Quality check: training areas score points
What does quality mean to a golfer? A larger clubhouse, better greens, daily start times, a perfect practice area or maybe a personal address in the club restaurant?
With the increasing interest in golf, the perception of quality features has apparently also shifted with the Corona summer of 2020. After golf courses around the world were more frequented in the 2020 season than before, significantly more beginners could be won and thus both the golf courses themselves and the practice facilities are used more, the quality of the actual sports areas is apparently moving more into the focus of interest. After all, the condition of the course has a significant impact on how many hours a day it can be open, how well the greens can still be played at 6 p.m. in the evening and how well and quickly the course recovers from extreme weather such as heavy rain, heat or cold .
Study shows more interest in court quality and training areas
In addition, the quality of the practice facilities is now apparently becoming an important issue internationally: The study “Golf Facility Market Trend Watch has now come to the conclusion that, at least in the US market, there is currently a clear preference for improving practice areas, developing short game centers and developing master plans for long-term course improvements. The study was conducted by the ASGCA (American Society of Golf Course Architects) and the Sports & Leasure Group among 40.000 American head greenkeepers, golf managers, facility operators, golf instructors and golf course designers.
92% of the head greenkeepers and golf course designers confirmed that the highest demand for improvements is currently in “specific short game areas and practice areas”, 90% spoke of a massive demand for improved driving ranges. 82% of the general managers of golf courses made the same statements with regard to the short game areas, 77% with regard to driving ranges.
In fact, there are designated short game areas, spacious putta areas and sophisticated driving ranges with modeled practice greens, target areas ec. seldom the standard, especially for older golf courses. While high-end facilities in the USA and Asia have mostly been offering spacious practice areas for years, few facilities in German-speaking countries have set trends here, which undoubtedly has something to do with the fact that first-class practice facilities mean costs that can easily be in the millions .
Sophisticated practice areas for more member satisfaction
Nevertheless, there is an unmistakable trend towards sophisticated practice areas for high-quality facilities. In continental Europe, the Evian Resort in France added a par 3 course to its already excellent 14-hectare practice facility in 2020. The Costa Navarino Resort in Greece has one of the largest practice areas in continental Europe with ten different types of bunker alone. Facilities followed suit in Germany too: The Golf Club St. Leon-Rot , with its wedge area, three putting greens and a total of four chipping and putting greens, is one of the showpiece facilities. The traditional club Stuttgarter GC Solitude is currently investing in a highly digitized new driving range, which is scheduled to open in June. GC Würzburg completed a new training center with a “Drive & Fitting Pavilion” at the end of the year. And even less sporty facilities such as the Wittelsbacher GC, where work is currently underway on the completely renovated driving range, are increasingly focusing on improving the practice areas with a view to increasing quality.
The lesson from the Corona summer of 2020 is relatively simple: An increase in the quality of the practice facilities is usually associated with more fun for beginners as well as for established golfers. Expanding the space allows significantly more people to be employed at the same time. And: With better quality and more space, the systems are far less worn out and chopped up. Member satisfaction increases – sustainably.