Plans for new golf testing facility

The proposed new R&A equipment testing centre at Kingsbarns.
The proposed new R&A equipment testing centre at Kingsbarns.

The R&A has unveiled plans to build a state-of-the-art, world class equipment testing centre at Kingsbarns Golf Links.

Architects have already drawn up the design of the facility, which will be used to research golf equipment to ensure they conform to current rules, with planning permission now being requested from Fife Council.

Together with the United States Golf Association, the St Andrews based R&A governs the sport of golf, with the new facility also set to host the body’s equipment standards department, which is currently spread out over three locations.

Dr Steve Otto, director – research and testing at The R&A, said: “We currently deliver an extremely high standard of service to golfers, manufacturers and our affiliated bodies but we have to look to the future and developing a custom built centre will give us much greater scope to carry out this work efficiently and improve the service even further.

“We have worked closely with Kingsbarns Golf Links on the proposed development and we look forward to consulting with Fife Council and other relevant bodies on the application.”

The development represents a major investment for The R&A which will enhance its ability to monitor and apply the equipment rules on behalf of its 152 affiliated organisations around the world.

Each year, The R&A’s equipment standards department tests thousands of golf clubs and balls to ensure they conform to the equipment rules.

Together with the USGA, The R&A is responsible for making any revisions to these rules if they are deemed necessary.

The third part of its remit is to conduct fundamental research into the physics of golf.

The new centre will host an indoor test range to evaluate golf balls.

On the range side of the building there will be a biomechanics testing bay, equipped with golf ball tracking radars and a marker tracking system capable of producing three-dimensional videos of golfers’ swings.

Two golf robots, which are used for both research and the testing of clubs and balls, will be housed at the centre.

It will also feature specially designed areas for the testing of clubs and other equipment.