The PGA is encouraging disabled people inspired by the Paralympics to tee it up and give golf a go.
In the past four months more than 40 PGA professionals have undertaken a specially designed academy programme equipping them with the skills teach golfers with a range of disabilities.
And following the success of the Paralympics, The PGA, which supports a number of initiatives to grow golf at grass roots level, is eager to alert disabled people to the opportunities in golf.
PGA professional Craig Thomas, Lead Disability Coach for Staffordshire County Golf Partnership, has played a key role in tutoring many of his fellow PGA pros at workshops to equip them with the knowledge and confidence to teach golf to all people no matter their physical impairment including blind people.
“From personal experience and seeing others who have given it a try, it is remarkable how much of an impact golf can make,” he said.
“I have been fortunate to coach many blind and disabled people and golf gives them an opportunity to do something new, it gives them hope and encouragement and with more PGA professionals adept at dealing with the unique challenges of disability, the sport is becoming much more accessible.
“Any disabled people who have been inspired to try sport by the Paralympics I would encourage to contact their local County Golf Partnerships to find out the opportunities available.”
The PGA academy programme, launched earlier this year at Celtic Manor in conjunction with ISPS Handa, has resulted in more than 500 free lessons for disabled golfers across the UK.
“The PGA’s commitment to increase the number of PGA pros specialising in disabled coaching is part of its Right Coach; Right Place; Right Time coaching vision for golf, stretching from grass roots level through to elite tour golf,” added Jane Booth, Head of Coaching Systems for The PGA.
“As we have seen in the Paralympics, disability needn’t be a barrier to playing sport and through the skills of our PGA professionals, many disabled people have a marvellous opportunity to get out and try something new and most importantly which is fun and enjoyable.”
Japanese-based ISPS Handa, which is a strong supporter of golf through its sponsorship of several high profile tournaments including the PGA Seniors Championship, is striving to help golf become a Paralympic sport.
For more information about County Golf Partnerships and access to golf coaching see www.englandgolf.org or alternatively go to the Find A PGA Pro section on www.PGA.info