Golf Course Architecture - Issue 70, October 2022

MA I L BOX Dear Editor The driving range – forgotten land… or is it? It comes as no surprise that the design of the golf course is ‘king’ when it comes to golf developments. Architects are paid to focus on the showpiece – the course. So where does the driving range come into play? There are many magnificent driving ranges and practice areas around the world which will make one salivate! But truth be known, the driving range and practice area are the last piece of the puzzle. What becomes of this very expensive acreage? A range that could double as a polo field. An undersized tee line. A green that mirrors the Himalayas. Bunkers that get little use. The tide is shifting with an emphasis being placed on world-class driving ranges, practice areas, and learning centres. This bodes well for the sustainability of the game. Driving ranges are becoming a centrepiece of golf clubs and courses. Innovative range technologies are providing ‘entertainment plus performance’. This increased use results in new-found revenues for the range, the pro shop, instruction, club fitting, and food and beverage. Attention is being paid to the placement and size of target greens and bunkers. Even the cutting pattern delivers an experience that replicates what golfers find on the course. Features rarely seen previously include advanced tee lines, viewing monitors, seating, automatic ball feeders, fans, heaters and music. Expanded practice areas are becoming prerequisites. Learning centres and academies are becoming commonplace. Then we’ve got extralarge putting courses, designated short-game areas, indoor and outdoor coaching studios, putting labs, and more… all these amenities necessary in today’s modern golf environment. What used to be a forgotten piece of the property is becoming a focus. Member attraction and retention, plus improved revenues from food and beverage, pro shop, and instruction are welcomed by-products. Designing an integrated complex that addresses the requirements of the modern club takes a different type of experience. Ted Simons Scottsdale, Arizona We are delighted to receive letters from readers, and the best in each issue will be rewarded with a golf shirt. Send to 6 Friar Lane, Leicester, LE1 5RA, UK, or email us at Sandy was in Ireland in the last issue, in front of the third green (‘The Castle’) at Tralee Golf Club. Congratulations to Jordan Anderson, from Nottinghamshire in England, who figured it out and whose entry was the first out of the golf cap. This month, a bit of a change of scene for our rambling rodent. Sandy has fetched up on a very famous spot in a very famous location. Originally for lady golfers, this issue’s venue is now enjoyed by golfers of all ages and genders. If you know where it is, and you fancy a GCA golf shirt, send your entry to GOPHER WATCH 11