Riverside Athletic Club installs golf simulators, under new ownership
TINA L. SCOTT
With 12” of snow falling in Merrill this past weekend, it’s a little too soon for area golfers to get outdoors and spend time on the local courses, but it’s now possible for area golfers to start practicing their swing to be in tip-top form while they wait for the snow to melt.
Riverside Athletic Club recently installed two golf simulators in their facility on the corner of S. Center Ave. and E. Riverside Ave. in Merrill.
“Golf has always been a way to reduce stress and meet new people,” said Brandon Wilde, who is co-owner of Riverside Athletic Club, along with his wife, Jenna. “Another benefit of golf is the improvement of flexibility and balance.”
With the simulator, golfers can imagine themselves on courses all over the world while they await warmer weather and the real deal outdoors. “From Pebble Beach to Bay Hill, you can select from over 100 courses that are located from all over the world,” he said.
Brandon explains how it works: “When you enter the area you’re hitting from, it’s important to feel like you have space for a natural swing. Each bay is 15 feet wide and 10 feet tall. The ball is placed under the camera before each shot, and you hit the ball into a screen. The system that was installed uses high speed cameras to simulate where the ball would land.”
“After each shot, the software will analyze the ball and give you helpful data to improve your game,” he said. “Information like ball speed, spin rate, direction, and distance give you a lifelike experience.”
And it’s not just for those looking to play 18 holes, Brandon said. Options include practicing putting, hitting from a driving range, or playing fun mini-games with friends and family.
“Golf leagues are starting,” Brandon added. “Enjoy a cold beer with a buddy.”
Tee times are available during staffed hours at Riverside Athletic and can be scheduled by the hour online via their website at: https://www.riversideathletic.com/book-online. Golf lessons are also available.
Riverside Athletic Club under new ownership
Riverside Athletic Club has been under new ownership since mid-2022.
Brandon and Jenna Wilde took over Riverside effective July 1, 2022, as part of former owner Paul Kienitz’s succession plan for the Club. Brandon joined Riverside Athletic Club in 2011 at the age of 20 in member services and was promoted to manager in late 2019. He is a 2009 Merrill High School graduate with a 2014 Bachelors Degree in Business Management, and Jenna is a Registered Nurse.
“Paul and I have had this plan for a few years,” Brandon said. “We’ve built an excellent friendship and he’s shared business knowledge. I’m grateful for the opportunity he’s shared.”
“We both want this business to succeed for the benefit of the community and understand how important it is,” he said. “Paul wanted someone with a connection to the members and community. I enjoy helping others reach their goals and cultivating a sense of home away from home.”
Brandon and Jenna retained all the existing employees as part of the transition and “know that Paul is a phone call away,” making the transition fairly seamless to the community and the Club’s members.
The golf simulators are one of a number of new activities the Wildes are excited to bring to the Merrill community.