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Studio 59 is at 3930 Wood Duck Drive. Call 483-6537?for an appointment.
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It's time to warm up
By John Moody

So, you've been lying around the shack on your backside all winter long growing that boiler on your front side watching sports on television. Now the golf season approaches this chilly, northern outpost. If there's any snow to be found out there, it's patchy or turned to puddles. There are days you could get out and play right now - if you're tough enough or diehard enough or crazy enough.

Maybe you spend some time in a sunny clime during our forsaken Illinois winters. But even if you do, you still must have some commitments here in the land of the wind-chill factor, be they business or family. So, that once-grooved move must need a bit of fine-tuning before your ball is playable.

This very moment, they're watering the azaleas down in Augusta, getting Amen Corner into its network-worthy shades of green. And here you sit with a swing that's likely as rusty as the old gate that leads out to your dormant vegetable garden. Get up. Time is a-wasting. They're calling your name on the first tee.

What do you do to get in golf shape in these parts in the weeks just ahead of another season? Life here is not like the PGA Tour, where its stars keep their games honed and sharp all year around nowadays. This is your life. You work hard for your money. Every year, it takes a little longer to loosen up the golf muscles, and that equator around your beltline extends, thus increasing the swing path your driver must make to get the club all the way around to the ready position. And, sometimes it's well into June before you've made the season's first birdie.

Here's what you want to do to get yourself off to a good start. Head on over to the new Studio 59 Indoor Practice and Learning Center at 3930 Wood Duck Drive in the old Arizona Tile Showroom. Bring your clubs - they'll supply the balls - and see if you can make your old golf swing new again.  

Why the name Studio 59, the uninitiated might ask? Perhaps a reference to the stuff of legend, most notably Al Geiberger.

"Yeah, the name comes from the score 59," says David Impastato, director of operations at Piper Glen Golf Club and Studio 59. "I think that's the best score. We basically wanted to give people in the area a place to hit balls during the winter. And, it's a place for our teachers to teach, so they don't have to go to Florida for the winter."

The place is not strictly for winter use, Impastato is quick to point out. It's a year-around facility.

There's a Science in Motion putting lab, "so we can have putting instruction year around," Impastato says. "We've invited college teams and high school teams to come in and use it and they have."

While you can hit every club in the bag into nets here, the place could really be heaven for someone trying to keep that putter razor sharp.

There's a putting green with undulation; it has three holes. And, there's a putting studio that's perfectly flat; it also has three holes.  

You can get lessons from a PGA professional here. There's a launch monitor that'll reveal the good, the bad and the ugly of your golf swing. There's video analysis available, and Impastato and company can custom fit you for a new set of clubs.

"We have fitting carts from Nike, Ping, Titleist and Callaway (and others), so we can fit you for clubs," Impastato says. "We can do about anything in there."

Right now, Studio 59, which opened in January, uses about 3,500 square feet, with an option for more space in the months ahead.

One hour at Studio 59 costs $15, or you can buy a 10-hour punch card for $100.

Impastato says it's also a good opportunity to stretch and strengthen your muscles.

"We use a lot of the rubber bands for stretching," he says. "There's also weighted balls you can throw." It's all part of an effort to improve a golfer's posture, core and balance. Not to mention the fact that you'll be ahead of the rest of your group when it's time to wager.

So, why are you still sitting on the couch? Grab your sticks and get moving.

Story published Friday, March 6, 2009 ( Volume 4, Number 2 )

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