The new short game practice area will be constructed by specialists Tour Greens Europe, who have a vast experience of constructing all weather golf surfaces.

Green light for University golf practice facility

University of Exeter Sport has unveiled its plans to construct a new short game practice golf area at the Sports Park on Streatham campus.

Making use of the vacant space behind the University’s covered tennis courts; the 50m x 30m area will house two contoured, all-weather artificial greens and an eco-bunker.

A 200m2 Pro-tour standard practice green will allow players to practice a full range of short game shots whilst a smaller 80m2 putting green gives golfers the ability to focus on short and medium range putts.

The project, approved by the University in autumn has now has planning permission approved by Exeter City Council, with construction expected to start in early February, and complete by April 2014.

High Performance Manager and University Golf Manager Craig Townsend helped mastermind the project and is delighted to see it come to fruition. “A short game practice area is without doubt the best facility you can build to improve a golfers on course performance.”

“Short game can form up to 70 – 80% of your shots, so is a crucial element of the sport. Over the last few years we have been working incredibly hard with the University Golf Club to bring their short game up to a professional tour players standard, and this is the next logical progression from there.”

One of the University’s most successful clubs, the Student Golf Club were crowned National Champions and Premier League winners in the 2012 / 2013 British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) season, earning the top spot in the national rankings.

“We plan for the performance squad players to be playing and practising three to four times a week, a marked increase on what we can currently offer.” Craig added. “Geographically it will be much easier, as players will be able to train between lectures, and not have to organise transport, which can be difficult.”

Tour Greens Europe will be undertaking the project and are experienced in delivering synthetic golf areas to the world’s golfing elite. Representative Daniel Bennett commented: “We have been designing and installing golf practice facilities since 2000 and have created practice facilities for many of the world’s top golfers including Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Ross Fisher and Miguel Angel Jiminez. .

“Using our exclusive combination of synthetic turf products built on top of a shaped stone surface and filled with fine silica sand, we are able to replicate the most demanding tour golf conditions, allowing players to hit balls onto the green from a distance and experience a reaction equivalent to a natural grass green but without the twice daily mowing.”

“Tour Greens are delighted at the opportunity to work with Exeter University and their Golf Manager Craig Townsend to provide a Short Game Practice Facility which will allow their 2013 BUCS winning team to enhance their game even further.”

Expected to cost around £100,000, the project will be partly funded by golf’s national governing body, the Royal and Ancient (R&A) alongside the University’s Alumni Fund and Annual Fund. It is intended that the facility will make golf more accessible and affordable for players from across the local community.

“The whole area will eventually be bookable as any other Sports Park facility is.” commented Craig. “Our aim is to become one of the premier golf facilities in the country and we are already looking at ways that we could expand this project to make it easier for players old and new to enjoy golf.

“In the long term professional coaches will provide coaching for everyone from complete beginner to elite county golfers. When you come to the Sports Park you can already book a tennis or cricket lesson, so why not golf?”

In addition to the short game practice area, four driving nets with video feedback facility for club golfers and University squads will allow focus on other technical improvements in the swing.

Date: 29 January 2014

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