With the Summer weather upon Edinburgh it’s a great time to get back into golf. That was my thinking when I headed to Port Royal Golf Driving Range, by Edinburgh airport, last Wednesday evening. For just ¬£6.50 - ‘The Full Monty’ - I enjoyed 50 balls on their driving range, use of the putting green and one round of the Port Royal’s pitch and putt course.
Driving from the centre of Edinburgh to the Port Royal Driving Range after work, around 5.30pm, isn’t something I will attempt again. The traffic was awful; I’d have probably been quicker catching the Airport bus that stops by the entrance to the driving range. With the driving range open until 10pm midweek I will depart later in the future.
However my spirits were lifted by array of bottled beer and cider in the coolers inside the main hut. I paid for the ‘Full Monty’ and a bottle of Tenants lager before making my way, beer in hand, to the driving range. The Port Royal Driving Range has 35 bays, 25 of which are fully covered and floodlit. 15 of the bays, including the one I used, had the easytee system where you place the balls in the machine by the mat and it automatically detects when you have hit the ball and feeds another golf ball onto the tee. This worked rather well. In between swings I happily took a drink from my bottle of lager, while watching the machine tee my next shot up.
After the driving range we made our way to the 9 hole pitch and putt course, via the putting green toward the back of the building. The shortest hole here is 45 yards and the longest 81. It’s mainly flat, although there are a few bunkers around. Perhaps the highlight is seeing the airplanes taking off from Edinburgh airport: you really get an excellent first hand view. The control tower at the airport also stands prominently by the course.
Overall the par 3 course was good fun and provided a decent opportunity to practice ones short play, although coming onto the course straight from the range meant the temptation to over hit was there! The local rules on the scorecard do state the maximum club allowed is a 7 iron, although I’m not sure what you’d need this for; woods are, not surprisingly, completely banned. The course was fairly clean and well kept.
Golf lessons are also on offer at the Port Royal driving range, with their group beginners classes particularly heavily advertised. These cost ¬£33 per person for a four week programme. Although competitively priced individual lessons are also available e.g. 25 minutes for ¬£17. Various other special offers are available such as 1000 range balls for ¬£40 or a Summer Kid’s academy: ¬£15 for a three hour session.
While I was there the driving range wasn’t very busy and the par 3 course was totally empty. Maybe regular patrons know better than braving the traffic at rush hour though! In conclusion the Port Royal driving range provided good facilities at good value for money. Their website is very easy to navigate and information rich, which is commendable.