Stephen Hayes has just opened a new performance centre in Douglas Golf Club, the Club Professional in Douglas has invested in a brand new facility for members and clients to learn and hone their golfing skills. Previously Stephen had worked from a teaching bay in the driving range, but that bay was a victim of the storm in October so an alternative was needed. Stephen had a few competing thoughts when looking at a new alternative for his teaching bay, with work planned for several elements in the club. Work on upgrading the driving range will take place in the coming months and the long term plan is to rebuild the proshop in a new location closer to the 1st tee. “It wasn’t a tough decision to go ahead with the room” explained Hayes. “After Storm Ophelia our teaching bay on the practice ground was blown down and we needed to get up and running again as soon as possible and the indoor bay was going to be the fastest solution. Anything that has gone into the Performance Centre can also be removed and moved to another location should the location of the pro shop change in the future. I purchased the swing enclosure, hitting mat, screen and projector from Golf Swing Systems in the UK and I also purchased a Sky Trak Launch Monitor. From start to finish the room took about one month to set up and we are still putting some finishing touches as we go on.” The performance centre is located next to the proshop, in an area which previously housed members lockers.
The transformation is now almost complete and it gives himself and assistant professional Davey Barry a real advantage when it comes to looking after members and clients. In addition to standard custom fitting and teaching options, Stephen has also invested in a putting analysis system to help golfers on the green. “The Sam Putt lab is a great bit of technology which allows us to analyse every aspect of the putting stroke and pinpoint the key areas of the setup and stroke that need to be worked on” said Stephen. “Putting is an area of the game that not a lot of people focus on but is crucial to a golfer’s success. Using the Sam Putt lab, we can first of all ensure that the putter being used is properly fit for the individual and then go to work on improving the players setup and stroke. We also have golf Simulator software where you can play some of the best golf courses in the world including Belfry, Gleneagles and Bethpage Black.” 2018 will see the opening of their new short game practice area as well as the new five-hole short course.
Work is also expected to commence on the redevelopment of the clubhouse in what is an exciting time for everyone involved with Douglas. The membership vacancies in Douglas were again oversubscribed this year, giving the club a huge boost. Douglas is one of a few clubs that still have a joining fee and the large take up by new members is a key indication of the stature of the club in the local golfing environment. Stephen has seen that too, having worked in Douglas for over five years he can see how the club has continued to drive forward. “There is a great buzz around Douglas Golf Club at the moment with lots of changes happening in all areas of the club. The Management are really driving the club forward and all the members are really getting behind the new developments. Improvements are being made in all areas of the club from the Course, Practice Facilities, Social Scene, Junior Golf and Clubhouse. We also started a recent Golf Fitness Class with Peter O Keefe Wednesday nights and Thursday Mornings and there has been a great response to these classes. We will also have Golf Psychologist Karl Morris visiting us in April for a Mind Factor Evening. Karl has worked with Major winning stars Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell and Louis Oosthuizen. We are really looking forward to the year ahead here in the Pro Shop, the club will once again be busy with Members and Visitors to the club. We always look forward to following the teams over the year and also any individual success that members from Douglas Golf Club achieve over the year.