Leading deaf golfer Paul Waring – who has just won the Midland Youths Championship – is backing a new guide which aims to encourage more deaf people to take up the sport.
The Deaf-Friendly Golf Guide offers support, advice and guidance to clubs, coaches and volunteers to include deaf people in golfing activities.
“This is a great idea,” said Waring, who took up golf at the age of 12 and has a scratch handicap. “Deaf people can achieve the same as anyone else, but there are many challenges and anything which helps to break down the barriers is very helpful.
“Golf’s a great game for everyone to play, it’s fun and you meet lots of new people.”
Waring, from Felixstowe Ferry in Suffolk, (image © Leaderboard Photography), has been profoundly deaf from birth and was encouraged by his father to take up golf. The 19-year-old has represented his county at every level since U14, he’s been English Deaf Open Champion twice, European Deaf Open Men’s Champion and third in the World Deaf Golf Championship.
He plays on the national amateur circuit and his Midland Youths’ title, claimed with a 72-hole total of two-under par, is his biggest win in mainstream golf to date. He says: “This will give me confidence to compete at a national level, and also it has given me a world golf ranking which is important to have.”
To achieve his success Waring has had to overcome a range of challenges which are addressed in the Deaf-Friendly Golf Guide. For example, he can’t hear the strike of the ball and has to rely on the feel of the shot. Communication can also be difficult and he says: “I don’t always understand what someone has said, so I hope people don’t think I am rude if I don’t reply correctly.”
The Guide is the result of a partnership between England Golf, the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) and England Deaf Golf. It is aimed at young people but much of the information can be used with deaf people of all ages. It explains levels of deafness, why support is important and provides advice on effective communication.
Rachel Perrin, the NDCS’s Head of Inclusive Activities said: “Deafness should never be a reason for ruling out young people from sporting activities and so we are delighted to have developed this deaf-friendly golf guide with England Golf.
“Not only does golf teach many valuable skills, it’s also great fun and a fantastic way of making friends, yet too many deaf young people are being denied the chance to play.
“This new resource shows that by incorporating the use of simple techniques such as visual aids, golf teachers and coaches can ensure deaf young people have the opportunity to take part in the same activities as their hearing friends and siblings, without feeling isolated or excluded.”
Jamie Blair, England Golf’s Disability Manager, said: “England Golf are delighted to make this resource available to golf clubs, professionals and volunteers to highlight ways they can improve their current golfing offers to engage more deaf people in to the sport. The principles can also help clubs to increase the experience of current members and retain them.
“I would like to thank the National Deaf Children’s Society for their support in composing this resource which will play a big part in making golf a truly deaf friendly sport”