Terry Kirby’s role as an inspiration to other wheelchair golfers and his dedication to the game has earned him the title of Diversity and Inclusion Champion at the 2022 England Golf Awards sponsored by adidas.
The 66-year-old – a member at Ganstead Park Golf Club in Yorkshire – has steadfastly refused to let his disability impact on his love of the links.
Terry had to adapt to being a wheelchair golfer in his thirties but has fully embraced the challenge.
More than that, Terry has made it his mission to champion the game for other wheelchair users and use his example to try and elevate awareness of the game to the same levels now enjoyed by players of other sports such as wheelchair tennis.
As a ‘Handigolfer’. Terry became the first man to captain an English golf club when a member at Tapton parkin Derbyshire
His love of competitive play can be seen in the amount of work he does on behalf of the registered charity, Handigolf Foundation, to encourage others to take part in events.
As chairman of Handigolf, Terry is heavily involved in organising national tournaments for wheelchair users, other disabled golfers as well as fundraisers involving professionals and celebrities.
He has also shown his passion for the game by taking his knowledge into the community and putting on demos for rehab groups at spinal units in hospitals across the country.
After being selected as the category winner, Terry admitted: “In the last couple of years, it’s been difficult to get out there to showcase what disabled golfers can actually do.
“I’ve been playing disabled golf for 28 years and in all that time I’ve been pushing to get wheelchair golfers, and any golfers with a disability, showcased.
“I want a disabled golfer to join a fourball with able bodied golfers so that they can see that just because someone has a disability, it doesn’t mean they can’t play golf.
“They actually are quite stunned at how good disabled golfers are.
“We still have some issues at times with taking wheelchair buggies onto greens – ‘oh, you can’t do that’, they say. But I just say that they have a ton and a half of lawnmowers on the surfaces and even after Christmas I don’t weigh a ton and a half!
“It was an amazing honour to be the first wheelchair captain of a club as I was three years ago at Tapton – it was so good to be a positive role model for wheelchair golfers.
“Everyone knows someone or knows someone else who knows someone who is in a wheelchair so if they can see myself or anybody playing golf, they will realise anyone can do it.
“You don’t have to stay at home. Just get out there.”