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Virtual Golf Club, Restaurant Coming to Armitage

By Paul Biasco | March 21, 2013 9:14am

LINCOLN PARK — Come July, golfers will be able to eat a sitdown meal on Armitage Avenue and walk upstairs to play a virtual round of nine.

A 150-seat restaurant serving contemporary American fare with a full service bar will be located on the lower level of the former P.J Clarke's, 1141 W. Armitage Ave., and the second level will feature virtual golf simulators, all under the name Fairways.

The technology behind golf simulators tracks the club face as it strikes the ball to determine the power as well as the direction — slice, hook or straight — which translates directly onto a screen.

"People on the first floor can enjoy a dining experience and not even know there's golf going on upstairs," said co-owner Mark Clement, who, along with his business partner Michael McCutcheon, had been searching for the right location for about two years.

"We love the Lincoln Park neighborhood for this," he said.

The 5,000-square-foot top floor will have four virtual golf hubs with seating areas, and an 11-by-16-foot screen, allowing either groups of golfers to play a round or a solo golfer to use the driving range feature.

Golfers will use real clubs and hit real balls, both of which will be supplied by Fairways.

"We are trying to create an indoor golf club on the second floor," Clement said.

The upstairs "golf club" will also feature drink service and will be available for rent by the hour.

Clement said he plans on hosting golf leagues at the location during the week, and might team up with a Chicago intramural sports organization to plan the leagues.

Demolition of the former P.J. Clarke's started in February, and Fairways hopes to open its doors in July.