DECEMBER, 2011 / GOLF MAGAZINE


GolFlower Training Center : The fine flower Practice

Put completely out of mind the mechanical repetition of shots on the practice range and let in GolFlower Training full-scale game. Opened in the grounds of golf Mionnay, 25 km north-east of Lyon, this structure training centre in a shape of petal flowers demands to redefine the concept of practice by integrating in the challenges offered by the usual route. And in addition to the formidable technical means used to implement this project of 12 hectares, its creators have given it a technological and ecological dimension. Golf Magazine has tested for you the equipment that the world may soon envy us. The practice is dead, long live to the practice.

Olivier Raynal is a happy man. For the experienced teacher of Rhône-Alpes passed through leadership positions at the PGA in the league, the month of October 2011 will remain etched in his memory. After two years of work on GolFlower Training Centre, where he is the director, saw indeed the light during a grand opening during which Raphael Jacquelin, Lyon’s representative on the European Tour, made a passing notice. So it’s all smiles but the features still marked by sprinting the last weeks before the official opening of GolFlower Olivier Raynal welcomes me. To take the measure of this “unidentified golfing object” of training in France, take a little height … Seen from above, the name given to the structure makes a lot of sense and is visualized better 12 hectares including workshops game, a pitch and putt 9 hole and above this tangle of greens and fairways which embodies the five petals of GolFlower Training Center, a term combining the English word golf than the flower. “If I had been dreaming of a concept of the future practice, I’m not sure I’d go that far. So now that I see it with my eyes is even more incredible “responds our host. A few meters from the Club House Mionnay, Olivier guides me to a practice “as there is not two in the world.” But before discovering the structure, clubs in hand, first, it’s the credit card that was played in one of the self-check to pay the 15 Euro entrance fee when a player is passage. For subscribers and for access to the Pitch & Putt only other options are available.

365 days a year, 24h24

At the reception centre, it gives me an electronic badge that allows me, for 4 Euros the bucket of 35 balls, navigate through GolFlower and foraging in many workshops and top five petals of the structure. To warm up I take the direction towards the petal number three devoted to wedging. Before me, nine greens from 15 to 135 meters installments every 5-10 meters and are staggered at different altitudes. For over an hour, I enjoy varying targets and intensities. Practice balls good compression marked GolFlower allows me to calibrate my attacks of green. Full shot pitching wedge 110 meters to three quarts of sandwedge open to 54 degrees for 75 meters without full 58 degrees to 60 meters I refine my distance from the strip of grass alternately and carpets. After three buckets sunk, I did not see the time passing.

To my surprise, the greens synthetic grass take delivery of the balls as their alter egos natural. More disturbing bunkers are also made of a synthetic but impossible to tell the difference with the traditional 50 meters away sand material. “We created small bumps to give a visual impression of depth in the bunkers but the entire practice area is generally flat,” says Jocelyn Crouzet, 32, the architect of GolFlower Training Centre. “It also makes the collection operation bullets easier.” To cover 60,000 m² devoted to practice area, eight machines were purchased. “We put 40,000 balls available and can accommodate up to 200 players simultaneously if necessary. “It was necessary to provide this service to all users the same quality,” said Olivier Raynal. Once set my wedges, I decided to spend the 5th petal dedicated to long irons, work effects and calibration. It only takes a few minutes to move from one petal to another. GolFlower was designed in circular shape with a diameter of 300 meters and a footpath between petals together. Another ingenuity of the architect, the great mounds vegetated separate each petal to preserve intimacy, which help to improve the concentration. “The earth banks are also a guarantee of safety. We moved 120,000 cubic meters of soil to provide the site with a vertical drop of 10 meters between the highest point and the lowest, “says Jocelyn Crouzet. In total, nearly GF Link, the initiator company that belongs to the owners of Golf of Mionnay Andrew Zamora and Armand Méchali, has invested 6 million euros. With custom electronic badge allowing the frequent customer to operate the gateway GolFlower Training Center, night lighting and heating, these two visionaries want to run their futuristic center open 365 days a year, 24 hours 24.

