Mike Gays: inspiring more disabled golfers

Mike Gays

Mike Gays, 27, from Huntingdon, is an amputee who is trying to encourage more people with disabilities to get into sport

Mike was born with one leg shorter than the other and, after more than 20 operations to try to ease his pain, his right leg was amputated at the knee two years ago.

A keen golfer, Mike had struggled to walk the full 18 holes before his surgery, often having to rest for an entire day following a round of golf. Following his surgery in October 2014, Mike rehabbed for three months before making his way back onto the golf course with the help of a buggy. Now, using a motorised Golf Board, Mike plays golf twice a week at Brampton Park Golf Club without feeling any pain from his leg.

A five handicapper before his surgery, Mike has worked hard over the last two years to re-master the game. A true tale of perseverance and commitment, Mike’s handicap fell to four, the lowest mark of his life, after shooting a best ever score of 69 at Brampton Park.

Mike plays a number of disability sports, including snowboarding, wheelchair basketball and amputee football but sees golf as the sport that best allows disabled and non-disabled sportsmen to compete side by side, and encourages his team-mates in other sports to try playing golf.

Mike said; “I’ve always loved golf but found it difficult to play because of my leg. Now I am able to play 18 holes twice a week without suffering any pain. The rest of my game hasn’t changed at all as I still have a full range of movement in my upper body.”

He continued: “Golf is a perfect sport for disabled people and amputees. It’s an active and social sport, but one that isn’t too physically tough on the body. No matter your level of disability there will be a way for you to play golf and, if you want to, to do so competitively. I play regularly with James Reeson, one of the top ranked amateur golfers in the country. Due to the handicap system we can still have really competitive matches despite my surgery. I would completely encourage anyone with a disability to get into golf; it’s a fantastic way to stay active and social.”

Limb Power, founded in 2009, is the national disability sports organisation responsible for engaging amputees and individuals with limb impairments in physical activity.

Limb Power Sports Development Officer Andy Brittles is another amputee who loves the game of golf and said: ”I had always wanted to play golf from a young age but due to having a problem with one of my legs I was unable to play. Once I had that leg amputated the first sport I played was golf and I have played for the last 30 years.

“I love the game and the fact you can play against non-disabled people on a level playing field with your golf handicap. I have been fortunate to play golf at many great courses in the UK and abroad. It’s a great individual challenge as well as a very sociable game. My advice to any amputee new or old is give golf a go, you won’t regret it.”

Visit www.getintogolf.org to find out about beginner courses, taster lessons and special events at clubs and ranges nationwide.