Golf centre in Hampshire invests £500,000 and upgrades driving range - pulling in customers and appealing to youngsters, plus has plans for a new sports bar

A DRIVING range has invested in ‘world-breaking’ technology to become the second largest Toptracer driving range in Europe.

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 3:03 pm
Updated Monday, 4th October 2021, 11:21 am

The Toptracer technology, which is already used internationally by television broadcasters at major golf tournaments, is ‘the most advanced in the world’.

It gives players a more personalised ‘data-driven experience’ and has been installed in all 50 of the bays at Hedge End driving range, which spans two floors.

Neil Baines, CEO of Artington Golf Ltd, which owns Hedge End Golf and Fitness Centre, said the technology is bringing a younger demographic to the golf industry.

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Neil Barnes, CEO of Artington Golf Picture: Habibur Rahman

He said: ‘We’re now seeing people, especially students, from the age of 14 up to 35 coming in groups and having a little competition. It’s making it a more enjoyable experience, they all come and have a few beers or some coffee while they’re watching their mates play.’

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Players are able to play on a number of different game modes, which replicate international golf courses such as Pebble Beach, St Andrews, Torrey Pines and Royal St. George’s. The technology tracks the ball’s movement and displays all the statistics from its speed to the curve of the shot.

All data can be linked to a player’s profile, which can be accessed through the Toptracer Range app and used at any of the 471 range locations worldwide, allowing users to ‘become part of a global golf community.’

The new Toptracer technology at Hedge End driving range Picture: Habibur Rahman

Since the Toptracer was launched four weeks ago, Neil said the business, in Upper Northam Road, has seen a huge rise in visitors, with an increase of 23,000 more balls being hit each day.

Aiming to become the best in Europe, Neil said the golf centre is also planning to build a 2,000 sq ft sports bar on the top floor of the centre.

With 100ft glass folding doors, visitors will be able to watch other guests hitting on the range from inside the bar, whilst watching their favourite sports from cricket to motor racing on one of the many television screens.

Sean Brady of Toptracer (left) and Neil Barnes (right) with the new Toptracer technology Picture: Habibur Rahman

He said: ‘Anyone playing at the driving range, when they’ve finished or before they play they can go and sit and have a beer or something to eat at the upstairs sports bar. We’ve got special lights going in so at night time the ambiance will be phenomenal, and you’ll still be able to see out over the floodlit driving range.’

Neil hopes that the sports bar will be open for guests to enjoy by Christmas this year.

Sean Brady of Toptracer (right) and Neil Barnes (left) at Hedge End Golf Centre Picture: Habibur Rahman