Walmley builds UK’s first wheelchair friendly practice area

Walmley builds UK’s first wheelchair friendly practice area


Walmley Golf Club in the West Midlands has just finished installing the UK’s first disabled-friendly golf practice green.

Designed and built by Huxley Golf, the project had the financial backing of the Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust. Head Teaching Professional Sam Stuart is already rolling out lessons to golfers who had previously never thought it would be possible to access the sport, including children at SEN schools.

“Through our CIC status we were awarded a substantial grant to build what we believe to be the UK’s first disability designed artificial putting green,” he said. “The aim is to offer golfing opportunities to those who may need walking aids or who are in a wheelchair, who would not easily be able to use a traditional putting green.”

The inspiration to build the accessible green first came from coaching a stroke victim back to golf despite being paralysed down one side of his body. The incredible benefits the gift of getting back onto the course with his old friends gave this client was an eye-opener.

“As a club our primary goal is to make golf accessible, engaging and relevant to everyone in our local community, able and disabled alike.” added Stuart.

“We started off with a grant from Sport England to build new driving range bays that were accessible and when I saw the opportunity this gave disabled participants, I had the idea to extend this to the short game and build an artificial green that would be wheelchair friendly.”

The club also raised funds to contribute to the build costs, something it has been doing since its inception, providing vital investment for projects such as this. To make the new artificial green wheelchair friendly the team at Huxley Golf designed it in a rectangular shape, with strategically positioned teeing grounds and pathways around the outside for wheelchairs and those who need to use walking aids to navigate to the tees and putt.

Pauline Reid is one of the new green users who has benefited from the cleverly accessible design. “As a disabled person there are barriers to a lot of activities,” explains Reid. “So when I was invited to attend a women’s taster golf lesson I accepted but with the expectation that I would be mainly observing and networking.”

Instructor Sam Stuart, however, helped Reid see beyond the barriers, showing her that golf can indeed accommodate people with disabilities. “The club has had my comfort as their main priority from the day I joined, ordering adjustment items such as an automatic tee up dispenser in the driving range bay.

"By adapting part of their natural grass golf green to artificial turf for chipping and putting it is another great stride forward for the club, further improving their inclusivity.”


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