How does the Equality Act affect buggy provision?

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 15, 2012 13:00

How does the Equality Act affect buggy provision?

Since the passing into law of the Equality Act 2010, there have been several guidance documents published in relation to the provision of golf buggies for the disabled. However, the question: “Is it a requirement that golf clubs provide ride-on buggies for disabled people?” has been a grey area. For now we will look at the three main factors that answer this question.

Firstly, it should be noted that there are cases against golf clubs that have already been taken to court which highlights the importance of this issue.

Is a ride-on golf buggy an auxiliary aid? This has been a major bone of contention so let’s put this one to bed first. The government Department for Equality and Human Rights answer this question with an unequivocal yes.

Is it a reasonable adjustment for a golf club to provide a ride-on golf buggy from a financial point of view?

Is it a reasonable adjustment to allow ride-on golf buggies onto the course from a health and safety point of view?

Perhaps the clearest guidance document published to date is that by the Scottish Golf Union which states: ”Making reasonable adjustment would include auxiliary aids to prevent disabled persons from being substantially disadvantaged. On this basis, golf clubs are likely to be required to provide golf buggies for such individuals.”

Is it really worth risking a costly law suit?

Neil Gray is from Fairway Rider G3. The Equality and Human Rights helpline is 0845 604 6610 and Scottish Golf Union guidance can be found online at: http://www.scottishgolf.org/files/Transportation_Policy.pdf

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 15, 2012 13:00
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8 Comments

  1. Jacqueline Crossan January 27, 15:16

    I have a blue badge but am unable to play many courses as they do not supply ride on buggies. What is the law on this? as I feel I am being discriminated against because of a disablement.

    Thanks
    Jackie Crossan

    Reply to this comment
  2. Electric Peach February 1, 17:21

    I have played golf since I was 5 years old (Now 34). I played competitively with a low single figure handicap and have always preferred carrying my bag. In fact, I generally considered people using a buggy lazy unless they were being hired for good reason. 3 years ago both of my ankles were broken in a traffic accident caused by another driver and, whilst I can still swing a club, it is now impossible for me to walk a golf course so unless I hire a buggy at full cost, I cannot play. I am not going to say ‘it is unfair’ but I do consider it shortsighted. I have a valid blue badge and can provide proof of my mobility issues. I realise many clubs are not obliged to provide buggies to anyone, but I do not think it is right to charge full price to someone who genuinely needs one to play. I would be happy to pay a contribution towards the upkeep of the buggies but I think it is wrong for the club to profit in that situation. plus, if it doubles the price of a round then I can only afford to pay a green fee half as often.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Lost Ball October 8, 12:10

    Today my golf club has put a complete ban on buggy’s, This has been done by our Hon Administrator, when I asked him why and who had authorised it. he answered himself and head green keeper, asked him if a report had been done, no we don’t do them. then I approached the head green keeper and asked why a ban when 2 tractors has been round the course and onto 18 greens, he informed me he had not authorised it, he had been approached by the Hon Administrator who said he had put a sign out and banned ride on buggies. Without a report being done are they breaking the 2010 equality act on disability.

    Reply to this comment
    • Tony January 8, 14:37

      Hi lost ball
      Your Hon administrator is contravening the Equality Act 2010 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and others, to cut things short, if the course is open to non-disabled golfers it should be open to disabled golfers with a buggy as long as the Club has evidence of your disability from your Doctor.
      I, too am experiencing discrimination from my club, I have a comment below yours on this site
      They as far as I can see are breaking the law !
      Regards and good luck
      Tony Clayton

      Reply to this comment
      • Kevin February 6, 13:25

        Where do you get this ridiculous information from?! It is comments like this that are making it impossible for people to run golf clubs fairly and without fear of costly lawsuits. I have a purpose built vehicle which we use to stock up our halfway house which is on the other side of the course. Because of weather conditions and the softness of some parts of the course, it got stuck and had to be towed back with a tractor. You are giving the impression to disabled golfers that they have the right to use buggies, whether hired or owned, anytime the course is open! This is not the case. Health and safety would have a field day if one of these users had an accident when the course was not fit for ride on buggies. If you wish to advise people, ensure you state all the facts and not just the controversial parts.

        Reply to this comment
  4. Tony January 6, 17:00

    Hello all, I have been a member of Malton & Norton golf club for 43 years, in the past 3 years I have been discriminated, after an industrial accident in 2000 I have been unable to walk more than a hundred yards and therefore need to use a buggy, but now I find that every time the head green keeper wishes he bans buggies even though the course is open to non-disabled golfers, I have complained about this stating the equality act and an email from the R&A, to which this has been ignored ,I have been threatened to be expelled from the club and I pay for services I do not receive, It has affected so much I have been suffering stress for over 6 months, it is so unfair the management don’t listen and my golf game is suffering because of it, I have gone from 12 to 19 handicap because of all this, I am now considering not joining next year ! even though I have just retired, it is so unfair, can anyone help me ? please
    Tony Clayton

    Reply to this comment
  5. Tony January 6, 17:24

    After 43 years a member at Malton & Norton Golf Club I find myself being discriminated, after an industrial accident in 2000 I find that I cannot walk more than 100 yards, my Doctor wrote a letter to the club and it was agreed that I should be allowed to use a buggy, so I bought a second hand buggy (because the club would not provide one).
    Over the past 3 years I have been subjected to discrimination, I have been banned from using my buggy whilst the course is open to non-disabled golfers,
    I have complained about this but to no avail ! I have in fact been threatened with expulsion from the club and an email I received from the R&A was said to be a generic reply? they do not acknowledge they are breaking the law, it has been so intense for me that I have been of work with stress and depression for 6 months, after 43 years I am considering not joining next year, but why should I suffer ? it seems they do exactly what they want with no respect to law.
    What can I do ?
    Tony Clayton

    Reply to this comment
  6. Braveheart April 4, 11:18

    This is a common problem clubs hiding in plain sight. They have ignored the 2010 Equality act hoping no one will challenge them. It s clear the advice from England Golf the ruling amatuer golf body’s legal team regarding buggy use is unequiviocal. Clubs must adhere to this advice. It is too
    long to lost here but is on their site. 2 clubs in the Manchester area have had to settle out of court for large sums for alleged breaches.
    Obviously been advised they would lose the case.
    If anyone thinks the equality acts do not note they should Google Tesco till staff dispute. They hid in plain sight of the a acts. Hiding in plain sight is not a clever option.

    Reply to this comment
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