Disabled players tee off study into health benefits of golf

Amputee golfers have 'rediscovered their love of the game' on the green at Carnoustie Golf Links.

Amputee golfers have taken to the famous fairways at Carnoustie to launch a study into the health benefits of the sport for people with disabilities.

The research by Abertay University will look at players’ fitness levels, quality of life and the impact on their mental health.

It’s hoped the findings will help break down barriers and drive more people with disabilities to give golf a go.

Dr Ashley Williams, from Abertay University’s Division of Sport and Exercise Sciences said: “We’re launching it worldwide so any person who has a disability whether they participate in golf, are wanting to participate in golf, participate in other sports can take part.

“We’re looking at measures such as life satisfaction, general wellbeing and how they feel part of a group where they participate in a golf activity.”

Carnoustie Golf Links foster close ties with disabled golfers through Scottish Disability Sport and Dundee Dragons Wheelchair Sports Club, offering specialised sessions led by PGA Professionals.

Known as ‘Carnasty’ for famously frustrating the world’s greatest golfers, the course is now driving more players facing their own challenges to tee off a love of the sport.

Players there are taking part in the study.

Cavin Clancy has been enjoying free lessons from professionals on the course and rediscovered his love of the game.

He thought his golfing days were over when he had his leg amputated due to a a knee infection two years ago.

Players tee off at Carnoustie

“It was actually the physio that got me back into it.

“She brought me down here from Ninewells and we had a couple of shots and she said ‘I could get you to join this club if you want’ and I just took it from there,” said Cavin.

“I’ll need a golf buggy if I go round the 18 holes but I’ve been playing different courses because you can hire a buggy. A lot of my pals are members of Arbroath, Drumoig.

“It just gets you out. You don’t worry about the weather, you just golf.”

Steve Becala gave up golf after losing his leg to diabetes.

He now attends lessons at Carnoustie where he is learning to adapt his game.

He said: “It’s a new lease of life. You come out of your shell because being disabled you’re sat on your own, you do get a bit, I wouldn’t say depression.

“But your mind tends to go a bit but coming up here, the professional that teaches us Tom is a funny guy, brilliant.”

Tom Phillips, Carnoustie Golf Links professional, said: “We’ve got golfers who are wheelchair bound, single leg, double leg amputees, we’ve got golfers with additional needs. We cater for everyone.

“We think it’s really important for them to get back out playing the game they love. I think that’s a big thing.

“A lot of the golfers used to play, had their accidents or whatever and I think it’s great that golfers who come along to meet other golfers in a similar position. It really does build a really strong camaraderie amongst them all.”

The results of the study will inform global golf groups like the R&A and European Tour to help break barriers to the sport.

Tony Bennett, President of EDGA said: “The evidence we have to date clearly points to golf being good for the health and wellbeing of golfers around the world.

“We also know that individuals with disabilities are generally less active than their non-disabled counterparts but a significant number want more activity and sport in their lives.

“The nature of golf allows people with a wide range of disabilities to participate in the game due to using their own ball, which is stationary.

“EDGA is delighted to partner with Abertay University to gain further insights on to the effects of golf on quality of life and life satisfaction.”

Michael Wells, chief executive of Carnoustie Golf Links added: “Carnoustie Golf Links have always been an accessible golfing venue.

“From as far back as the 17th century, when, most often women were not even allowed onto golf courses, Carnoustie was doing things differently, encouraging a thriving female golfing community.

“This inclusive and progressive attitude continues to this day, with an emphasis on making the game of golf, with all its health and wellbeing benefits, available to anyone who wants to get involved.

“We’ve always been very keen to break down real and perceived barriers into the game, and by working with Abertay University, we’ve been able to conduct important and valuable studies which have helped us to make our golf development programmes even more accessible.

“This new study will further our knowledge and understanding of how golf can benefit golfers with disabilities.”

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