If your Dad’s more of a ‘get up and go’ kinda guy, forget the conventional pyjamas and socks gift combo this Father’s Day and give him a great experience that we will treasure.
Unassumingly located in a corner of High Street Kensington’s Shopping Mall, Urban Golf is a veritable golfing oasis. The premise is simple – offer an environment where anyone can book a simulator for fun, practise or coaching.
The company has been around for roughly 10 years now – in a city such as this where the weather is as unpredictable as a 36 handicap’s golf swing, the concept of an indoor golf simulator-cum-sports bar truly makes sense, hence their expansion into three Central London locations in total (Kensington, Soho and Royal Smithfield).
“Kensington National”, as it is known, is a remarkable space. Sumptuous leather sofas fill the vast expanse; large flat-screens play football matches, F1 races and golf, of course, whilst the impressive bar caters for your 19th hole tipple. There is certainly a gentlemanly wit to the place – the “Rules of Urban Golf” hang, framed, on the walls, reminding competitors that “It is the duty of one’s spouse to console” and that “Any competitor wishing to arrive on horseback may do so.”
The simulators are utterly mesmerising, not least because they hold 50 of the world’s best courses. Unlike most systems, which have lasers in front of the screen to estimate the ball’s behaviour, Urban Golf’s use 3Trak, which uses cameras to calculate results. 3Trak is stunningly accurate, as the cameras measure ball speed, spin, velocity, launch angle (and more!) from the point of impact, rather than from a single reading from a laser taken well after impact. Most variables, including wind velocity and green speed, can be programmed into the system, too. The result is an exact representation of what each shot would behave like in reality, from drive to chip to putt. Moreover, the computer takes averages of shot results with each club, and acts as a virtual caddy, recommending them in different on-course situations.
Nick Lloyd and his team also offer top class coaching and custom-fitting services using a special bay (with even more cameras) that creates a 3D image of player and golf club. If the likes of Rory McIlroy and the Molinari brothers are anything to go by, Urban Golf is well worth a visit. It truly is unlike anything else in London.
Urban Golf, Kensington Shopping Mall,
125 High Street Kensington, W8 5SF.
Tel: (+44) (0)20 7248 8600
Mon-Fri: 10am – 10pm
Sat: 10am – 8pm
Sun (Soho and Kensington Only): 10am – 6pm
Bookings from £40/hr. Promotions from £10/hr. See website for more details.
Review written by Jérôme A M Kamm – 29/4/12