With little prospect of the land being required for development for at least six years the owners, Hammerson plc, a leading European real estate company, were keen to find an alternative use for the site, which is located in the shadow of Broadgate Tower, just off Bishopsgate and within view of the City of London landmark affectionately known as ‘The Gherkin’ – www.30stmaryaxe.com
London Mayor Boris Johnson was not keen to see the site turned into yet another car park and, together with the Borough of Hackney, wanted a sporting application to match the Powerleague Five-A-Side Football that had recently taken over the next door plot.
After careful measurement and calculation it was agreed that a two-tier, floodlit, golf driving range could be constructed on the site using artificial turf, fully enclosed by ball-stop netting and provided with obstacles, hazards, chipping nets and targets, the most popular of which is expected to be the portrait of Alistair Darling, Chancellor of the Exchequer, flanked by images of Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Opposition Leader David Cameron!
During the construction period and without doing any advertising City Limits has racked up no less than 3,000 members, partly because the site has such a high footfall and partly through ‘word-of-mouth’ recommendation. Non-members will also be welcome but will pay higher rates.
Given its location the range is expected to be relatively quiet at weekends and that is when young golfers from the London Boroughs of Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets will be encouraged to take advantage of the facilities, often without charge.
The Teaching Academy at City Limits is run by Declan Malone of N1Golf, which, from a standing start less than three years ago, is now the largest golf tuition group in the United Kingdom offering personalised tuition from PGA Professionals to golfers of all standards of ability. www.n1golf.com
The site will include a Nevada Bob’s Golf Shop for the hire or purchase clubs and all golf related products. This will be backed up by one of the biggest Nevada Bob’s Superstores just down the road at Broadgate Circle. Other affiliates to the project include YourGolfTravel.com
In addition to offering City workers the chance to play ‘real’ golf, City Limits Golf Range & Academy provides a superb location for corporate hospitality, product placement and demonstration and even a venue for non-golf related events that simply wish to take advantage of an open-air but secure, easily accessible and centrally-located position.
The operators of City Limits know that they will only be at their Worship Street. London EC2A 2BA address for a few years; already they are looking for the next location where they can make full use of their new-found skills as a preferred ‘baby-sitter’ for building sites whose time for development has not yet come.
City Limits Golf Range & Academy www.citylimitsgolf.com