Last Saturday, three Game4Padel Directors attended the launch event for the R&A’s (Royal & Ancient Golf Club) new multi-million pound ‘Golf It!’ development in the north of Glasgow. Situated on the south bank of Hogganfield Loch ‘Golf It!’ is a brand new offering from the R&A that is set to revolutionise the sport by making it more accessible to golfers and non-golfers alike.
Game4Padel Chairman, Jim McMahon – a lifelong golfer – believes the concept will provide cross-over advantages that will benefit both the local community and the corporate business world.
Built on the site of the former Lethamhill municipal golf course, Golf It! features a nine-hole course, three colourful adventure golf courses, putting greens, ‘park golf’ as well a 52-bay, two-tiered driving range equipped with the latest Toptracer technology and lit bright while music plays from ceiling-mounted speakers. With a café, pro-golf shop, nursery and community orchard… the only thing missing is padel!
So, in early October Game4Padel will open three canopied padel courts with stunning views over the loch:
After the opening we asked our golf expert for his impression, and Jim said: “For me Golf It! is hugely lively and I think it will become a major feature in Glasgow – not just for golf but for padel and entertaining.
“Most people’s view of the R&A is that they are quite establishment and quite embedded in various principles but having met the chief executive Martin Slumbers and seen at first-hand what is going on at ‘Golf It!, I am incredibly impressed – both with the revolutionary way the R&A are looking at things and what they are trying to do.
“They have built something in Glasgow that will engage with the local community, schools, kids and the local area and it was absolutely buzzing with life and enthusiasm and I think the R&A have caught the various bits of the market they need to.
“I also believe Golf It! will involve kids who have not been involved with golf before as well as those who have, while catching people from the area who want to go and have nine holes of golf but also get round in a manageable time.
“Having played the course myself I am very impressed with the quality of it. It’s not a pitch and putt course it is a good test but you can get round it quickly – maybe in an hour and a quarter.
“The driving range also has all the highest spec tracking equipment and my final thought is that once the padel is there you will have a venue which will be fantastic and provide a different sort of venue for both corporate and community.”
When it came to how golf and padel may combine to provide a new accessible and less time-demanding experience, Jim had no doubt about the ability of the two sports to combine successfully.
He said: “If you think about golf days when you would normally have people spread out all over the course here you can have folk concentrated together in 10 or 12 bays and socialising. A golf day at present is five or six hours – that’s quite difficult to organise and it can be hard to get enough people together.
“With this venue, by using the trackers and the padel you will be able to take 16 to 24 people, have half of them playing a championship golf course on the tracker system, perhaps like Pebble Beach or St Andrews for example, in a competition while the other half can play and learn padel.
“Then they can switch around and of course factor in getting something to eat, so I think we can make it a real hub for Glasgow businesses as well as the local community.”
While Golf It! has already established relationships with 14 local primary schools as part of a long-term commitment to provide in-curriculum golf experiences for 42,000 children across the city, it will also bring the wonders of padel to the avid attention of all these potential young ‘padelers’.
“The potential to help both sports reach new communities and generations is huge. I also think that there will be cross-over benefits for both businesses and the local community and I am incredibly impressed.”
A man known for his wry humour, Jim concluded with a trademark quip: “Really if I had to pick a quote to sum it all up, I’d have to go with: “It’s golf Jim, but not as we know it!”
Three Game4Padel canopied courts are due to open at Golf It! early October. Bookings will be available on both a pay-and-play model and via G4P membership offering discounts on court bookings and priority booking.
Check for updates here: https://www.game4padel.com/padel-scotland