England and Wales (North) Region
30 Nov 16
A new scheme on Merseyside is breaking down the barriers for blind and partially sighted people to give golf a go.
Specialist sessions at Liverpool Golf Centre are helping show that golf is a sport that can be played by all ages and abilities.
A group of visually impaired people have been introduced to the sport through a taster session run by PGA Professional Sean Bailey at the Netherley driving range while some of the group took the opportunity to take up the sport again.
The taster sessions have been supported by Wallasey golfer Steve Beevers, who is captain of England and Wales Blind Golf and also a key member of a partnership including England Golf, Liverpool VISPA (Visually Impaired Sport & Physical Activity), British Blind Sport and Liverpool Golf Centre.
Beevers assisted Bailey on the range taster session and their fun and relaxed approach soon had everyone enjoying the challenge and hitting some great shots.
Everyone enjoyed the session so much that Bailey is now putting on fortnightly lessons for the group and as well as using the driving range plans to give lessons in short game and putting.
Due to the level of interest the group is working with England Golf to hold sessions at other venues and the project may be extended to Manchester and the Wirral.
If you would be interested in hearing more about these sessions please contact George Ferguson from VISPA at email@example.com
Alison Lysons, county development officer for the Cheshire Golf Development Group, which has been working with the group to deliver the golf coaching sessions, says: “It was great to see everyone enjoying themselves at the first session and I’m really pleased that everyone wants to continue with the game and have more lessons with Sean. A big thanks to everyone involved, especially Steve Beevers who came up with the initial idea.”
Those taking part include Mike Ferguson, who says: “It is great to get the opportunity to play golf and have some expertise coaching. We received a warm welcome at the driving range and had a good afternoon.”
VISPA’s George Ferguson says: “It was fantastic to try golf for the first time. I have been visually impaired since birth and although I have always been quite sporty, I have always wanted to try golf, but never had the confidence.
“I cannot thank Sean enough for showing me how to hit the ball, working with me on some minor technical adjustments, and thus giving me the confidence to continue with further lessons.
“I believe trying things first on the golf range is a huge advantage as I felt no pressure which I probably would have felt on the golf course.”
George is now looking to source a support guide who can assist him while playing golf.
Another participant, Harriet Dunn, says: “I absolutely loved the VI golf taster session, having tried golf a few years ago with my Dad, I was so pleased that I was able to remember what to do. The best bit was being able to hit the ball 70 yards!”
Get into golf is a national campaign to inspire new golfers run by the England Golf Partnership through its network of Golf Development Groups, which work to grow the game.
Get into golf opportunities include free or low-cost beginner courses with PGA professionals. They are a fun and sociable way to start golf – and a great way to make new friends.
To find your nearest centre visit getintogolf.org and look at the activity map or call 0800 118 2766
For more details on the work of the Cheshire GDG visit www.cheshiregolfpartnership.com
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