A Leicestershire golf professional who has been coaching blind and visually handicapped golfers for 20 years has just held an in-depth session at his home club for the England and Wales Blind Golf Association.
Anders Mankert, head pro at Cosby GC, and his teaching assistant James Herbert, introduced newcomers to the game on the club’s well-equipped driving range and on the practice green.
The more than 20 blind golfers and their sighted guides were led by Barry Ritchie, the EWBGA captain, and volunteer helpers were from the Lions Club in Coventry.
Mankert said: “First of all we went on to the range and within 20 minutes they were all hitting golf balls. Only one of them had ever played golf before –just a little before losing his sight.
“First of all we worked on their swings. Then, after lunch, we focused on putting and ran a competition which they enjoyed. So it was a highly successful day and we hope at least some of them will continue to develop an interest in the game.
“My experience over the years has shown just how much enjoyment golfers of all ages, men and women alike, do get out of golf, especially, of course, with an enthusiastic guide to help them into the correct position and give them confidence to hit their shots.
“The 3 different categories for blind and visually handicapped golfers means they can play and compete in their individual sections – from totally blind to those with some vision. I enjoy teaching them and helping them to achieve their targets in the sport, and would urge anyone who thinks golf may appeal to them to try it for themselves.
“It is also rewarding to be a guide because they are so crucial in enabling their player to get the very most out of his or her game.”
Mankert has coached many totally blind golfers who have competed in major tournaments around the world.
Just before this coaching session for newcomers to the game, he gave a regular lesson to Billy McAllister , the totally blind world No.4, who travelled to Leicestershire from his home in Sussex, with B2 golfer Andy Gilford, who is developing his game.
Mankert, who has just been made joint runner-up in a national golf magazine’s Club Golf Professional of the Year awards. added: “I am sure there are a lot of blind and visually handicapped people who would really enjoy the challenge of playing golf and there are lots of targets for them to achieve.”
England and Wales Blind Golf Association www.blindgolf.co.uk
Anders Mankert www.andersmankert.co.uk