The St Andrews Links Golf Practice Centre was officially opened yesterday by Peter Dawson, chief executive of The R&A.
Mr Dawson unveiled a plaque to commemorate the occasion of the opening of St Andrews Links Golf Academy, which is housed within an extension to the existing Golf Practice Centre, and will combine cutting edge technology with world class coaching.
An audience of around 50 invited guests from the golf community throughout Scotland attended the official opening ceremony which featured demonstrations of some of the most modern and advanced equipment available in golf, including digital and video analysis, a Doppler radar device originally developed to track missiles but now used to track the flight of golf balls and an ultrasound system used to scan the putting stroke.
“This is a hugely significant development for golf in St Andrews and throughout Scotland as a whole,” said Mr Dawson. “It is good to see the success of the Links Trust resulting in this reinvestment. The golf academy is a very impressive facility which will be of great benefit to players at all levels of the game. The analysis equipment available these days takes golf instruction to another level and it is pleasing to see St Andrews at the heart of this process of innovation.”
The Golf Practice Centre extension and academy opened to the public in June. The academy offers coaching to golfers of all abilities by a team of three PGA Golf Management professionals and a custom fit service delivered by Applied Golf Technology.
The centre has already been chosen as the practice venue for the Scottish national golf squads under the auspices of the Scottish Golf Union.
Alan McGregor, general manager of St Andrews Links Trust, which manages the centre, said, “We set out to create a practice and teaching facility which is second to none. The blend of technology and expertise we have here is unique and I think anyone who has been here and experienced what the Golf Academy can offer would agree. There is a wide ranging programme of lessons available covering all aspects of the game and which can be adapted for golfers from beginners through to professionals. A particular focus will be on junior golf and I’m sure some of the many talented young players coming through St Andrews Links Junior Golf Association will benefit from using the centre.”
The extension of the existing St Andrews Links Golf Practice Centre has seen the creation of an additional 14 covered bays, taking the total number of bays to 51, improved outdoor bays and upgraded lighting. The Golf Practice Centre originally opened in 1993.
The golf academy comprises four large coaching bays equipped with plasma screens and computer displays. The bays are set up to use the Dartfish video analysis system which enables the instructor to film a golfer’s swing, analyse it on computer and then email swing tips to the golfer wherever he or she is in the world. The Trackman system which tracks the flight of a ball completely, measuring parameters such as height, speed, direction, spin rate and smash rate, is also available.
An ultrasound scanning system developed by Science & Motion can be used to scan up to 28 different parameters of golfers’ putting strokes to help them improve their performance on the greens. A specialised custom fit service provided by Applied Golf Technology uses equipment such as Trackman and the Nakashima Htec driver and shaft-fitting system which enables golfers to quickly test different driver shafts using a detachable clubhead.
A new website outlining the full range of services available at the academy has been launched. It can be found at www.standrewslinksgolfacademy.com
St Andrews Links Trust www.standrews.org.uk