Disabled Golfers Wow in Wales

Disabled Golfers Wow in Wales


TV presenters Dan Walker and Gethin Jones (above with Tony Lloyd) gained an insight into disabled coaching at a special ISPS Handa clinic on the eve of the Wales Open at Celtic Manor.

The pair, along with defending champion Gregory Bourdy, were put through their paces when they tried hitting balls blindfolded and also attempted to use one of the specially adapted long drivers for short-armed golfer Tony Lloyd.

“It was a great experience,” said Bourdy. “It’s very difficult to hit good shots with the long club, and with the blindfold also.

“It is amazing that these guys can hit it so well with a long club. I missed the ball three times in a row and with the last go, I only just hit it.”

Craig Thomas, the PGA Professional who spearheads the ISPS Handa PGA Academy Programme, took the opportunity to explain the work of ISPS which helps train PGA pros to bring golf to people with a range of disabilities.

“The ISPS Handa PGA Academy Programme is making a real difference to hundreds of disabled golfers,” said Thomas.

“Having specially trained PGA pros makes a huge difference while the impact of golf in terms of the social and physical well-being it brings can’t be over emphasised.


“Today was a great chance to showcase the strides we are making and I think Dan (Walker), Gethin (Jones) and Gregory (Bourdy) were amazed at just how well some of the disabled golfers play.”

Among the golfers taking part in the clinic was South African-based Irishman James Hourigan, who had both legs amputated below the knee after a car accident five years ago.

“Golf has taught me that I’m still able but just in a different way,” he said. ”Golf has taught me you can still compete but in a different way.

“With hard work I’m down to a three handicap at the moment and I’m busy preparing for the World Disabled Championships in Japan.”

Short-armed golfer, Tony Lloyd, who uses specially adapted clubs placed under his armpit, added: “Golf has changed my life, I used to be all about team sports but with golf I’ve found you can push yourself, challenge yourself and if it goes wrong there’s no-one to blame but yourself.

“With specially made clubs from Titleist it has taken me from disabled to enabled, and my handicap is now down to 12.

“I’ve been taking lessons with Craig, and it’s really helped me. He swings the club like I do to get a better understanding and through the lessons I’ve lost three or four shots off my handicap.”

To date more than 300 PGA pros have undertaken the week long workshop to equip them with specialist skills to coach disabled golfers and have given more than 3,000 lessons.


Three of those pros, Mike Davies (Glynn Abbey), Dave Pocock (Bryn Meadows) and Anthony Middleton (Rhyl) received special recognition awards at a gala dinner at Celtic Manor last night in recognition of their efforts in growing disabled golf.

Also honoured was 14-year-old Jordan Rosser, who suffers with a range of neuro and physical problems, but volunteers on a number of golf inclusive projects.

RTW Results – Captains Away Day 9 September 2014 – Forest Hills Golf Club

Captains Away Day – Forest Hills Golf Club

Player Score Comments Revised
1 Overton, Michael  39 pts (17) Overall Winner 16.6
2 Wallace, Keith  37 pts (23) Overall Runner-Up 23.4
3 Merrit, Mark  34 pts (16) Overall Third 15.7
4 GUNNING, PETER  33 pts (28) 28.1
5 Wallace, Michael  29 pts (19) 18.6
6 Abbott, Mark  14 pts (34) 34.0


UK Clubs urged to back disabled golf

 UK Clubs urged to back disabled golf


A teenager who gained a new lease of life through golf has issued a plea for all golf clubs in the UK to implement R&A approved disabled rules.

Jordan Rosser, above left, aged 14, has written to every club in the country through Golf Club Management magazine urging them to adopt the rules to give golfers with disabilities the chance to compete in club competitions and reap the rewards of playing golf as he has done.

The adjusted rules enable use of a caddy and supervisor on the course but have only been taken up by a few clubs to date.

Wales-based Rosser, whose home club is Rhondda Golf Club is one of the few that does allow the rules, is among a growing number of golfers, both adults and juniors, to find solace in the game particularly through the ISPS Handa PGA Academy Coaching programme which helps PGA Professionals specialise in coaching disabled golfers to realise their potential regardless of disability.

