Tiger and Rory’s TGL Monday Night Golf Reminiscent of The Bogey Inn

Mike McCarley, Rory McIlroy,(Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)
Mike McCarley, Rory McIlroy,(Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images) /

When Rory McIlroy and Mike McCarley, founder and CEO of TMRW Sports, made their announcement of the TMRW golf venture with Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship, all I could think of was the 1970s and 1980s version of The Bogey Inn Bar & Grill in Dublin, Ohio, which closed earlier this year, opened for the Memorial Tournament, and then closed again.

The bar and grill was originally called the Dam Site Bar, and it was opened in the early 1920s to serve workers building the nearby O’Shaughnessy Dam, which is part of the water supply system for the greater Columbus, Ohio, area.  By nearby, think next door. A wedge away.

Some say the dam was finished in 1922 and others say in 1925, but that doesn’t matter for this story. A parade of owners came and went at the Dam Site Bar.

By the 1970s, it was called The Bogey Inn.

When The Memorial Tournament was created at nearby Muirfield Golf Club, The Bogey Inn was conveniently located on the road leading to and from tournament parking on the north side of the golf property.

Those were the days when Dublin, Ohio, had one stoplight, just west of the bridge on Main Street which was also known as 161 or Dublin Granville Road.

I went there with some golf friends who said I just had to see it. The reason was that The Bogey Inn had something special in the back of the property, back beyond the bar and the clinking of glasses and beer bottles. But you had to walk through the bar to get to it.

Hidden beyond the main food and beverage business, way in the far recesses of the building, was a year-round, nine-hole, golf “course,” not terribly unlike the TGL golf idea that Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are using for their new venture.

The Bogey Inn golf course was in a large room that had several synthetic turf greens in it and some kind of fake bunkers arranged around them. The walls had several openings made with garage doors so that golfers could hit from inside to outside.  Perfect for staying sharp during the cold, gray winters in Ohio.

There were outdoor landing areas that were fake greens, and for most of them, there wasn’t any real target you could see, but there was a flag for aiming. Tees were under the garage door openings. Heaters were available by the garage doors for year-round play. There were enough doors and fake greens to play nine holes.

Golfers would stand in the tee area and hit special golf balls that landed on the fake greens.  When the ball landed, an electronic signal was sent back to a device inside the building. It was about the size of a stand-alone ATM machine. The machine would tell you where on the green your ball had landed.  It would tell you if you had missed the green and were in the bunker or off the green in the grass.

The electronics, while interesting and advanced for the time, were rudimentary compared to today’s electronic capabilities.  It was like an early version of EA Sports.

Next, you’d take an indoor ball and place it according to the machine’s directions, finish the hole and go to the next.

The place was a beehive of activity, with as many people in the golf area, almost, as were in the bar.  Granted the bar was smaller so it was going to look more crowded.

When asked if he had ever been to The Bogey Inn and seen the golf facility there, Rory McIlroy  said, “I think the first-ever Memorial I ever played I spent Sunday night in The Bogey Inn.”

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He didn’t remember a golf course being there, and of course, over the years, it could have become something else.

“I just remember having a few too many drinks,” McIlroy added with a laugh.

So, as McIlroy and Woods begin their new venture, TGL Golf, my mind wandered back to the days of indoor/outdoor golf at the Bogey Inn. It only took 40 or 50 years to bring it back!