It paid the bills, but Ted Trask had a fundamental problem with his janitorial business.
He didn’t like cleaning.
So, operating on the theory that if you do what you like, you’ll like what you do, he went looking for another business to run.
“I do like golf,” Trask said.
Xtreme Indoor Golf, 7135 Martin Way E. (www.xtremeindoorgolf.com), is the happy outcome. The business, open since Dec. 23, features four simulation stations for a golf experience you can’t get outdoors this time of year.
“Word of mouth has been really good for us,” Trask said.
Trask, whose commute to work takes him from his home between Steamboat Island and Shelton to the business in Thompson Place, is a former Phoenix cop. His wife, Sharon, worked in the Mesa, Ariz., prosecutor’s office and later, after the family moved north, for the Washington attorney general’s office.
The cleaning business lasted four years. Then he and Sharon sold it, and cast their lot with Xtreme. It’s a family business in every way: his daughter and son-in-law, Tiffany and Mike Grohoski, also work there.
The simulators offer a choice of 28 golf courses, including Carnoustie in Scotland; three Monterey Peninsula courses – Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Spanish Bay; and courses in Portugal, Indonesia, Malaysia, Argentina and China
and Idaho. Trask has used the island green at Coeur d’Alene Resort for closest-to-the pin contests, the winners of which get their names on the white board for daily and monthly games. Long drivers for the day and month also get their names on the wall of fame.
You’re hitting off a mat, into a screen, but you get instant feedback on your swing and progress toward the green: distance, direction, club path, swing speed. It’s a learning tool, and Trask anticipates having real golf instructors in the shop to work with players.
One of the deals started as the NFL Playoff Special, but was so popular that it’s offered all the time: Groups of four get three hours of simulator time, four bratwurst dogs, and eight beverages (including beer) for a hundred bucks.
Trask is looking forward to offering golf leagues in the near future. Jeff Maurice, co-owner of the Golf USA store in Lacey that features a golf simulator, has been acting less like a competitor and more like a friend to Trask’s new business, sending customers looking to form leagues over Xtreme’s way.
Trask is a guy who likes to give back to the community. He hopes to offer regular charity tournaments in the shop, beginning Feb. 28 with an event benefitting the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Thurston County.
OLD DOG UPDATE
We had been clear about the concept of working from the ground up – starting with putting, progressing (I presumed) through chipping and pitching, and then to the full swing.
Lately, Tom Staskus (the teacher in this little drama) has taken me from putting right into a swing that’s as close to full as it needs to be for now.
It’s not out of sequence at all – we’re still on the ground. It’s all in the feet, man.
If the feet aren’t working, the hips aren’t turning, the weight’s not shifting from the back leg to the front, and therefore it’s impossible that your arms and the hands that hold the golf club are working in synch with your body.
It’s like a slow dance with a loved one, Dr. Tom said. Don’t force it, just go with it. It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.
When I feel that feeling in the longer swing, the teacher said, I’ll be able to find the same rhythm in the short-game swing.
“Not bad, kiddo,” Staskus said after a recent session. “I like the pace we’re going.”
It’s too easy, in severe middle age, to stop trying to learn, to stop seeking out the people who have something to teach you. Golf, in this case, is the subject of choice, and relearning how to learn is at least as important, in the greater scheme, as hitting a golf ball.
He calls me “kiddo” and I have to laugh. I’m older than he is. But you take your mentors where you find them, and you learn your lessons as well as you are open to the teaching of them.
Olympia freelance writer Bart Potter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org