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England (Midlands) Region

Leicester pro's boost for blind golfers

04 Dec 14

0412Midlandandersmankert

A Leicestershire PGA Professional who has been coaching blind and visually handicapped golfers for 20 years has held an in-depth session for the England and Wales Blind Golf Association.

Anders Mankert, head pro at Cosby GC, and his teaching assistant James Herbert, introduced newcomers to the game on the club’s driving range and on the practice green.

More than 20 blind golfers and their sighted guides were led by Barry Ritchie, the EWBGA captain, and volunteer helpers from the Lions Club in Coventry.

Mankert said: “First of all we went on to the range and within 20 minutes they were all hitting golf balls. Only one of them had ever played golf before – just a little before losing his sight.

“First of all we worked on their swings. Then, after lunch, we focused on putting and ran a competition which they enjoyed. So it was a highly successful day and we hope at least some of them will continue to develop an interest in the game.

“My experience over the years has shown just how much enjoyment blind golfers of all ages, men and women alike do get out of golf, especially of course with an enthusiastic guide which is crucial to enable the player to get the very most out of his or her game.

“The three different categories for blind and visually handicapped golfers means they can play and compete in their individual sections - from totally blind, to those with some vision. I enjoy teaching them and helping them to achieve their targets in the sport, and would urge anyone who thinks golf may appeal to them to try it for themselves.”

Mankert has coached many totally blind golfers who have competed in major tournaments around the world. Prior to his newcomer coaching session Mankert gave a regular lesson to Billy McAllister, the totally blind world number four, who travelled to Leicestershire from his home in Sussex, with B2 golfer Andy Gilford, who is developing his game.

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