Situated in a business park just a short walk from the clubhouse, the 1,700sq m indoor short game facility opened in 2011 at a cost of €2.6 million.
The two-tier arena, which features a 500sq m putting green on a mezzanine and then a 40m long pitching range and undulating chipping greens downstairs, can accommodate up to 35 golfers at a time.
There are different types of artificial grass to play from, and pitch shots react just as they do on a real green with grab and backspin.
As Golf Club St Leon-Rot General Manager Eicko Schulz-Hanßen explains, the facility was built to support the club’s junior development programme, training 550 children of primarily non-golfing parents:
“Everyone told us we were mad to build something like this, not just because of the scale, but the quality of artificial grass we needed wasn’t widely available six years ago.
“However, our vision is to develop young people and to do this you have to go outside your comfort zone, take risks and, as we say, make the magic happen.”
Funded by a donation from the Dietmar Hopp Foundation, the software entrepreneur and club founder, the Golf Arena attracted sponsorship from Allianz.
Now, it is almost fully booked from October to March, with school children in the afternoons and evenings, corporate groups during the day and elite teams and members at the weekends.
“The response from golfers and the demand for use has been phenomenal,” continues Eicko Schulz-Hanßen. “It captures the imagination of the kids and has helped us maintain their training and development all year round.
“It also fits into our wider strategic vision of being an innovative club, recognised globally, as well as creating world leading facilities and experiences for our members, guests, partners and employees.”