fbpx
Golf It! Adventure Golf

Inside Golf It! What’s golf’s newest family friendly concept really like?

It has been hyped to the max, but what can visitors expect from the R&A’s new vision for golf? We got to take a look

 

Street food dining. A bar hub that looks like something out of a music festival. And lots of big smiles. Golf has become entertainment. Welcome to the R&A’s vision for the sport.

Golf It!, the community-based golf and family fun centre that has breathed new life into the former Lethamhill Golf Course in Glasgow, opens its doors to the public tomorrow (Saturday) as part of a concept the governing body hopes will revolutionise the way people access the game.

All the barriers are down. No dress codes. In fact, the word ‘no’ might be the only thing banned on this sprawling centre on the south bank of Hogganfield Loch.

It’s purpose is to make the sport more accessible and inclusive to golfers and non-golfers alike. So with the R&A advocating a family friendly approach, a place that is welcoming to everyone, does Golf It! walk the walk?

We got to take a look around and here are some of our key takeaways…

Golf It!

Golf It!: The hub

Just stepping out of the car, you realise you’re walking into somewhere very different. This is unlike anything you’ve seen before in golf. Everything’s joined up. From Adventure Golf, to the driving range, to the pitch-and-putt, to the golf course. The pathway into golf is laid out before you all in one place.

Then there is The Hub. Take your standard clubhouse and then try to imagine the complete opposite. You still probably won’t be close.

It looks like something you’d see at a music festival, and the big wood fired pizza oven right in the centre of the room is likely to become very popular very quickly. But that’s not all.

The partnership with Big Feed and the street food you walk through before you even think about picking up a club is all about inviting you to spend time here.

They call it from ‘Golf course to Main Course’. Catchy.

Golf It!

Golf It!: The driving range

It’s massive. Two tiers, 52-bays, and floodlit. And those colours. There’s nothing drab about this driving range. The bay dividers are bright orange and yellow, and yellow and purple. The whole place looks like a rainbow.

The seats are similarly sparkling. And they’re minimalist too. But it is inviting.

You don’t pay for balls here. You pay for time. 30 minutes, smash as many as you want, and fork out £6. It’s £10 for an hour. Team bays, starting at a tenner – can help spread the load for groups.

Toptracer technology is built into every bay and lesson bays, as well as custom fit studios (Titleist’s is hugely impressive), are there for those who want a bit of private time.

You won’t find any target greens on the range itself, but there are markers all over the place to aim at and, at more than 300 yards in length and edging slightly uphill, even the very biggest hitters will find it a challenge getting to the back.

You don’t even need to have clubs. They’re there to hire, but there’s also sets you can pick up and use for free.

All the while, the music blasts out of the ceiling-mounted speakers. It’s all about fun. It feels like it is.

Golf It!

The golf course

Bearing in mind the purpose of Golf It! is to make golf accessible, the course will still appeal to a decent spread of players.

The old Lethamhill municipal 18-holer has been slimmed down into nine and revamped by Scott Macpherson.

There are five sets of tees, ranging from pink at 2,431 yards through to the artificially turfed star tees that average around 50 yards per hole.

It’s a par 33, with a course rating of 32.4 off the backs and a slope of 113. It has four par 4s, four par 3s and a par 5.

The greens are accessible, even paced, and approaches encourage shots onto the putting surface to help the novice player. But there’s still plenty of challenge if you take it on from the full length.

The rough is meaty in places, there is decent elevation change, a couple of semi-blind approaches depending on where you place your ball, and some tricky up-and-downs if you miss in the wrong spot.

The par 5 weighs in at 517-yards from the tips, and off that tee set the closing par 3 will require most of us to get the hybrid out at 202.

So while this layout leans obviously towards those starting out in the game – there is no hole more than 390 yards from the orange tees – this is not merely an ‘academy’ course either.

And though you’d expect conditioning to be a cut above with the might of the R&A behind it, the greens and tees are exceptional. There won’t be another layout of this type that can match it.

Let’s talk pricing. It’s incredibly competitive. A nine-hole weekday round is a tenner. Fast 5 Fridays – five holes, at 5pm, for a fiver – is going to be huge.

It’s not just the newbies who will get a kick out of this. What did I do? A lost ball on the 1st, birdies at the 4th and 6th and pars on 5, 7, 8 and 9. Regular club golfers will find plenty to like.

Golf it! What they said

Russell Smith, Golf It! general manager, said: “The aim at Golf It! has always been to make it as welcoming and affordable as possible. I believe we have achieved that with a facility that is a phenomenal experience for all the family.

“It is crucial for us that ‘community’ is at the centre of everything we’re setting out to achieve at Golf It!. Most of our 50 trailblazers – the name we’ve given our new team members on site – are from the local area. 

“Working with Beano Brain, school children were asked to design the adventure golf holes. There’s nothing like it anywhere else in the UK and it’s their vision of what golf should look like. We hope we’ve done their imagination justice. 

“We can’t wait to show everyone how spectacular the whole place looks. Golf it! is for those kids, for their families and the whole community who might not have thought of visiting a golf attraction.”

What do we think?

Everything’s very shiny and the proof will be in the bookings in the months to come. But Golf It! does genuinely feel like something different.

How new golfers move through our sport can be notoriously patchy. Tasters sessions and lessons sometimes try to move too quickly into club membership. Beginners find themselves tied to the range, too nervous – or not allowed – to take to the course.

When we need to fire their synapses to fall for the sport, some can fall away as they hit a dead end. But at Golf It! the mist clears and the road is revealed.

They’ve made affordability a key theme, whether it be hitting on the range or playing a full round, and that feels pretty smart given newer players are unlikely to invest too much before they’re hooked.

There’s more to come too. Padel tennis will be arriving in the coming months. We didn’t even see the trail walks that wind round the property. These are not gimmicks. The point is that Golf It! will be about more than just hitting balls.

Time will tell, of course but, like the burgers in The Hub, it feels like the ingredients are there for Golf It! to be a hit.

Now have your say

Do you think Golf It! Glasgow will be a success? And are you planning to visit? Let me know with a tweet.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

Latest Posts

Features

It may be acceptable to turn up to a competition without your golf shoes or your putter on one occasion; then it’s just a mistake, a one-off, but not for me.

By  Hat Richardson 
Read full article about It may be acceptable to turn up to a competition without your golf shoes or your putter on one occasion; then it’s just a mistake, a one-off, but not for me.
captain's drive-in

Features

‘I know how that captain may feel – I botched my drive-in’

By

Read full article about ‘I know how that captain may feel – I botched my drive-in’
golf club finance

Features

Where does your club get their cash – and how do they spend it?

By

Read full article about Where does your club get their cash – and how do they spend it?

Features

A cheaper pint – but how much does it cost your club?

By

Read full article about A cheaper pint – but how much does it cost your club?
equality diversity and inclusion

Features

‘This is a ticking time-bomb’: Why golf must get to grips with equality

By

Read full article about ‘This is a ticking time-bomb’: Why golf must get to grips with equality

Features

When Is International Men’s Day? Are you serious?

By

Read full article about When Is International Men’s Day? Are you serious?

Features

What has the rain done to your golf course?

By

Read full article about What has the rain done to your golf course?
golf club membership fees

Features

Paul Lawrie: Golf club memberships aren’t expensive – but you need to play

By

Read full article about Paul Lawrie: Golf club memberships aren’t expensive – but you need to play
dress codes

Features

Why is golf’s greatest enemy… jeans?

By

Read full article about Why is golf’s greatest enemy… jeans?