Women and Girls’ Golf Week: Young stroke survivor Rachael Harrison tells how golf has helped her recovery

Rachael Harrison, who lives in Weston Super Mare, had a stroke 18 months ago at the age of 42. She tells how she has used Get into Golf to help her recovery and has found a new hobby.

When did you have your stroke and how did it affect you?

It was on New Year’s Day 2017 and I spent the next two weeks in hospital. I was in a wheelchair in the early days because I was very unsteady and I’ve been left with some numbness in my left side and my sight is impaired. I can’t see anything in the upper left quadrant of either eye, so I can’t drive.

What prompted you to try golf?

I was at a Stroke Association meeting for young stroke survivors and I was given a leaflet for Get into Golf. I thought I’d like to give it a try and I really enjoyed it.

There’s a group of us and we have lessons with Sarah Sutcliffe at Tickenham Golf Club, she’s a PGA professional and she keeps me on my toes. She gets me motivated and gives me a bit of a push.

I have a volunteer to help me, John who is a stroke survivor, and Sarah goes along the line, working with each of us in turn. She says I’m at the stage now where I’ve got to make changes to progress so I’m trying to hold the club correctly now – instead of like a builder!

How has golf helped you?

I really enjoy it, I’ve taken to it. I’m a lot happier with this new hobby that I can tell people about. I like Sarah, I like being out of doors and I’ve made friends, it’s a nice environment.

It helps me with my mental health. Anxiety and depression tend to go with strokes and golf has helped. It’s a great feeling when you make a good shot, it lifts your spirits.

For the rest of the day I’m almost on a high, I feel I’ve achieved something and it gives me something to talk about, something positive that I am doing.

Will you keep playing?

Yes. I’ve been doing it for six months now and it’s my new hobby.

• Contact Jamie Blair, England Golf Disability Manager j.blair@englandgolf.org if you would like to get involved with existing projects across the country or if you would like to set up a golf session for your local Stroke club

Simply inspired to try golf? Visit www.getintogolf.org to find out about low cost and free beginner actiivities across the country