Pioneering golf event is breaking down the barriers

BeaconButler competitor

A unique golf programme set up to help disabled people access the sport has been hailed a success.

The Beacon Centre, the Black Country’s leading sight loss charity, teamed up with the Mark Butler Golf Academy in Sedgley to launch the pan disability golf programme.

The two organisations have been working together for more than two years to help those living with sight loss to try golf.

After three successful ‘introduction to golf’ courses the charity and the golf academy, working closely with England Golf, wrote a golf programme to work with the visually impaired as well as other disabilities.

A total of 24 players from the Black Country, Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire took part in the programme which culminated in the BeaconButler Challenge Cup, which was based around the Ryder Cup format with players split into Europe and America teams. It finished in a draw with both teams scoring 93 points – and next year’s campaign is already being planned.

The charity’s Innovations Development and Funding Officer, Annamarie Balram, said: “Our golf programme has been a huge success enabling participants to socially engage with others as well as improve their health and well-being and giving them access to a sport that may have been deemed inaccessible in the past.

“The programme has built confidence and independence with many of the participants becoming members of the golf academy.

Jamie Blair, England Golf Disability Manager, said: “It is great to see the strength of partnership between the Beacon Centre and their local facility at the Mark Butler Academy. The event has not only provided a target for many of the golfers involved but also raised awareness of what can be possible for disabled people, regardless of their disability.

“The friendly rivalry between the counties involved also created a great social side before, during and after the event with golf, as always, offering the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends.”

The BeaconButler Challenge Cup was supported by PGA professionals Mark Butler and Adam Robinson of the Mark Butler Golf Academy; Robert Laing from the Bromsgrove Golf Centre; and Russell Adams from Gaudet Luce Golf Club.

As well as the Beacon Centre, a number of other charitable organisations were represented in the programme including Wings, High Flyers, Langstones, Headway and Cambian.

The Beacon Centre and the Mark Butler Golf Academy raised almost £9,000 through grants, donations, sponsorship and fundraising to host the programme, which has also enabled the BeaconButler Challenge Cup 2017 campaign to start.

Captions: Top – A competitor in the BeaconButler Challenge Cup; below players and supporters at the event. Images courtesy AT Golf Photos