Due to the expansion of Changi Airport and proposed road works, part of our land had to be returned to the State. With the remaining land, there was just sufficient area left to rebuild a 9-hole and our driving range.
As the land return was in phases, a plot of remnant land was used from the previous golf course to build a temporary driving range. This temporary land would serve our members until the plot is returned to the State in early 2020.
The quest for a permanent driving range beyond 2020 went on for a while. Based on a typical driving range site, a 4ha land space is a luxury we did not have. Studies from various projects in the United States and South Korea revealed that a suspended driving range was a possible engineering idea. However, each of these projects was unique in their own way, leaving us to devise a plan to innovate our own version.
We were faced with several challenges, namely what is up in the air, and what is down underground. The air space at our site is subjected to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore’s (CAAS) flight safety control, and the building had to be kept below a height limit.
With the height limit imposed, the existing netting layout had to be one of a kind to provide maximised ceiling height, and also to allow for gravity pull to work correctly. Underneath the ground laid the deep tunnel sewer system, restricting the breadth and width of the building. The building also sits between a path for fire engine access, and thereby the second storey had to be at 9.5m high to allow heavy duty emergency vehicles to pass through it. Also, because the range is elevated, ball collection in our Sky Range is by gravity pull, followed by a hydraulic transport via a gutter, and finally distributed by an air pressure tube.
As the building had to be built over existing facilities still in operation, the main concern was disruption and safety to the existing occupants. National Service Resort & Country Club (NSRCC) and the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) ensured that all safety measures were assessed and implemented prior to the commencement of work.
Following a long 18-month journey, with guidance from the Redevelopment Committee and General Committee, NSRCC is proud to unveil our brand new Sky Range and provide our members and guests the ability to practice their swing within unique settings.
This monumental structure stands tall within the compounds of the Changi Clubhouse as the latest addition to NSRCC. The Sky Range is a project by NSRCC in collaboration with DSTA, which managed the programme to construct the very first suspended driving range in Southeast Asia, where the entire golf ball netting is built over existing buildings and carpark.
Challenges Faced & Tackled
The planning and construction of such a sizeable structure comes with a handful of challenges in its design details.
In order to achieve a 220m ball-driving distance for a full length range, the new structure of the building had to be erected above an existing structure with supporting beams to lift the long spanning netting.
All six sides of the range are tightly confined by both physical and/or regulatory requirements. The east-wing of the structure runs parallel along the canal, with the west and south sides limited by the entrance of the Clubhouse. The northern boundaries of the structure are cut off by the golf course.
The boundary underground is restricted by a nearby deep tunnel sewerage system and in the air there are strict controls in place for flight path safety requirements due to the close proximity of Changi Airport, as advised by CAAS.
These considerations required stringent site preparation and control in the initial stages of construction. The construction phase was likewise challenging, as a vast majority of the carpark remained opened for use. Caution and vigilance were the focus, during the process to ensure that there was no danger imposed for anyone.
One of the main concerns was ball collection, as without solid ground, vehicle collection was not possible. Gravity pull and hydraulic floor were the next best solution because it was cost-effective and reliable. It took a lot of revisions to finally arrive at a design well-suited to ensure that the ball collection system worked well.
To reduce the overall height of the bottom netting, the first segment of the netting was dipped further to bring down the entire level of netting. At the second segment, the 15 percent gradient was directed to the middle of the gutter which will then use the flow of water to carry the golf balls to the building. Upon reaching the building, the golf balls will be cleaned and transported up to the different practice bays via pressure tubes.
The user experience of the driving range is an essential factor, and it was of concern that the overall look and feel of the driving range blended in with the resort’s theme. Fire-resistant materials were covered by brick and cement finishing to achieve this.
The installation of comfortable seats, free WiFi and USB ports were also placed for the convenience of our members, along with the pleasant treat to a 360-degree panoramic view of our Clubhouse and the seafront of Changi Beach from our rooftop bar.
L1 Floor Plan
The main level of the Sky Range greets our members and guests with a multitude of facilities to cater to their golfing and basic needs. The driving range office situated near the lift provides ease to our members for validation and topping up of their cards. Locker rooms are also within walking distance for members and guests who may want to store their golf bags for long term.
Both The Golfing Lab and International Golf Institute will provide golf coaching services, whether you are an absolute beginner or a seasoned golfer who aspires to play better.
To personalise your golf clubs, Golftitude Fitting Studio will help you achieve the exact club specifications which fit your individual swing to deliver results you are looking for.
L2, L3 & L4 Floor Plan
Set against the backdrop of both our lush green courses and remarkable view of the sea softly dousing Changi Beach, levels 2, 3 & 4 of the Sky Range is where a breathtaking experience while practicing your swing awaits. With a total of 42-practice bays and 14-bays evenly located on each level. Each practice bay is equipped with a Skytrak Launch Monitor System, providing golfers of all skill levels an accurate reading of their swing and ball speed. USB ports have also been placed at each bay for members, to easily charge their cellphones while they practice.
L5 Floor Plan
Let the picturesque settings beckon you to the top floor of the Sky Range, where the rooftop café is situated. If you are feeling peckish or simply want to unwind over a drink after practicing your swing, indulge in tasty delights or a nice cold beer, while taking in the lush foliage of our courses or mesmerising sunset from the nearby Changi Beach.