'We’ve Seen Well Over A Quarter Of A Million People In 12 Years' – How The Golf Trust's New Approach Is Helping Grow The Game In 'Untraditional Golfing Spaces'

We speak to Cai Menai-Davis, the founder and director of The Golf Trust, which aims to bring new faces to the sport through its work in the community

the golf trust
Cae Menai-Davis, the founder of The Golf Trust (r) with Charlie Crosby (l) and Crosby's dad Lee (m)
(Image credit: Richard Butcher)

Cae Menai-Davis set up The Golf Trust in 2012. According to its website, "We are passionate about using golf to inspire and empower the people we work with to lead happier and healthier lives. Our specialism is adapting the golf activity to suit the needs of the community. 

"The Golf Trust believes in engaging people fully in their golf development. We choose to deliver in community spaces such as inner city estates, school halls, adventure playgrounds and parks. These untraditional golfing spaces enable us to reach new faces who can discover golf for themselves.

The organisation has helped people like Charlie Crosby, who is remarkably back playing golf after a near-death experience. Below, we chat to Menai-Davis to find out more about The Golf Trust. 

When and why did you set up The Golf Trust?

It was founded back in 2012 in the wake of my old man getting quite ill. Golf has given our family everything we have, so I was thinking, ‘If dad does have a disability, what can I still do with him in golf?’ There were a few organisations out there doing disability golf so I contacted a couple of them. I just wanted to put on some sort of an event primarily to get my dad active again.

What was the event?

Some members of the Disabled Golf Association came in and played a Texas Scramble alongside our members at The Shire. Afterwards, all anyone could talk about was, ‘Did you see that guy with Down’s Syndrome playing? Did you see that guy who is blind playing?’ I thought, ‘Hang on, this is quite an interesting field.’

What happened next?

Someone sent me a message asking if we did community stuff. A guy called Frank Harrington, who was doing SNAG (Starting New At Golf), and I thought, ‘This is what we want to do, so let’s do it.’ SNAG is oversized, colourful clubs and targets so you’re teaching a fun game rather than proper golf. We went into a leisure centre where there were 45 young adults with learning disabilities playing five-a-side. It was carnage! We thought we had no chance, but within five seconds of setting up the golf, the room was silent. Everyone was getting involved. We thought, ‘We’ve got something.’

charlie crosby

Charlie Crosby during the BMW PGA Championship in 2021

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Where are you at with it now?

We’ve seen well over a quarter of a million people in 12 years. We’ve got just over 300 coaches up and down the UK, and we’ve got projects in Ghana and in Grenada in the Caribbean. The goal is to provide an opportunity for people with disabilities and their families to play social, recreational golf. Elite golf isn’t our game. Our game is to put them on a pathway, give them the opportunity, get them playing and keep them playing. 

How much of your time does it take up?

I don’t see it as ‘taking up my time’ because I enjoy it. When you’re getting bogged down in all the paperwork, you always have the coaching to fall back on to see why you do it. You watched what we did with Charlie and his dad today – how can you not love what you do when you’re seeing that?

Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response

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