Driving ranges… soulless places where golf junkies beat poor-quality balls into a featureless field from a prefabricated shed? Maybe round your way, but not at World of Golf London, the country’s premier golf practice and tuition centre, which turns our everyday understanding of a driving range completely on its head.
This excellent facility just off the A3 near New Malden in Surrey has evolved into Europe’s leading golf-based leisure facility. Put simply, it has everything that those devoted to improving their game could possibly wish for.
On the day of our visit, few of the 60 floodlit bays are ever free, with golfers of all ages and abilities sending a steady stream of balls out towards the six target greens. Twenty bays feature ball-tracking ProTracer technology, with golfers in adjacent bays taking on each other in distance challenges – the age-old pursuit of the driving range golfer with a new technological twist. This goes on all day every day, except Christmas Day, from 7am until 12am!
For golfers with an unquenchable desire to improve, nowhere offers more than World of Golf London. The eight-strong team of teaching professionals, including highly qualified Master Professionals Jon Woodroffe, Ian Clark and Duncan Woolger are constantly busy. At the far end of the range stands the Performance Centre, which opened in 2014.
Whenever we pop in there, all bays are occupied by golfers receiving expert advice with the assistance of all the technology you could hope for, from Trackman, FlightScope, GC2 with HMT and Swing Catalyst to a SAM PuttLab for help on the greens. Indeed, it’s not all about the long game either, with countless golfers taking to the practice bunker and Huxley putting green to sharpen up their games.
World of Golf London also knows that a fun element is required if more people are to be attracted to golf, and there can be few more enjoyable stepping stones into the game than the Jurassic Encounter Adventure Golf, with its exciting variety of putting challenges.
As we sit outside the busy Costa coffee shop, scores of people turn up to brave the dinosaurs, from young lads arriving on bikes to three generations of the same family.
If you thought all ranges were the same, think again…