Melville Golf Centre will use technology to protect against coronavirus when the sport is finally allowed to resume north of the border

It doesn’t damage the turf, doesn’t get sick, and doesn’t need time off. The robot at Melville Golf Centre is one of a string of measures the driving range can employ to ensure players can stay safe when golf is finally allowed to resume in Scotland.

It can pick up 250 balls at a time, and only stops to recharge, while another mechanised marvel races round the outfield cutting the grass making sure the outfield is perfectly manicured.

When it drops off its cargo, they are sucked through an underground pipe into a ball washer, where they are cleaned and sterilised and are free from any bugs ready for the next time they are dispensed.

These are just a couple of the ways that the golf centre, near Edinburgh, is using technology to get back to business in a new socially distanced world.

“The Covid-19 pandemic is now forcing golf practice ranges to embrace technology in ways never before considered,” said manager Alastair Macfarlane.

Over the last six weeks, he’s worked frantically to devise new ways of operating – including outdoor washhand sinks, contactless technology for payment and ball distribution, and extending the bay dividers to allow four metre distances between practising golfers.

He added: “Social distancing is here to stay. The core principle we have been working on at the golf facility is how do you avoid as much contact as possible? Technology will very much come to the fore.”

Macfarlane has turned to Korea and Singapore for ideas and is even looking at introducing an app that records footfall using infrared sensors and can then advise customers about the best times to visit.

The centre, which has 22 bays, a 9-hole play and play course, as well as chipping zones and practice greens is the oldest range in the Lothians.

Follow NCG on TwitterFacebook and Instagram – and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for free online golf instruction, the latest equipment reviews, and much, much more.

Thanks for stopping by.

We wondered if you might like to contribute to supporting our journalism?

As the world enters uncharted waters, we’d like to be able to keep our content open for all to entertain and inform in the months ahead.

We’d like to think we are the voice of the ordinary golfer the world over. Whether your interest is in the game from tour level to grassroots, the latest equipment, or independent course rankings, we’ve got you covered.

If you want to read more about how you can help us and to donate, please CLICK HERE.