Over the years, golf enthusiasts have leveraged driving ranges to boost their ball-striking skills. These facilities can be quite expensive to build, as such people are considering going the DIY way.
Most people believe that all they need to put together a viable driving range is a ball, a tee, a club, and a wide-open field. While this is literally true, have it in mind that it takes much more than that and most often you will need a more professional setup to help make the range more effective.
In this modern age, there are a wide array of options for anyone looking to build a driving range regardless of the budget or space they have.
Note that from the small mat and net setups that are under $300 to full-on driving range simulators, there are options for all. Driving ranges can also be built indoors or outdoors, and a good number of modern ranges tend to also offer the retail sale of golf equipment and a snack bar or restaurant.
A driving range can be located almost anywhere, and inculcating modern technology like golf simulators, can make your range unique.
Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Driving Range
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Find Space for Your Driving Range
This is without doubt the first thing to do when looking to build a driving range. Regardless of where you are looking to establish this range, you need adequate space to ensure that you can do the following;
- Scrutinize your ball’s trajectory as it moves off the tee
- Adequate space to put up video equipment from varying angles
- Don’t get injured owing to a ricocheting ball.
Have in mind that the ideal space for your driving range will depend on available capital and resources. Nevertheless, note that a 20′ x 30′ clearing is the ideal area you’ll need.
Getting the Right Net
Anyone with an empty pasture and around 250 spare yards can put a driving range without much stress. However, the issue here is that most people barely have adequate space or room to see the ball fly.
As such, the most vital purchase when looking to build a driving range is the net. When building a driving range yourself, you wouldn’t want to make a compromise on the net you purchase. You have to ensure that the net is big enough to catch shots.
Aside from that, you would want the net to be sturdy enough to hold out against thousands of hits without letting balls break through or even crash into your neighbor’s glass windows.
Get a Good Swing Mat
You have to understand there is no generally accepted way to build driving ranges; however, certain concepts come with additional requirements or needs.
For instance, if you intend to utilize an indoor golf simulator, then you need to get a video processing system, a projector, a swing mat, etc. If your intention is to put up a driving range in your backyard, then you might want to consider a good swing mat.
However, if you have carefully mowed your lawn, then it is possible to leave out the swing mat altogether. Have it in mind that the best swing mats are durable. Also, take into account swing mats with an area big enough for you to stand on while taking your swing. Note that a mat that is around 4′ x 5′ would be ideal.
It is believed that a standing area provides a more distinctive depiction of the tee area and keeps you from ‘swinging up’ to a raised platform. In recent times, people are beginning to prefer mats particularly designed for pitching or one with alignment markers.
Get a Golf Ball Shagger
The essence of building a driving range is to ensure that anyone interested in golf can have the opportunity or platform to hit plenty of balls. Owing to that, even if you’re only hitting a couple of yards into a net, a good golf ball shagger is a valid investment to consider.
Have it in mind that these items work to save you time, energy, and plenty of back pain from bending over and scooping up all those balls. Basic shag units tend to start at around $15 and are super ideal depending on the capacity of your driving range.
If you are hitting balls into a pasture, it is recommended you go for a true “shag bag” that has the capacity to corral up to 75 balls at a time, as such saving you a few trips back and forth. You can also choose to go for a combo unit that both shags and dispenses the ball.
Cost Associated With Building a Driving Range
The exact cost of building a driving range yourself will vary and will have to depend on many variables like your location, the intended size of your driving range, amenities, as well as the material used. Nevertheless, below is the estimated cost of building your driving range yourself;
- Land acquisition: Few thousand dollars to several hundred thousand dollars, depending on location and size.
- Construction and site preparation: $10,000 to $100,000 or more
- Tee boxes and hitting bays: $5,000 to $20,000 per bay.
- Target greens and yardage markers: $5,000 to $15,000 or more
- Safety netting or fencing: $10,000 to $50,000 or more
- Lighting: $10,000 to $50,000 or more
- Amenities: $10,000 to $100,000 or more.
