Terry Kirby: inspiring more disabled golfers

Terry Kirby

Terry Kirby, 60, from Chesterfield, was an active rugby player in his youth, but a tumour on his spinal cord in 1994 left him paraplegic, and unable to walk, aged just 38.

During his recovery, Terry tried different para-sports to stay active and keep competitive and he represented Great Britain in ice-sledge hockey and horse driving trials.

Terry had initially started playing golf in the year before his surgery, and had a long break from the game after his tumour. It was on the advice of his physio that Terry gave handigolf a try, playing from a seated position. Once he started playing regularly again Terry was able to get back into golf quickly, seeing his handicap fall and his love of the game pick up.

Now, Terry will be the 2017 Senior Captain at Tapton Park Golf Club in Derbyshire, playing regularly in club competition against non-disabled golfers as well taking part in disabled competitions with great success, winning five national championships.

Terry said: “Golf is such a fantastic sport for disabled people. You are able to play either on your own or with friends, no matter if they are disabled or not. For other sports, like wheelchair basketball or wheelchair rugby, you need to have a group of wheelchair users in order to have a game – golf isn’t like that.

“With the handicap system, I am able to play competitively against other golfers from my buggy and have a really good game, no matter who I am playing.”

Terry is very active when it comes to getting other disabled people to get into golf. He is heavily involved with the Handigolf Foundation, the charity dedicated to wheelchair golf, and helps to organise golf taster sessions in his area.

Chris Turner, National Sports Director at WheelPower said: “It can be easy to overlook physical fitness and exercise if you are a wheelchair user. But playing golf can bring important health benefits and can help make everyday living easier and also more enjoyable.

“Taking part in regular physical activity such as golf is good for physical and mental wellbeing, and can be a great way for wheelchair users to meet new people. Taking part in golf will make your heart stronger and more efficient, help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, helps maintain a healthy weight and makes pushing your wheelchair easier.”

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