The PING Open, an event organized for disabled golfers, was certainly brand new territory for him.

The Morecambe ace suffers from a condition known as congenital hip dysplasia, which means he was born with very shallow hip sockets, creating chronic problems for muscles, tendons and joints. hip and leg bones.

His handicap is not so noticeable – something that had left him worried as he prepared to make his Tour debut.

Oliver Hirst-Greenham in competition

Loads of questions swirled in his mind – Was there anyone else like him in the tournament? Would he fit in with the other players? It was like going back to her first day of school.

He needn’t have worried as later in the day he could be seen with a beaming smile on his face and sparkles in his eyes.

His practice round mates – the first leg amputee, the other penguin – had made him welcome and they were enjoying a well-deserved beer after the round amid much discussion.

When Hirst-Greenham throws a big drive down the fairway – and he can go for miles – his golf partners may not be aware of the pain he has to deal with and the awkwardness of the hip movements, leg and back involved throughout his swing.

Oliver Hirst-Greenham (right) receives the trophy from EDGA President Tony Bennett (photos: The European Disabled Golf Association, our website

But he endures the pain because of his love for the wonderful game of golf and has learned to manage his mobility issues over time.

He had been content to play club competitions at Morecambe Golf Club thanks to his low single-digit handicap.

However, when he heard about the EDGA Tour from a friend, it certainly caught his attention.

He said: “I was born with very shallow hip sockets. Whereas you consider that a normal person must have a very deep cavity for the bone, and it is well supported, because mine is very shallow, all the muscles and tendons and everything are very underdeveloped. And the bone moves into the socket.

Oliver Hirst-Greenham on the green

“Then just recently, I heard about the EDGA tour. A friend of mine was like, ‘Have you ever watched that?’ I took a look at the requirements and thought I should just apply. It doesn’t hurt to apply, does it?

“I was really nervous, to be honest. The thing with me is my hips, and nobody can see inside my body; they can’t see my hip joints, whereas someone I played with a guy the other day, he had two prosthetic legs.

“So you can see it there. People with one arm and things like that, they have an obvious disability. It was almost like I was worried, are they going to classify me as disabled? »

Hirst-Greenham – who is married to Wendy and has two children, son Matthew, 14, and daughter Olivia, 12 – has certainly made an impressive start to life on the Tour. He rose to the top echelons of the world rankings after a trio of top-five performances and in September claimed his first win at Stratford-on-Avon Golf Club.

He shot a fine 150 on both rounds – a fine back nine on the second 18 offsetting a poor front nine that had threatened his chances of victory.

His dream now is to win a playing card for the European G4D Tour.

He said: “I felt so proud to win my first EDGA event.

“After being +5 after five years, I thought I was going to drop everything, so I had a strong word with myself ready for the back nine. Two birdies from there made all the difference and the nice long putt on the 13th gave me a big change of momentum at the perfect time.”

No matter where the EDGA Tour adventure takes him, Hirst-Greenham admits the sport has been a big help to him as he copes with his disability.

“It’s a fantastic sport for so many disabled people,” he said, citing all the physical and mental health benefits, including the social confidence it brings to its players.

He also explains that you are “playing the game against yourself”, in that all golfers are free to explore their own personal potential, whether it’s trying to achieve the highest scores during intense competition or just playing at your own pace, jumping and playing. put, enjoy the nature around you.