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Reign and Leigh
A visit from Reign and Leigh
Read all about their experience on the 18 hole course as wheelchair users!
Posted July 11, 2023

Hello! We are Reign and Leigh, a married couple, powered wheelchair users and mini/crazy golf lovers! We have been to the amazing Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf in Bournemouth twice now, with no plans to stop going any time soon, in fact, quite the opposite. So, we were invited to talk a bit about our experience at Smugglers cove Adventure Golf as wheelchair users!


Everyone loves a trip to Bournemouth, right? The penny slots, the fish and chips, the walks along the pier, the mini golf, what more could you want? Well Leigh and I live near Southampton with no way to travel anywhere other than public transport. This can make days out very stressful and difficult, but when there’s a direct train to Bournemouth we really can’t say no when there’s glorious weather! All we have to do is speak to the Passenger Assistance and they can get a ramp ready for us to board, before calling ahead to Bournemouth train station so they can get the ramp ready on their end. Once we’ve settled on the train with our carer, we always play a game of UNO, and before you know it, you’re there! Then it’s only a short (for us fast wheelies) 15-20 minute walk to the beach front.


Once you are at the beach front it’s easy to find Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf. There are really clear big signs and you can see the lovely water of Smugglers’ pool through the fence. It’s really easy to enter, you can either pre-book on the website or you can try to get tickets at the time. When it’s busy you may not be able to just turn up so they may give you a time to come back or it may be fully booked. The first time we went in 2021 we pre-booked and we are really glad we did as it was the summer holidays and very busy. All we had to do was join the short queue to get to the front hatch. Once at the hatch we just scanned the QR code on our tickets then were given a paper score sheet, a pencil, clubs and balls! The sheet was small enough to pop in your pocket and the pencil was small but useable, the team have got longer pencils for anyone that needs it. However, when we returned in 2022 it was off-season and we just turned up and got on straight away.


The actual entrance is just a gate that is kept open during opening hours, with a hatch on your right where you speak to a lovely staff member. They really could not be more helpful and asked if we needed anything or had any questions and us being us wanted to leave it all up to the course. The whole course is a winding path with some spaces between holes where customers can wait until the people in front have finished their turn. We have always found it is enough room for us both and the carer to wait without getting in the way of the courses. The path between holes seems to be a solid but slightly soft, bouncy material with minimal bumps which makes for a smooth ride. The main holes are artificial grass and quite smooth to drive on! They do have some bumps, hills and dips which still feel safe and comfortable to go over. A less confident wheelchair user may want help going over these bits, as there are very small bumps and dips in the floor. There are some holes we had to let our carer finish for us as there are some obstacles in the way. First is hole number 5 “the compass”. It has a short and sudden incline right in the middle of the course, which made it difficult for us to go up as mid-wheel powerchair users. The hole was right in the middle so we let our carer finish for us. We don’t mind though as our arms get tired despite help (more on that in a bit). The second more awkward hole is Number 14 “St Andrews Church” which has a crack in the wall you have to get your ball through to get close to the hole. The ball can come back to you as it’s up hill and through a small crack! Then once inside you can go round the wall and the hole is in a bit of a corner with another crack. This may be tricky as you may hit the ball back through the crack and have to go back round the wall to try again. We may have cheated a bit here and got our carer to cover the crack near the hole, which seemed to work great! One surface challenge is by hole 18, there is a steep decline at the last hole where you might need some assistance. Other than that, there are just a few minor bumps. As we say though this may be slightly different for manual wheelchair users or front/rear wheel drive power chairs. If you get your ball into a corner or awkward place on the course it can be hard to reach, but we always let us both bring the ball out from the edge so we can reach it! You can also phone the Smugglers team who are always happy to come and assist


We realised whilst writing this that many may not know how someone in a wheelchair could play golf, and whilst it is only putting, it does come with some challenges. Our personal technique, as there isn’t much room to put the ball say between your legs and hit it, we like to turn facing the hole and hold the club to the side of our chair/wheel. We then get our carer to hold the club with us and they take the majority of the weight of it. We count to 3 and on 3 we use the carers force to hit the ball! It’s what we’ve found works best, as the clubs are quite heavy. We find going the side you’re strongest on works best, for example we are both right handed so we tend to hit it on our right hand side. This however doesn’t work when you are in a tight corner or awkward edge of the course! We then have to improvise and hope our left side isn’t too awful – haha! Again, it’s always best to find ways that work for you.

Completing the course

The last hole has a box attached to it, so your ball gets collected inside. On completion you then go through a door into a small gift shop/hut. The doors are a normal door width, so our standard power chairs got through just fine. There is a small lip on the door frame but nothing major. They then see your scores and will write your score on the leader board if you are good enough to beat the highest scores that week! Our carer actually got on the leader board in 2022! There is some merchandise to purchase as well as cold drinks and a really well made selfie frame you can hold to take pictures with. We actually ended up racing inside in 2022 after only reaching the second hole as it poured down with rain! The staff member in the hut didn’t mind at all and welcomed the only other group in as well. Luckily it was a quiet day mid-term time, so we just waited for the rain to stop then carried on our way!

Final notes

If it does rain the fake grass can get a little slippery so your tyres may spin a bit, but it didn’t stop us at all. Overall, the Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf Bournemouth is great fun, super wheelchair accessible and the team are always very friendly. We can’t recommend these guys enough and look forward to our next adventure there! Thank you for reading!

You can follow us on Instagram to see all our adventures and fabulous outfits!

Reign and Leigh

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