On course for growing golf

Sports:

Golf

Location:

All Wales

Interested in encouraging more disabled people to try out your sport? Then take some inspiration from golf...

A new partnership approach in golf is ensuring the game is on a par for people of all abilities as more than 400 new people have already given the sport a try.

The need to increase access to Welsh courses for people with a disability has seen a project between several sporting partners drive a new generation of players.

Just the start of a longer-term plan, the project could see thousands of disabled people pick up a club.

Golf Development Wales (GDW) and Golf Union of Wales (GUW) have linked up with Disability Sport Wales, the Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) and ISPS Handa to train 10 club professionals as part of an inclusive training workshop; with funding provided to them to deliver an inclusive programme at their clubs.

The training has seen many different projects develop, with one outstanding outcome being a deaf golf opportunity at the Vale of Glamorgan. It resulted in 20 deaf beginners given lessons with a PGA professional, playing the course and becoming members.

Overall, with over 400 people in beginner coaching schemes, the figures speak for themselves.

And it is still early days. Another tranche of 20 professionals are due to go through the project in 2014.

As part of the Disability Sport Walesinsportprogramme, Golf Development Wales has achieved the insport Ribbon and Bronze level awards. In doing so, Golf Development Wales has become the first national governing body to achieve this award.

As part of the development process, a forum was set up to shape the strategic direction for disability and deaf golf in Wales. Chair of the forum, Regional Golf Development Officer Zoe Thacker commented:

"Golf Development Wales are firmly committed to ensuring that we can offer disability and inclusive golfing opportunities across Wales. The insport framework and support from Disability Sport Wales is enabling us to challenge all aspects of our work. Our vision is to make golf a sport for all for life, and through insport we are confident we can achieve this."

At Carmarthenshire's Glyn Abbey Golf Club, PGA professional Mike Davies secured a Golf Foundation Golf Roots Plus grant (the first club in Wales) to provide activity to young people in 10 special schools in the locality.

With the support of Disability Sport Wales, it led to the club delivering a fun competition - attracting nearly 140 young people and their carers. And to keep them playing, participants and carers have been invited to do more inclusive coaching. In addition, using the funding provided by GDW, further links are being developed with Special Educational Needs (SEN) schools in the region to provide 'Family Coaching' - meaning that parents can play alongside their children during the summer holidays. As a result of his dedication to ensuring opportunities for all, Mike won the GDW Development Professional of the Year for 2013. 

Michelle Daltry of Disability Sport Wales said: 

"The Glyn Abbey golf programme is a great example of what can be achieved through collaborative working.  We are already seeing a number of children and their families becoming members of clubs and playing regularly.  As the GDW insport journey continues I have no doubt we will see many more opportunities being developed across Wales".

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