Clubhouse Steve Ritson

Date: Wed 21 Apr 2021

Alternative forms of golf, new technology and opportunities for golf course architects

Steve Ritson MEIGCA led the March Clubhouse on alternative forms of golf and the opportunities these present for golf course architects.

He talked us through the thinking and design considerations for his design for the TopGolf facility in Watford, England, covering:

  • the ground height to accommodate targets
  • sightlines for the driving bays
  • outfield shaping
  • the construction phase, and
  • ball-stop fencing.

Rob Saunders at TopTracer, part of TopGolf, was next to speak. He talked about the gamification of the golfing experience and how the use of technology encourages people to dwell for longer at the range and opens the sport to a wider demographic (in terms of age and gender). Through the use of technology, they create what they call “fall in love with golf” moments. The technology used at TopGolf facilities, such as TopTracer, is not just facilitate people playing games, but is also beneficial by improving the skill of players.

The final speaker of the session was Gary Jenkins of City Golf Europe who talked about their mini and adventure golf courses. Their courses are themed and in addition to being stand-alone facilities, are also being added to existing golf courses. Celtic Manor in South Wales, and The Belfry in England, have opted for less theming, but instead have replicated some of the most famous holes in golf from around the world. The optimum size for one of these courses is around 1,500 square metres, for 18 holes and food and beverage facilities, with a build starting at around £200k. Clubs are finding that an adventure golf course can utilise spare land and is a way to appeal to all ages from toddler to grandparent, encouraging new people to pick up a club and whole families to visit the venue.

Read the complementary article by Steve Ritson about Commercial Driving Ranges.

Golf Course Design
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