First English Disability Open is played

Duncan Hamilton-Martin

The first English Disability Open, hosted by BALASA Golf and supported by England Golf, welcomed 35 players to the Marriott Forest of Arden in Warwickshire.

The competitors, with a variety of impairments, played both the Aylesford and Arden courses and competed in categories based on their golfing handicap.

The championship was won overall by Duncan Hamilton-Martin, from St George’s Hill in Surrey, who scored gross 149 over 36 holes (pictured top, image © Leaderboard Photography). He commented: “It is a great honour to win this inaugural event.

“I would like to thank all my competitors who made the matches exciting and challenging, but also extremely enjoyable. I would also like to thank the BALASA organising committee for pulling together a great event.”

Other winners were:

Category 1 (handicaps up to 9.4), James Hourigan (Royal Dublin), net 142, on countback

Category 2 (handicaps 9.5 to 18.4), Tony Lloyd (The Shropshire), net 143

Category 3 (handicaps above 18.5), Keith Dolman (Rochford Hundred), 57 stableford points.

Other players included George Groves, who is a new arrival on the disability golf scene. George is a student at The Golf College at Lingfield Golf Club in Sussex where golf plays a big part in his development. He represented Copthorne Golf Club, Sussex, in the championship and, playing off four, returned gross scores of 76 and 77.

Aimi Bullock, from Woking in Surrey was competing in her first disabled golf competition in England, having recently played in the European Disabled Golf Association’s individual tournament in the Czech Republic where she was third in both the women’s net and gross competitions.

The presentations were made by Kevin Barker, Director of the R&A’s ‘Working for Golf’ initiative to.

Jamie Blair, Disability Manager for England Golf commented: “Congratulations to the winners and the golfers who travelled from across the UK to participate. I would like to express my thanks to the BALASA committee as organisers, the Forest of Arden as hosts and the volunteers, including referees and starters, who supported the event.

“Putting golfing ability first – and not disability – is what this event is all about and I hope we can develop and grow this event, ensuring more disabled people in England can participate.”

England Golf wants to hear the views of all disabled golfers, whether or not they participated in the championship, to provide a greater understanding of what an English event should look like in the future. Click here to complete an online survey – and to have a chance of winning one of five prizes of £10 American Golf vouchers. The draw will be made after the survey closes at 5pm on Friday 30th September 2016

Paper copies of the survey can be provided by contacting Jamie Blair

Disabled people who are keen to get into golf can find out what is on offer at their local golf facilities by visiting the Get into golf website. Alternatively contact the England Golf club support team.