England Golf is delighted to promote ‘International Day of People with Disabilities’ as part of its ongoing commitment to make sure golf is open, inclusive and more widely recognised as a sport for everyone to enjoy.
Today, the theme ‘not all disabilities are visible’ helps to spread awareness and bring an understanding of disabilities that are not immediately apparent.
Playing golf has proven to be of huge benefit to participants with conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) as well as stroke survivors, those with intellectual impairments and those who are deaf, blind or visually impaired.
Earlier this year as part of Women and Girls’ Golf Week, we told the inspiring story of Aimi Bullock.
After being diagnosed with MS, Aimi refused to let it dominate her life and turned to golf to give her a sporting fix that provided so much joy from a mental health perspective.
“I re-discovered golf when I was diagnosed with MS,” confirmed Aimi who is now working to establish classes for women with disabilities in every county in England.
“It was life-changing for me.
“Before that I had dabbled in the game as a fair-weather player. I was big into hockey and road cycling, but when you lose sight in one eye, they become dangerous.
“I’d bought golf clubs and a friend suggested one day that we should go and play for a bit of a laugh.
“It was more than that – it was such good fun and within three weeks of paying that green fee I’d joined Sunningdale Heath Golf Club.
“I’ve met so many people through my golf and had so much enjoyment from it that I can’t contemplate it not being in my life.”
England Golf is thrilled to highlight ‘Terry’s story’ on our website as an example of how a dementia diagnosis need not spell an end to a golfer’s fun.
With the help of friends at St Ives (Hunts) Golf Club in Cambridgeshire and some small adaptations to the game (playing with a yellow ball, always teeing off last, having others keep score) Terry was able to continue his love affair with the game despite the onset of Alzheimer’s.
“We have played golf together for over 20 years so it’s great to be able to both enjoy it still, despite his memory problems,” said Terry’s golfing buddy Dave.
In 2021, England Golf will once again stage its popular English Open Amateur for golfers with a disability. The event will be staged at Whittlebury Park Golf Club in June.
According to the WHO World Report on Disability, 15 per cent of the world’s population, or more than 1 billion people, are living with disability.
Of this number, it’s estimated 450 million are living with a mental or neurological condition— and two-thirds of these people will not seek professional medical help, largely due to stigma, discrimination and neglect.
One in 160 children are identified as on the autism spectrum.
With the Covid-19 pandemic bringing about greater isolation, disconnect and disruption to routine, it has never been more important to make sure golf can become an outlet for escapism and enjoyment for golfers of all ages and abilities.
To read more about England Golf’s commitment to encouraging golfers with a disability to take up and enjoy the game, please click here
More details on the International Day of People with Disabilities are available on the campaign website.