Central London Golf Centre has a short 9 hole golf course offered on pay and play basis and a short fully enclosed netted driving range.
The future of the golf centre has been put in doubt by its landlord, London (South West) & St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust, due to the Trust’s planning application to redevelop the site of Springfield Hospital and the golf centre.
It won’t be the first previous asylum site to be redeveloped and it won’t be the first golf course to be lost to housing and other development. Previous rounds of the planning process have been won by opposing residents, backed by some high profile names. Including Mr. Colin Montgomerie.
The trust appealed, and its appeal was heard at a public inquiry beginning on 8 November 2011. It seeks to answer ojections relating to the golf centre by proposing a public park (see para.5.2 Trust’s Statement of Case).
Closure won’t mean the loss of a great course, see the sad demise of a respected design or dissolution of a long established club. It will lead to a reduction in the facilities of London which provide an accessible introduction to golf. Accessible, that is, in terms of location and in price. And it will lead to development of a hospital, park and housing. At the expense of some listed buildings.
It’s in the hands of the planning inspector and the Secretary of State now. And when a policitian is faced with the choice of more housing and less golf, it’s time to start bringing in the flag sticks.
Reports that the temporary golf range on Worship Street has closed are confirmed on the City Limits website. The two-tier range of 16 bays, like the range that previously operated at a site next to Kings Cross, was located on an undeveloped site. This particular site has been subject to a planning application for development. The owners of the Golf Range’s website are optimistic they will be opening on an alternative site ‘close by’ soon.
The address of the site is:
City Limits Golf Range and Academy
London EC2A 2BA
Avid supporter of Dukes Meadows owner, Stephen Marks, The London Evening Standard ran a story in today’s paper about Tim Henman making a speech at a public meeting to decide the fate of the Tennis dome at the site. Apparently Hounslow Borough Council has not demanded that it be dismantled, so a success for Tennis and Marks fans.
Unfortunately for golfers, the dome is just for tennis players. London hasn’t had a dome for golf since the one at Wormwood Scrubs was taken down.
Southeastern trains have announced high speed trains to Sandwich from St. Pancas International during the tournament days of the Open Championship at Royal St. George’s G.C.
Timetable as follows:
“Departures from London St Pancras International will be at:
Thursday 14 July and Friday 15 July at 04:28, 05:18, 05:46, 06:40 and every half hourly until 11:42
Saturday 16 July at 05:35, 05:55, 06:40…..half hourly until 13:42
Sunday 17 July at 06:42….two an hour until 13:42
Departures from Sandwich will be at:
Thursday 14 July and Friday 15 July at 12:23, 13:23 and then two trains an hour until 22:04
Saturday 16 July at 13:24, 14:24, 15:24 and then two trains an hour until 22:24
Sunday 17 July at 13:24, 14:24, 15:24 and then two trains an hour until 22:03″
See National Rail website for more details.
The Central London Golf Centre is under threat from developers.
Apparently plans have been submitted to redevelop the site which includes the course and Springfield Hospital. There’s been some very organised opposition, see here http://www.neighboursofspringfield.co.uk/ and Colin Montgomerie and Paul Casey have commented in support of the local residents’ campaign.
It’s hard to argue in favour of a golf course when there’s the possibility of new housing or newer health facilities, and the London Golf Centre is by no means a course design of note, but, the London Golf Centre occupies a special place in London golf. It’s the closest golf course to central London and it is open to the public. It’s a popular place and provides an open space for sport in South London.
I haven’t looked at the planning application, but hear that it spells the end of the golf course in favour of housing, health facilities, commerical units, and a school. I think there will still be a mental health unit there, where it has been since the 1800s, but don’t know what kind and how reduced.
It would be a shame if the developer cannot find a way to retain some kind of golfing facility within the development.
In March 2010 Urban Golf opened a new venue on Kensington High Street to complement their existing two venues in Soho and Smithfield.
“Urban golf” in this case being the purveyors of simulated golf rather than the game previously played on the streets of Shoreditch.
According to Christian Broughton in article for the Independent (Golf Goes Underground, 27 September 2004), Urban Golf began around 2002 when James Day, a golf professional at Stoke Park, discussed the idea with one his clients and playing parter, Simon Margolis.
At the time of opening its first venue on Great Pulteney Street, Soho in 2004, Urban Golf had five partners: James Day, Simon Margolis, Nicholas Lawson, Henry Squire and Martin Freeman.
