Facing the first hole of the New Course at St. Andrews, Scotland, one mid-December day, Chattanoogan Justin Cofield split the fairway with his drive, then left his approach short of the green before salvaging his par.
He did every bit of that -- virtually -- at The Back Nine Golf, the business he and his wife, Kristina, opened last month on the corner of Highway 153 and Lee Highway.
"You can play 250 courses" at Back Nine, thanks to Trackman technology, Justin Cofield says, adding that the lineup includes Pebble Beach, Spanish Bay and Spyglass Hill. "And we've got lots of games for the young and young at heart."
Justin Cofield says launching a golf-oriented business felt like a good fit, given his lifelong love of the game.
"My earliest memories are of being at the driving range with my dad when I was about four," he says. "I never got great at it, but I love playing, especially the time you get to spend with family and friends."
Justin Cofield says he and his family moved to Chattanooga from San Diego in the midst of the global pandemic, but the move wasn't random. He says his extended family goes back five generations in Bradley County and has long owned land in the McDonald, Tennessee, area. Kristina Cofield, a Southern California native, says her family moved here in 2021.
"In the last five to seven years, I've had family move here from Canada, Louisville, Virginia Beach, Denver," Justin Cofield says. "Pretty much the whole crew, and we were among the last.
"Wherever we lived, we'd always come here for the holidays," he adds. "(Chattanooga) was always somewhere I came when I was growing up."
Kristina Cofield says that, though she and her husband have full-time jobs that call for some travel, they're in Chattanooga 90% of the time and felt they had a window of opportunity to try their own business. She says it didn't take long to figure out that golf offered an opportunity.
"Chattanooga's a unique market," she says. "It's a smallish city, but big enough to support a huge golf community. The number of golfers per capita here is pretty big. ... People just really love their golf here."
She says she and her husband engaged The Back Nine leadership with an eye toward landing a franchise. Justin Cofield says they signed the deal in May, then found their space at the Lee Pointe center.
Back Nine has three bays, which the Cofields say can be booked by the hour. Individual and corporate memberships are also available, they say, and members have 24/7 access.
"There's literally a package for anyone," Kristina Cofield says, adding that Back Nine is also available for private events.
And Justin Cofield says that while Trackman will enable Back Nine patrons to test themselves on some of the world's best courses, he's looking at doing even more with the technology -- specifically, teaching and club fitting.
"We're not club fitters, but if there are fitters out there, or instructors who need a place to teach in the wintertime, we're happy to have those conversations," he says. "Coaches of middle-school and high-school golf teams that would benefit from something like this.
"We want to be a resource to make (Back Nine) available to the community in a way that makes sense."