Scots club embraces community spirit with state-of-the-art facility

Stirling Gcacademy

Stirling Golf Club has officially opened its new academy facility, designed by Swan Golf Designs, to its membership and to the local community.

The all-new academy, constructed for the cost of £150k, consists of a putting green, two short game areas, bunker practice areas and an outfield range with eight purpose-built targets, all of which have been artificially surfaced.

The exciting new project comes as part of a ten-year vision being implemented at the club in partnership with Swan Golf Designs, with a heavy focus has been placed on engaging the local community.

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“The academy has been laid out in such a way as to encourage people in the community to take up the game,” said Howard Swan of Swan Golf Designs.

“The design allows for wheelchair access for those who are physically disabled, and also to allow those who are disadvantaged in society to be able to play the game and give all the chance to experience golf. Developing a facility which could cater for those benefitting from the ‘Golf in Society’ initiative, which gives dementia sufferers the chance to play, was always a prominent part of the concept.”

One of the short game academies for chipping and bunker play is surfaced with natural grass, the other artificial. Each of the surfaces features varying depth of bunkers, varying heights of mounds, wedge play from different elevations around the target surfaces.

The academy course features false bunkers which still gives the perspective and framing to the greens but allows for a reduced amount of maintenance making it much more cost-effective.

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The project was funded partly through a levy raised from the members and from a grant delivered by Sport Scotland and Swan says that Stirling are now an example club for the national agency for sport.

“Sport Scotland described the plan and the document as an ‘exemplary approach’ for golf clubs in the future. That’s exactly what I want this to be seen as and for other clubs to realise that they can do this, make the most of their space and revamp themselves to appeal to the wider community.”

Stirling Gcacademy1

“What we have got here is a lot better than what we had previously and its revamped the club,” said James Lindsay, course manager at Stirling Golf Club.

“We can now offer a lot more people at the club and in the community a lot more than what we could previously. It’s been fantastic to see it come to life as where the artificial putting surface is now with the two bunkers flanking it, before that was just a tipping ground and a dead space. To see us now make the most of what we have here is excellent.”

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Originally scheduled for April, the academy’s opening was delayed until June because of the coronavirus pandemic, and initially play is being limited to the membership with the hope of it opening to the public later in September.

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