The business of Urban Golf is the provision of indoor golf simulators, which clients pay to use by the hour. The current going rate is £40 per hour. Allied services at urban golf are golf coaching, golf club fitting, corporate events/venue hire, and refreshments. Which is more important for making the business successful I’m not sure. If I were to speculate, I’d guess that corporate events rather than individuals and small private groups are its bread and butter.
Urban Golf were not the first pioneers of this business. The company which sold the first six golf simulators to Urban Golf in 2004 first installed its simulators two years earlier at a venue in the Docklands trading as the Wright Swing Golf Ltd run by Ian Wright and Brian Harvey (directors with a background in electrical engineering). Quoted in an article in Golf Range News (www.golfrangenews.org) from December 2002 Ian Wright claimed he tried out a simulator whilst on holiday in California, then travelled to San Diego to find out more about the simulator business.
The company in San Diego was Golf Swing Inc. Its products are now sold and distributed in the UK by the Indoor Golf Company. Golf Swing claims the infrared beams used by its simulators can track a struck golf ball over a space of a couple of feet and record its ball speed, launch angle, direction, and spin. This data is then used to calculate the characteristics of the ball’s entire flight and to display this flight graphically on large screen electronic representations of golf courses from around the world. This same company also supplies simulators to more recent entrants to the market for providing indoor golf in London, which Urban Golf has done so much to develop.
I have played these simulators at Urban Golf in Soho and Urban Golf in Smithfield. From my recollection the venue supplies top quality golf clubs and golf balls and as a golf ball is struck towards the screen, a digital representation of its flight continues on the screen whilst the real ball drops to the floor. Putting, chipping and bunker play not being so accurately captured or enjoyably experienced. On the whole, simulated golf is not for me, but the growing number of indoor golf centres and the worldwide popularity of golf on simulators is a more reliable gauge of its appeal than my opinion.
What’s impressive for me about Urban Golf is the technology of the simulators, its successful marketing, the youth of its founder in 2002, and the company’s growth during a recession. I may not have personally enjoyed the slickness and cost of a visit to one of its basement London venues, but even I have to admit a grudging admiration for the artwork commissioned by Urban Golf for their latest venture in Kensington (see www.mammaldesign.com).
It’s been some time since Urban Golf was played on its streets, courtesy of the imagination and organisation of the late Jeremy Feakes, but plans are afoot for a return of golf to Shoreditch.
Construction began on 1 November 2009 of a golf range known as the City Limits Golf Driving Range and Academy. Access to the range is from Worship Street, close to Liverpool Street Station, just outside the City of London. An area of Shoreditch that recently featured in the news, when firefighters fought the blaze that gutted Sosho and the East Room on nearby Tabernacle Street.
On a recent visit to the site on 18 March 2010, it seemed that the golf range had yet to open for business. If it does open, it will only be for a temporary period as a condition of the planning permission. Several other businesses operate similarly temporary operations on the site, including the Real Fight Club Gymnasium and a several 5-a-side football pitches.
As a company called Accomplish Management Ltd hired to sell advertising opportunities on behalf of the owners of the venture has been offering sponsorship opportunities between 2 October 2009 and 2 October 2010 related to the golf range, it suggests that the opening has been delayed a few months and that there’s already an end in sight.
The range has 16 bays on two tiers, overlooking a range created of what looks to be astroturf with a netted perimeter. Also on site is a kiosk and what might be a shop. The company operating the range has a website at www.citylimitsgolf.com advertising the golf range and lessons provided by a third party, N1 Golf.
Previously owned by Railtrack, the site is currently owned by a developer called Hammerson who in recent years submitted plans for Foster-designed tower blocks on the site in a development known as Bishop’s Place, or ‘the Tombstone’. The development attracted lots of local opposition amid fears of related plans to develop the immediate area and nearby Bishopsgate Goods Yard into a cluster of high rise blocks to rival those around Canary Wharf. Bishop’s Place was granted planning permission in November 2009.
Certainly with the demise of the golf range at King’s Cross and more recently the practice and teaching facilities at Regent’s Park, a golf range so close to the City Centre is sure to find many willing patrons. Watch the website for news of its opening.
City Limits Golf Range and Academy
115 Worship Street
Telephone: 020 7247 7524