How Squash became popular in Bristol

Some time ago there was some talk about Bristol being the ideal location to hone your Squash skills – well, understanding why the South West of England city is a hotbed for the sport could be down to the excellent provision on offer for local people.

This was the view of one of our associates who is a Bristol native – so this blog is in honour of him, as he brags a lot about how great the city is when it comes to Squash.

Squash in Bristol

Harbour waterfront, Bristol

Thus, we look into how one of the UK major cities has become an ideal location for a Squash playing career and its provision compared to other major cities like Birmingham and London.

Honorary Bristolians, career revival and success at major tournaments

Last year, there was an interesting article on the BBC Sport website, by Sophie Hurcom who spoke on how Bristol had become a popular location for international elite squash players to rejuvenate their Squash skills.

Joelle King

Photo credit:

One such elite squash player who now lives in Bristol is Joelle King (New Zealand), current ladies’ world no.4), who relocated to Bristol back in 2017; she moved to the great city of the South West, in a bid to revitalise her squash career – as a result, the move proved to major success with success at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia and won two gold medals in the women’s singles and doubles and a bronze in the mixed doubles squash events respectively.

If you think, Joelle King is only an honorary Bristolian, you would be wrong – according to sources, there are a number of squash players who have Bristol as their home, which has helped turn the city into a hub for professional players from all over the world.

Mohamed El Shorbagy

Mohamed El Shorbagy (credit: B24/7)

Surprisingly, last year both Mohamed ElShorbagy former world champion (current men’s world no.3) made a switch of allegiance from Egypt to England and took up residence in Bristol too.

Now in an interesting turn of events, like Joelle, Mohamed went on to win the 2022 Mauritius Open defeating James Willstrop, in his first game since changing allegiance to England.

What has been the catalyst for the success of both Joelle and Mohamed? Well, it can be credited to the excellent coaching of Hadrian Stif, the founder of Elite Squash, a popular squash academy; whose experience spans over two decades and who coaches other squash professionals.

Squash courts all over Bristol

At one time, there were a total of 27 Squash courts in Bristol, which included the Welshback Squash & Health Club built in 1983, then in 1995 saw the launch of the first two David Lloyd Club (Bristol Long Ashton) and David Lloyd Club (Bristol Westbury) which came in 2002.
Like Birmingham and London; there are several great squash clubs in Bristol, you can play at whether it is playing recreationally or competitively but here are a few that consistently rank among the best:

Redland Green Club, Redland, Bristol

Redland Club Bristol

Photo credit: Redland Club Bristol – Facebook

Located in the heart of Bristol, this club offers a friendly and welcoming atmosphere with three high-quality courts; this non-profit sports club is one of the finest committee-managed clubs in Bristol with squash provision.

In the last two decades, the club went through a number of major changes. First, in 1997, it was known as Bristol Lawn Tennis Club following the acquisition of the clubhouse and car park from Bristol Stadium Group and the Tennis and Squash Clubs – resulting in becoming one entity under Bristol Lawn Tennis & Squash Club.

Then in 2012, the Club became incorporated as Redland Green Limited and was now managed by a Board of voluntary Directors, with Redland Green Club as the trading name of the Tennis and Squash Club and is a members-owned club.

The Club is a Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) which means it is open to the whole community – an accreditation that distinguishes the brand from others.

Workout Club, Harbourside

Workout Harbourside Bristol Squash

Established in 1982, the Workout Clubs are Bristol’s most popular independent gym chain with another venue in Ashton.

Workout Harbourside

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What makes the Workout Club so unique is its location – having seen a view of the club on Google Earth, the view of the harbour is excellent, thus making the Workout Club, Harbourside a very popular venue within the neighbourhood, not only offering Squash but fitness provision (gym and a yoga studio) and vibrant café and bar with live sports.

BAWA Leisure

BAWA Leisure

Photo credit: BAWA Leisure

Founded in 1942, this venue is another ‘not-for-profit’ organisation offering healthcare and leisure services and facilities with the aim of promoting good health and wellbeing for our many thousands of members.

When it comes to Squash courts, the venue has four squash courts, along with a viewing gallery overlooking the court on the first floor.

Compared to other non-profit large-scale sports clubs across, the UK; BAWA Leisure looks like an interesting place for Squash, because of its aims to promote good health and wellbeing for its members.

Good ole varsity Squash

Just Like most major cities, nearly every university establishment has a sports centre that is equipped with Squash courts – thus the best Squash players from overseas will want to play at university tournaments.

  • University West England, Bristol – The university has 4 squash courts available at their Centre for Sport and Wallscourt Farm Gym centres. Both Mohammed El Shorbagy along with his brother Marwan (current no.9) play squash at UWE and are said to be one of several many elite players who use the venue too.
  • The University of Bristol – has its own squash club, Bristol Squash Club, but plays at Bristol Grammar School Sports Centre; this is something that is good for inspiring the next generation, along with community outreach too.

Final Thoughts

We reckon Bristol is another location where Squash can be expected to have regrowth in terms of participation, given the number of elite players relocating to the city which can translate to the need for more access for the next generation to participate in the sport.

Could Bristol play host a Squash tournament? We reckon this could happen in a few years; either way, it would be good for the city with its own Bristol Open PSA World tournament during the summer on an outdoor squash court.

In conclusion, if the trend continues for elite players moving to the great city – Bristol could be earmarked as another Squash Performance Hub (something that should be considered), for coaching grassroots talent to progress to becoming a professional Squash players.