by Doug Miller
It’s a dark and damp October afternoon in Seattle. Whitecaps dot an angry Puget Sound. Fallen leaves dart across the pavement. Rain pelts the rooftops. Over in the city’s quiet Magnolia neighborhood, Patrick Scoccolo has begun a hibernation period….in his custom-fitted golf cave.
The 700-square-foot room has a wet bar with a beer fridge, a TV above the sink, and a fully stocked wine rack. There’s a plush sofa, cabinets galore, and golf artwork lining the walls.
But everything centers on the piece de resistance: a Foresight GC2 launch monitor golf simulator and its floor-to-ceiling premium impact screen.
For the rest of the fall and through the winter, Patrick, who has won two men’s club championships and three senior titles at his home course, Rainier Golf & Country Club, will get all the warmth and nourishment he needs in this subterranean links lair.
He’ll set his soft-spiked feet on the artificial turf of this nirvana and hit balls at least four times a week for up to two hours a session. He’ll fatten up on pin-seeking iron shots. He’ll gorge on high-lofted wedge approaches. He’ll sleep with visions of perfectly shaped drives dancing in his head. And when he emerges in the spring thaw and heads back to those tight, tree-lined Rainier fairways, his game will be fine-tuned and ready to go right out of the gate.
Patrick and his wife, Teresa, bought the house 10 years ago right after it was built. One small room on the north side of the house was unfinished, basically some concrete and a pile of dirt covered in plastic. For Patrick, who runs a construction company that provides heavy civil site and road work for public and private projects, it was a eureka moment.
“As soon as I saw the room, I knew what I wanted it to be,” he says. “I showed Teresa a simulator room in a house in some photos and said, ‘This is what I want to do.’ She said, ‘I can’t stop you.’ I figured if she didn’t say ‘No’ then that meant ‘Yes.’”
It’s possible that Patrick didn’t immediately tell Teresa just what would have to happen to make this dream real. Three years later, the arduous task began.
To get the needed 10 feet of height in the simulator area so that Patrick wouldn’t hit the ceiling every time he swung a club, he had to dig more than eight feet down, tie new rebar into the old footings, build new footings and walls.
“It took about a month of digging, and all the concrete was mixed by hand,” Patrick says. “I have a small crew of carpenters that do concrete work, some curb and gutter sidewalks, driveways, things like that. They had some time off one spring and I said, ‘Hey, let’s go do this in my house.’”
Five months later, Patrick’s golf haven was complete, and he immediately went to work. That’s what you do when you’re 58 years old, your handicap moves anywhere from a 2 to a +1, and you’re coming off a recent surgical procedure on your spine.
He’ll open up the cave to his friends for Super Bowl Sundays or big games involving his beloved Washington Huskies, and he’ll let them try to make birdies on the impressive list of courses loaded into the Foresight system, which includes Congressional, Hazeltine, Kingsbarns and Oakmont.
But Patrick doesn’t play courses when he’s on the simulator. He plays only on the driving range setting, where he focuses solely on his main advantage: precision.
“It might seem boring, but it’s what works best for me,” Patrick says. “I get more dialed in. I get a great understanding of my clubs and distances and what I need to do with my swing. And when the weather gets better, I’m ready to go. I get out on the course and I’m having fun. I’m not overanalyzing every shot. I’m prepared.
“A lot of players are playing ‘golf swing.’ I’m just playing golf.”
Patrick will invite friends over when they need a club fitting, a task easily done by analyzing the spin rates and launch angles from the Foresight’s database.
“I enjoy watching people find the love for the game,” he says. “If they find that they enjoy it as much as I do, that, to me, is incredibly fulfilling.”
All in all, Patrick says his cozy indoor golf sanctuary has been more than worth the expense and the over-the-top excavation that went along with it.
“It’s been a great room, one that even my wife doesn’t mind,” Patrick says with a laugh. “It’s definitely made me a better golfer.”
This article previously appeared in the December 2022 issue of Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine.