Andy Murray-backed padel to be part of R&A's new facility in Glasgow

The R&A’s new community golf facility in Glasgow is set to include a fast-growing sport being backed by tennis star Andy Murray.

Igor and Heba, both aged 10, from St Philomena's Primary School in Glasgow got their first taste of padel at Lethamhill this week.
Igor and Heba, both aged 10, from St Philomena's Primary School in Glasgow got their first taste of padel at Lethamhill this week.

The provision of padel, which is a tennis/squash hybrid, has now been included in the ambitious plans to redevelop the existing public golf course at Lethamhill in the north-east of the city.

Three covered padel courts, to be installed and operated by the UK’s leading padel brand Game4Padel, have been added to the plans, which already included shorter form golf courses, adventure golf and a 52-bay double-decker floodlit driving range.

Martin Slumbers, the R&A’s chief executive, said: “We have a very clear objective to make golf more accessible and inclusive for people of all ages and backgrounds.

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“To achieve that, we need to broaden our appeal by offering a wider variety of fun and affordable activities that appeal to our target audience and get more families and young people taking part.

“Padel fits the bill perfectly in those respects and we are delighted to be working with Game4Padel to incorporate three all-weather courts in the revised plans for Lethamhill.”

Padel is played with four players in a glass-enclosed court about one-third of the size of a tennis court.

The rules are broadly similar to tennis, although players serve underarm - meaning it is much easier for beginners – and the walls are used as part of the game, making for longer rallies.

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New R&A facility in Glasgow now set to include double-decker driving range

It can be played in groups of mixed ages and abilities, as tactics and subtlety are as important as power.

Padel boasts six million players in Spain and is rapidly gaining popularity across the UK, continental Europe and the rest of the world.

Celebrity fans and players of padel include Murray, who is also an investor in Game4Padel, Zinedine Zidane, Rafael Nadal, Lionel Messi, and Maria Sharapova.

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Michael Gradon, co-founder and chief executive of Game4Padel, said: “This is a landmark deal for our business and for the game of padel in the UK.

“It is a great pleasure to be working in partnership with a brand and an organisation as prestigious as the R&A and to help them realise what is a fantastic vision for Lethamhill that will increase participation not only in golf, but in other activities like padel.

“Padel is highly complementary to what the R&A is trying to achieve here – being accessible, fun, and easy for beginners to pick up – and a great way for players of all ages and abilities to experience the health and wellbeing benefits of sports participation.”

Earlier this year, the R&A submitted a planning application to Glasgow City Council, detailing its vision to transform the site at Lethamhill, which it hopes will open in the spring of 2023.

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Those plans include a café, retail space and nursery as part of a central hub that would offer views north over nearby Hogganfield Loch to the Campsie Fells and south to the city of Glasgow.

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