Ballarat Golf Club’s head professional Dominic Azzopardi is revolutionizing golf tuition in Victoria.
In an Australian first, he has installed a golf technology centre in the club’s pro shop, which utilizes tracking technology from European company MIA Sports Technology.
“I was the first one in Australia to have MIA Sports install one and I think many others are on the way,” Azzopardi says.
Inside Golf featured this groundbreaking technology last month when we visited Northern Golf Club in Melbourne, another early adopter of an MIA Sports installation. (Visit our website to read our review). We were highly impressed with the technology, and we believe that more courses will follow the lead of Ballarat and Northern in bringing high-tech tuition to their members.
With innovative indoor technology at his fingertips, Azzopardi is now incorporating the system fully into his teaching.
He says the days of watching a pupil pound golf balls on the driving range are a thing of the past.
“I use the Flightscope a lot for teaching, not just club fitting because it gives exact data. In a video lesson, you can see if your plane is outside the line but this actually shows to a decimal place. I think over the next five to ten years that if most pro shops are serious about doing anything, they’re going to have to do it.”
The indoor tech centre, which Azzopardi originally installed to avoid teaching in the harsh Ballarat winter, has not only boosted his client list but attracted members to the club.
With the only other competing tech centres in the state located about 90 minutes away in Melbourne, golfers from across the Central Highlands, Goldfields and Ballarat districts are gravitating to Ballarat Golf Club.
“I was probably doing 10 to 15 lessons a week, now I think I’ve doubled that. I also do a lot of things like club distancing. A lot of people don’t know how far they hit clubs so I get them in for 45 minutes and they hit shots with each club.”
Azzopardi says his expenses associated with fitting out the tech centre were close to $40,000.
Additional costs to create the space were covered by the Ballarat Golf Club.
A major drawcard of the technology centre is its positioning in the club’s pro shop.
“Everyone that walks into the shop sees it. If I put it over on the range, for everyone to see it, they’ve got to sort of have a lesson or go over there.”
Ballarat Golf Club can now lay claim as one of regional Victoria’s premier golf clubs.
Its Thomson and Perrett-designed championship course was overhauled between 2006 and 2009 and Azzopardi says it will soon be among country Victoria’s best layouts.
Ballarat’s clubhouse has also developed into a prominent social space for the city, hosting close to 45 weddings annually.
“The course is getting better and better all the time and that’s certainly going to help boost numbers of players and player rounds. The courses along the Murray River, Murray Downs, Rich River, Yarrawonga, I think we’re probably not quite to their standard yet but I think that’s only because the course is about four years old. Give it another five years and it certainly should be on a par with those courses.”