Crash, bang, wallop indeed. The popularity of the come all ye Golf It! facility in Glasgow was underlined by the news earlier this month that the actual driving range would have to close for a spell due to the fact that over two million balls had been clattered in just eight weeks, causing damage to the outfield.

It sounds a bit like the number of shots, and the desecration created, by this correspondent during the height of another season of thrashing, swiping futility.

The R&A’s innovative, inspiring and inclusive community-based project at the old Lethamhill municipal course just off the Cumbernauld Road has gone down a storm. The gospel of Golf It! continues to be spread far and wide.

Back in ye day, Lethamhill rolled out the welcome to golfing giants like Walter Hagen and Gene Sarazen who arrived to play a series of exhibition matches. Here in 2023, the name of the late, great Arnold Palmer has given this golfing corner of Glasgow further lustre.

As part of The R&A’s multi-million pound global philanthropy programme, the Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation (AWPF) has come on board to support the flourishing Golf It! venture. From Latrobe to Lethamhill? The ties are strong.

“Where my father grew up in Latrobe (Pennsylvania), there were certainly similarities between that and the humble and modest community where Golf It! sits,” said Amy Palmer Saunders, the daughter of the seven-time major champion, who continues to preserve and promote her father and mother’s shimmering legacy through the Foundation.

“That environment was hugely meaningful in shaping my father’s own personality and character. Latrobe continued to be the place where he and my mother lived, they were born there, they died there, but continued to support that community. It’s like what Golf It! is doing at Lethamhill. When we got introduced to Golf It! we found it very compelling.”

The trailblazing Golf It! facility is not just about filling up a bucket of 50 balls and thwacking merrily away. As well as a 52-bay, two-tier range, there is, among a whole raft of attractions, a nine-hole course, adventure golf, nature trails and free bike hire for tootles around Hogganfield Loch.

Wider initiatives include a schools programme and other community projects which offer the chance to develop skills, get into volunteering or embark on an apprenticeship.

“The thing that blew me away the most was that 77,000 utilise Hogganfield Loch for recreation per year,” added Ken Boehner, the chairman and president of the AWPF. “In the first eight weeks of Golf It! being opened, 55,000 came through with two million golf balls hit.

“That says to me something is right about the way the R&A approached the design of the project. The R&A asked the community what they wanted to see and they empowered that community.

“The project reflected the values of Amy’s parents, what they cared about and their philanthropic goals of helping children and people live their best lives, through health and wellbeing and character development through golf.”

Arnie's special affinity with Scotland began in 1960 when, at the start of his most prolific, barnstorming years, he brought his charisma and captivating competitive gusto to The Open for the first time at St Andrews and injected the championship with fresh vigour.

His daughter too enjoyed her eye-opening trips. Well, most of the time. “As children, we spent a lot of time sitting in the car waiting on dad finishing signing autographs,” said Palmer Saunders with a chuckle.

“But my mother did her best to give us the exposure to the wonderful places we had the opportunity to visit. St Andrews was always a special place, for the way the people embraced my mother and father. It was a special time as a child.”

Those special times continued on this most recent visit, as Boehner noted. “We were walking back to the Rusacks Hotel and tied on a lamppost there was a picture of Mr Palmer with his distinctive swing along with a dozen roses,” he said. “Somebody loves Arnold Palmer. It was one of those moments when you think ‘wow, he mattered a lot here’. And St Andrews mattered a lot to him.”

At Lethamhill, meanwhile, the Golf It! facility clearly matters a lot too. “Finally getting to go there and experience it in person validated what we felt the first time we were introduced to it,” said Palmer Saunders. “My father and mother would have been hugely impressed by it.”