By Jess Wong
An inspiring golf event for people with disabilities has taken place at Calverley Golf Club, bringing together a passionate group of golfers.
Organised by the Disabled Golf Association (DGA), the event aimed to break down barriers and create a welcoming environment for golfers with health conditions or impairments, showcasing that golf is a sport for everyone, regardless of physical ability.
Dan Atkins, an event organiser, golfer and coach emphasised the DGA’s commitment to promote inclusivity.
“No matter what their ability is in terms of disability, mental or physical, this is a chance to come out and to enjoy the game of sport, really,” he said.
“There should be no boundaries whatsoever for disabled golfers and I hope this event served as a platform to break down these barriers.”
Participants shared their stories of playing golf. John Riordan, the event co-ordinator of the DGA, describes playing golf with ‘sparkles in his eyes’: “I can have 90 bad shots, but when there is one good shot, that’s what makes you come back again.
“Actually, we make fun of ourselves; we just want to have fun together regardless of our disabilities.”
David Kirkham, representing the England team while being a double amputee, encouraged everyone to embrace the fun of golf: “Your mind is your strongest muscle. Nothing is impossible.”
Danielle Crosby, a participant who started playing golf in 2015, described the event as inspirational, saying: “I am privileged to be disabled and to be a part of this. I like the driving range most, and I really like the buzz you get from the swing when you hit a good shot.”
Neil Patrick, the Disabled Golf Week event coordinator, expressed his excitement about participating in the event: “I’m very passionate about what I do.
“It’s sometimes really emotional because it’s nice to see disabled guys coming out and playing golf very passionately and just caring about it again.”
“It’s nice to get recognition from England Golf, and Yorkshire Union is here as well, so it’s been well worth it today.”
Neil Burke, the Club Support Officer from England Golf, mentioned some challenges despite the promotion of inclusion and diversity. He said: “I think one of the biggest challenges is that a lot of the clubs are voluntarily led or rely heavily on volunteers.
“They might have a paid employee, but the people who have run initiatives are creative volunteers. Therefore, when you want to grow something big, you might have the right heart rates, but ultimately you don’t have the time and capacity to spend the money.”
The Disabled Golf Event at Calverley Golf Club has not only provided a platform for disabled individuals to enjoy the sport they love but has also inspired more people to embrace golf as an inclusive and accessible sport.
For more information on the Disabled Golf Association, visit their website or telephone Graeme Robertson on 07932 061 680.