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September 2003

Sky High

Netting for golf ranges is on the up by John W Blake of HI-NETS,

part of AJW Construction Ltd, suppliers of Netting Systems to the Sports Industry.

Part 1 considers the development of the netting industry as applied to golf ranges and highlights some of the factors to be considered when planning for a new netting system. In Part 2, next month, we will look at the practical issues arising when selecting and installing a netting system.

History and Demand for High Nets

The golf range industry is faced with a seemingly ever-increasing need to contain golf balls and protect others from being hit by them. This has driven the demand for installing higher and higher nets on taller and taller posts. Being hit by a fast moving golf ball can be a very unpleasant experience, perhaps leaving a very nasty bruise, but at worst one would not like to consider the consequences of such an accident.

Early solutions for ball-containment tended to use materials that were readily available in other applications and circumstances. Typically this would have included just stringing together a piece of net attached to a few old telegraph posts, lamp posts, etc. These early attempts to solve the problem were adequate for the conditions then prevailing but it became evident they were high-maintenance solutions and were not specific to the particular demands of golf ranges and similar.

The effectiveness of these ‘make-do’ solutions has been undermined by the inexorable improvement in the nature of clubs used and golf ball technology itself. Other random factors connected with the need to contain loose golf balls include the swing of the individual golfer who is, in any event, practicing hard and striving to make the golf ball travel faster, higher and further.

Another development has been the keenness of The Health and Safety Executive taking a direct interest in the safety of the general public in and around golf ranges.

To this end golf ranges are now looking to secure their boundaries with high technology netting with systems up to 25 metres and higher. This contrasts with the early attempts at high netting which were incapable of reaching the heights now routinely demanded.

Planning for the Right Installation

When considering a specific location many factors need to be taken into account to identify the high nets required. This encompasses recognising the demands for a particular location and considering formal Local Authority Planning requirements.

The professional golf range manager will seek to consider the technical issues before considering the business case and reaching the decision to ‘go ahead’. The investment of time in considering the detailed site requirements and working with professionals will help ensure the right decision is made.

The Site

What is being Protected?

Paramount is safety of the general public. A review of the site will enable high-danger areas to be identified. Further to this is the need to protect property from damage.

On particularly busy golf ranges ball-containment by the use of high nets will aid retrieval and prove a cost-effective investment. If, however, the aim is solely ball-retention then it is likely one needs to seek a compromise solution which balances the cost of a fence with the probability of effective ball-containment.

Site Dimensions and Topography

Prerequisite of the narrower and shorter golf range, obviously, are higher nets due to shorter distances from the driving bays. For very wide and long golf range outfields the need for high netting is reduced but there will still be a need for ball-containment netting.

The rise and fall of the range outfield from the range structure will determine the heights required for the side and end netting. This is an even more important factor with multi-tier range buildings.


The siting of the individual range bays will have a direct affect on the height of the netting required. Appropriatel


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