England and Wales Secretary Blind Golf (EWBG) is asking golf clubs to think about what they are doing for visually impaired men and women.

By the end of the day, another 250 people will have started to lose their eyesight. In statistics released in 2015, more than two million people in the UK are living with sight loss severe enough to have a significant impact on their daily lives.

For many, that means being unable to do the things the rest of us take for granted. Imagine not being able to drive, shop on your own, or even watch a favorite program on TV. No wonder hopelessness and depression, especially among visually impaired men, is so high, the feeling of having abandoned society and being viewed negatively by everyone except very close friends and family.

Hatfeild Hall member Andrew Sellars is guided by former Barclays Bank colleague Martyn Wright

For a few, being able to play golf has literally been their salvation, with members of the England and Wales Blind Golf Association (EWBG) admitting the relief and pleasure it has brought them at no longer feeling confined to the game. home and unnecessary by participating in competitive level sport.

The problem is, too few people get the message that golf can provide tremendous benefits: being able to get out of the house, exercise, and play sport. The able-bodied receive many siren calls to join a golf club, the disabled very few.

Yet even visually impaired men and women who have started playing golf often struggle to find someone to guide them. A reluctance to ask is often a major reason, but not as big a factor as anyone asking if they could help visually impaired newcomers to the game by volunteering to be their eyes and driving them to their club to do so. the presentations.

Every golf club is obligated to provide toilets for people with disabilities but what, other than this form of tokenism, does golf for people with disabilities do in terms of going out on a golf course? EWBG has known people who withdraw their membership application simply because they cannot find a guide.

Before the start of the next golf season, EWBG targets all golf clubs and their members to think about what they are doing for visually impaired men and women and ask those they know if they would like. try golf or if they played it before their eyesight deteriorated. , if they want to start playing again.

Over 700,000 people in England and Wales play golf regularly, but the number of active EWBG members is only 30. As Barry Ritchie, EWBG President, says: “The biggest obstacle in blind golf is to find a guide. There are a lot of people who would really like to play and who can’t.

EWBG Secretary and Ham Manor GC member Andy Gilford is guided by his wife Mel

The question EWBG wants to answer is: “How willing are English and Welsh golf clubs and their members to help in order to increase this number while making life much more enjoyable for the visually impaired?” “

For more information on England and Wales Blind Golf visit: ewblindgolf.co.uk or contact Andy Gilford at [email protected] or Steve Killick, press officer, at [email protected]