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Driving Bay venture on the up

SIX years ago after suffering 10 British winters hibernating and scratching around trying to coach and play to earn a living, PGA pro Freddy Valenti decided to try and build himself an indoor teaching facility at his then home golf club of Pryors Hayes near Chester.

On searching up and down the internet he came up with nothing. There were shed builders, stable block providers and agricultural out-houses but nobody provided a service for the golf industry outside of spending 100’s of thousands on a huge driving range. So, Freddy set off on pulling together, joiner, timber provider, ground worker, electrician, software provider and IT company to help with creating a teaching studio.

With limited knowledge of the building game Freddy relied on the expertise of others to provide him with a set of products that were fit for purpose and would stand the test of time. It also had to be done on a limited budget. In most cases he was satisfied and after a few weeks of hard graft he had built his own teaching bay to use all-year-round. He could now provide private lessons in the warm and dry, provide video lessons and have a secure place to store all his equipment. The response from the public was staggering. Lesson revenue went up 20% in the summer and 300% in the winter, in fact he was as busy in the winter as the middle of the year.

The big surprise was the response from his fellow pros. “When I posted on facebook about my new teaching bay I got a tremendous response from lots of pros in the area asking who had built it for me and how they could get their hands on one,” explained the 40-year-old.

This lead Freddy, now the PGA pro at Poulton Park in Warrington, to liaise with the same team – learning from issues arising on building his own – and build further bays at Hale and Bramhall golf clubs. Both pros recorded similar revenue boosts due to having the new teaching bay. Until now, no business was officially founded, Freddy just project managed a team of guys together to get a studio build complete and functional. He decided that setting up a website was the way forward to see what came of it.

Six months on from his first build, golf clubs were now starting to take notice, The Wilmslow Golf Club had enquired about a potential studio build with some driving range bays attached for the members. £70,000 later Golf Driving Bays had built an amazing facility with a trackman studio, two members’ bays, power, lighting, toilet block, changing room, outdoor astro-turf area and 24-bay car parking area. This now was the fuse paper lit. Since Wilmslow, Golf Driving Bays with Freddy at the helm, has built more than 30 studios and driving ranges at some prestigious venues such as – Royal Worlington & Newmarket, Porters Park, Sand Martins, West Hill, Billingham, Poulton Park, Birchwood, Girton, Cotswold Hills, Ashton in Makerfield and Sandmoor.

Last year saw an unprecedented rise in private clients having back garden or home studios built including a footballing superstar.

GDB is the only company in the UK that do a complete turn-key solution from ground works to laying the carpets. “We now work with Trackman, Foresight, MIA and GASP to facilitate anything their clients need from bespoke fit outs to 16-bay driving ranges,” said Freddy. “I can’t wait for 2016, we have some major growth to deal with but it’s all good fun!”

With eight buildings ordered and pre-planned already for this year it seems that the only way is up for Golf Driving Bays!

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