Predator Ridge Resort has done away with synthetic mats it once used at its practice facility.
In their place is the real deal – a lush cushion of manicured turf that will allow golfers to get a feel for the ground as they work out the kinks in their swings.
The upgrade is part of a major overhaul of the resort’s practice facility to bring it in line with all the other first-rate amenities on offer. Predator unveiled the new-look range recently..
“We’re pretty lucky to have Predator put one up, especially for the (golf) academy,” said AJ Eathorne, a pro at Predator and former LPGA tour member.
“It gets a little frustrating hitting balls off mats. You need the feedback of divots and grass and now we have that.”
Eathorne added that, from a teaching perspective, a grass range allows her to get a better read on a student’s swing.
“Sometimes the club bounces off the mat, and you get away with a little bit more on a mat than you do with grass. This is more realistic.”
The practice facility’s teeing area is massive, with the idea that the tee spot will be moved on a daily basis to allow for the grass to recover. Eathorne said each area will get a 55-day rest period before it is used again.
She credits Predator superintendent Mike Long for getting the range into peak condition in time for the summer high season.
“He just did a phenomenal job, orchestrating people, getting people in and putting a lot of his own time in.”
One thing Eathorne has already received a lot of feedback on is the number of short-distance target pins on the range. While there are many at longer distances, the majority are geared towards the short game.
“The percentage of shots 100 yards and in is over half your game,” smiles Eathorne.
“There’s a reason why they’re there.”