GENOA TWP. – A pair of family friends say they will bring life back to a driving range and miniature golf course near Howell with a new business, Tap-In’s.
The new owners say, in the coming months, they will revamp the driving range, clubhouse and miniature course, and install golf simulators and smart technology.
Tap-In’s is located on the site of a former golf business, at 4444. E. Grand River Ave. in Genoa Township, which has been closed for several years. It was originally Tom Deaton’s Golf Center and also operated as Grand River Golf Range & Putt Putt.
Tap-In’s co-owners Cade Martin and his best friend’s father, Matt Bonar, who both hail from Hartland Township, say they wanted to bring an “entertainment-focused” golf business to Livingston County.
“It’s fun for the novice and for the avid golfers,” Bonar said. “That’s what we are trying to attract, the whole family.”
Tech-savvy upgrades coming
Tap-In’s will feature 30 driving range bays on about 16 acres of the 20-acre property.
The bays will be equipped with TrackMan Range technology and touch screens. They will also be covered and heated.
“TrackMan Range tracks the ball start to finish, you can play different courses and games, like (who can hit) closest to the pin,” said Martin, who previously worked as a sales representative for TrackMan Golf.
If all goes to plan, the outdoor driving range and miniature course will be open this summer.
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Martin said it will take a few additional months to construct the driving range bays, but people will be able to use TrackMan Range technology on smartphones or tablets until touch screens are installed.
They will also install four golf simulators in the approximately 4,000-square-foot clubhouse, which will also feature a full bar, a small kitchen and ice cream.
Martin said he expects the clubhouse and indoor golf simulators to be open by September.
“I’m a avid golfer,” Bonar said. “We were sitting in (Martin’s) basement and he has a golf simulator. Cade was telling me about how there’s a market. One of our key questions was what do you do with a lease to generate revenue in the wintertime.”
They are in the process of obtaining a liquor license and plan to serve local beers, wine and liquor, with a wide selection of bourbons. The bar will seat 12-15 people. The golf simulator bays will also feature bar tops.
“We’ll also have appetizers and small plates,” Martin said. “Things like chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, salsa dip and flat bread pizza.”
Putt Putt at the ‘beach’
“With the Putt Putt course, we’ll re-turf it and get it looking new again,” Martin said.
He said they will repair water features and add new miniature golf course features over time.
“We’ll add themes, like a beach tiki theme, vibrant colors.”
Stones covered in paint of all colors were drying on the floor of the clubhouse Thursday.
Tap-In’s will also eventually offer lessons with golf pros.
They will offer memberships for golfers who plan to use the facility regularly.
Customers will be able to book reservations online in advance or walk in.
They will also sell a selection of Tap-In’s themed apparel, including shirts, hats and hoodies.
A new life
Martin and Bonar say they were excited when they learned the former Tom Deaton’s Golf Center property became available late last year.
In 2020, Trinity Health proposed a hospital with inpatient beds, an emergency room, medical offices and a birthing center on the property.
The health system has shifted gears to a new plan to potentially expand the St. Joseph Mercy Brighton Health Center into a hospital — a move that may end inpatient options at St. Joseph Mercy Livingston hospital in Howell.
Tom Deaton, who passed away in 2015, opened the driving range and miniature golf course with his wife Tish after retiring from a more than 50-year career as a PGA golfer and golf pro, according to his obituary.
“There has been a boom in golf because of COVID, because people could get outside,” Bonar said.
Martin said people working remotely are finding more time to get to the golf course, especially people who would normal commute.
Their goal is to open more locations in the future.
Contact Livingston Daily reporter Jennifer Timar at [email protected]