The range, open weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Diamond Indoor Sports Complex, invites golfers to "get the rust out."

PLAIN TWP.  The township is inviting golfers to start their season early.

Plain has opened an indoor driving range at the Diamond Indoor Sports Complex, 2782 Diamond Street NE. The range, open weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., invites golfers to "get the rust out."

"We've gotten pretty rave reviews from anybody who's come to give it a shot," said Rob Steinberg, director of Parks and Recreation, adding that many golfers are using the range to prepare for upcoming trips or leagues. "It gives people time to work out a little bit."

The range is open to the public. Golfers have to supply their own clubs and can purchase a bucket of 35 balls for $5 or 100 balls for $10.

The range opened late last month. As it gets closer to spring, more golfers are taking advantage of indoor practice, he said. "They're getting itchy. Getting that cabin fever a little bit."

It's also popular with township staff working on their swings during lunch breaks.

Since winter in Ohio lasts for months, "it's nice to practice," said Jake Converse, a parks employee who was hitting balls on the range Thursday. "It's not so nice in spring to swing for the first time in four months."

The range fills a window of down time at the sports complex. Diamond offers classes in the morning and hosts soccer leagues late into the evening.

"It's nice to have people in here during the day now," Steinberg said.

Parks and Rec staff convert the soccer field into a range every morning and tear it down every afternoon. The range includes seven individual bays — golfers hit balls into netting fixed with a target — and large mats that allow players to use different tees and clubs, depending on what swing they want to work on.

Plain Township doesn't have a parks levy and relies on income from programs and concession sales to operate.

"Without a levy, we're always challenged with what we can do to drive revenue," Steinberg said. "This made a lot of sense. For minimal investment here, we had the ability to boost our revenue in a real way."

Plain's Board of Trustees challenges its departments to serve the community and go beyond the bare minimum; the range is an example of that, he said.

"I'm just excited about it. I'm excited to have a board that lets us do this... Lets us offer (the community) these new things that are valuable," he said.

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On Twitter: @jholbrookREP.