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• New state-of-the-art facility for Kingsbarns.
• Will become the base of The R&A’s Equipment Standards dept.
• Planning application submitted to Fife Council.
• ‘This will deliver a number of benefits’, says R&A director.



The R&A has unveiled plans for a new equipment testing centre at Kingsbarns Golf Links near St Andrews.

A planning application has been prepared by architects Wellwood Leslie and lodged with Fife Council, with the new 22,750sq/ft facility to be located to the north of the practice area at Kingsbarns.

Utilising the latest technology, the building will provide a world-class testing and research facility that will house The R&A’s Equipment Standards department, which currently operates from three locations, under one roof.

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

The building has been designed in an energy efficient, environmentally sensitive manner. As well as maximising the use of daylight, it will incorporate a range of features, such as air source heat pumps, and use sustainable materials, including an extensive sedum roof that will allow it to sit comfortably in its setting at Kingsbarns.

Dr Steve Otto, the director of research and testing at The R&A, said, “The proposed new centre at Kingsbarns will deliver a number of benefits in terms of enhancing our research and testing capabilities.

“We have worked closely with Kingsbarns Golf Links on the proposed development.” Dr Steve Otto

“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.”

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 incorporate 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 feature specially designed areas for the testing of clubs and other equipment using a mixture of bespoke and other more standard pieces of equipment.

The testing equipment ranges from a container full of water, which uses the Archimedes principle to measure clubhead volume, through to an optical metrology system for iron clubs capable of measuring to sub-micron precision.

More good news for Kingsbarns

The announcement by The R&A of its intention to house an equipment-testing facility at Kingsbarns is the latest piece of good news for the club following confirmation in August that it will host the 2017 RICOH Women’s British Open.


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