Greenlife Golf Club Marbella has recently incorporated Toptracer technology to its driving range and has created the largest state-of-the-art centre in Andalucía. This system unites traditional golf with virtual golf to offer more fun and entertainment to golfers, both those who are new to the sport or who would like to start playing, as well as others already with a high level of skill.
The club has made a major investment to refurbish its driving range facilities and improve the chipping and putting green area. It has installed a total of 28 tee positions on the driving range, equipped with Toptracer technology which carries out a complete follow-up of the stroke and traces the ball thanks to several cameras strategically located on the driving range. It is a technique that allows players to know the distance, trajectory and height they achieve with each club in their bag.
Shots are aimed at artificial coloured targets (target greens) scattered around the shot zone at different distances.
In addition to being a key and cutting-edge tool for learning the game and improving skills, Toptracer technology is also synonymous with fun because players can enjoy it alone, compete with friends and family, or play online, with golfers from anywhere in the world. It comprises a free app which enables players to easily identify themselves every time they want to use Toptracer, and keep results on their mobile phone, store statistics or participate in different rankings.
"We were looking to achieve something different that would make golf even more fun and a place of leisure for both professional players and amateurs and video game lovers," says Victoria Domínguez, director of Greenlife Club Marbella.
"When we came up with this idea, we were a little hesitant because it's risky to give a new twist to golf, a new approach to a sport that is quite traditional and in some ways confined and restricted. This is a totally different concept and we didn't know how it would be received by players. But the response has been spectacular. We've had people say to us, how did you come up with this? What a wonderful idea to couple technology with a visual system with artificial targets that position the shot zone precisely, and you can see the trajectory of the ball, where it's going and how far away it is... and it's fun and you can compete with other players both on the driving range and online.
"It opens up a world of possibilities for playing golf that didn't exist until now, and challenges that make it much more enjoyable to go to a driving range to hit balls. It is no longer just a matter of hitting the ball forward again and again. Now you can obtain a lot of statistical data on ball dispersion, if you are using the right club for a certain shot, whether you are getting the distance you want to hit, how you can improve, etc. All this information that used to be available to a teacher when analysing our game is now available to any player on the screen and it can be stored on their mobile phone.”
You have created an avant-garde and innovative driving range?
Yes, I think the future of golf lies in that direction. Like other sports that have become modernised and adapted to new technologies, golf also needed it. This can be fun for someone who simply wants to have a good time, as an alternative to a bowling alley, for example, without having to have a certain level of play, and it is also useful for those who want to improve their game, because they have all the records of their activity, their progression, what they need to correct...
When you have the application, which is free, on your mobile phone and register your profile with a QR code, the screen of your driving range identifies all your data and reloads them, and all the results you have been obtaining you can have on your phone. And, if you have participated in a closest to the pin competition, for example, you can see your position on that hole played on a virtual course. You can see the position of your own driving range, in Spain or worldwide.
It is fascinating and very enjoyable to be able to participate in this type of worldwide challenge from your driving range.
Could your driving range be an alternative to a traditional round of golf or is it a very different concept?
Yes it can be, because you can still play traditional golf on a course of your choice but through technology. You can play virtual courses that are loaded into the system and play the whole round, nine holes, or alternate holes, whatever you want.
At the moment we have 15 courses from all over the world loaded into our system – the most renowned ones – but we are adding more every week. We are convinced that it can be a new and attractive incentive for all golfers and for those who want to start playing.