Is there any driving ranges in or around Dublin with turf bays? Spawell used to have a few but they have been replaced with outdoor mats. I absolutely despise going to the range and hitting off mats!
Elmgreen lets you hit off the end past the bays
I actually like hitting off mats and the confidence it gives you
Great, Ill give them a try...
Regards mats, I just never hit off them growing up. The club I was a member at since I was a kid had a range, well it was more of an open driving area and you would just hit it off the turf. Since I moved to Dublin I used to use the Spawell then if I need to hit the range. I just don't get any feedback good/bad/average on my strikes when hitting from the mats.
Halpenny up at the airport has grass bays near the entrance.
Spawell is my local range and it really is a pity they don't have any ability to hit off grass given they have two separate outdoor areas. You could leave the outdoor area on the left as you walk in mats and convert the smaller one on the right to grass. I also find that the mats in the indoor bays are decent but the ones outdoors are awful, it's like they pulled up a fifteen year old hockey pitch and threw them straight down onto a concrete block. It's like hitting off the path.
Celbridge driving range has a grass section left of the Bays
I find if i hit my irons off the matts i start to suffer the dreaded shanks on the course.
Kinsealy driving range has an outdoor area
I usually end up with a sore wrist hitting off mats which leads to picking the clean by the end. Grass all day for me
Also, no real penalty for hitting it fat off a mat, which isn't the case off grass.
General moan here but the quality of Irish driving ranges is absolutely abysmal in my experience. Local one to me here in Carlow has mats that are in a terrible state, every other bay is missing a tee or a tee so small that you can't use driver. The balls are absolutely woeful as well. They have a grass area off to one side that isn't maintained in any way really other than being cleared by people hitting off it so its basically just bare dirt most of the year and mud in the winter. Happened to be down in Cork recently and went to Inniscarra Driving range. Same setup, badly worn and uneven mats with no grass area at all. Neither of them take anything other than cash, the Cork one accepted only €2 coins. Considering its €6-8 minimum for a half hour session its pretty crappy value. The Carlow one is very busy but I avoid it and go hit off the practice area at the course.
When you compare with the facilities in the UK and the USA its a completely different ball game. I'm amazed there aren't more driving ranges offering things like Trackman, simulator areas etc. I know there are one or two here and there over here but they're extremely rare.
Agreed on quality of ranges being awful.
Actually more than happy with the range at my club (in South Tipp)
Things I like and dislike about driving ranges:
On the distance markers, I don't trust them at all to be honest. unless you are directly in front of them they're sort of pointless IMO. There should be a painted line IMO across the range that denotes each distance so you can be confident how far you are hitting.
The practice area/range in my club iis actually pretty good but very small so if more than 1-2 people there it gets kind of messy. You have to bring your own balls so you can end up hitting 20-30 balls but then you need to go get them back, if there's another 2 people there you have to wait until they're finished hitting unless they are at the complete opposite side to you. There is a nice short game area with green and bunker though. You can't really hit driver on it unless on your own and even then its a massive hill past the 150 range so you have a long walk to try get your balls back.
Given the cheaper launch monitor options that are becoming available I'd love it if more places started building out simulator rooms/areas with a net that you could hire for an hour or so. Closest place to me that has anything like that is Mount Juliet but its €60-100 for lesson with the trackman.
The thing of having to bring your own balls is ridiculous - I wouldn’t be pleased with that at all.
In regards to distance markers I’m not 100% sure on your point above - the distance markers are marked from where the bays are supposed to be (and for some reason people still deviate away from them at times!)
Just talking about Carlow but the bays there don't match the distance markers, there is I think 2 of each marker dotted around the range itself but if you are over to one side or in between two markers the distances aren't accurate as you might actually need to hit 160 or 140 to reach the 150 marker or try to judge visually if your ball landed at 150 based on the marker that could be 20-40 yards left or right. I think the curvature of the range is meant to account for this but it doesn't in Carlow. The grass area to the side has no distance markers which are of any use as they are in the the central part where the bays are. I brought out a range finder one day, was an eye opener. A lot of my time practicing is spent trying to get my distances right, particularly under 100 yards, I'd personally like some markings which cross the range at 10/20 yard intervals so I can get that. Might be just me on that front though.
I usually find the grass bays hardly have any grass on them. For that reason I don't love them.
I'm looking forward to seeing basic launch monitors becoming the norm. When they only cost a few hundred in McGuirks, surely it would make sense to install a few and charge an extra few euro for them to the customers.
And a pet peeve of mine in the ranges are the tees. You can end up marching up and down the range looking for the tee size you want. .Drynam have a good setup where the tee is fixed in each bay and you can choose raise or lower it.
And aside from the quality of the ranges, one thing I find when I go to them is I can get tempted to just start whacking balls. For that reason I usually just get the small basket of 50. If I get 75, I'll often be whacking balls, reinforcing bad habits.
In relation to the comments about the state of driving ranges -
Since working from home I have been using the one in Greystones. It had gotten very run down and could be described in the same way as those above.
About a year ago they refurbished the roofed section (about half of the bays) and added Top Tracer. The other half are outdoor bays without Top Tracer. They also replaced all the balls.
What happened? The business completely took off! You now see all of the bays in use with multiple people in a lot of the bays playing the games available on the Top Tracer. From this increase in business they are now upgrading the outdoor bays to cover them in and add Top Tracer.
It's great to see
Feels like "If you build it, they will come"
I regularly go to Halpenny range by Dublin airport. I find it great value. Indoor bays with good mats, chipping green, putting green, maybe 12 outdoor grass bays. It's been doing huge business in the pandemic era.
I don't use the grass bays there much. They move them regularly but I find they are often well used and don't have much grass in them so it wouldn't be representative of hitting off a decent fairway anyway. Depends on how soon after the move you get them I suppose.