A £2.5 million investment in modern golf tuition is currently under development at Newton Mearns on Glasgow’s south side.
Mearns Castle Golf Academy is a comprehensive golf education and training facility being created on a 66 acre site by Glasgow property specialists Hugh Deans and Bill Forbes of Am-2-Pro Limited.
The Academy will comprise a nine-hole ‘pay as you play’ golf course; 34-bay driving range; seven-bay indoor range video teaching academy; gymnasium; short game school; restaurant and bar; retail outlet and outdoor putting practice area.
Construction began in March this year and the academy will open for business in October 2002. The nine-hole golf course will be ready for play in Spring 2003.
The £2.5 million investment is backed by a number of local business people who recognise the value of marrying state-of-the-art teaching facilities with Am-2-Pro’s bespoke coaching system, tailored to suit the needs of players at all levels.
Am-2-Pro Limited’s director of golf is Renfrewshire-based professional Stephen McAllister who said, “As the name suggests, Am-2-Pro will deliver dedicated golf coaching to players at all levels of the game, regardless of ability, gender or physical capability. We aim to offer unrivalled instruction, previously beyond the reach of the average Scots sports enthusiast. We will provide this in an affordable and accessible environment which avoids the barrier of club membership or social status.
“I am particularly excited by our beginner level course for young players. With the facilities at Mearns Castle we hope to provide the finest tuition, which can be adapted to dovetail with the Scottish school curriculum. Talks are already under way with local authorities with a view to incorporating our teaching programmes into the physical education calendar.”
As well as intensive video analysis, the Am-2-Pro teaching system will include advice on health and fitness and the psychological aspects of the sport. A formal association with the Sports Medicine Centre at the national stadium, Hampden, will allow for intensive treatment of sports injuries on a referral basis.
Stephen McAllister is a professional golfer of some 20 years experience who has enjoyed success on the European Tour. Trained in part through the David Leadbetter organisation, Stephen acts as a consultant to Glasgow City Council as part of its commitment to advance golf as part of the city’s school curriculum. Stephen has devised the full Am-2-Pro Golf Academy’s teaching programme and will lead the team of golf professionals charged with implementing tuition at all levels.
Hugh Deans and Bill Forbes are the Glasgow chartered surveyors who in 1994 created the city’s first budget hotel, the Charing Cross Tower Hotel. That business became so successful that it was acquired by a major UK chain.
As property director, Hugh Deans is responsible for the cost management and ongoing property management of the project. He has extensive expertise gained in the leisure, retail and commercial sectors for clients including Gleneagles, the Balmoral Hotel and Queens Moat Hotel group.
“We were impressed and inspired by Stephen’s vision of crafting professional coaching to a standard not generally seen in this country,” said Hugh, who is also a keen golfer. “We feel that the combination of our property expertise matched with Stephen’s impeccable credentials creates a powerful business opportunity in a market with few easily accessible resources.”
Bill Forbes, the executive director, adds over 20 years experience in the property development market, principally in Glasgow and the west of Scotland. Previously a director of Ladbroke Group and Vico Properties his extensive experience in development management and funding has been enlisted to support initial project inception.
The developers have ambitions beyond the initial investment at Mearns Castle. “We believe that Scotland could support around five such playing/coaching academies, said Bill Forbes, “and are therefore already considering other possible locations. The teaching programme however cannot be compromised.“
“On behalf of the PGA (Scottish Region),” said Peter Lloyd, the secretary, “I would like to congratulate the Am-2-Pro team on their vision in creating such a superb facility in the west of Scotland. It is great to see such a high calibre teaching and training facility which will be just as accessible to the recreational golfer as to the top amateurs and professionals alike. I am hopeful that Mearns Castle Golf Academy will shortly prove itself to be of great benefit to all emerging Scottish golfing talent.”
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