PGA Fellow Professional Anders Mankert has achieved warm acclaim from the England and Wales Blind Golf Association. He is head professional at Cosby GC, Leicestershire. He was honoured at the EWBGA’s annual meeting at Gaudet Luce GC, Worcestershire, by becoming the first ever PGA pro to be invited to become an honorary life member of the association.
Mankert, who has been coaching totally blind and visually handicapped, golfers for well over 20 years now, said: “I had led a coaching session for the association earlier in the day. Then the Association Chairman Barry Ritchie said he hoped I could stay on for the meeting, which I was pleased to do. But it was a total surprise to be honoured in this way.
“I am extremely proud to be the first-ever PGA professional to be invited to be an honorary life member.”
Mankert’s first ever blind golfer pupil was Jim O’Brien, a member of Kilworth Springs GC in Leicestershire. He still coaches him today. O’Brien is one of only a very few blind golfers to achieve a hole-in-one. He has competed in top blind tournaments around the world.
His lead is being followed now by Billy McAllister from Sussex , who makes regular, long trips to Leicestershire to work with Mankert. He is also totally blind, so travelling so far can often pose problems.
But on their last get-together, McAllister received a lift from a national magazine, which is preparing an article on their work together for a forthcoming issue.
Mankert said: “It is a challenge to work with blind and visually handicapped golfers, men and women. But some of them start to achieve a very high standard. They are highly enthusiastic and derive enormous enjoyment from the game. So it is a delight to work with them.
“I work with their sighted guides too. Obviously the guides have a big role to play in them being able to develop their interest in golf – they line up their players, get them into the right position to hit their shots, and to putt. They have to be highly dedicated and keen.”
The EWBGA organises a series of championships across the country throughout the season, with members who are successful able to compete much further afield.
Anders Mankert www.andersmankert.co.uk
England and Wales Blind Golf Association http://blindgolf.co.uk/