Sebastian Coe – the man behind London 2012 – had a go at golf when he visited the free sports arena on Weymouth Beach, close to the Paralympic sailing events.
Golf will again become an Olympic sport in 2016 and Lord Coe teed up during a tour of arena, which offers taster sessions in a range of accessible Paralympic sports to people of all abilities.
Dee Wood, the Dorset county development officer and organiser of the Get into golf stand, said: “He told me his sons played golf but that he didn’t – so I offered him a golf lesson! I think he enjoyed it – he spent about 10 minutes hitting balls and was very serious and focussed.”
PGA tutor Pete Ball of Yorkshire gave Lord Coe his lesson, starting with a giant club and soft balls before moving on to other equipment. The hazards facing the chairman of the London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, included a gallery of press photographers who took up position inside the inflatable net to record the action!
The golf stand daily attracted hundreds of enthusiastic visitors, both disabled and able bodied. They were offered an introduction to the game by Pete Ball and fellow PGA tutor Steve Scott Bowen of The Bristol – who are both experts in disability coaching – and by local PGA professionals, Des Lochrie of Weymouth and Dave Parsons of Bridport.
Dee Wood was supported by Gloucestershire county development officer Debbie Casling and a host of volunteers. “It’s been great,” said Dee. “We have had so many visitors – and one lady has been back time and time again.
“I think golf clubs are going to see a great influx of people who are keen to take up the game.”
The Get into golf campaign was also represented at the Weymouth beach arena during the Olympic Games, in an exercise that involved all six of County Golf Partnerships in the South West: Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.
The national Get into golf campaign aims to inspire people to take up golf. It is run by the England Golf Partnership (EGP) through its network of County Golf Partnerships. Together, they work to grow the game and to achieve the EGP’s vision of making England the world’s leading golf nation by 2020.