The European Disabled Golf Association (EDGA) has provided training to a group of specialist physiotherapists in Portugal so that they can help sufferers of stroke and other neurological conditions to enjoy the health benefits of golf.
EDGA is the Official Charity of the Portugal Masters, a tournament on the European Tour International Schedule and part of the Race to Dubai. The money raised has funded this pilot project which will encourage patients in rehabilitation centres in the Algarve and Lisbon areas to first try golf and then enjoy further playing opportunities at local golf clubs. If successful it will be extended to assist people with a range of disabilities to take up the sport in communities throughout Portugal.
Training was given to six physiotherapists during the recent EDGA Algarve Open held at Pestana Vila Sol, an event supported by the Association of Algarve Tourism and featuring nearly 70 international golfers with a disability. The practical training session on basic technical aspects and adjustment considerations for golfers with impairment was given by Mark Taylor, a respected PGA Tutor and Development Manager of EDGA.
Mark Taylor said: “We were delighted as the students really enjoyed the training at Pestana Vila Sol and are now looking forward to starting the project in their local areas, where they will receive further in-house training from our representatives in Portugal.
“All those present agreed that golf can provide a great vehicle to help reintegrate patients in the community by offering a healthy sport which can help them both physically and mentally, by boosting confidence and taking away feelings of isolation that many may have encountered.”
Mark said it was also useful for the physiotherapists – four of them being non-golfers – to experience a modern, welcoming golf facility for the first time, including watching and meeting some of the EDGA players taking part in the Algarve Open at Vila Sol.
Mark added: “We would like to extend our thanks to all at the European Tour who – through the charity fundraising opportunity during the Portugal Masters in September – have helped us to start a project that could improve the lives of many people in this region.”
Peter Adams, Head of Championship Management at the European Tour, said: “It is fantastic to see how the funds raised by the European Disabled Golf Association as the Official Charity of the Portugal Masters for the past two years are making a real difference.
“The work carried out by EDGA across Portugal, Europe and on a global scale demonstrates how golf can have a positive impact on people, and this latest pilot project is a wonderful example of that.”
The European Disabled Golf Association is supported by The R&A, European Tour, The Ryder Cup European Development Trust and 23 of Europe’s national Golf Federations, plus several valued partners including PING and the Association of Algarve Tourism. Supported by globally respected health and disability experts, the organisation is currently working with the International Golf Federation (IGF) as it seeks to influence the Paralympic bodies so that elite golfers with a disability are able to take their golf to the very highest international level.
Pictured above EDGA players and Thomas Pieters at Portugal Masters