Golf Access for All? An Analysis of Golf Clubs from a Universal Aceess Perspective towards the Development of Case Studies of Good Practice and Guidelines for Best Policy and Practice

Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Masters of Science (Research)


Institute of Technology Tralee

First Advisor

Ms. Edel Randles

Second Advisor

Dr. Jackie Gallagher


People with disabilities (PWD) partake less in sport and physical activity than the able- bodied population, thereby putting PWD at a disadvantage in ternis of experiencing the health and social-related benefits of an active lifestyle.

This mixed-method study conducted an analysis of Irish golf clubs (n=100) in order to assess their inclusiveness for PWD and gauge the sector’s willingness to become more inclusive. The research utilised an intei*pretative phenomenological approach in conjunction with a post-positivist research-method consisting of 100 suiweys and 6 semi-structured interviews. Qualitative data were analysed thematically and quantitative data were analysed with SPSS Edition 23.

A total of 86% of respondents acknowledged a moral obligation to include PWD and a further 70% mentioned inclusion was beneficial to the club. A further 72% of respondents stated that they would advocate for inclusion at the committee level and 80% disagreed that inclusion would pose a threat. Results found that the average club had 1% of members with disabilities, therefore, signalling a prevalent lack of PWD in golf Golf clubs were mostly in favour of inclusion and 49% were actively engaged in attracting members with disabilities. Finance (62%), lack of education (61%) and planning (60%) were amongst the highest ranking bamers to inclusion. Only 20% of clubs had concerns in facilitating PWD, liability/safety (75%), the pace of play (65%), and damage to greens (60%) being the most prevalent concerns. The study recommends that golf clubs engage with disability community services, offer flexible game-fonnats, and accessible golf programmes.

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