Belfast City Council and Colin Glen Trust (CGT) are looking forward to revolutionising golf tourism thanks to almost £402,000 funding for a high tech interactive golf driving range from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
The grant, under the Rural Tourism Scheme, is the latest money provided to CGT to boost tourism and leisure facilities at the west Belfast site. The council has already agreed £2.5 million from our Belfast Investment Fund (BIF) for a number of projects at Colin Glen, including a 3G pitch and dome, where work is currently ongoing with completion expected early in 2019, and, subject to planning permission, a zip line and Alpine toboggan coaster.
Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Deirdre Hargey, said: “Colin Glen’s Interactive Driving Range will be the first in Ireland to offer cutting edge interactive technology making it a world class, state of the art, exciting and stimulating driving range capable of attracting national and international golfers, resulting in more visitors staying for longer and spending more in Belfast and the wider region.
“Interactive ball tracking technology, TV screens, scoreboards, sound and lighting systems, plus Wi-Fi availability will make for a uniquely stimulating golfing experience. It allows experienced golfers to improve their game but it also means families and non-golfers will be able to take part in an activity that they might not necessarily have had access to before,” she said.
The new Top Tracer technology being installed at Colin Glen is the same as that used by the ‘Top Golf’ driving range franchise currently gaining popularity in Britain and the USA. It enables users to access a wide range of swing and ball flight analysis and is also used by television broadcasters when covering major golf tournaments.
“Through BIF, which is part of our £325 million Physical Investment Programme, we have set aside £28.2 million for projects that help to develop or regenerate facilities across the city, we have already committed funding to 18 projects and are currently considering a number of others,” added Councillor Hargey.
“A key objective of BIF is to encourage key private and public sector partners to co-invest in these projects because by working together like this we will fulfil the aims of our long-term development plan for the city -the Belfast Agenda – to boost the economic and investment opportunities as well as improve the environment and health for everyone who lives, work in or visits Belfast.”
The Chief Executive of Colin Glen Trust, Colin O’Neill, welcomed Councillor Seanna Walsh, and Gareth Evans, DAERA’s LEADER and Rural Tourism Implementation Manager to the site.
He said: “We are delighted to receive this tremendous endorsement from Belfast City Council and DAERA of our strategic focus on expanding our product offering to create a leisure tourism complex which will offer exciting interactive and adventure tourism experiences for the people of Belfast, Northern Ireland and the many new national and international visitors who will be drawn to this important part of the city. Being the first Top Tracer Interactive Golf Driving Range in Ireland will be a huge boost for local tourism.
Gareth Evans said: “This funding investment in the ‘Colin Glen Interactive Golf Driving Range’ will act as a driver for encouraging rural tourism and particularly out of state visitors, thereby generating significant additional economic and tourism benefits for the Colin Glen area.”