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 firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07973 798483