Golf Digest Middle East caught up with the brains behind Club Lab Golf, the latest addition to the UAE’s golf portfolio.
With Club Lab Golf being the first state-of-the-art golf club fitting and club building studio in the Middle East, get to know more about the dedicated team behind this ultimate golf experience.
Reg van Rooyen
Club Lab Golf Co-Founder
Can you provide an overview of Club Lab Golf and its core philosophy? What sets it apart from traditional golf experiences?
Club Lab Golf is the first-of-its-kind indoor facility in the Middle East that redefines the golfing experience. Our core philosophy revolves around providing year-round practice, personalised coaching, and custom club fitting all under one roof. Led by PGA professionals, our cutting-edge training module utilises the Swing Catalyst software for one-on-one coaching. Our in-house lab, tailors golf clubs based on individual playing styles, goals, and preferences. This comprehensive approach, combining fitting, building, coaching and retail, aims to elevate golf culture in the UAE and the region, making us stand out within the industry.
What was your drive/inspiration for launching Club Lab Golf?
It was fuelled by a profound passion for golf and a keen awareness of a gap in the market. My background as a PGA professional, master fitter, and club builder provided me with the expertise needed to recognise the absence of expert fittings and assessments in Dubai. Witnessing the transformative impact of data-driven club fitting on players over a decade, I saw the immense potential to elevate the golfing scene in the UAE. This passion, combined with a partnership with Rohan, ultimately led to the establishment of Club Lab Golf, driven by our commitment to offering elite coaching and an unparalleled club-fitting experience to golfers in the region.
What is your vision for Club Lab Golf?
It is rooted in providing golfers the right tools, equipment, and guidance, encapsulated within a technologically advanced and personalised experience. There isn’t a solitary prototype for an ideal player — rather, it’s about embracing the diversity and individuality of each golfer, nurturing their growth, and enabling them to realise their full potential through their distinct journey, a philosophy that forms the core of Club Lab Golf.
Who is your core target market, and how has the clientele evolved since the launch?
Our core target market encompasses UAE golf players and enthusiasts of all skill levels, from amateurs to seasoned professionals. This inclusive approach has attracted a diverse clientele, with women, children, and even international customers from Saudi Arabia and India. Notably, we’ve witnessed a growing influx of junior golfers aged 12 to 17, with many performing well in local tournaments, reflecting our increasing appeal to young players.
What makes Club Lab Golf different from what is already available in the market?
Club Lab Golf stands out by providing an all-encompassing golf experience, offering expert club-fitting and building, elite coaching, and retail services within a 2,550 sq ft facility. Our use of cutting-edge sports technology, two practice bays equipped with large launch monitors, and real feel mats enhance the learning experience. By combining these elements, we’re dedicated to elevating the golf culture and understanding in the UAE and the wider region.
What is the sports technology used at Club Lab Golf?
We employ a comprehensive array of cutting-edge sports technology to elevate the quality of our coaching and fitting services. The centre-piece is the Foresight Sports GCQuad, a leading indoor simulation system renowned for its unparalleled precision in coaching, ball tracking, and club data analysis. This camera-based device ensures accuracy by eliminating assumptions, enabling us to provide real-time, reliable insights. We also utilise Swing Catalyst, a high-speed camera software operating at 600 frames per second.
How do you and the coach at Club Lab Golf leverage technology and data to improve players’ skills?
Club Lab Golf excels at leveraging technology and data to enhance players’ skills by combining cutting-edge equipment with human expertise. In the world of golf, technology offers invaluable insights, but it’s the human understanding and proficiency that unlock its true potential. While AI software and advanced equipment provide data and suggestions, it’s our skilled custom fitters and coaches who interpret this information and craft personalised solutions. The synergy between technology and human expertise is pivotal in transforming data into tangible improvements for golf enthusiasts.
What are the benefits of using such high technology in sports?
The benefits of integrating technology in sports, as exemplified by Club Lab Golf, are significant. By combining cutting-edge technology with personalised one-on-one training and fitting, players can experience a tailored approach that optimises their game. Technology provides valuable insights and data, but it’s the human expertise that interprets and applies this information effectively, ensuring that advancements enhance rather than replace the invaluable touch of skilled professionals. This balance is pivotal in elevating the sports experience and optimising performance.
Club Lab Golf Co-Founder
Can you describe the landscape of golf in the region and its impact on the economy?
The golf landscape in the region, particularly in the UAE, has undergone remarkable growth over the past few decades. The country’s investment in world-class courses and luxurious accommodations has had a substantial impact on the economy, with reports in January stating that the Dubai sports sector contributed approximately $2.5 billion. Hosting over 100 international sporting events annually has significantly boosted the economy through increased tourism and hospitality expenditures.
How has Golf evolved as a sport in the region?
Golf in the UAE has evolved into a popular and dynamic sport, with significant growth in golf tourism, particularly accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Younger generations are increasingly drawn to golf as a means of athleticism, fitness, and social interaction. The country’s global hub status and effective use of social media have made golf more accessible and appealing to the youth. Hosting major international tours like the DP World Tour has further increased the sport’s visibility and allure. Upcoming events like the Dubai Invitational underline the UAE’s rising importance in global golf. Club Lab Golf plays a pivotal role in attracting youngsters to the sport through educational initiatives and engaging social content on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, fostering a new wave of golf enthusiasts in the region.
How do you see the sport evolving further in the region?
Golf in the UAE is poised for further evolution with tournaments like the Dubai Invitational, Dubai Desert Classic, and DP World Tour Championship solidifying the country’s status as a golf hub. Dubai’s investments have not only attracted golf enthusiasts but also families, enriching the sport’s appeal and contributing to its continued growth and popularity in the region. The region’s commitment to golf is evident in the opening of more golf courses, ensuring an exciting and promising future for the sport.
When did you notice a change in perspective for the sport?
The change in perspective on golf in Dubai became evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it was among the first sports to open up to the public, with tee time during the day in high demand. Additionally, venues like Top Golf have played a crucial role in changing the perception of golf, offering a fun and exploratory experience that has made the sport more popular. The increasing attraction of junior players further underscores this shift in perspective.
What is your vision for Club Lab Golf?
Our vision revolves around education, empowerment, and innovation in the world of golf. We’re dedicated to equipping golfers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, and beyond with knowledge, personalised approaches, and top-notch equipment. Our goal is to become an integral part of the region’s golfing landscape, contributing to the industry’s growth and the broader economy, tourism, and hospitality. With the support of visionary leadership, we aim to be a key player in prestigious events like the Dubai Invitational, catering to the global golfing community, and advancing the sport’s positive impact.
How do you see Club Lab Golf evolving?
In the next five years, Club Lab Golf envisions an expansion of its reach, catering to professionals, amateurs, and beginners in the golfing community. Our primary goals include raising awareness, forging partnerships, and delivering transformative, personalised golf experiences. We aim to become an integral part of the golfing landscape across the region, contributing to the sport’s growth and aligning with the global trajectory of golf. We also aspire to play a pivotal role in international events taking place in the region, offering our fitting, coaching, and indoor practice solutions to elite participants, while also contributing to Dubai’s prominence as a global golfing hub.
Visit https://clublabgolf.com/ to find out more.
Main image: Supplied