28 greens choice

Here I am at number five petal where I am with 13 greens in front of me. The five petals together GolFlower 28 greens – most of which can be heated so that no sudden typing is carried out without specific purpose. “More than a driving range, it is a concept that transformed into a driving course. The idea is to go beyond the mat practice to practice and it is valid for both the teacher and the student, “says Olivier Raynal. As in the previous petal I vary the iron shots and even effects trying to reach by hooks or slices four black tinted greens that visually from the rest of the structure. Petal number four, it’s time to adjust the driving. Drawing a par 4 with bunkers is portrayed and it puts real condition Thurs After a bucket of balls dedicated to drive I just have to do some side steps to carry me to the little play. On the outskirts of the driving range, six small studio set from 600 to 4000 square meters each and a pitch and putt 9 holes are connected to continue training. A natural putting green hilly 600 m² located between the petals and wedging driving gets me out of the bag the putter. But I could very well have chosen me to carry bunker shots in real sand this time around, the approaches, strokes lobed, crisps or sloped to approach from the grass bunkers on one of many other greens at my disposal.

A putting green and a chipping-green synthetic grass provide quality work consistently all year round. To the naked eye it is impossible to tell the difference with a green natural grass. “Creating a synthetic green may represent an additional cost initially but reveals incredible playability and unparalleled ecological efficiency: need more water, machinery and fertilizer to maintain it,” said Olivier Raynal. Because the margins of technical prowess claimed for achieving GolFlower, the project is the protection of nature in the heart of its concerns. Under the practice a water recovery station allows watering the grass in the center but also the 18-hole Mionnay. For night lighting, it is a system of light-emitting diode (LED) requiring little electricity that was chosen. “When the whole area is lit, it is the daily consumption of a house of 160 m²” says Jocelyn Crouzet.

Indoor pole and high-tech boxes

Petal number two, I work all kinds of beatings, sandwedge the driver. This is where GolFlower approaches closer to a conventional practice but it also differentiates to take full advantage of the facilities. I decided to imagine a hole: after proper drive I still have 140 meters to reach a green. Rather than to chain drives, I chose a 6-iron to reach a green placed at this distance, as if I was on the course. Missed! I then played another flag with a small wedge of 58 degrees to complete this imaginary hole. Mentally, it’s a real exercise because you have to change your mindset compared to a usual practice but quickly took the game and the drive takes a completely different terrain. “Even 30 minutes before a game, Golflower helps develop tactical and mental technical ability. To get in the game before going on the course, this is unheard of, “enthuses Olivier Raynal who finds my side, all his coach fiber straightening my long game through visualization exercises. Beside her, half-dozen teachers also provide lessons and the structure is open to external pros who are offered packages for the day to advance their students with this unique training tool in France. The league and the federation would have already visited the site to investigate the home of our future champions conditions. Being finalized during our visit, the petal number one is dedicated to teaching, video and fitting touch to bring a technological GolFlower which already has two simulators Golfzon and promises, via its website creating an information and education platform also surprising. After a few more chips for fun, I end the day on the putting green synthetic. A 500 m² indoor pole welcoming offices, home video room, etc will soon dominate this. The near future of GolFlower Training Center is already mapped out. Mine tell if after detaching one after the other five petals of the structure, the training of a new genre change my game a little, a lot, madly and passionately why not …

Three questions to Jocelyn Crouzet Architect
From a snail to the flower

What experience did you have in golf before?

I’m golfer since childhood (index 6 note) and from a family of golfers and architects in building. There are both passion in the family; I knew in younger age that I wanted to be a golf course architect. For example, I realized my thesis on how to change a 18-hole course. It’s been over a decade that I think about it. GolFlower is my first project to emerge. I had been several times in the final bidding but without success. I have to thank Andrew Zamora and Armand Méchali who believed in my project and me. Moreover, beyond the technical challenge that it represents, GolFlower is a great human adventure with owners, contractors and any club team Mionnay.

How did you get the idea GolFlower?

As a golfer, I never understood why a practice was not like the course, I found around me people often flick on the practice because they are bored. What they like is the route they are attacks green, game situations where they take risks and they are having fun, I heard about a project driving around so j ‘ve filed my case. My first plans were a snail shape not a flower, but the mood was the same that of the scenario as on the course. Only after seven months of study that we finally chose to upgrade the center to a five petals architecture I did not want to rely on existing training centers to design GolFlower I wanted some something completely new, and the result is fabulous.

Do you have any other requests of this kind in France?

Clubs were actually closer to us but nothing concrete yet. Our priorities are with the completion of this first center. In France, it will be the only one of this magnitude. We do not want to see more than one dimension GolFlower by country. But we can propose satellite models which can be integrated on three acres or on 90% of traditional practices.

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