Golf Course Architecture - Issue 75, January 2024

41 the most jaded golfer smile. But neither is ever likely to be populated by local kids just taking up the game. One shorter course that is directly aimed at new golfers is the Golf It! facility in Glasgow, Scotland, developed by the Royal & Ancient. It is located on what was previously the Letham Grange municipal course, one of five in the city, located in the (fairly rough and ready) east end of Glasgow. It is this part of town that was the venue for the notorious ‘Ice Cream Wars’ – in reality a series of turf wars between rival gangs of drug dealers in the 1980s. Golf It! has been designed by the Scottish resident, New Zealand-born architect Scott Macpherson. “Letham Grange had been a golf course for over a century, and probably hit its peak in the Sixties,” he says. “By the 21st century, though, it was ‘on its uppers’, not a great place to play. There had been no work on the trees for many years, some were dying, many were past their best. The place needed stewardship as much as redesign. When the R&A chose it as the venue for this initiative, it was probably about five minutes from being turned into housing.” The R&A’s objective in creating Golf It! was to provide a community-based facility to grow the game among people who had previously had no contact with golf. “People from non-golfing families find it difficult to find a route into the game. They’re not going to go to private clubs,” says Macpherson. “We needed it to be a really welcoming place, even if you were not here to play golf. The building has been designed to face the Hogganfield Loch, which is a very attractive lake, not the golf course. For the course itself, it has gone from 18 to nine holes, with only one par five, and I wanted to pick out the best of the existing hole corridors. You get a nice panorama of the city from the second tee. There are only seven bunkers, and the first is by the third green, so it is not too scary for beginners. But it is long enough to get an official handicap, so it’s a true on-ramp to golf. If you’ve never played before, you can come, get lessons, move onto the range and the short game area, and then the course. It is a broad-based pyramid.” Golf It! has a two-deck range facility with Toptracer technology, with music playing and is bookable by The R&A has created the Golf It! facility in Glasgow to provide the local community with easy access to golf Photo: R&A