- Equipment: Varies depending on the quality and quantity of equipment required.
- Miscellaneous costs (insurance, legal authorization, and many more): Varies
What Does a Driving Range Look Like?
Simply put, a driving range is a place where golfers can hit balls. While driving ranges can always vary, below are the basic components of a typical driving range;
Open Space: For one, these spaces are always massive for golfers to hit golf balls. Also, note that it can be outdoors or might feature a canopy or netting that is meant to contain all the balls within the facility.
Tees: Driving ranges tend to encompass a wide array of teeing areas or stations. These places are where golfers are expected to stand while hitting their shots. Most often, these spots are marked with rubber mats or artificial turf to ensure that golfers have a stable surface to hit from.
Targets: Most often, you will find that driving ranges have a wide array of targets just in front of the teeing areas. Aside from being at different distances, note that these targets can be in many forms e.g. flags, poles, or markers solidly infused into the ground. The essence of these targets aside from providing a focus for shots is to ensure that golfers can analyze their accuracy.
Yardage Markers: These markers are most often used to identify the distance of varying targets. They work to help golfers understand the length of their shots and work on boasting their distance control.
Ball Dispensing Machines: A good number of driving ranges tend to feature automated ball dispensing machines. In some ranges, visitors or golfers buy a bucket or token to exchange for a particular amount of golf balls. Primarily meant to distribute balls onto the teeing areas, these machines make it easy and possible for golfers to practice their swings without the need to physically get the balls.
Safety Netting: The main objective of these nets is to prevent golf balls from going past the range and maybe causing damage or injury. Most often, you will find that driving ranges are covered with high netting or fencing to contain the balls within the range area.
Seating and Amenities: These facilities will also feature seating zones or benches where golfers can sit to rest or have a break between practice sessions. If the range is that massive, then they will have to provide golf carts, a rental or purchase store, along with other things like refreshment stands, convenience, and many other services.
Top Design Tips for Driving Range
There are different ways to build a driving range, and the concept and design you choose will depend on the resources you have, which would include capital and available land. Nevertheless, below are vital tips to help you design a viable driving range;
- It is pertinent you choose a location that has the sort of space you need. Ensure to take into account things like accessibility, closeness to your intended demographic, as well as any zoning or permit requirements in your area.
- Take your time to ensure that your driving range is built to guarantee the safety of users. Go for top-quality netting or fencing around the perimeter to ensure that golf balls won’t fly off to injure someone or damage neighboring properties.
- Remember that the best tee boxes or stations are ones made with strong and durable materials like rubber mats or synthetic turf that guarantee a consistent hitting surface. You can incorporate both artificial turf and natural grass tee options, especially since some golfers like to hit off-grass for a more natural experience.
- If you plan to operate the driving range during evening hours, consider installing adequate lighting to ensure visibility for golfers.
- You will also need to make sure that the driving range has convenient parking spaces for visitors.
- Don’t skip on regularly maintaining your driving range. This will most often include cutting the grass (if applicable), net repair or replacement, coupled with other general cleanliness. Remember to put out storage space for golf balls, equipment, and maintenance tools.
Professional Driving Range Builders and Their Charges
What these businesses charge tends to differ and will most often depend on the conversation you have regarding the scope of your project and different ideas you may have. Always remember that every project is unique and different, and estimating costs accurately will most definitely take time and effort.
- Landscapes Unlimited
- Wadsworth Golf Construction Company
- Golf Range Netting
- Elite Golf Services
- Landscapes West Group
Driving ranges have gained prominence in recent times; however, the steps to build one can vary depending on your expertise and available capital.
Driving ranges can also be built indoors or outdoors, and a good number of modern ranges tend to also offer the retail sale of golf equipment and a snack bar or restaurant. A driving range can be located almost anywhere. Inculcating modern technology like golf simulators, can make your range unique.