Golf for People With A Disability

When it comes to golf, some say that we all have a shared disability, the fact that we are human and that golf demands something superhuman. Perhaps, that is why we are all then given handicaps. When you first come to golf as a beginner, you often feel less than able; and that in no way is meant as demeaning toward people with disabilities. In fact, experiences like this engender humility and understanding in those that have struggled through that phase as a ‘beginning golfer’. Learning something that is physically and mentally challenging, a skill that does not come naturally to most human beings, stretches our conception of what it means to be part of the human race.

Once you have passed through that humiliating initiation into the game of golf, and for some that can last anywhere between several months and a lifetime, you wish to help others when it is appropriate. For people with permanent and very real disabilities, golf is a challenging recreational pursuit. I have played with a one legged golfer, a one armed golfer, a virtually blind golfer and plenty of deaf golfers (I heard that, can you keep it down while I am putting). I have been amazed at how these people have overcome the limitations of their disabilities to proficiently play the game of golf. It has been an inspiration, those few times I have played with a disabled golfer; and I wish those shared experiences were more numerous.

Golf for People With A Disability

It is the gulf of separation between the disabled and the able-bodied members of our community that deprives me of those inspiring experiences; and often isolates disabled people within their own communities. Of course, I can do something about that, I can get out and track down the Disabled Golfers Association and get involved. What I really would like to happen, is that the barriers between able and disabled people are broken down and that we all begin to share in recreational pursuits among other things. Golf associations are making way within their charters for the inclusion of golfers with disabilities.

Disability services and activities are doing their best, I am sure, to bring these kinds of things about. Perhaps, we could all make a concerted effort as golfers to encourage those disabled people we know into the game. Making golf more welcoming generally is a good idea for the overall health of the game. I regularly play with golfers who are octogenarians, and that doesn’t mean that they have eight arms and legs, and I am amazed at the level of play in competition that they often produce. Golf is one of the few games that you can competitively play with people much older than yourself, people much younger than yourself and those of a different gender; it is a truly universal game. Including golfers with disabilities in that equation just makes golf and even better forum for humanity to interact and exchange experiences.

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  • Written by Adam Cardler

Golfer: The Hands of Time

Golfer: The Hands of Time

This poignant golfing story was inspired by a true incident related to me concerning a near and dear relative. This wonderful human being, who was my great uncle, had been a long standing golf professional, now retired and, unfortunately, suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. Eric was regularly picked up by the local police, whilst he was lost and out walking, sometimes late at night. As those of us who have experienced the terrible scourge that Alzheimers is, would know, the compulsion to go ‘walk a’ bout’ is a very common circumstance. This delightful old chap would give the police putting lessons, while he was waiting back at the station for a family member to come and collect him. The issues of ageing in the twenty first century; and the game of golf’s universal appeal throughout the western world are presented interwoven within this tale.

Golf is such a great game for all ages, but it is particularly part and parcel of the retiree’s identity. The ability to test oneself against the course, to challenge oneself to still improve, despite age and infirmity, is the powerful appeal of golf for those of us making our way through life on the back nine. We swing our clubs and strike the ball, even if we cannot exactly see where that sweet white sphere is heading. We play in hope to break our ages; and to keep our heads held high in the club room of life. Golf is such a poignant metaphor for how we live our lives; our we going to lay up or go for the green?

I hope that you enjoy, this brief, but bittersweet story that I have crafted in ode to my lovely great uncle and his lifetime’s dedication to the game we all love to play. The inclusion of Old Tom Morris is my imaginative insertion as a creative writer and I reckon he wouldn’t mind being associated with the true story of my family member’s twist of fate on this mortal coil. The beginnings of this Scottish game are shrouded in the mists of time; and we all would love to make our imaginative way to St Andrews, the home of golf.

Robert Hamilton is a writer, historian, and a very keen golfer. He is at this time working on a collection of short stories, inspired by sport, but also entertaining what it really means to be alive; to be entitled She’ll Be Right Sport. Robert lives in desperate hope of breaking the magic 80.

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  • Written by Adam Cardler