Throughout 2013, we held a series of six qualifying events at BGL courses throughout the country www.bglgolf.co.uk – events were held at Abbey Hill (Milton Keynes), Ramsdale (Notts), Thornbury (Bristol), Hoebridge (Surrey), Birchwood (Kent) and Redbourn (Herts).
BGL’s Pay and Play courses focus on offering “accessible and affordable golf to players of all abilities. The Centres are of universal appeal but are particularly suitable for newcomers to the game, with a golf academy, driving range, par 3 course and main course at all locations”. Sue Robertson, DGA Director said “We have found each of BGL’s courses has their own unique character and each has something extra to offer. What we’ve found has remained the same throughout, the warm welcome and commitment to excellence at each and every venue.”
The Disabled Golf Association was able to make excellent use of BGL’s course set up throughout the season, confident that for each event, they could cater for regulars and lower handicap players, anyone needing an introduction, shorter course and tuition. This was all made possible at any of the venues as BGL’s Golf Centres are Golfmark accredited.
The first three qualifiers from each of the 6 events were invited to Final at BGL’s prestigious flagship course, New Course at Burhill Golf Club. Qualifiers represented what DGA is all about – drawn from different parts of the country, different disabilities i.e amputees, one-arm, cerebral palsy, polio, MS, Parkinson’s and with ages from 17-63. 15 men and one lady came from Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Northanptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Hampshire, Surrey, Kent and South Wales.
Final at Burhill
Players were delighted to be greeted by none other than Pip Elson, PGA Pro at Burhill and former PGA European Tour player. So on Wednesday 9th October at 10.30am 16 players teed off on the New Course at Burhill. The dew was heavy but the wind picked up after an hour or so and dried the fast-running greens. The course was a challenge, in superb condition, it proved both a delight.
There was a longest drive on the 7th won by Scott Richardson, an above-the-knee amputee from Buckinghamshire; nearest the pin on the famous 18th was won by Ben Whitlock, one-arm golfer from Hampshire. The front nine was won by Peter Hardy of Hampshire, and the back nine by Kevin White of Berkshire.
So to our 18-hole competition winners of this grand end-of-season finale, 3rd place was above-the-knee amputee Alan Moulpied from Wiltshire with 32points on countback, 2nd was one-arm golfer Ben Whitlock from Hampshire with 33points, and the winner, with 35points, was Nicki Jones from Brecon in South Wales.
Nicki is the Events Co-Ordinator for the Disabled Golf Association in Wales and arranges events there. It was great to have him over the border to Thornbury GC for the first qualifying event and he has represented Wales 3 times in internationals – Auld Enemies Cup at Slaley Hall 2011, at Kinross 2013, and in the recent Wales versus England 2013 at Pontypridd GC. Nicki’s handicap is maintained at his club in Brecon. Nicki has a condition called Perthies which effects his hip joints and with regular extremely painful cortisone injections is able to walk and to play golf.
Scott qualified at Abbey Hill, Peter at Ramsdale, Kevin at Thornbury, Alan at Hoebridge, Ben at Abbey Hill, and Nicki Jones at Thornbury GC. Trophies were donated by BGL Golf and the Race to Wales sponsored the Nearest the Pin. All of the winners were presented with sleeves of Pro-V1 balls donated by Titleist, our sponsor for the last two seasons.
Graeme Robertson said “We have been delighted to have this competition with the BGL Group. Many thanks to Gill Fee, Sales and Marketing Manager at Burhill GC, Jamie O’Keefe, Sales and Marketing Manager for BGL Golf, and Colin Mayes, Chief Executive at BGL for making this happen. We’ve gained a great deal of publicity through the BBC and Radio to help promote disabled golf. It’s been a competition our members have wanted to compete in to gain a place at such a prestigious course. We look forward to working with BGL again in the future.”
It was a fabulous competition, qualifiers having played with DGA at numerous events, and at such a competitive yet friendly level was fantastic. Thanks to everyone who took part in such a spectacular day.
To view more images of the Race to Burhill, please click here.
Race to Burhill Press Release. Download pdf.
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