Just Fore Fun At Back 9

aerial view of Back 9 driving range
Back 9 skyline views

A HUGE (as in 58,000-square-feet huge) golf-centric entertainment destination has taken over 1415 Drover St., just southwest of downtown along the White River. Following a soft opening week, Back 9 Golf & Entertainment is now open in full capacity.

Now, I never once been to a driving range or played golf. Unless mini golf counts, which surely it doesn’t. So full disclosure: I toyed with bailing on the plan, since what kind of judge of such a place could I be?

I’m glad I didn’t.

The shiny venue includes a three-story driving range, 75 climate-controlled bays with dedicated servers, a live music plaza, and multiple bars and dining areas. Sipping and nibbling my way through each level, watching folks of all ages and all levels of skill, from what I could tell, swing a club and smile, was a good time in itself. It was like bowling, in a way. You can throw gutter balls all night long, but if you’re with the right people and can laugh at yourself, it’s still great. And Back 9 is way more entertaining than any bowling alley I’ve been to.

Back 9 golfing bays
Climate-controlled tee boxes

While the concept of combining golf simulation with night-out amenities is not a new one, this entry boasts notable differences. Kaitlyn Elpers, spokesperson for Back 9, first points to the strategically designed indoor-outdoor spaces that can facilitate an array of events. Suites with outdoor balconies can host smaller private parties, while other configurations are ideal for corporate team-building events and even weddings (at least one of the latter is already booked). Even better, Back 9 is determined to leverage its space to highlight local food, beverages, and music artists.

Then there’s the location. “Where other facilities are usually located in suburban areas, near strip malls and interstates, Back 9 is uniquely focused on the site’s proximity to downtown,” Elpers told us. The sightline from the upper level was indeed amazing, with clear views of the city skyline, Lucas Oil Stadium, and, just for good measure, a corral with a half dozen Blue Ribbon Carriages horses hoofing it up.

I have never held a club save for putt-putt. You too? Well, you won’t be throwing your clubs. The unique technology employed in the games allows those who miss the green entirely more often than not to play along just fine. Tip: Warm up with “Twenty One” before moving on to the other diversions.

You can make a timed reservation or buy a membership online at back9golf.com. For now, book by calling 317-912-0920.