Shirley Golf Club runs free lessons for children with special needs

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick July 13, 2023 15:33

Shirley Golf Club in the West Midlands hosts free golf lessons for hundreds of children with special needs every week as part of a programme it runs. The venue would like other clubs to get involved, writes general manager Aneil Chauhan.

Twenty years ago, two of our members, Michael Leek OBE and John Lee, decided we needed to attract more juniors to the club and offer support to the local community.

What Michael and John managed to achieve from this initial idea, meant that Shirley Golf Club now hosts about 150 special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) children every week for free golf lessons, both at the club and in the community through our Golf for Disabled Children programme.

Our PGA professional who delivers the lessons, Stuart Bottrill, has been with us at Shirley Golf Club for over 20 years and has been an integral part of this programme. Stuart has delivered thousands of free lessons across the West Midlands offering children who wouldn’t usually get the opportunity to experience golf, to do just that, in a safe and welcoming environment.

Our goal isn’t to create golfers, but to put smiles on faces – and Michael, at the ripe age of 92 years old, continues to encourage other clubs across the country to do the same. We’ve helped a number of clubs implement our Golf for Disabled Children programme, and we’d like to see that number continue to grow.

Our Golf for Disabled Children programme has been backed by names such as Lord Coe, Peter Allis, John Inverdale and Justin Rose, and the continuity of the programme has been assured by the generosity of Shirley Golf Club members, as well as Michael’s drive to help people.

There are some incredible people and organisations doing unbelievable work across the country. The Golf Trust, Golf in Society and many more organisations are aiming to use the health and wellbeing benefits of golf to help local communities – and the more of us that can come together to work towards creating a national programme that benefits communities across the country, the better.

Stuart Bottrill

Michael and John are proof that it only takes a couple of dedicated people to create an amazing impact – and I know Michael would be keen to extend a helping hand to any clubs that would like to get involved in our programme.

Each year we run a Golf for Disabled Children (GFDC) Golf Day, which usually raises 50 percent of the funds we need to continue delivering this fantastic cause. This year it is on August 19 and we’d welcome any entries or support that clubs or people would like to offer.

Shirley Golf Club is striving to lead the way in health and wellbeing schemes, partnering with local mental health charities, offering disability awareness training for staff, hosting support groups and much more to come later this year.

We hope that other clubs can see the benefit of being a safe place for their local community, and we are always here to support or guide any clubs looking to start similar programmes.

For more information, email or view the video from the QR code.


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick July 13, 2023 15:33
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  1. Langdon July 18, 12:01

    Fantastic opportunities for all and forward thinking by Shirley Golf Club ⛳️ Thanks for sharing

    Reply to this comment
  2. Taylor July 14, 11:02

    So good to see golf clubs taking more social responsibility! A great initiative Aneil Chauhan.

    PS. This would look great on your touchscreen!

    Reply to this comment
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