a hole lot of trouble; UNFAIR WAY GLENEAGLES BLASTED Disabled golfer's complaint sparks review.
Byline: JAMIE JOHNSON email@example.com
CHIEFS at one of Scotland's biggest golf clubs have been forced to review their discrimination policies after a complaint from a retired police officer and the Record.
Phil Housley, who has a disability after being hurt in the line of duty, was told he had to pay hundreds of pounds more than his able-bodied friends if he wanted to play golf at Gleneagles on his birthday.
The 58-year-old said he felt lost in a "David versus Goliath" fight for equal treatment by the club until they agreed to waive buggy fees.
He said: "I was really excited about the prospect of going to Gleneagles.
"I have a degenerative disc disease - a back injury after a collision while in the police - so I need a buggy to get round the course. I spent PS1000 on my own vehicle but Gleneagles said I had to use one of theirs.
"That was a bit of a shock - but then they told me I would have to firstname.lastname@example.org pay PS110 a day for the buggy and a driver, as well as the PS120 green fee.
"That's just ridiculous. Charging disabled people hundreds of pounds while able-bodied people don't have to pay a penny is blatant flouting of the Equalities Act.
"As of 2010, organisations are, by law, meant to make alterations to make their venues more accessible but clearly Gleneagles think they are above the law."
But Gleneagles argued the move was due to safety concerns.
A spokesman said: "The courses are characterised by significant undulations and would not be safe for the use of a personal buggy.
"For our guests' safety, we therefore provide GPS-controlled buggies that limit access to safe areas.
"In the case of The King's and Queen's courses, which are exceptionally undulating, the buggies must be driven by a caddy who is trained to navigate a safe route. These arrangements make safe access available to all golfers."
At other courses, the situation is different. Carnoustie Golf Links said: "We provide golf carts for use on our course free of charge."
At St Andrews, the only buggies allowed on the Old Course are for golfers who are registered disabled with supporting documentation.
The buggy is provided free of charge but must be driven by a caddie at a fee of PS50 plus tip.
After the Record contacted Gleneagles, they wrote to Phil telling him they would waive the buggy fees.
Phil says that while he appreciates the goodwill gesture, he wants to make sure it applies to everyone.
When the Record contacted Gleneagles again, they confirmed they are now reviewing their policies.
General manager Conor O'Leary said: "We care deeply about providing an environment that is inclusive and welcoming to all."
COSTLY Phil was told he would have to pay for a buggy and driver at Gleneagles
TAKING A STAND Phil confronted course over fees for the disabled