‘Feel Inspired, Get Golfing’ is encouraging disabled people into golf by providing opportunities to play at a range of venues in the South East.
Created by the English Golf Union (EGU) and English Women’s Golf Association (EWGA), and now in its second year, ‘Feel Inspired’ aims to live up to the name, serving disabled people of all ages and backgrounds who want to try a new sport under expert supervision.
The idea of Andrew Willems, EGU/EWGA Regional Development Officer for the South East, with backing from Jess Cook, Regional Manager of the English Federation of Disability Sport, the initiative works with support from the five County Golf Partnerships (CGPs) in the region.
Andrew has secured funding so each CGP can engage with local disability groups and individuals to provide coaching by PGA professionals. However, there is scope to further extend the ‘Feel Inspired’ initiative through increased investment from companies who may have an interest in become involved in this area of sport.
The EGU and EWGA, with direct support from the PGA, is hoping its disability golf initiative will inspire participants to try the game and clubs and coaches to widen their welcome to as many people as possible to experience golf and continue to play.
A further 18 PGA professionals attended a dedicated ‘Disability Awareness Training’ session in March to support the existing PGA professionals who were trained in 2009. The next step is to identify the new golfers who will benefit from the coaching sessions, which are due to start in early June.
Andrew Willems said: “We are delighted with the response following a successful start to ‘Feel Inspired’ last year. This is a challenging project because the CGPs need to work with groups who may be traditionally missing out on opportunities and would therefore gain greatly from this injection of confidence. Golf, in whatever format, is a sociable game and a great test for individuals. We are looking to appeal to many new people from all abilities and backgrounds through strong partnership at county level and drawing on the expertise of PGA professionals.”
Andrew added: “This year we aim to fine-tune the project so that, if possible, we can roll this out across the country. If we can do this it could be really positive for disabled sport. Through ‘Feel Inspired’ we welcomed over 200 new disabled participants last year and the hope is to continue to provide this facility to numerous different groups in 2010/11.”
‘Feel Inspired, Get Golfing’ is designed to support a wide range of disabilities, including severe learning, visually impaired, people with hearing impairments and those with physical disabilities.
Gordon Forster, General Manager at Abbey Hill Golf Centre, worked with learning and physically impaired groups last year. He said: “It is tremendous to be able to give an opportunity to people of all abilities to get into golf. Golf is all about people with different backgrounds playing together and this has added an extra dimension at Abbey Hill. Long may it continue.”
Jess Cook, Regional Manager of the English Federation of Disability Sport, said: “This programme provides a fantastic opportunity for anyone with a disability to try golf, maybe for the first time. With the EGU and EWGA working with some of the best clubs in the region, it offers a range of venues, so interested individuals or groups can find a local club that hopefully suits their needs.”
The ‘Feel Inspired, Get Golfing’ programme is jointly provided by the EGU and EWGA via England Golf’s ‘Whole Sport Plan’ for golf and is an integral part of England Golf’s vision to ‘Grow the Game’.
To find out details of the ‘Feel Inspired’ centres contact the County Golf Partnerships involved, BB&O, Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire, Isle of Wight & the Channel Islands or Andrew Willems directly on firstname.lastname@example.org