The thought of a having to play a whole game of golf is absolute agony to me. Attending a driving range is much more appealing.
When the call went out last week, a few suggestions came through to simply visit the local oval and have a hit. However, not having my own clubs nor the desire to catch any passers-by unawares, I chose to play it safe and visit the top two actual designated driving ranges as recommended by our readers: Canberra International Golf Centre (Narrabundah) and the Gungahlin Lakes Club.
First up was Narrabundah. After proceeding through a long corridor and arriving at the front desk, I organised a driver and a basket of 50 balls and was on my way. Well that was easy. The balls are collected from machines and you retrieve them using a ticket provided by the front desk. There are two levels to hit from and each platform is separated into bays so there is no fear of hitting your fellow golfer. The lower level has Auto Tee Up machines, but I decided to stick to the top level in the hope that swinging from a higher point would make it easier (seemed logical to me).
For the newbies, I found it handy to go with someone who knew what they were doing to get some pointers. I dispensed of my basket of balls pretty quickly and not at all disappointed with how I went either! A pleasant time spent.
Next was the Gungahlin Lakes Club. The driving range here is connected to the golf course so beware the buggies behind you on the walk over. You can pay for a session at the golf shop and then ticket in hand, walk up and around to the driving range to collect your club and basket of balls.
The hitting surface is less formal here. You can choose from either a cemented path with various mats of synthetic grass or you can hit off the real grass, which I guess is good for the serious golfers being able to practice for the course. There are a few more things to aim for on this field, not that I had much luck hitting them. It is a lovely course and it was a gorgeous day to be in the sun, without having to do a whole round.
I award the best driving range to Narrabundah as it is actually designed just to have a hit, is well covered and it is well organised for its purpose, whereas the Gungahlin Lakes Club is more of an addition to the golf course. Despite my original doubts about golf, I found that the driving range really is fun to get a feel for the game, practice your swing and a great way to spend the afternoon.