Written by Jamie Dickson | Photographed by Paul Wolf
The Augusta National Golf Course is a storied—almost fabled—destination for golf enthusiasts of all ability levels.
A little known secret, though, is that it can be accessed right here in LeFleur East.
Nevada Bob’s Golf is currently the only place between New Orleans and Memphis with a computerized driving range and full course simulator. There are two bays with a third opening soon.
According to owner Tony Bishop, the virtual courses can be used for diagnostic purposes, tracking things like a player’s swing path or projected ball path and distance. After the third bay is opened and the software upgraded, a player’s stance can be analyzed to treat any misaligned posture.
But the virtual courses aren’t just business; they can be used for fun as well. Players can load any of 50 top-rated courses and play the course of their dreams without leaving Jackson. Tony’s wife, Marci, who has been working alongside Tony for eight years, says that this option is fantastic for rainy weekends. “In a way, we’re always a little thankful for crummy weather,” she jokes.
Nevada Bob’s is a national chain that at one time boasted hundreds of franchises but is now down to a few dozen locations.
Marci credits the family-like atmosphere of the Jackson location as the reason it survived.
“We try to give our customers things they can’t find anywhere else. And, really, Tony is the reason for all of this.” She nods toward her husband as he kneels down to give a putting lesson to an 11-year-old customer.
This sentiment is echoed by Griffin Smith, who has been a patron for four years. “The Bishops really do treat you like family. I’ll sometimes come to the store just to hang out and talk, not even to buy anything,” Smith says.
But the customer-centered feel of Nevada Bob’s is more than just the atmosphere. The store offers in-house builds and detail work on clubs to match the player’s needs as far as length, shape and weight. “Different bodies need different clubs,” Marci Bishop says.
The store tries to offer same-day service on club repairs and customization, including laser-etched monograms or simple images.
Tony, who has owned this location for a decade, has no intentions of leaving or retiring.
“It’s still fun,” he says, but then hustles off to help a customer looking through a rack of drivers, hoping to find a good fit.