Construction of a new community golf academy designed by Swan Golf Designs has started at Stirling Golf Club in Scotland.
The Stirling150Academy will comprise a long-game area, two short-game areas, a putting green and a six-hole short course with artificial target greens.
Swan Golf Designs has been working at the club since 2012, implementing a 10-year master plan for golf course improvements.
Howard Swan said: “We reviewed the practice area in the original audit and, considering the seventh year of the plan coincided with the 150th anniversary of the club, we suggested, rather than carry out work on the course and intrude on celebrations, we should, instead, look at improving the practice facilities and making them more inclusive.
“The Stirling150Academy makes maximum use of a small area. And, with the assistance of a progressive group in the membership, the drive of professional Kenny Monaghan, and assistance from Anthony Blackburn from Golf in Society — a social enterprise which uses golf to improve the lives of the ageing population so affected by dementia — we produced a concept focused on the community, which encourages participation of the local schools and population.”
The club hopes the academy will encourage those who might not otherwise have the chance to start playing golf, such as disadvantaged or challenged people in the community. Sport Scotland has awarded a grant of £50,000 towards the total cost of the project and the club has matched the total amounts donated. The £150,000 funding target was reached during the summer.
“Sport Scotland described the plan and the document as an ‘exemplary approach’ for golf clubs in the future,” said Swan. “We’re always looking to see how we can make golf more sustainable — and that ethos was recognised by the merits of the public purse. Both Swan Golf Designs and Stirling GC are extending the arms of welcome to those who traditionally may have lacked the opportunity to play our wonderful sport.”
Three contractors will work on the project: Greentech Sportsturf, artificial turf specialist ScotGrass and Turf Irrigation Services. Horticultural work will be handled under the direction of course superintendent James Lindsay.
The golf academy is expected to open in spring 2020.