Golf has helped transform the life of Graeme Mazur after a serious road accident – and now he’s setting out to inspire more disabled people to follow him in to the sport.
Graeme, now 29, almost died after the accident in 2000 which left him with brain injuries and semi-paralysis. But, thanks to his love of golf, he has gained purpose and direction and plans a future in golf coaching.
He has passed his Level One coaching qualification and is now able to assist more qualified PGA coaches to pass on his enthusiasm for the game, which he first learned as a boy.
His focus is on working with disabled people, both in his home county of Kent and further afield, for he says: “Through golf I have found a passion and direction in my life and I hope I can inspire other people who are disabled to take up golf as a hobby.
“My brain injury has affected my ability to plan and organise day-to-day tasks and golf has helped me to overcome some of my difficulties. It is good for the mind as it focusses you on one specific goal, to get the ball in the hole in the least amount of shots.
“Golf has made me much more focussed on doing the right things in the right order. The sport has helped me with planning my way round the golf course and therefore planning my life in a structured and organised fashion. It has helped me rediscover skills and adapt to new ways of achieving goals.”
Graeme has worked closely with two Kent PGA professionals: Richard Silman, the head pro at his club, Tenterden; and Gary Bason, the county development officer for the Kent Golf Partnership, which works to grow the game.
Richard has helped Graeme adapt his swing, by playing one-handed to overcome the effect of his injuries, which weakened his right side. “He works really hard and is so determined to get better, but he understands his limitations. He enjoys it, he loves every day he plays golf, you can see it in his face,” said Richard.
Gary has worked with Graeme to achieve his Level One coaching qualification, and points out that his ambitions to involve more disabled people in the sport coincide with those of the England Golf Partnership (EGP) and its national network of county partnerships. This is also reflected in the aims of the England Golf Strategic Plan 2014-17, which include increasing the number of regular golfers and removing barriers to participation.
“Through the coaching we have done together Graeme has grown in confidence and improved his coaching knowledge,” said Gary. “There’s no doubting his enthusiasm and commitment to helping those with a disability to have more opportunities in golf – and this is one of the priorities of the EGP, which is funded by Sport England.”
Graeme has already worked with Gary and other Kent coaches to deliver disability golf sessions. He also hopes to travel the country working with disability groups and his ambition, he says is: “To get those clubs with wheelchair access to have lots more members who are disabled.”
Jamie Blair, the England Golf Disability Manager, commented: “Ensuring that disabled people have opportunities within all areas of the game, not just as players, is key to making our game truly inclusive
“Graeme’s passion for the game is fantastic and, as we develop more opportunities at clubs for disabled people to get into and return to the game, we can use his passion to enthuse others.”