When David Zahra and Elias Sarkis took over the 19th Golf Driving Range in Sydney’s west, they felt they had a blank canvas at their disposal and began to improve the whole complex – stroke by stroke.
It’s fair to say that the 19th Golf Driving Range is now widely regarded as western Sydney’s newest and most exciting golf facility. And still the team ‘driving’ the complex is not satisfied they have reached their full potential – even though they are well on their way.
“It was your typical boring driving range when we took it over,” said the head professional David Zahra.
“We decided to add some realistic landscaping features to the range, such as greens and bunkers for players to aim at to improve the experience.
“We also insisted on having a professional here at all times to offer tips to customers and offer clinics, as well as individual coaching for those looking to improve their games.”
Then came the state-of-the-art and cutting edge TopTracer ball tracking monitors.
Using the same technology as the pro’s on TV you can see your shot trails and so much more at The 19th Golf Driving Range.
‘My Practice’ allows you to fine tune your game with ball flight stats and groupings, while ‘Virtual Golf” lets you play some world renowned courses like Pebble Beach and Bethpage Black.
There are even some fun games for the kids such as ‘Points Game’ and ‘Go Fish’ that will keep them entertained while you work on your swing.
With the full range of US Kids Golf clubs at your disposal there is no excuse not to bring the young ones along as well.
“We are one of three driving ranges in New South Wales with the TopTracer system,” Zahra said.
“We also pride ourselves on offering the best customer service of any range in Australia.
“Most driving ranges will give you your bucket of balls and leave you to go off on your own and that’s then end of the transaction.
“We believe in giving our customers a lasting experience, which is why we will always have a PGA professional on staff to give you tips to help your game and make sure you have what you need to hit your best shots.
“We want to get to know our customers so that we can help them not only improve their golf but get the most enjoyment possible out of the game of golf.
“We have a strong focus on introducing people to the game and we believe that our driving range is a great place for new golfers to start.
“Finally, we also want our customers to hit quality golf balls, so we have the premium range balls from Mizuno and Volvik that make up the majority of our ball stock.
“And we are always swapping out the old balls and replacing them with new ones.
“Once the current work on the range is complete, we intend to overhaul our ball stock and have heaps of new fresh premium range balls for our customers to use.”
The exciting news, however, is that these owners won’t be resting on their laurels and have no intention of stopping there. Future plans include:
• a putt-putt course;
• a bar/grill;
• Pitch and Putt;
• Putting green; and
• A 2nd floor with more Toptracer range bays.
“Our first target was to complete the renovation of the range, to fix the areas that were damaged in the floods and re-turf those areas,” said Zahra. “Next, we plan on opening the second level of the facility with all new mats and our TopTracer system in each bay.
“We also plan on building an 18-hole mini golf course that will be fenced off and will be great for the kids. “Our proposed mini golf site will be fun for any level of golfer having different tees for different abilities.
“It will also be big enough to cater for birthday party and functions.
“After that we plan to open up a restaurant and outdoor area overlooking the mini-golf so parents can sit back and enjoy some food while the kids are out having fun,” events manager Elias Sarkis said.
“The restaurant will cater for functions and events as well as provide food and beverage for customers of the range, mini-golf and pitch-and-putt.”
Elias has plenty of experience in the hospitality industry and has big plans for how he can cater for his customers – even hosting regular visits from popular food trucks at the 19th as well which have been a real hit with the locals.
He goes on to explain: “The final stage will be the pitch-and-putt course that we plan to have lit up of a night, just like at Terrey Hills, so golfers can work on their short game and play after dark.
“The overall aim will be for the 19th to become a complete golfing facility that caters for all ages and all levels of golfers who wish to enjoy the game to its fullest.” The 19th Golf Driving Range is located at 2-70 Blaikie Rd Jamisontown (across from Cables Wake Park) and attracts golfers from a massive region.
The majority of customers do come from the Penrith region and many are members of golf clubs at Glenmore, Dunheved, Leonay, Penrith and Wallacia.
Yet the 19th has a following from all over Sydney, who come to experience the TopTracer system.
Additionally, there are a number of customers from the Blue Mountains area that visit, as they are not far from the M4 and have become a pit-stop for many workers on their way home from working in Sydney. Staffed by David Zahra, Elias Sarkis and Bradley Ward, there is no shortage of experience there either. Zahra has been a PGA professional since 2010 and is a former assistant pro and head coach at Cumberland Golf Club.
Many will recognise him when he appeared on TV when he won the World’s Best Putter – Australia competition in 2008. He is a devoted golf coach who loves seeing nothing more than his clients achieving their goals on the course.
Bradley Ward is the Junior Academy manager with more than 40 youngsters currently in his program and growing each term. He completed a PGA traineeship at Dunheved Golf Club and then worked a year at Jack Newton Junior Golf, doing everything from school golf clinics to junior tournaments. With a business degree from WSU, he has a strong passion for growing the game of golf.
So, what do most people want to do when they get to the 19th?
“Our customer base is pretty evenly divided between those regular golfers from the surrounding clubs, who come to practice and use the TopTracer to fine tune their game,” says Ward.
“There are also the new golfers who come to play the various game modes offered through the TopTracer system and have a fun and exciting golfing experience.
“There will always be those players who love using the long drive mode to see how far they can hit their drivers and try to hit it over the back net of the range. “Then there are also those who love our 40m and 60m green areas where they can work on their short game and chip shots.”
The team at the 19th are there because they have worked out that a driving range is a great way to introduce someone to the game of golf, especially if they are too nervous to head out on the course for the first time with little or no experience.
Their qualified PGA members are always there to give some tips and advice to help improve their game, which is not something you would see at most driving ranges or golf clubs these days.
The 19th offers a range of hire clubs for all its customers who are new to the game as well as the full range of US Kids golf clubs designed specifically for the younger ones to use free of charge.
The pro shop stocks a number of major brands such as Mizuno, US Kids Golf and Under Armour as well as smaller upcoming brands like Dark Matter Golf.
They also offer a full fitting service from Mizuno Golf with a fitting cart to ensure you can get fitted for the right clubs.
David Zahra offers individual coaching seven days a week at the range which includes video analysis and Flightscope launch monitor systems.
He also hosts both men’s and ladies’ clinics every eight weeks, targeted at introducing new players to the game of golf.
He has an expanding roster of clients who have had great results under Zahra’s tutelage, lowering their handicaps, winning club competitions and shooting record scores.
He currently coaches local young gun Joshua Gadd and has a strong focus on the body’s role in the golf swing as a TPI certified golf coach.
The 19th also boasts an on-site gym where their personal trainer Brayden screens clients for physical limitations that could impact their game.
Ward’s Junior Academy runs four days a week with multiple smaller classes to maximise coaching time with programs running throughout the term. They also run school holiday programs where they take youngsters out for some extra experience on nearby courses like Penrith Golf Club.
Currently, the 19th operates from 10am-8pm seven days a week and is fully lit-up at night. They currently have 16 bays on the ground floor open for use. And bookings are recommended.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
19th Hole Driving Range
2-70 Blaikie Road, Jamisontown 2750 NSW
Telephone: (02) 8381 6819