The goal for many clubs across the country is to be inclusive to all sectors of their community. Dunnikier Park Golf Club in Kirkcaldy are aiming to do just that through an adapted game called park golf.
A golf game accessible to all
The club has installed a short six-hole, 500-yard park golf course, built and designed by Fife Golf Trust and through the support of Active Fife. It has opened its doors and made golf accessible to all members of the community of all abilities and ages – from early primary school children all the way through to residents in care homes.
Park golf is a form of golf originating from Japan, the aim is to simplify the mainstream sport and allow anyone the opportunity to play. Participants play with one mallet style club and a ball on a course shorter than traditional ones. The rules are simple to follow, with the participant not requiring to swing the mallet like a standard club. No previous knowledge or experience of golf is required.
“It is simple, safe, and great fun to play” says Martin Christie, chair for Dunnikier Park Community Golf, the charitable arm of the club.
The installation of the course was supported by grants from the Community and Wellbeing Fund, and the Our Minds Matter Fund, through Fife Voluntary Action, Fife Council, and the Scottish Government.
It has achieved strong community engagement and through feedback confirms that it is a fun, sociable, family-friendly sport that enhances not only participants physical health, but their mental health and wellbeing too. A round takes less than an hour to play and is finished with a complementary tea, coffee and biscuit in the clubhouse.
Throughout 2023, the club has worked with a number of organisations to make park golf accessible. These have included Alzheimer Scotland, The Nourish Support Centre (which provides life-changing support to families with additional support needs), Phoenix Futures (a drug and alcohol rehabilitation support), Step by Step (a bereavement support group through Cruse Scotland), Sporting Memories, The Salvation Army, six local primary schools through an eight-week taster block, and residents from six care homes through a care home league.
Martin continues: “The demand has been amazing.
"We have seen over 1,000 games being played in 2023, which has been nearly double from the previous year.
"We have weekly support group sessions that run on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and school sessions running on Fridays.
“We have seen 250 young people participating in our park golf programme through Active Schools, 200 of which having never played any form of golf before coming along, so we’re definitely kindling people’s interest in taking up the traditional game.
“The club has never been busier!”
What they said
Jamie Moffatt, Active Communities Officer for Fife Council said; “Dunnikier Park Community Golf are trailblazers in the Fife community, using the power of physical activity to change lives. Martin and the team have brought a new sport to the UK, and have been thriving from the very beginning. Their engagement with a wide variety of participants shows the intergenerational benefits that Park Golf can bring to the community. The success of the Dunnikier Park Community Golf is 100% down to the people. Martin and his team of volunteers really care about making a difference in people’s lives, this shows when you look at the numbers attending each week.”
Kenny a resident from Benmore Care Centre and a participant said: “Our care home was invited to join Dunnikier Park Community Golf’s Care Home League and we welcomed the opportunity with open arms.
“Despite being newcomers to the game, our enthusiasm knew no bounds. With park golf clubs in hand, we took our first swings, feeling the thrill of whacking the ball towards the hole. The camaraderie among our group was infectious—the shared laughter and the friendly competition.
“As the round unfolded, we discovered that golf was more than just a sport; it was a bonding experience, a chance to connect with fellow residents and create lasting memories.
"And when the final putt dropped, we realized that this league wasn’t just about scores—it was about the joy of trying something new, the satisfaction of hitting that perfect shot, and the warmth of being part of a community that embraced both beginners and seasoned players alike.’’
Dunnikier Park Community Golf are a member of the Nippon Park Golf Association – the sport’s governing body and the only member within the UK. They are keen to work with and support other clubs and organisations to grow and extend the reach of park golf across Scotland.
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