Berkshire Vision gets on course

Berkshire Vision at Sand Martins

Eight blind and visually impaired people have got into golf thanks to a partnership between the charity, Berkshire Vision and Sand Martins Golf Club, near Wokingham.

The players took lessons over eight weeks from PGA Professional Symon O’Keefe, supported by volunteers from the golf club, and concluded the sessions with a nine-hole Texas scramble competition.

The event was filmed for YouTube by John Ogden, who attended to support his friend Colin Chandler. “We’ve had a great time, a brilliant time,” said Colin. “Come golfing!”

Now Sand Martins is looking at plans to recreate the sessions in 2018 and cement its link with Berkshire Vision.

Sand Martins is committed to creating opportunities for local disabled people to learn, enjoy and play golf. The volunteers for this project included Stan Bembenek, an amputee golfer who is actively involved in the club and with the Disabled Golf Association.

The club already runs a successful junior academy that engages with local special educational needs schools and units, with scholarships offered to young disabled people to continue to learn, play and stay in the game. Through this, the contact with Berkshire Vision came about and led to the development of the programme for blind and visually impaired adults.

Andrew Hall, General Manager at the club, said: “Sand Martins is committed to showing that the game can be accessible to all. Our Feel Inspired junior golf academy for young people with SEN will continue to run next year.

“The growth to include a satellite club, which has been set up with funding from Get Berkshire Active, England Golf and The Golf Foundation, and the partnership with Berkshire Vision allows us to widen our engagement within the local community”

Sunny Wallis, England Golf’s Club Support Officer for Berkshire, commented: “Creating strong local partnerships helps golf clubs to understand what their community wants and to share what golf can offer to grow the game in England.”

Caption: golfers and volunteers at a Berkshire Vision session at Sand Martins Golf Club.