At central Indiana’s newest attraction, players can tee up, chow down or just settle in for the region’s best rock, country, R&B and pop music.
They can virtually play a round at famed courses such as Bethpage Black, challenge their friends in a golf version of 21 or unleash their own Happy Gilmore in the long drive contest.
Pub food, cold beer and live music only enhance a night out or an afternoon with friends.
Back Nine Golf & Entertainment blends golf, games and glitz in an entertainment experience unlike any other in the area. The new center, which fully opened to the public on July 29, is a 58,500-square-foot facility centered around 75 climate controlled bays over a three-story golf range.
In addition, the new stadium-like space includes a 550-person music pavilion, an outdoor beer garden, restaurant and bar space and much more.
“When developing Back 9, we desired to provide an element of real entertainment at Back 9 outside of just golfing. Whether you’re a golfer, a gamer, a kid, a parent, Back 9 embodies the idea of delivering entertainment and fun to everyone,” said Patrick Dugan, director of operations for the company.
Situated southwest of downtown Indianapolis along the banks of the White River, about seven miles north of Greenwood, the new Back 9 facility has helped revitalize an area that had laid dormant for many years.
Company officials refer to it as the city’s “fourth stadium,” and its massive brick facade and netting stretching along towers circling the grounds are imposing.
“Developing Back 9 near downtown’s riverfront was a deliberate revitalization effort to connect this area with central Indiana residents and beyond,” Dugan said. “We believe Back 9 is the kind of venue our community hasn’t seen built since Lucas Oil Stadium and represents the beginning of a major transformation within this whole area in Indianapolis.”
At the core of the new complex is the golfing. Officials have partnered with Flite Golf and Entertainment, a Texas-based company specializing in creating a series of golf-based games for people of all skill levels.
People can hit balls and practice different shots through the driving range feature. To up the challenge, earn points by hitting into different targets through the Bullseye game, or see whose ball-striking has the most heft in the long drive contest.
Cutting-edge golf simulations allow people to play virtual versions of famed courses such as Whistling Straits or Huzhou Hot Springs.
All of it is done with a stunning view of Indy’s downtown skyline.
“From the skilled golfer to the gamer, Back 9 delivers an experience that locals and visitors alike will enjoy,” said Zach Tharp, director of sales and marketing for the company. “In addition, 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.”
But while golf may be the centerpiece of Back 9, the facility features a wide variety of other activities and offerings for all kinds of interests.
The music pavilion was created to provide weekly musical performances, with an emphasis on local groups. People can grab a drink and spread out on the ground-level seating, or get a view from above on the outdoor balcony.
At the eateries and bars located throughout Back 9, people can get everything from smash burgers to Neapolitan-style pizza to a spicy tuna sushi poke, with the Indiana classic Hoosier sugar cream pie for dessert. People can get cold beer from one of 12 taps, mixed drinks, wine and other beverages throughout the facility. The Best Friends Coffee and Spirits kiosk boasts hot drinks, smoothies and other surprises.
AT A GLANCE
Back 9 Golf and Entertainment
What: A new entertainment venue offering 75 climate-controlled golf bays, a three-story golf range, an outdoor music pavilion, restaurant and bar spaces, and more.
Where: 1415 Drover St., Indianapolis
Prices: Bay rentals run from $32-$52 per hour Monday through Thursday, and $35-$55 per hour Friday through Sunday.