For almost 20 years Leicestershire’s Anders Mankert, head professional at Cosby GC, has developed a highly acclaimed expertise in coaching totally blind and visually handicapped golfers to play and progress in the game he loves.
Mankert works patiently with the golfers and with their sighted guides – whose support is key to their enjoyment – to resolve their unique demands.
Recently, Mankert and his fellow Leicestershire pro Matt Ulyett (Park Hill), friends for many years, combined to hold their second clinic for blind golfers in the last few months. It took place at Park Hill and included a competition for those taking part on the par 3 course at the club.
It proved to be a big success with the golfers and beginners who came from across the country for the event. It was arranged through the English Blind Golf Association, who run countrywide tournaments throughout the year and encourage people of all ages to try and enjoy the sport.
Mankert said: “Blind and visually handicapped golfers and beginners need the support of their guides, not only to go around the course with them, but to play an active, key role. So I always concentrate on both of them in any coaching I do.
“A blind golfer needs their guide to help to set them up correctly for every shot they play – whether it is a drive, a long iron, approach or chip, or a putt. It means it is a more tactile game to ensure a guide knows exactly how to position their player for their target. So not only is it highly rewarding for golfers, but also for their guides.”
Mankert’s first golf pupil those years ago, was Jim 0’Brien, who has competed successfully not only in this country, but also further afield. He achieved every golfer’s dream of a hole-in-one when playing in an am/am in Surrey at the end of last year, one of very few recorded by a totally blind golfer. It came at Hindhead GC and attracted many sporting headlines. He is still dedicated to the game.
Billy McAllister, who represented the ENGA in the World Blind Golf Championship in Australia earlier this year, is also coached by Mankert. He travels to Cosby regularly from his home in Sussex to draw on his expertise in honing his game.
Mankert added: “There are 3 categories for blind golfers – those who are totally blind, or have a small or greater degree of sight – but I am sure many more people would like to try the game and perhaps find something that would bring them a lot of enjoyment along the way.”
Anders Mankert firstname.lastname@example.org