The R&A, golf’s global governing body alongside the United States Golf Association (USGA), is gearing up to launch a new facility which aims to offer new pathways into the sport, whilst appealing to both newcomers and seasoned players alike.
Scheduled to debut in Glasgow, Scotland next summer, GolfIt! marks what The R&A states is a “significant financial investment” towards its purpose of making golf more accessible and inclusive.
Located on the south bank of Hogganfield Loch, the 100-year old Lethamhill golf course has been repurposed as a community-based golf and entertainment facility which will offer both outdoor and indoor attractions.
A new nine-hole golf course will incorporate four sets of tees, including an integrated ‘Go Golf It!’ par three tee position on each hole to encourage people of all abilities to play. A short game area will offer three adventure golf courses, Park Golf pitch and putt and a family putting green.
A 55-bay floodlit double-decker Top Tracer driving range, including bespoke family bays and simulators, will be included, as will a golf equipment library with easy access to hire equipment for anyone who wants to try before they buy. A Fit, Build, Play retail area will also be provided by Scottsdale Golf.
A link back to nature
However, golf will not be the sole focus of the R&A’s new concept. The Seven Lochs Visitor Centre will offer nature trails that link to Hogganfield Loch, Seven Lochs Wetland Park and Scotland’s largest urban nature park.
Three Padel tennis courts will be incorporated, while the community element will be reinforced through an array of features. The site will feature an early years nursery and a long-term education programme for Glasgow, with the aim of providing in-curriculum golf experiences to 42,000 children across the city.
A community orchard and gardens will feature, while free bike access for the site will be offered. And to round off the experience, The Big Feed, a travelling street food collective, will set up a base at GolfIt!.
An exemplar format
Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A, said: “Golf It! is an ambitious project and fantastic opportunity for residents of Glasgow and visitors to the city to be introduced to the sport in a welcoming, inclusive and enjoyable environment.
“The range of features at Golf It! makes this a destination like no other. We want this to be a place where everyone from this great city and further afield can feel at home.
“Golf It! will enable people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to be a part of a community-driven facility that levels the playing field and provides new pathways into golf. It marks a significant commitment by The R&A to re-establish the sport’s roots in the heart of Scotland and take golf into communities that may never have seen it as a viable, family-friendly activity before.
“In that regard, we want Golf It! to be an exemplar format for working hand in hand with the communities it serves.”
Golf It! has already secured the backing of a range of delivery and community partners, which include Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life, Heritage Lottery Fund, Scottish Golf, Golf Foundation, Active Schools Network, GEO Foundation, Toro, Acushnet, Scottish Power, Sweetspot.io and Adidas.
Image(s): The R&A
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