By Amber Mabe
While it is true that some great ideas are born of necessity or hardship, other equally great ideas are born of quiet evenings on the back porch. Both coming from an entrepreneurial family, Tom and Kerri Underhill had always dreamed of owning their own business. From participating in his family’s batting cage business while growing up in Southern Florida to running side businesses while holding down a full-time job, they looked for opportunities wherever they could find them. One evening, while celebrating their anniversary, Tom and Kerri started discussing something that they felt Kernersville was missing. “We knew we wanted to do something with sports,” says Kerri. “I wanted a party event space, and he wanted to start a sports bar. We wanted to create a space where people could come back again and again for more than just a beer or a glass of wine, and that is where we came up with the idea of indoor golf.” Their idea soon became a reality when in December of 2021 UnderPar Golf Lounge opened for business.
While Kernersville and the surrounding area have several outdoor golf venues, indoor golf is still a relatively new concept. Outdoor golf brings with it many challenges that can limit players who are interested in the sport. From rain to excessive heat, golf equipment costs to membership commitments, and a lack of experience to physical limitations, golf has not always been considered an easily accessible activity. UnderPar blows all of these limitations out of the water with their indoor, climate-controlled, and handicap accessible facility. Whether you want to work on your swing, learn to play golf without feeling self-conscious on the green, or just play relaxing games with friends or family, UnderPar golf has a simulation to suit your needs. In addition to over 90 virtual courses, special cameras that allow golfers to critique their technique, and virtual driving ranges, UnderPar also has popular golf games you may know from well-known virtual golfing establishments.
Most importantly, UnderPar brings people together. Tom says that over the last several years, golf has become not only about relaxation for him, but about friendship and family time. Unlike outdoor golf, where players spend much of the time apart, playing virtual golf is a more social experience. Additionally, UnderPar is a place to gather for birthday parties, team building and employee appreciation events, bachelor or bachelorette parties, ladies’ nights, and more. Seasonal golf leagues run for ten weeks, and participants play five courses and compete for prizes sourced from local businesses. One of the latest events has been a junior golf camp for children ages 5-12. Kids who are interested in golf spend four hours per day with an experienced instructor to build their skill and have fun playing golf together. A similar program is coming soon for ladies who are interested in learning more about the sport, whether for their own interest or in order to connect with a friend or loved one who loves to golf.
When it comes to togetherness, Tom and Kerri say owning and running the business as a husband and wife partnership has been a great experience for them. “We are a good team,” says Kerri. “I don’t mean to sound cliche, but we really are. The only times we might argue would be about where a piece of furniture might go in here, and we usually work it out by me getting my way…. Oh, I mean, we compromise!” Additionally, their two children often enjoy spending time at Underpar. Tom and Kerri say their employees, who are mostly students or part-time workers holding down an additional job, make all the difference with their good attitudes and work ethics. “We’ve got a good team,” says Tom, “When one of them is opening or closing that day, you don’t have to worry about anything, that makes things tremendously easier. We are very fortunate.”
Tom and Kerri’s philosophy of teamwork and togetherness extends beyond the walls of UnderPar as they seek to give back to the Kernersville community both through their policy of supporting other local businesses and by getting involved with charitable organizations. While UnderPar does carry many of the “big-name” brands customers know and love in their sports bar, Tom and Kerri also incorporate local wines and brews into the menu. “We try to keep everything as local as we can – even down to the soda,” says Kerri. “We want to keep as much as possible from Kernersville, or at least North Carolina.” Wiseman Brewing, Kernersville Brewing Company, and Childress Wine are just a few of the local brands represented at UnderPar. Recently, they have also begun selling golf clubs that are made by a husband and wife team in Idaho who believe quality golf clubs should be affordable for everyone.
Kerri, who moved to Kernersville from Lexington and Tom, who spent time in Indiana, Ohio, and Florida before coming to live in Kernersville, both say they feel privileged to live and work in Kernersville. Despite being a small town, Kernersville has a lot to offer while providing a strong sense of community. “It has been pretty awesome to be able to interact with people and to find out that we’ve got some sort of connection one way or another through a family member or a friend,” he says. “We just love being a part of this community,” says Kerri. “Our goal is to give back to Kernersville, not just put money in our pocket.” UnderPar has given back to the community through involvement in Crisis Control, raffle and auction benefits, engaging with local schools, collecting supplies for Brenner’s Children’s Hospital, and more.
If you are looking to spend quality time playing your favorite golf game or grabbing a drink with family and friends regardless of the weather, UnderPar Golf Lounge is the place to be. For more information, check out their website at UnderParGolfKernersville.com, call 336-515-3401, or stop by for a visit!