Paralympic legend David Roberts received his first golf lesson as part of the ISPS HANDA PGA Academy Programme and immediately backed its mission to make golf a Paralympic sport.
Swimmer Roberts, who equalled Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson’s record of 11 Paralympic gold medals, enjoyed his first taste of golf under the watchful eye of ISPS HANDA PGA Academy Programme coach Mark Taylor at Celtic Manor.
Roberts said: “I think it’s harder work than swimming but I was pleased to get a few nice ones away by the end of the session.
“I’ve always wanted to get into golf and the work that the ISPS HANDA PGA Academy Programme is doing to get more disabled people into golf is amazing. Part of the mission is to make golf a Paralympic sport and I think it would fit perfectly into the Games.
“The skills I’ve seen from the more experienced disabled golfers today have been quite incredible.”
The disabled golf clinic teed off Sponsors Day for the ISPS HANDA Wales Open and joining Roberts at the event were Derrick Sheridan, the Chairman of the International Blind Golf Association, Junior Disabled British Open champion Frankie Jones, who has cerebral palsy, Tony Lloyd, who has shortened arms as a result of phocomelia, amputee Andrew Skinner and autistic golfer Jordan Rosser.
Celebrating the first anniversary of its launch, the ISPS HANDA PGA Academy Programme has educated 170 coaches who between them have already delivered over 1,500 coaching sessions to blind and disabled golfers within the UK.
PGA tutor Mark Taylor said: “It’s great to see the enthusiasm of beginners like David and I’m delighted that more and more disabled people are being introduced to golf by the ISPS HANDA PGA Academy Programme.
“What some of the other guys here have already achieved in the sport – and what they have gained from their experiences – shows just what a great game this can be for disabled people.”
The ISPS HANDA Wales Open kicks off the race for qualification for the 2014 Ryder Cup when it takes place at Celtic Manor from August 29-September 1.