Rosser, who suffers from a number of neuro and physical disabilities including autism, Tourette’s syndrome, sensory processing disorder (SPD), hypermobility, knock knee, crow’s feet, fallen arches and hearing problems, will be at the ISPS Handa Wales Open (September 18-21), playing in the pro-am and taking part in a special clinic with PGA pro Craig Thomas (above right) on the eve of the tournament at Celtic Manor Resort to highlight the accessibility of golf.

Previously housebound and isolated as he entered his teenage years, Rosser has in the space of a couple of years gained a new zest for life through golf and in particular Thomas who leads the ISPS Handa programme.

His progress has been remarkable with his handicap down from 25 to 15 in a year and his goal is to qualify as a PGA Professional and coach disabled golf.

Rosser firmly believes all clubs should take a pro-active stance to give disabled golfers greater access to the benefits that can be derived from the game and regularly champions the cause of disabled golf through his Twitter account.

“My home club is Rhondda Golf Club and it allows me to use the disabled rules to take part in mainstream competitions with the juniors and also play for the junior first team,” said Rosser.

“Another club that allows me to play regularly using the rules is The Vale. The Principality Junior Wales Open also made history this year for being the first large scale junior open to use the disabled rules in its qualifier events. Southerndown, Cottrell Park and Tenby Golf Club have all agreed to use the rules for their junior opens this year.


“ISPS Handa promote blind and disabled golf around the world and it is getting more into the limelight and being noticed. The message needs to go out that there are hundreds of disabled golfers out there and they need to be accommodated and the ideal would be for all clubs to implement The R&A disabled rules so as we can join in and play on a level playing field.

“My ambition in golf is to be a PGA qualified teaching pro and an ISPS Handa coach to other disabled golfers, the same as my coach Craig Thomas is, and I am currently on a four-year development plan with golfer David Pocock, who is going to be guiding me on where I need to be at age 18 to train to become a qualified pro. I currently volunteer with Valleys Golf for junior disabled and non-disabled coaching twice a week.”

Rosser’s mother Emma added: “Jordan has multiple neuro and physical issues which restricts his opportunities in terms of other sports where issues such as contact are a problem.

“But after trying a number of sports he discovered golf and once Craig (Thomas) became his coach his handicap has come down dramatically.

“His goal is now to follow Craig and become a coach and he already does some volunteer work with inclusive programmes.

“Golf has given him a life, before he discovered it, he would never leave his room but now he has new friends through golf, loves the sport and it has given him a new lease of life.”

** Any disabled golfers interested can take advantage of free coaching all week in the main tented village at the ISPS Handa Wales Open which Craig Thomas will be delivering where he will also be able to answer questions regarding disability golf.

In addition Craig has 15 free passes for anyone registered disabled and their carer for each of the four days of the Wales Open (September 18-21) which they can arrange by contacting Craig Thomas by email atctommogolf@aol.com or on 07973 798483

New Captains introduction Day – St Andrews Major Golf Club 22nd September

Competition Result  St Andrews Major

Played on Monday, 22 September 2014 at St Andrews Major.
Player Score Comments Revised
1 Merrit, Mark  35 pts (16) Overall Winner 15.7
2 Wallace, Keith  34 pts (23) Overall Runner-Up 23.4
3 Furnish, Paul  32 pts (28) Overall Third Away
4 ROSSER, Jordan  28 pts (15) 14.6
5 Wallace, Michael  27 pts (19) 18.7
6 Overton, Michael  26 pts (17) 16.7
7 Davies, Tony  25 pts (34) 33.7
8 Sandbrook, Laurence  23 pts (21) 20.9
9 GUNNING, PETER  22 pts (28) 28.2

St Andrews Major Golf Club

St Andrews Major Golf club is a beautifully crafted and relatively flat parkland golf course. One of the outstanding features of the course is the excellent quality of the greens that hold up to play all year round. The greens are designed to US specifications with a composition of 70% sand and 30% soil which aids excellent drainage and allows the greens stay firm. This ensures that we play on full greens all year round without using temporary greens.

Event Criteria
09.00 – Meet and Greet, Coffee + Bacon Rolls
11.00 – Tee off
Buggy hire is available
Lunch as each group arrive back at the club house, choice between: Chicken Curry half&half or Fish & Chips
Prize giving after lunch

The cost of day will be: £30 for all golfers

To add yourself to the list, E-mail: secretary@welshdisabledgolf.org.uk