What if, 10 years ago, we told you that Buffalo will have a giant spaceship-looking building on the waterfront where you can hit golf balls year-round; crushing drives in mid-February as lake effect snow flies over your head while wearing your best business casual?
You would have said we are out of our goddamn minds.
In two years, however, that insane idea will be reality, according to the good folks at OnCore Buffalo. At a press event on Friday morning, the internationally-recognized local golf company unveiled the plans for a $30 million golf, dining and entertainment facility that will be located next to Riverworks, on Kelly Island in South Buffalo.
The centerpiece of OnCore Buffalo will be its 72 driving range bays on three different tiers. Radar systems, cameras and other digital technology will allow golfers the chance to track their performance, play games, learn how to improve their swing and engage with others on social media. We were told the plan is to keep OnCore Buffalo open year-round. There will be heated tee areas that will be warm enough to “play in street clothes,” even in winter. The company said they might have to close for extreme snow situations.
If you’re not a golfer, don’t worry, there are also plans for you. There will be food and drink available, as well as a hotel featuring between 120 and 160 rooms. In a press release, the company said it is currently exploring a bunch of non-golf options, including augmented reality entertainment, sports simulations and even indoor surfing.
You might think it’s a pretty bold idea, to put an open-air, year-round driving range on the shore of Lake Erie. And you’d be right, but that’s exactly the point. OnCore CEO Keith Blakely said this facility will be a ‘beta test’ for the concept, with the thinking being — if it works year-round in Buffalo, it’ll work year-round anywhere.
Because everyone knows that old saying about Buffalo: If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.
Update March 2021:
I looked up the CEO and messaged him about it recently because I have been really curious. pic.twitter.com/wQnGF8Khkf— Buffalo Baby (@buffaloves) March 26, 2021