BRAINCHILD: PGA professional Darrell Dalton is eager to see his vision come to reality with a purpose-built golf complex for athletes with intellectual disabilities.
BRAINCHILD: PGA professional Darrell Dalton is eager to see his vision come to reality with a purpose-built golf complex for athletes with intellectual disabilities. Alex Nolan

Multi-million dollar hope for tailor-made sports complex

NAMBOUR could soon be home to a multimillion-dollar sports complex tailor made for intellectually disabled athletes.

The proposed golf facility would be an Australian first and feature a double-storey driving range, 18-hole pitch and putt golf course and three indoor golf simulators.

Golf Programs Australia Inc last week presented a business case to Member for Nicklin Peter Wellington to seek funding.

It is hoped the facility will engage individuals, not just the disabled, who would benefit from the social and physical benefits of golf.

GPAI has also engaged the services of TAFE Queensland East Coast with an aim to provide learning and training opportunities including green keeping, hospitality, communications and day-to-day operations.

It is hoped initial funding to build the facility would be allocated, with the GPAI board taking control of operations and management.

Hutchinson Builders agreed to provide a free quote to GPAI based on a golf facility worth $2.1 million built in Toowoomba last year.

An artists impression of what the new facility could look like.
An artists impression of what the new facility could look like. Contributed

The facility would be a dream come true for GPAI founder, president and Nambour Golf Club teaching pro Darrell Dalton.

Mr Dalton comes from a nursing background and has run the Sunshine Coast Special Olympics' Golf Program since 2014, which continues to grow in strength and numbers.

He has worked around the clock with wife Michelle to deliver the business case.

"This is the beginning of something in the golf community that is really going to explode," he said.

"It has never been done before."

Mr Dalton has found supporters from across the business and golf community, including letters of support from the PGA and Golf Queensland.

The sport has drawn criticism in the past for its failure to provide adequate resources and support to disabled golf programs.

Golf Queensland moved last year to introduce inclusive one-day clinics at three south-east clubs.

Redcliffe's program is believed to be the only ongoing inclusion course run by a club in Queensland.

But the website said training occurs "most Saturday afternoons at 2.30pm" and could vary due to "competitions and other activities from time to time".

Mr Dalton said the proposed facility would cater for disabled athletes all the time.

"We need to be more inclusive as a sport," Mr Dalton said.

"It's been seen as an exclusive sport to some degree.

"This will be a facility (intellectually disabled athletes) will have ownership of.

"When you come to our range, you will play with people with disabilities.

"You will be served coffee, food and range balls by someone with a disability."

Mr Dalton, who said he was yet to find a suitable block of land, hoped to bring his program to the government's attention.

"At this stage we don't have the funding to get this off the ground," he said.

"But does the community need this?

"Absolutely."