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Golf in Scotland opening up to wheelchair users

Wheelchair users will soon be able to play golf using specially designed buggies which raise them upright so that they can swing at the ball, thanks to a Scottish charity which is behind the launch of Paragolf Scotland.

Inspired by the Paralympics and disabled golfers during the Ryder Cup, the Glasgow-based Social Care Ideas Factory (SCIF) has helped fund the only two publicly accessible Paragolfers, in partnership with Mearns Castle Golf Academy in Newton Mearns, Glasgow.

Paragolf Scotland will go live on April 14 at a celebrity evening at the Mearns Castle club attended by Anthony Netto, a US veteran and wheelchair user since 1990 who founded the Stand Up and Play Foundation in America.

Charlie B-Gavigan, chief executive of SCIF, said: “These golf machines which allow disabled people, with paralysis to arthritis, to play are very expensive, but we managed to source a reconditioned one which we were able to fund. The Watson Foundation backed us for the second Paragolfer.”

SCIF has been operating since 2006 with the aim of creating a social innovation network to support health and social care ideas. It is funded by the Scottish government and local authorities and also runs its own fund-raising activities.

It is advised by Alexander Sloan, the Chartered Accountant and Business Adviser, which provides specialist services to many of the 23,724 registered charities in Scotland.

Ms B-Gavigan said: “The idea for the Paragolfers arose out of conversations we had with disabled US golfers who had come over for the Ryder Cup in 2014 and were looking for Scottish golfing partners to play with.

“We thought it was a shame that, as the home of golf, we didn’t have anywhere that wheelchair users could enjoy a round. Now Mearns Castle has two units and there is a third Paragolfer in the Lothians. This is one of the many activities undertaken by SCIF in which we have been guided and advised by Alexander Sloan, particularly partner Allison Devine, who has assisted us since the charity was established.”

 

For further information, contact Allison Devine, Partner, at Alexander Sloan on 0141 204 8985.