Brisbane Airport’s latest attraction, Golf Central, is off to a flying start said Avid Sports’ Managing Director James Cooper.
As operators and a key shareholder of the new park, James and the Avid Sports team run the Golf Central driving range, mini golf park, shop, bar and café.
“So from a day to day basis,” James explained, “it’s everything from operations of the golf driving range, to maintenance, to mini golf, the bar and café, we have a retail outlet that we also look after, and then it’s also all the administration and even the marketing and promotions component of the facility.”
With a team of 22 staff, which includes three groundsmen and Superintendent Ray Lyons, James said Golf Central has had a great opening month.
“The mini golf, bar and café opened at the beginning of December, and the driving range opened on the 16th of December, so it’s only a month or so old,” he said.
With loads of groups through during December with Christmas functions, James seemed confident Golf Central will continue to attract others.
“It’s been really popular, we always have people come through. Even since Christmas we’ve had everyone from quite avid golfers on the driving range through to lots of kids and families coming to play the mini golf. It’s been really busy actually, which is really great,” he said.
Being located within the Brisbane Airport precinct has its benefits when it comes to Golf Central’s visitor numbers, James reasoned.
“I guess from Brisbane Airport’s point of view it’s become a busy commercial hub not only for travellers but also for the Brisbane community.
“There’s 420 businesses based on the airport precinct and about 20,000 staff, so we get a nice catchment from that,” he explained.
“It also helps that within a 5 or 10 minute driving radius from Golf Central we’ve got some of Brisbane’s more prestigious suburbs, like Ascot and Hamilton and those areas.
“So I guess we’ve got three main types of clientele, we have travellers coming from the airport, we have people who work on the airport precinct, and then also the local community.”
He added, “The airport had about 19 million passengers through it last year, so it’s amazing how many people we see in our clubhouse.”
With flight departure and arrival times on display, James said often travellers come to hit a few balls before their flight leaves, or while waiting for a friends’ flight to arrive.
“We’re connected with both international and domestic terminals by a courtesy bus as well,” he said.
The golf driving range at Golf Central has 50 bays, which is 300m long and 160m at its widest point, said James.
“We’ve also got two chipping and putting greens, a large putting green, and a really cool 30 bay short game zone as well,” he described.
But perhaps one of the most impressive additions at Golf Central is its TaylorMade Performance Lab.
James explained, “The TaylorMade Performance Lab is a very high tech motion club fitting system, and ours is only the second in the southern hemisphere.
“Basically what happens is you go into a studio in our clubhouse, which is fitted out with six high speed cameras. You wear a vest and hit a golf ball, and the sophisticated computer system basically creates a 3D avatar of your swing and your body movements.
“So your club is fitted to that. It’s very high tech, a kind of technology that typically only the US tour players would have access to,” he said.
James noted the other TaylorMade Performance Lab in the southern hemisphere is located in Melbourne at the Melbourne Golf Academy.
As with any new golf facility, Brisbane’s newest wasn’t an overnight project James explained, the 17-hectare park taking three years of planning and around nine months of construction.
“From vision to first golf ball was probably about 3 years,” he said.
As for the future of Golf Central, James said, “We’re still settling in. Obviously we’re working through future plans and events, there’s been lots of different ideas of things we can host or organise, but we’ll just settle in first and go from there.”
So next time you’re flying in or out of Brisbane, why not allow yourself a few extra hours and have a swing before jetting off.
Images c/o: http://golfcentralbne.com.au