Left to right: Assistant Director of Sport Nick Beasant, Vic Ambler, R&A Assistant Director for Golf Development Alison White and High Performance Golf Manager Craig Townsend celebrated the opening.

New facility to revolutionise University golf programme

Golf in the South West has received a boost this month as Exeter golfers past and present celebrated the official opening of the Vic Ambler Golf Centre on 15 May.

The event, at the University’s Streatham campus officially unveiled the new, purpose-built, short-game practice area at the Sports Park which will offer golfers from across the region the latest golf green technology.

Designed by market leaders Tour Greens Europe, the 50m x 30m area can’t fail to impress, featuring a 250m2 Pro-tour standard practice green, 120m2 putting green, and two golf zones.

Bespoke landscaping combines synthetic greens with natural rough areas to create an incredibly varied array of challenges on the 250m2 practice green, including a tricky sweep past the specially designed eco-bunker. A contoured putting green also provides an ample number of practicing opportunities.

Exeter Alumnus and former Exeter Golf Squad Manager, Vic Ambler, was central to the project which follows hot on the heels of the £8.5million re-development of the Sports Park.

He commented: “It’s been quite a journey and it’s impressive how much the Sports Park has changed.

 “The things that Phil [Attwell, Director of Sport] has achieved here in the last 10 years are remarkable, and this is the icing on the cake.

“Golf will ever be a strong programme at Exeter, and it’s brilliant to have the facilities to match the talent that we have coming in.

“Putting and pitching are always important, as these are the areas where you can get stuck. This facility will take Exeter a step further on the University golfing ladder and help with participation.”

The University of Exeter Golf Club has long established itself as one of the best in the UK. Last season the club won both the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Premier League and National Championship, and has this year seen scholars Laurie Potter and Katie Bradbury selected for GB students of the World University Golf Championships in Switzerland.

The Centre is a significant step change in the university’s golfing provision, providing an on-site training area where players can practice an almost limitless number of shots in any weather.

Speaking about the new facility, Scholar Katie Bradbury said: “It’s incredible, until now there’s been nowhere really local where we can go and train in all weather. The new facility will be much easier for everyone to get to and we’ll be able to train up there as a squad, which is really important.”

However, it is not just students who will benefit with the Centre which will also be open to the community. High Performance Golf Manager Craig Townsend is excited by the projects potential. He said: “From the University’s point of view, it’s great that our students will have somewhere on campus where they can practice.

“We plan for our performance squad players to be practicing here three to four times a week, but the facility will also be available for the whole community to come and use.

“Short-game can make up to 70-80% of golfer’s shots, so it is a crucial element of the sport, and this is undoubtedly the best way for us to improve a golfer’s course performance in a controlled environment that we can use at any time of the year.

“Up to six players will be able to use the facility at a time and we have hired a fantastic new golf coach, Steve Buzza, who will be able to provide instruction to anyone from complete beginners to elite county golfers. Players will be able to use the facility on a pay-as-you go basis from £5.00 per hour, or buy an annual membership”.

To celebrate the centre’s opening the University are hosting a number of free Get into Golf open days, allowing golfers at all levels to come and see the facility themselves and receive from coaching from the experts.

The first session is taking place on 21 May, 17:00-20:00. Contact 01392 724452 or email exetersport@exeter.ac.uk for further information.

Images from the opening are available on the University of Exeter Sport Facebook page.

Date: 16 May 2014