The Beacon Centre, the Black Country’s leading sight loss charity, teamed up with the Mark Butler Golf Academy to launch the pan disability golf programme. The two organisations have been working together for more than two years to help those living with sight loss to try golf.
After three successful introduction to golf courses the charity and the golf academy, working closely with England Golf, wrote a golf programme to work with the visually impaired as well as other disabilities.
A total of 24 players from the Black Country, Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire took part in the programme which culminated in the BeaconButler Challenge Cup, which was based around the Ryder Cup format with players split into Europe and America teams. It finished in a draw with both teams scoring 93 points.
As well as the Beacon Centre, a number of other charitable organisations were represented in the programme including Wings, High Flyers, Langstones, Headway and Cambian.
The Beacon Centre and the Mark Butler Golf Academy, which can be found in Sedgley, raised almost £9,000 through grants, donations, sponsorship and fundraising to host the programme, which has also enabled the BeaconButler Challenge Cup 2017 campaign to start.
The charity’s Innovations Development and Funding Officer, Annamarie Balram, said: “Our golf programme has been a huge success enabling participants to socially engage with others as well as improve their health and well-being and giving them access to a sport that may have been deemed inaccessible in the past.
“The programme has built confidence and independence with many of the participants becoming members of the golf academy.
“I would like to thank all those who have been involved in the event and particularly those organisations and individuals who were able to support us financially including the Disability Sports Foundation, PB Dumbell Charitable Trust, S Bloch Charitable Trust, Worcstershire and Herefordshire Ladies Golf Association; the Golf Foundation; Matt Wright; John Clarke from SocialTelecoms CIC, Gill Dean and Paul Hughes.
“I would also like to pay special thanks to the coaches and golf professionals, Mark Butler, Adam Robinson of the Mark Butler Golf Academy; Robert Laing from the Bromsgrove Golf Centre; Russell Adams from Gaudet Luce Golf Club and Mark Laing the Worcestershire and Herefordshire County Development Officer for England Golf and all the players on both teams for their commitment. It has been an honour and a privilege to work with you all.”
Jamie Blair, England Golf Disability Manager, says: “It is great to see the strength of partnership between the Beacon Centre and their local facility at the Mark Butler Academy. The event has not only provided a target for many of the golfers involved but also raised awareness of what can be possible for disabled people, regardless of their disability.
“The friendly rivalry between the counties involved also created a great social side before, during and after the event with golf, as always, offering the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends.”
getintogolf.org is a national campaign to inspire new golfers run by the England Golf Partnership through its network of Golf Development Groups, which work to grow the game.
England Golf www.englandgolf.org