A local bar shutters its doors, leaving players including Andy Fox, Will Sandstad, CJ Wengler and Al Zerull without their favorite Golden Tee haunt, and the stage was set for a new beginning.
"The idea of the Bunker came about when our normal bar closed in 2014. We wanted to create a space that was accessible more hours of the day, and was free of greasy-fingered children and drunken idiots….even though several of us are drunken idiots ourselves." -Andy Fox
Most players start playing everyone’s favorite bar game in…well, a bar. But it isn’t always the most ideal place to get serious with a focused approach to Golden Tee.
Limited hours of operation, machine availability (every banger knows what it feels like to walk through the door and find a casual foursome teeing of on Hole 1), machine placement, and contending with whatever else happens to be going down can introduce an entire host of frustrating variables when you’re trying to shave strokes off of your personal best.
Andy Fox reached out to the fine folks at Dean Vending with a unique proposition. If they were willing to rent an office space and populate it with GT machines, the players would make sure it became the go-to for players in the local scene.
The pitch landed, and a location was opened in Apple Valley, MN, hosting four machines. Traffic grew exponentially and, before long, it became clear that an upgrade was in order.
The move was made, and the Bunker was born in Burnsville, MN. With EIGHT Golden Tee machines to quench their insatiable thirst for virtual arcade golf, the GT elites of Minnesota had a new place to call home.
"8 machines, 3 independent TVs to watch 3 different games or events, large sound system with loud speakers, three refrigerators, a pizza oven, microwave, air fryer and ice maker. It is BYOB, which saves money for locals and travelers, and there is a liquor store about 500 feet away, along with a solid assortment of food places to eat." -Will Sandstad
Dream locations like this oasis of GT are often gated from the community, members-only venues and inaccessible for the average joe. This isn't the case for The Bunker, as visitors are not only welcome, but highly encouraged to join in on the fun.
"We regularly have guys come in from all over to just hang and play with us, most often the Wisconsin player's from the Latte Lounge. Also, if anyone is in from out of town for any other reason, most go out of their war to stop by for a day and play. We love visitors. Its like a holiday for us." -Al Zerull
The Bunker stands apart as a venue with Golden Tee as the primary focus. It has drawn in the best players in the surrounding areas with a curated environment that anyone who’s touched a trackball can appreciate.
"I found out about The Bunker from a friend on Golden Tee Fan Facebook page. I made the trip out here once and was hooked because of the skill level and the company of the guys here." CJ Wengler
The Bunker is a great location to spend time, and plays host to a wide variety of events related to the game and community. Dave Sandmire celebrated his 50th birthday here, and players came in from across state lines to soak up the atmosphere and Minnesotan GT camaraderie, with Dean Vending providing gift cards and support to bolster the event.
"I think everyone who frequents The Bunker considers themselves somewhat of a steward of not just Dean Vending, but also for the game of Golden Tee." -Will Sandstad
Whether you’re a World Champion or fresh-faced GT noob, The Bunker welcomes you. A shining beacon for GT fanatics to hone their game and meet some of the best players in the area…get ready for one hell of a good time, friends.