Universal Access on the Course
Some members or visitors to a golf club may be unable to play golf due to physical impairment without the help provided by a motorised ride-on buggy to navigate the course.
- At least one hole of the course that is still able to be accessed safely by a buggy user during times where buggies have been prohibited for able bodied users.
The hole or holes on the course that are selected for this should be primarily flat and the routes to them should be free from additional hazards. Whilst this dispensation is easier for some clubs than others, it should be noted that failure to provide this dispensation has resulted in complaints being made to the Equality and Human Rights Commission under the Equality Act and the affected clubs having to make reasonable adjustments such as the one listed above.
Once the decision has been made the dispensation and specific hole(s) to be used should be written into the golf club buggy policy and applicable staff, who are involved with the leasing and control of buggies on the course, should be instructed of this additional dispensation for disabled golfers.
The main requirements to manage universal access on the golf course are:
- Completion of a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of the course itself.
- Providing information, instruction and training.
- Providing users of the equipment information and instruction to operate the equipment safely.
- An assessment of competence prior to giving out equipment to users.
- To ensure that at least one hole as a minimum is playable for members with disabilities where buggies have been prohibited for able bodied players.
- To make reasonable adjustments to enable access to the course to all members including members with disabilities.
Questions to Consider
- Is there at least one hole available to members with limited mobility during times of adverse weather?
- Are all routes that members would take monitored and maintained?
- Is there information and instruction on the course to divert buggies to safer routes?
- Is there a layout or topography of the course available to users?
- Are buggies being fully maintained prior to being given out to users? e.g. fully charged, refueled, etc
The above guidance provides an introduction on the main requirements needed to adequately manage this health and safety topic. If you require further guidance, risk assessments or template documentation on this subject please consult your relevant full guidance health and safety website (BIGGA, England Golf, Scottish Golf, Wales Golf). If you do not hold the log in details for this website, for your club, please speak to your golf club management team to identify who the account administrator is and request the details.