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Golfers with disabilities to get the chance to become PGA pros

A talented amputee golfer has hailed a move by The PGA to help people with disability to pursue a golfing career by giving them the opportunity to qualify as PGA Professionals.

Six handicapper Chris Foster from Bishop’s Stortford, who lost his leg to bone cancer and has long held an ambition to become a PGA Professional said, “This is incredible news for not only current disabled golfers but also those with disabilities who are yet to take up the game,” said Foster, who plays his golf at East Herts.

“The inclusiveness of golf is ever growing and it’s great to see The PGA offer this exciting opportunity to disabled golfers with dreams of becoming PGA Professional golfers. This will hopefully start to create more role models for disabled golf and grow the game.”

From 2016 talented golfers, who meet the revised golf handicap requirement and work in golf, will be able to enrol on the PGA’s three year training programme. The move follows consultation with the European Disabled Golf Association to establish a framework of equivalent entry level handicaps for golfers with disability from various impairment groups.

“A common thread across all the very best players, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, is the struggle they have gone through to achieve their potential,” said EDGA president Tony Bennett who is a PGA Master Professional.

“A high performing able-bodied player may reach a lower handicap than an equally high performing player who plays with a physical, intellectual or sensory impairment. The PGA recognises this and so are leading the way with this initiative.

“The opportunity for golfers with disability, that reach the required golf handicap level to enrol on the PGA’s three year training programme, is a very big step in the right direction.There are some excellent golfers with disability that will not only learn the skills required to become a PGA Professional through this education, but will also add to the coaching offer available to all golfers and especially those with similar impairments.”

Growing the number of disabled golfers has been an aim for various sports councils for some years and The PGA has done much to support this with specialised coach development programmes while it has strong links with disabled military charities through its PGA Golf Buddy programme, pairing up injured personnel with PGA pros in their local community.