.

3. Improve Your Accuracy

The simulators are equipped with eight different sensors in the ceiling. They can tell you exactly how the ball is coming off your club, how open your club face was, your swing speed, and so much more. I used my new knowledge of my swing speed to help me find my right golf ball fit.

4. Climate Controlled Practice Areas

Minnesota weather is so unpredictable. Snow, rain, wind, slush. At the simulators in Sta-Fit in Sartell and South St. Cloud, you can practice in climate controlled areas. No soggy socks while getting in those practice rounds!

5. Real Life Practice

The only way to get better at golf is to play it. These simulators are super accurate. Playing last weekend I was all over — in the trees, in the sand, in the water — which is exactly where I end up on a real course. The only way to improve is to play those risky shots, and learn how to play them well.

Sta-Fit golf simulators are open to the public. No membership to the gym required, although members get a break on the cost! Cost is per hour, not per person. So get your golf buddies together and book your tee time by calling (320) 654-1101 for the St. Cloud location and (320) 654-9090 for the Sartell location.

Monday - Thursday: $35 member/$40 non-member
Friday - Sunday: $40 member/$45 non-member