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Gales closes in on a century of disabled golf events

Jim Gales MBE believes the Westerwood Hotel & Golf Resort has played a significant role in putting him on the road to a century of disabled golf events.

Gales lost his sight to Retinitis Pigmentosa in the late 1980s and had never picked up a golf club before he became blind. But this hasn’t stopped the 53-year-old Scot from Springfield, Fife, from registering 10 victories in disability golf Open events around the world and becoming secretary and founder of the Scottish Disability Golf Partnership.

Gales plays with Alan Robertson acting as his guide to line him up and describe the hole before each shot and will reach three figures of disabled golf events during 2017. Restricted to just light perception, he relies on the information from his guide – even though he admits he sometimes ignores the advice.

Gales, whose sense of humour continues to shine through, said: “It probably helps to not be able to see the trouble off the tee sometimes. Mind you, it doesn’t stop me lifting my head up on my swing. Alan says: ‘Why lift your head up? It’s not as if you’re going to see where it goes’. He’s got a point!”

Based in Scotland, Gales has been regular visitor to the Westerwood Hotel & Golf Resort, near Glasgow, as he became increasingly involved with disabled golf and is in the process of planning future events at the venue.

He said: “We’ve done a lot of stuff with the Westerwood and they have been hugely supportive from day one back in 2001. We’ve held three World Cups there in recent years for players of all disabilities and various other events. They have made massive improvements to the course over the past 10 years and it’s always a great pleasure to host an event and play there. Without clubs like these lending us their support, it would be impossible to stage these events.

“You step out of the hotel and you are straight on the golf course, which is obviously a huge benefit to us as disabled golfers and is a bit of a rarity in Scotland. It’s a challenging golf course but if you are playing well, you know you can post a decent score. We will definitely be going back there and it’s somewhere we always enjoy playing.”