New driv­ing range opens next week

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Sharon Small­wood

WHIT­SUN­DAY res­i­dents are about to reap the ben­e­fits of a new land-based ac­tiv­ity when the Re­gatta Wa­ters driv­ing range of­fi­cially opens next week.

From next Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 23, the range will be open seven days a week, from 6am-6pm, with plans al­ready un­der­way for kids golf classes and week­end clin­ics.

The driv­ing range marks the re­turn of golf­ing fa­cil­i­ties to the Air­lie Beach area and the first stage of the com­mu­nity’s $500 mil­lion pro­fes­sion­ally de­signed golf course.

Re­gatta Wa­ters Whit­sun­days project mar­ket­ing man­ager Steve Marks said the area oc­cu­pied by the driv­ing range would ac­tu­ally be the sec­ond and fifth holes when the golf course was even­tu­ally com­plete.

“But rather than hav­ing two holes com­plete and no-one able to use them, we’ve turned this into a tem­po­rary range,” he said.

Mr Marks said aside from be­ing an as­set for the project, the driv­ing range would pro­vide an af­ford­able land-based ac­tiv­ity for the re­gion’s res­i­dents and vis­i­tors.

“As an iconic tourist des­ti­na­tion the Whit­sun­days has been in need of more land-based recre­ational pur­suits for some time,” he said.

“There’s a big fo­cus on wa­ter but not so much on land, so this fa­cil­ity will go some way to­wards ad­dress­ing that deficit.”

Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of Whit­sun­days Mar­ket­ing and De­vel­op­ment Limited (WMDL), Jeff Aquilina, agreed it was great to see another land-based at­trac­tion open­ing up.

“The new driv­ing range will pro­vide another fan­tas­tic fa­cil­ity and will add to the great range of vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ences on the Whit­sun­day coast,” he said.

Air­lie Beach Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Tony Lau­rent, also con­grat­u­lated the de­vel­op­ers, Lat­i­tude De­vel­op­ment Group (LDG) on their over­all vi­sion.

“The thing that’s al­ways im­pressed me, and I drive past it ev­ery day, is that it’s a great open space at the en­trance into Can­non­vale and Air­lie Beach, where there’s al­ways some­thing go­ing on,” he said.

Lo­cal golf pro An­drew Far­row is just one of the many res­i­dents ex­cited by what now lies ahead.

Mr Far­row de­scribed the driv­ing range as a “desperately needed” sport­ing op­tion for Can­non­vale and Air­lie Beach.

“Not only are we go­ing to be able to use the range to in­tro­duce kids and school groups to the game, but also peo­ple who do know how to play golf can come and take ad­van­tage of the fa­cil­i­ties for im­prov­ing their game,” he said.

Mr Far­row is plan­ning a pro­gram for kids and be­gin­ner lessons that he hopes to es­tab­lish on week­ends.

He said the ben­e­fits of a driv­ing range were “real golf balls, real re- sults and a real chance to im­prove”.

A prac­tice green is cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion and will be com­plete in six to eight weeks.

Mean­while vis­i­tors and lo­cals can start prac­tis­ing their swing be­fore the com­ple­tion of the course in 2016. A bucket of 75 balls will cost $15.

TEE-OFF: PGA Aus­tralia Pro An­drew Far­row, giv­ing keen golfer Jo Moyni­han a few tips at the brand new Re­gatta Wa­ters driv­ing range. Also prac­tis­ing their swings are Re­gatta Wa­ters project man­ager Steve Marks, Air­lie Beach Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Tony Lau­rent, Ray White Whit­sun­day Prin­ci­pal Mark Beale, sales man­ager Adam Web­ster and vis­i­tor Adrian Spurrier.

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