Could The R&A’s new golf facility be the future of our sport?

Golf It!
It has been labelled a ’new vision for golf’. But how did Golf It! happen and will it become the framework to follow? We spoke to those who delivered the Glasgow project  The first thing you notice are the colours. Bright yellow, and orange, red, purple, and pink. It looks like no golf club you’ve ever seen.  The furniture is simple and unbreakable. Street food dining lines the entrance to the building.  There isn’t a clubhouse. There is a hub, and it looks like something you might see at a music festival.  The vast pizza oven in the centre of that room is chucking out culinary delights at a rate of knots.  And, yes, there is golf. The driving range is massive, a 52-bay monster, with Toptracer screens in each.  A nine-hole course works its way round the building, but don’t think about labelling it ‘academy’. There is plenty to test the serious player, as well as welcome the beginner.  This is Golf It! It’s The R&A’s vision for the sport: a community-based golf and family fun centre that has revitalised the former Lethamhill golf course in Glasgow, and which opened its doors to the public at the start of last month.   It’s designed to revolutionise the way people access golf. No barriers. No rules. Nothing standing in your way.  So whether it be starting the journey on one of three Adventure Golf courses on the site, taking those first steps with some free hire clubs and half an hour on the range, or ignoring golf completely and walking a nature trail around the site, the governing body’s aim is to welcome you on your terms and show you golf isn’t the game it’s sometimes stereotyped to be.  “This all started with Martin Slumbers [The R&A chief executive], who really wanted to make sure that golf was inclusive and accessible and appealing,” explained Phil Anderton, The R&A’s chief development officer.  "He’s stated many times that this is a sport that came from the community. It was a sport for everyone. He wants to try and really drive that reality and that perception that anyone can play golf.  “You don’t need to be of a particular status, or money orientated, and so this is the living, breathing, manifestation of everything that Martin had as part of his vision.”  It was back in the early part of 2021, that The R&A submitted a planning application to construct a new community golf facility in Scotland’s biggest city.  With a reported investment of £10 million, it rescued a municipal course in danger of closure and was designed to provide a pathway for people into the sport from their first shot to the golf course.   Sustainability was also a key motivator, with all the building’s energy coming from renewable sources, nearly 200 species of animal and plants on site, more than 11,000 square metres of wildflower meadows, and none of the waste going to landfill.  Anderton added: “All this work started with the individual at...
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