Early plans for a massive, Las Vegas-style golf complex on the outskirts of Edinburgh have been unveiled for the first time.
Global giant Topgolf Entertainment Group wants to expand its UK offering – and is now searching for a suitable site within a 20-minute drive of the Capital.
The company bills itself as one of the leading golf entertainment firms in the US, with more than 20 venues in cities such as Las Vegas, Tampa and Salt Lake City.
Bosses are now on the hunt for eight to 12 acres of land near Edinburgh to accommodate a 60,000sq ft building, 250-metre range and car parking.
Topgolf’s complexes offer competitive golfing games for all ages and skill levels and advanced technology to track players’ shots – as well as venues, meetings rooms and entertainment areas.
Its Watford site – one of only three in the UK – boasts a 240-yard outdoor range with dartboard-like targets in the ground, as well as microchipped balls.
Neil Allen, Topgolf international president, said: “Our venues in Watford, Surrey and Chigwell have seen remarkable year-over-year growth for the past several years.
“Our innovative concept offers an alternative to traditional leisure activities such as bowling, darts or snooker.
“We are excited to grow our presence and the game of golf in the UK, plus offer residents another option for entertainment.”
Bosses described Edinburgh as the “perfect location” due to its booming population, and estimated around 500 jobs would be created by the scheme.
The company’s wider expansion plans could see ten to 15 new sites – two every year – opening across the UK near arterial roads, as well as retail or business parks.
But those involved in promoting Scotland’s world-famous golf courses warned it was important not to lose sight of their unique offering.
Malcolm Duck, director of East Lothian’s Scotland’s Golf Coast marketing campaign, welcomed the plans – but said the traditional values of golf clubs were something to treasure.
He said: “Anything that brings people into golf is great. But I think in Scotland we have to remember that the golf club is part of our DNA. That’s how it’s been for many years. I think what we have in golf is pretty special.”
A VisitScotland spokesman said: “As Scotland is the Home of Golf it comes as little surprise that a leading golf entertainment company such as Topgolf is seeking to open a branch here.
“Golf tourism generates £220 million for the Scottish economy and Topgolf’s plans will be a welcome addition to Scotland’s diverse golf offering.”
Topgolf has instructed Savills to help in the “aggressive pursuit” of new locations around the UK. The company currently operates 26 venues worldwide.